Sunday, 9 April 2017

Murray River Paddle 2016 Day 6 Yarrawonga Rest Day Oct 21

Yarrawonga rest day today. A chance to catch up with Ruth, meet locals and to go to the library to see what this area of the river used to look like in the early days of settlement.

Transporting my gear around the weir.
Its a long walk so worth calling ahead to the canoe club to see if they might be able to help you out with the portage.

The river is so important to people here that it seems everyone has an opinion or a bit of information they wish to share. Tom, from the yacht club told me how he is editing a book on natural history of the Yarrawonga area and what he has learnt in doing so; about the sand dunes that form on the north western side of bends in the river and how these are millions of years old. Tony from the motel who told me of what it was like in the 93 floods. He is sure of the date because he got engaged the day before over 300,000ML a day as passed through the Yarrawonga weir. This is nothing compared to that he said. There was an older gentlemen who thought the MDBA was to blame for the high river. He had friends who live in Tocumwal who were worried about the high river. He thought that all levels were controlled by people and was angry. He did not realize that most of the current flow at this point of the river comes from two unregulated rivers, the Ovens and the Kiewa. It is easy to blame. It's sometimes difficult to accept that we cannot control everything, let alone the weather. We may have regulated the Murray, but it is still a wild river. It is something to be proud of, but also respected, there are consequences. We can no more stop all floods than we can all droughts. The variation in river height drives river and forest health. River towns and farmers have learnt to live with the risk this presents. It is something to be proud of, not attacking each other about.

Historical records of what Yarrawonga was like before the weir.
The weir defines the town, but its history and the memories of the people who live there began long beforehand.

I took these photos from Chinaman's Island, where there is a lovely interpretive walk about lakes environment. The red sky heralds unsettled weather for the next few days. Looks like more jumper days - and in Late October!

Tonight I am enjoying a night in a motel and a meal out. It's been great by the lake but I'm ready to move on. Next stage: 5 days into Echuca. Will be awesome pre-paddling the marathon course. Lots of memories.

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