We had such a good sleep in the Murray Sunset National Park that we all work up a little late and had to rush so that we could get to Lock 7 (some 20kms away) on a predetermined time booked through mum using our satellite tracker and messenger. We arrived 15 minutes late but it did not bother the lock master. He told us we were the first boat he had seen in 2 weeks. Now that is remote.
While it is was fast and easy from Lock 8 to Lock 7; after Lock 7 was shallow and snaggy. This time with old timber posts just sticking out and blocking about half the width of the river.
Thank goodness most are marked.
We navigate through the snags and timber pile fields or groynes, and just as we thought it was safe we hit a sand bar travelling at about 40km/hr in the middle of the river. However we tried, we could not find a safe passage through this wide section of the river. Kiam had to wade around and finally found a passage just off centre of the river. We managed to get unstuck and slowly navigated River Spirit to a slightly deeper channel and head for deeper water. Such is the Murray; full of surprises and always require your full attention.
We were expecting a hot day in the 40’s but had not anticipated the strong headwinds of 40km/h and gust of about 80km/hr. Add 40km/hr at our cruise speed and that is a lot of wind to pass through. So it was a choppy and wild ride to South Australia. One of our flag staff broke while the other was bent and our windscreen latches broke off.
Nevertheless it was an interesting section to pass. We saw many cliffs but Devil’s Elbow was different with large sand and clay cliffs. Some sections of the Murray River has transformed and new passage (short cuts) could be navigated. Some can be confusing and signs are even erected to ensure safe passage. Again kangaroos and emus are abundant in this section like the past.
Wish the weather was better so that we could go a bit slower and enjoy this section. We pass the border of NSW and soon followed by the Vic and South Australia and arrived at Border Cliffs.
There is a general store there which was the old Customs House used as an excise collection point for goods crossing the Murray.
We had planned to free camp near the old Customs House however due to the high temperature and severe fire danger day we decided to take the boat out and to head to Renmark (with intention to relaunch back at Border Cliffs for the next leg). This ended up being a wise decision as we learnt of the devastating fires here in South Australia. When the winds changed our caravan park was overwhelmed by the smoke from SA fires. A horrible reminder of Kinglakes Black Saturdays conditions all those years ago not far from home.