The Mighty Murray River!

The Mighty Murray River!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Boot Camp day 7 Tuesday

Our final day of paddling here at Lakes Entrance today so we left this morning around 9am.  It is a very cloudy day with absolutely no wind when we started out ... the complete opposite to yesterday! 
We decided to have a go at going up the narrows since it is flat calm so here is where we are going ...
just past the bridge is the entrance to the narrows which if you turn right you go up and around to Paynesville .... if you turn left you will most probably end up out in the ocean as the sea entrance is not far from there, here is Neil approaching the entrance to the narrows ...
 the 2 signs warn you of swift currents just behind the rocks and I suppose on a day like yesterday we could have tried it and made it to Tasmania with the flow and wind blowing!
 but since it was dead calm we went out and it is so deep! and we headed north wards and it was so calm and peaceful! I would imagine on Saturday it would have been busy!
 we went up as far as Kalimna pier, beached ourselves and let Kouta run around.  The arms we a little tired due to yesterdays hard slog  and it wasn't until on our way back agains the outflowing tide that I really began to feel the past 6 days worth of kayaking!
I thought since I am out in the narrows that I would take advantage and take a photo of the quite narrow sea entrance  into Lakes Entrance ... I can imagine the currents would be horrendous especially at the change of tides!

once at the bridge and we were on the home straight I had to keep stopping to give the arms a little rest and boy were they really tired especially between the shoulder blades so it was with relief that we got back to camp!
Since it was early we decided to wash down the kayaks and pack a few things away in the hope that we will leave early tomorrow!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Boot camp days 5 & 6 Sunday and Monday

sort of skipped yesterday as I seem to be repeating myself everyday ... Kayaking is even more mundane to report on than cycle touring!  No real episodes or happenings really ... maybe we need to deliberately capsize ourselves so I have something to put on the blog!
Below is a photo of the campsite we are on ... I couldn't remember if I posted a photo or not 
 Sunday was a very cold and drizzly start so we weren't sure if we were going to go kayaking, the wind was blowing so it was a little choppy out on the water.  By early afternoon the sun came out and the wind died down so we headed up the north arm again ... the other day we thought we went to the end but  we could continue on so we are not quite sure if it is a river and how far up it goes .... it is not clear on the google maps and it looks like it just dead ends on all maps we have looked at.
I have to mention we have a little routine when launching the kayaks ... actually it is Koutas routine really.  He doesn't seem as enthused about kayaking as he is with cycling .... with cycling he trots up to the trailer and jumps in, with kayaking it is something along these lines ... first we drag the kayaks down to the water, kouta follows to the edge of the grass and waits and watches, Neil turns around and heads back to get this paddle so Kouta sprints back to the annexe of the tent waiting for the door to magically open, meanwhile Neil has picked up his paddle and is now going to get Kouta, Kouta is trying to hide in the annexe but is not very successful .... here he is in Neils arms walking back to the kayaks ...
 Neil walks in the water while holding Kouta and automatically Koutas legs begin to doggy paddle (so we like to call it air doggy paddle!) and continues to do so until he is in the basket, he then settles and waits for us to get in and paddle off!
This happens everytime we go out paddling!
Here is a nice quiety photo of Neil kayaking ...
 Monday is a lot better, the sun is out shining and the wind starts out weak but soon picks up, we decide to go around to the esplanade and up to the pedestrian bridge again but the wind is picking up and is forecasted to be around 20knots while we paddle which means we will have 2 legs where we will have strong headwinds.
 It was okay going down to the bridge but once we got to the Cunninghame arm we were paddling into a very strong wind and there was some very choppy water out there.  We pulled over just before the bridge for a break and something to eat ... you can see Lakes Entrance township in the background ...
 the wind was very strong that Neil had to remove his hat as it kept blowing off.
going back down the Cunninghame arm was okay and it was very hard once in the the north arm going back to camp ... we were relieved to get back.  Although it is a good strenthening excercise for us these strong winds and the arms while weary weren't ready to give in so we must be getting stronger!
Tomorrow we might venture right of the bridge and go up the narrows a bit for our last day of kayaking.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Boot camp Saturday day 4

Oh the arms felt it by the end of todays journey!  A cool night according to everyone in there caravans but we both slept like logs and didn't feel cold at all ... it seems that the more valuable the caravan the less they spend on a good doona ... a down doona would go a looooooong way in a caravan to keeping them warm!
So todays plan was to go down, under and around to the other side of Lakes Entrance to the Esplanade and have some fish and chips for lunch ... estimating it would take us just on an hour to get there by kayak (ironically we could have walked to the fish and chip shop in less than 10 mins!)
We head off and again it is a very calm day, hardly any wind at the time and a few boats here and there.  It is not until we get closer to the bridge that we encounter recreational boats so we slip over to the right hand side only to come back again to the left just before the bridge ...
 getting to where the fishermans co-op is we decide to go down on the right hand side of the Cunninhame arm where there is very few boats moored and it is predominantly beach.  So paddling along and again it is lovely and sunny and we decide to take a break in a little bay and beach ourselves ...

