Cruising down the Murray River

When people ask, “What was your favorite adventure in Australia,” my answer is riding a camel near Ayers Rock at sunrise.  Dick’s answer is being captain of a house boat going down the Murray River.  While my adventure lasted a couple of hours, this adventure lasted a couple of days.  As we embark that first evening we feel very much as though we have this lazy, rolling, muddy brown, wide river all to ourselves.  Later we do see others, but this is truly our own boat and our own space.

  There are four of us to share this furnished houseboat and we have purchased groceries to last 3 full days plus and evening and a morning.  For our first dinner on the boat we taught our friends the art of picking and eating crabs.  These were larger but similar to our Maryland Crab and we only had one each at the end of our seafood meal.

The days are leisurely with numerous scenery changes along the way. There are flocks of white birds that, from a distance, look like cotton growing on trees, and we see many lovely black swans.  Our destination is Big Bend where we will meet farm owners who take us out into their fields to see the kangaroos at night.

Dick is our captain and Harry serves as co captain.  We have often said when we are on a boat we are glad to have Dick along.  When we are on a plane, especially a smaller one we are glad to have our pilot, Harry, along. Early on the second day, our captain wants to take a break to eat. He gives me the wheel with these instructions:  “Keep it in the middle of the channel, Honey.”  “OK, no problem——-oops, Help, I’m going off to the right.”  “Turn the wheel, —-Not that hard, turn it, more, more, it’s not like a car.”  OK I finally got the hang of it and we are cruising down the middle, listening to Phil Keagy’s River of Life song. Life is good!

My good friend, iced tea, a rubber ducky, bubbles and a hot tub consume the late afternoon hours.  Did I mention that ‘LIFE IS GOOD.’
I guess I should also mention that the bubbles cover the brown water that comes in from the river to fill the tub.

We can’t travel at night, so just before dusk we must anchor and tie this baby to shore.  Captain Dick knows just what to do.  First we ease our dream boat close to the shore, then put down the gang plank, pass the ropes and make that knot good.

Soon, Dick and Harry are experts at tieing off the boat and making us secure for the night.

This awesome sunset actually filled the skies above us and water below us our first night out. Deep purples, shifting oranges and yellows as far as you could see in any direction.  A surprise for sure and a glorious sight.

Later we enjoyed some campfire time on the bank and watched curious cows grazing not far away.  We played  Australian Trivia in the evening and were thankful that there were a few easy American questions scattered throughout. We learned some things about Australia as we laughed and stumbled through most of the questions.

Our last night on the boat was enchanting, and of course we wanted some pictures of the four us.  Only problem, there was no one to take the picture.  So Dick sets up the little used self-timer on the camera and we have five pictures of the three of us.  The sixth picture is a double exposure but who cares?  We are laughing so hard we can’t see straight anyway.

Finally on the seventh try we get the picture we want and then head to the top deck of the boat for another surprise. Dick had packed away the music to the song Unforgettable  which happened to be the name of our boat.  A beautiful song, a warm breeze, and a last dance, to remember an unforgettable cruise down the Murray River.

That was very near the end of our trip, but when we brought the boat back to port we met people who were one another boat, interested in talking with us because we were from the states.  She was an airline hostess and was on duty for our flight to LA the next day.  Just before sunset as we are flying home she comes to our seats and invites us on a tour of the first class accommodations and the flight deck.  Remember, this is April 2001 and she takes us into the flight cabin to meet the pilot and copilot.  We stepped into a room about the size of a small office. The first thing you notice is the huge panel board with so many instruments and gadgets, but very quickly my eyes went to the windows that encircled the entire front of the cabin.  The view was staggering and I hesitated to take a step because you had the momentary feeling that you could fall off the edge. With a quick adjustment and my hand firmly grasping the back of the seat, I could see way down to the ocean and over on our left the sun was falling into the ocean spilling buckets of paint on its way. It was hard to tell where the sky ended and the ocean began. The curvature of the earth was quite evident.  It was absolutely an incredible experience and a blessing we will long be thankful for.  In September of 2001 we recalled our experience and knew that the world had changed for ever. We were perhaps among the last passengers to ever have that opportunity.

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2 thoughts on “Cruising down the Murray River

  1. Hey, be sure to leave a comment if your stopping by by for a look. I would love to hear from you.

  2. I love that you danced to Unforgettable on your unforgettable cruise on the the Unforgettable. 🙂 Fun!

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