Russell Green (Regency Park Rotary) and Peter Sowden (Walkerville Rotary) have just completed a 31-day kayak paddle from Renmark down to the Murray Mouth, a total of 564Km.
It was done for a cause. Russell, being the joint District representative of Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS) set the task of raising funds for a Women’s and Girls’ Crisis Centre for those who have been trafficked, additionally for those suffering from domestic violence and underage pregnancies. The Project is a joint exercise of Dunbar RC in Scotland and Kalimpong RC in NE Bengal where the Centre is to be built.
An International Project involving clubs in the UK and Europe, and now involving a number of clubs in D9500 and D9520 who have generously contributed to the cause and we thank them. (Regency Park, Walkerville, Modbury Golden Grove, Port Adelaide, Loxton, Waikerie, Goolwa). Additionally, many individuals have contributed. Our final fundraising will be in excess of $6000.
We are still open to receive donations: Regency Park Rotary, BSB 105011, A/c 112998740.
The trip was fascinating, with a few days of adverse winds making progress slow, then nights with thunder and lightning and days where the water looked like a skating rink.
Early in the voyage, we watched a kangaroo hop into the Murray, swim across, with only the head showing, then hop out the other side and disappear into the bush. We sat and watched a black snake swim across the river and gave it right of way. Later a brown snake was waiting on the bank to welcome us. It slithered away eventually. Then down near Tailem Bend while I photographed a Tiger snake swimming the river my kayak drifted in front of it. Fortunately, it dived under and didn’t climb over.
We, of course, camped on the bank every night and probably the hardest part of the trip, unloading the kayaks and setting up the tents and the next morning doing the reverse. We carried all our food with us (about 4 or 5 days worth) and relied on restocking from General Stores along the way.
We carried very little water with us as every litre weights a kilogram. We used Sawyer water filters from Disaster Aid Australia (DAA) and filtered all our water needs from the river. About 7lt per day was sufficient for our needs. We did manage the odd night in a cabin in caravan parks. (In reality, we were in need of a shower).
Finding a suitable place to camp was not easy due to all the “Private – No Trespassing” signs and also the growth of housing. Shacks are out, McMansions are in. From Morgan downstream, there is a 14km stretch of unbroken housing (starting to look like West Lakes). Anyway, we did find places, sandbars being the best. Up until 31 Oct., we did all our cooking on an open fire, but with the fire bans starting on 1 Nov. it was then only on the portable gas stove.
Catching up with Rotarians at Loxton, Waikerie and Goolwa was special, as was some Regency Park and Prospect friends catching up at Mannum.
If any club wants a speaker on the trip, on RAGAS or on DAA (or all) please make contact with Peter or myself.
Regency Park Rotary
For more information, see the 600km Paddle Against Slavery.