 by now we can see boats coming up and down this arm and there is a speed boat towing some rubber thing with kids in it and then they switch over to someone water skiing.  So we continue on and battle through the waves they create to get to the pedestrian bridge ...
 we then decide to go back to our beach spot and cross over there to the other side, personally I would have preferred to cross over here at the bridge but Neil seemed reluctant to go on the other side where all the boats are moored ... so we go back and this speed boat is going up and down and we finally get to cross and beach ourselves just up from the fish and chip shop .... I tell you it was lovely fish and chips ... the chips were so crispy!
 Originally we had planned to return to the other side of the Cunninghame arm and go back down to our turning point at bullock island but I said it was safer to stay on this side (right side now) with all these moored boats as it seems to be bedlam out in the arm .... and it was a good decision as all boats going out stayed on the left and all boats coming in stayed on their right! LOL not quite sure what goes on we regard to that so we were perfectly safe going in and out of the piers with the moored boats as no one was going anywhere and when they did move the moved very slowly.
So at our turning point we duck up the quiet estuary which comes to a T junction and we wait to join the flow going up the north arm just before the bridge and it is like peak hour.  Most boats are small but there was a large speed boat (not going fast at all) passing in front of us as we were merging and it created 2 big waves and we got over the first wave but the second came up and over our front and poured into where my legs were so I quickly unplugged the plugs to let the water out but too late I was saturated ... I hate having a wet bum!  so we got under the bridge and pull over so I can bail out some of the water that is in my compartment where I keep my box of knick knacks ... I must remember to carry a bailing container with me from now on!
From here it is a straight run to the campground ... the wind is blowing from a south east so it is a head wind and now I can feel it between the shoulder blades but still manage to paddle on knowing that I am sure to experience worse discomfort in the future so I might as well get over it and paddle!
Todays paddle was around 2 hours in total with a 30min lunch break ... not bad.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Boot Camp Friday day 3

We all had a good nights sleep last night .... Kouta is on his steroids for his allergies with the Kooch grass (Kouta is a bit like you Mum the day after you started chemo when you took your first steroid ... full of beans and bouncing around ... great that is all we need a 100 plus (in human years) year old dog prancing around feeling like a teenager exactly like you mum!)
Anyway we had 10 hours solid sleep and woke this morning to a very grey dull day and the wind was blowing from the south west so it had bite to it.  We piled on all our warm clothes and walked down the esplanade to warm up.
We got back at 10 and decided to head out as they forecasted a wind change and for it to get a little stronger this afternoon so by the time we headed out the wind wasn't blowing as strong and if it did pick  up we would be okay as we decided to head up to the of the north arm ...
 We both felt okay and the arms we going strong
 unfortunately the kangaroos that we normally see while cycling have been replaced with shags and pelicans!
 as you progress up the north arm you are sheltered from any wind coming from the west and so the water was very calm and the paddling was easy ... enough to get a selfie!
 We got back just on 12 and managed to do just under 2 hours of paddling we were very chuffed with ourselves.
By now the sun was beginning to shine and there was no wind to speak of, the water was very calm and it stayed like that for the most of the afternoon.  The wind did swing to the south east but it was light so we decided to have an early dinner and head out again this time down to the bridge and back again ...
 it took less than an hour but a nice way to end the day ...
 on our way back you pass by where alot of boats are moored and also where the birdlife settle for the night ...
 at nearly every mooring pole you can guarantee there will be a pelican procariously perched on the top of it settling in the for the night ...
I think even Kouta was wishing this one would fall in as he passed by it!
Tomorrow we will paddled around to the township to somewhere near the footbridge and all going well even a little further.  There we will have fish and chips for lunch and make our way back again.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Boot Camp Thursday day 2

