Fully charged after a successful Winter Series dominating touring canoe racing and with the medal tally to prove it, the intrepid canoeists plus a few friends decided on a trip on the Goulburn River.
On Friday night whilst most of the population of Victoria was considering if Meatloaf would or would not perform at the Grand Final, we were stuck with another perhaps more important question “was it still worth camping on the banks of the Major Mitchell Creek?” Our original canoe trip was planned as a paddle from Mitchellstown Bridge to the forenamed creek on the Saturday, followed by a 15km paddle to Nagambie. With our aversion to the inclement grand final weather and the Weather Bureau talking up the sunshine on Sunday we reconfigured the trip as an 18.5km Sunday day trip from the Bridge to Nagambie.
The day started earlier than expected due to an overnight change to daylight saving, but everyone managed to meet at the Bridge at 11am, and shuffle the cars. We then paddled to Chateau Tahbilk for a lunch on the grass, before continuing to Nagambie. The river was high and flowing fast, although there were few snags to navigate. In the first 30 minutes the boats averaged a very respectable 9.5km per hour but the river slowed down as we headed downstream.
Lunch at Tahbilk was enjoyable, with the kids exploring a labyrinth of cellars, machinery sheds and walkways over open vats whilst the adults tasted wine suitably attired in canoe shoes and thermals. There was much discussion about the need to take on ballast, especially in Kevin and Charlie’s boat that was riding with the nose clear of the water. But with the 2008 Shiraz at $19.50 a bottle, the general feeling was that the ballast could be purchased cheaper on sale in Melbourne. As it turned out, Kevin and Charlie didn’t need the ballast anyway, and roared to Nagambie a good 10 minutes ahead of the fleet (Charlie maintains it was at least 30 minutes ahead).
We finished the paddle around 4.30pm, with a final leg across Lake Nagambie.
The participants in this “epic” voyage, all in TC2s were yours truly and William Archibald, Kevin Hannington and Charlie Bellette, Alex James and Fiona Doyle, Rowan and Mac Doyle, Marc and Harry Bellette, Nev and Robbie Archibald.