After deciding I would start posting regularly to this blog, I then had the good fortune to be away for the last 9 days. I left my iPad at home as I had assumed that there’d be no WiFi – mistakenly assumed as it turned out.
We had a wonderful trip on the South Australian end of the Murray River, travelling on a small boat called the “Proud Mary”. The only bad part, was that I’d forgotten to take my camera.
I spent some of my childhood in Swan Hill and have strong memories of camping along the Murray River with my father. However, the South Australian end is so different – whilst I remember tall river red gums bringing relief from the heat of the long, flat, dusty roads – and the silence except for the bird calls, our trip was marked by the tall sandstone cliffs that the river ran along. I had no idea that they existed. The other surprise was the amount of so many small holiday communities and small towns. My memories of over 60 years ago are peppered with the absence of civilisation. Perhaps the NSW end of the Murray has changed in that way also – and I’m now consumed with a burning desire to revisit the places of my early childhood to see if the same sort of changes have occurred.
The boat we were on was quite unremarkable in appearance, however the large living/dining area was nicely decorated with wood panelling and carpet reminiscent of grander days. The cabins were quite small but adequate but the bathroom used river water in the basin taps and toilet and I assume in the shower. This meant using drinking water for teeth cleaning and an inability to rinse any light coloured items of clothing because of the colour of the river water. Not the end of the world, although a couple of times I found myself wetting my toothbrush under the tap immediately after placing a glass of clean water on the shelf!
The food on the boat was magnificent. Jack, our Mauritian chef, and his offsider did a magnificent job. We all came home several kilos
lighter heavier – I haven’t weighed yet and might wait a while so I don’t get such a shock 😉
Each day we docked somewhere along the way and either did a nature walk with the Captain, or transferred to a bus for a visit to a local highlight – an almond farm, a small local school with an impressive and different approach to learning, a flat-bottomed boat trip though the wetlands and more. Our bus driver was a charming and knowledgable young-ish local who provided us with excellent information along the way.
This is a trip I can highly recommend. One tip: if possible, get a cabin on the top deck – you’ll have more stairs to deal with, but some people found the noise of the engines a distraction when they were trying to sleep. When we docked overnight at an established mooring there was access to connect to the electricity network, but at other places the engines had to keep going at a lower pace at night for the lighting and air conditioning and probably for the pumps to provide water etc.