Not a great nights sleep last night .... Kouta decided that he would have a panic attack and that he would like to share it and his bad breath with me at some ungodly hour in the morning.  so here he was waundering up and down my side of the tent trying to find a spot so he could settle - it took him 30 mins to find the best spot which was right next to my head and there he settled for the rest of the morning which didn't last very long as he decided that he had the itchies which isn't really surprising as it is kooch grass here and that makes him itch so until day light every 30 secs he was up scratching ... at least he shared that with both of us.
The day was sunny to start and it was nice having brekky beside the waters edge.  I thought I would share a map of Lakes Entrance with you so you know where we are and where we will be kayaking ... the black dot is us on that green patch next to Rowe street ...
 so this morning we decided to kayak to the bridge, go under it and around to the right through a little estuary to as far as the Fishermans Co-op and back again ...
 As you can see from the photo below the clouds are beginning to build ...
 Kouta was a lot settled today and didn't seemed to worried when I pulled up alongside and even when I was a little in front ...
going under the bridge was fun 
 straight after the bridge you veer right as straight ahead is the narrows which is where all the boats go.  Just above Neils right side of the paddle is a boat that is on the narrows which then leads into the sea entrance ... I would imagine the flow might be a little fast there for us at the moment
 so down our little estuary the only people that can bit under the bridge ahead is us and swimmers!
 so we get to as far as we want to go which is where you can sort of see where everyone goes in and out to the entrance of the sea (difficult to see in this photo) so basically at the end of Bullock island.  We did get to see some boats being repaired at the Fishermans Co-op.
 To our left of our spot we can paddle down to the town frontage that is on the Cunninghame Arm
 We took 40mins to get there with a slight head wind and also 40mins to get back in time for a well earned cuppa.  Very happy with our 80mins stint at kayaking and the arms are getting stronger and don't feel sore at all, a little tired but that is okay.
So after lunch we rested and decided to go again at 3pm this time it was very cloudy and the wind had really picked up.  We decide to head up the north arm further ...
 We we are camped is exposed to the west south westerly that is coming up the north arm at the moment, despite the wind coming across and behind us it is very hard as it is whipping up the sea water and it is a bit like the waves we had while leaving NZ when we went on the Claymore!!!  as you can see from below the water is a little choppy!
Sticking to the right hand side we went up one side and came back down the other which was a little sheltered from the wind until we had to cross over the water to the campground side and that was fully exposed and the wind was in front of us and made the going hard.  But we made it and didn't feel scared or unsafe at all in the rough conditions.  Happy that we had hard conditions as that only strengthens the arm muscles.
One thing about the rough conditions is that we all got wet, we also felt warm while paddling but once we stopped you really felt the coldness set in!
Tomorrow ... who knows how far we will go, but as each day goes by we can feel less and less soreness and feel more stronger than the day before.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lakes Entrance boot camp Wednesday day 1

Hi de hi campers, we are back on a very new adventure for us ... we have ditched the bicycles for kayaks so we really should be known as 2 paddles and 4 paws!  
Now we are back in to our normal lives we have decided that the arm muscles for kayaking are in serious need of building up and strengthening so we have decided to have an introduction for boot camp were we are plonked on the north arm at Lakes Entrance for a week where we can just launch the kayaks into the water and start training those arm muscles a few times a day!
We left around 9am this morning and got here around 1.30pm after some delays just outside Sale with some road works.
We are at the recreation ground on the north arm at Lakes Entrance.  It is a council type campground around a footy oval,   it is cheap ($20 per night unpowered or pay for 6 nights and stay for 7 - that is what we are doing!) and most importantly it is the perfect location ... the unpowered section is right next to the water and the caretaker put us on the site that is right beside the water so we don't need the trolleys to portage the kayaks ... it is perfect and we are happy to be here.
Below are some photos of the kayaks on the car ...

 I forgot to insert the photo of our campsite but here is one of Neil and Kouta under the shade cloth sitting on our Hellinox chairs ... they are fab!

 so around 3pm we decide to do a little paddling and went up north just to loosen up the arms ... Kouta loves it and keeps a serious eye on me the whole time.

 see he is watching me making sure I stay behind him!
 if you look at the shore line behind me you can see the campground we are at, the powered sites are all along the foreshore and the unpowered is to the side with only 2 unpowered sites on the waters edge and we have one of them!
 after dinner (a mark down roast chicken from Woolworths which is only 300m from the park entrance - about an extra 300m for us from our camp site!) we decide to head down towards the bridge for a little 40min paddle.  We are thinking that we might need our bike lights on the way back!
 Just after taking this photo I pull up along side Neil but stayed away about 3m and it looked liked Kouta was thinking of doing a repeat of last Saturday - walking on water to get to me! So Neil quickly reprimanded him.  tomorrow I might try him with me to see if he settles a bit.
 here is me powering home - it is about 6.45pm and I am a little tired and I am really looking forward to my hot shower which is about 300m from our camp site and also it is a very old building with old showers, I would say the original shower block of the 1950's! nevertheless the shower pressure was great!
Tomorrow continuing on with our boot camp and hope to do 2 sessions one in the morning and another in the afternoon.