Thursday, 6 July 2017

Murray River Paddle 2016 Day 11 Morning Glory to Echuca

Morning Glory to Echuca 41km.

I enjoyed the novelty of having the river so high. Usually the banks are 8 - 10 metres above us. Now the river is almost level with them. In low areas it flowed through the forest. Flood runners were like small rivers themselves, replenishing the billabongs where turtles feed and breed and the black box forests which depend on such occasional drinks to remain healthy.

Coming into Echuca the river moves into a new landscape. Along the higher areas, groups of black box begin to dominate. Because they need less frequent floods than river red gum, black box are often thriving in areas where red gums were suffering, gradually replacing them.

In Echuca, I have had a few days together with family and have swapped over to a smaller boat (paddling the double as a single I was being blown around by the winds too much). Tomorrow, I set off again towards Torrumbarry and the beautiful Gunbower-Perricoota-Koondrook Forest.

Just downstream from the Kanyapella Sandhill. Drinking in the early morning atmosphere. The river is still dark in colour from the organic material forced into it by the Barmah Choke. The green plant on the surface is Azolla (duckweed, a floating fern which grows in shallow, still water) from the same source.

Pulling up in a shallow spot, this egret seemed unfazed by my presence.

A shallow area where I was able to pull up at for a rest.
Sneaking along between the trees is one of the pleasures of paddling on a high river. You can glide almost silently and able to witness wildlife close up.
Early morning birdcall 8:47am. Approaching 1774km
The dark colours in the water are due to organic matter from the forest. At this stage of the river, this is a healthy amount. I have not seen any of the fish kills that I have heard of below the junction with the Edwards-Wakool System.

The banks are usually 8 - 10m high. With the high river, it was like canoeing on a lake.
Azola, otherwise know as duck weed adds colour to the water surface.

Headed for Echuca, this video was taken just after 1736 on a South-Easterly straight, with light rain falling. Water is at, or near the top of the bank and is flowing through flood channels into adjoining billabongs. 10:15am

This home classifies as temporary because it is set on wheels, but i don't think this old truck is going anywhere fast.
Cottonwood caravan park's huge wall was not enough to stop the high water, with staff having to sandbag the entrances to these riverside villas.
Kilometre trees mark distances to the Murray Mouth.

Big Bend, 10km upstream of Echuca by river.

At this height the paddlesteamers found it difficult to pass under the bridge. The captain on the Emmylou edged up to the bridge watching how many centimetres there were between the top of its flag pole and the bottom of the bridge. Too high and they would knock off the funnel.

The river is so high at the moment, that the paddlesteamers, normally so far below the wharf, now are able to see over it. When you see the river like this, it makes sense that the wharf is so high. Before dams were built in the upper reaches of the river, it used to be this high every year.

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