Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kayaking on the Coorong

The water is up, the birds are in. With water flows in the Murray up, the Murray Mouth is open, and the Coorong full. There are birds everywhere.

The Coorong, Coorong National Park

We hired a couple of sea kayaks from Adelaide Canoe Works, chucked them up on the roof racks and headed down to the Coorong for the weekend. Camping at Marks Point, on a dirt road south of Meningie and the Narrung ferry, we set off out on the water bright and early. Already, we had been treated to a gorgeous sunrise with pelicans and many other birds flying overhead.

Much of Saturday was tough paddling, it was a head wind. We made quick work of getting to the far side of the Coorong, into the shelter of Younghusband Peninsula. We paddled in 45 minute blocks, pulling up on a beach or reed bank to rest at the end of each block. It was hard, we certainly couldn't just stop paddling, the current and wind would take us downstream too quick. We managed about 3.5km/h, our first leg crossing the open Coorong we had only achieved 3.0km/h.

Water was lapping at the very edges of the banks, there were no salt plains to be seen, no dry crusty stuff - contrasting sharply with scenes we saw in 2008 (here and here.)

We camped on the Younghusband Peninsula, a nice campsite beside the Coorong. We wandered the kilometre or so over the sand dunes to the beach, the long, windy and isolated beach beside the rough Southern Ocean.

Sunday we awoke to a calm day, which made the work of paddling much easier and more enjoyable as we glided easily through the water. We crossed back to the mainland side of the water. I didn't realise much of this coastline is also included in the national park, I had always thought that the farmland abutted the water, but in many places it does not. There were many beaches, cliff headlands - it was all pretty interesting stuff.

The calm day did not last though, the wind picked up, this time we had warm northerlies - rather than yesterdays cool southerlies - and yep, that meant once again we were battling a headwind. We were pretty glad to make it back to Marks Point and the car. A single kayaker there was just coming back in, he had been out for a few minutes but the waves and wind were too much for him, so he was heading back home to his nearby farmhouse.

We'd only managed to get 16km down the Coorong, we'll have to come back another time to explore further south, I think it would get more interesting as the Coorong narrows.

  • Have you paddled on the Coorong before? Where?
  • Have you done a multi-day trek on the Coorong or Murray before? Did you do a there-and-back or in one direction only?

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Coorong National Park
Saturday Sunday
05/03/2011 06/03/2011
Marks Point to beyond Long Point Beyond Long Point back to Marks Point
Distance 16.7km 15.7km
Start Time 8.02am 7.55am
End Time 3.51pm 12.49pm
Moving Duration 4h45m 3h19m
Stationary Duration 3h07m 1h29m
Moving Average 3.5km/h 4.7km/h
Overall Average 2.1km/h 3.2km/h
Oodometer 16.7km 32.4km

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