I knew early on that sacrifices would have to be made: there were about four things I wanted to do and they just weren't all going to fit!
In the end, I decided to forgo the opportunity to stroll across the final section of the Geelong Ring Road (and, as it turned out, possibly get my mug on TV with the Prime Minister) and regretfully turned down the offer of an afternoon of champagne and foot massage. What was I thinking?!
Well, what I was thinking was that it was great weather for a paddle, there were still bits of the Barwon I hadn't seen and that it was reasonably early which should allow me to sneak in the fourth option once I'd satisfied my curiosity about the stretch of river between the Pollocksford and Merrawarp Road Bridges.
|Mid-stream above the Pollocksford Bridge|
The reality as it turned out, was somewhat different. That stretch of the river is about 10.5km long (approximately 6.5km if you take the direct route) - a distance I have covered comfortably before. I had considered that the river was narrower and that there might be rocks this far upstream from the weirs. I had thought that there might be some fallen trees obstructing the river and that our recent lack of rain and lower water levels might not help. I had considered that there may be some portage required to overcome these obstacles and that it may take longer than anticipated to reach our destination as a result.
|Rocks, trees, reeds...|
|Well we certainly weren't going over that!|
|A small weir across the Barwon|
|Sandy soil and steep banks|
|Negotiating the ghosts of trees past|
|...and more rocks...and more branches...|
|A rather warm Whistling Kite|
At one point as we paused mid-stream - fortunately - to negotiate yet more branches, I spotted another denizen of river environment - a thirsty tiger snake.
|I didn't realise until I looked at the photos that we were being|
rather closely observed too...
By comparison, the rest of the trip was pleasantly uneventful. A few kilometres upstream from Merrawarp Road, the river deepened and widened out, the fallen trees became more navigable and we made easier progress towards our destination. Eventually, some six and a quarter hours later, we made it to the bridge where the support crew were waiting (some more patiently than others) to take us home.
By this time, it was nearing 5pm and that other activity I had hoped to get to was long finished. Unfortunately a blog post on the Shelford Duck Race will just have to wait until next year.