Monday, 23 November 2009

The Mitchell River – early September

We arrived at the Mitchell River naively thinking we would quickly sound out the entrance in the dinghy the following morning before catching the tide upstream. When morning arrived, we popped our heads outside to find the river had disappeared and in it’s place was a sea of sand banks and rocks. Mmm, this could make sounding out the channel a little problematic! Not willing to give up too easily we zigzagged the dinghy back and forth across the little streams between the banks, at times climbing over the banks to take waypoints and bearings. By the time we finally arrived back at Thyme, we had been in the dingy for over 3 hours in the searing heat – me with no hat or sun protection thinking it was a quick morning job. Si had also caused some stress by admitting he didn’t know if he had put enough fuel in the dinghy to get back with the swift turn of tide at the same time a large croc cruised past! Too nervous and exhausted to contemplate taking Thyme up there right away while the tide was coming in, we instead ate a late breakfast and decided we would go tomorrow.

The following morning after a sleepless night, searing stomach pains (nerves) and 10 trips to the loo we finally started our trip upstream. A short trip of 3 miles has never seemed so long, and while covered by the tide, the nasty rocks and mountainous sand banks were clearly etched on my mind. We made it to our first anchorage safely and anchored in a narrow gut at the mouth of Surveyors Creek where we had a clear view of the next sand banks we had to traverse to make it into the river. While Theo nervously checked out Leg 2 thru the binos I settled down to celebrate making it this far and kill any nerves for tomorrows trip.

The next morning Simon sounded out Leg 2 of the mission, once again taking waypoints climbing over banks before we headed up with the high tide. The rest of the journey upstream was uneventful, with mostly mangrove lined banks and rocky ledges. We went straight to the head of the navigable section of the river and anchored before the tidal rockbar. The rockbar separates the salt water river from the fresh water section and can only be crossed in the dinghy on a rising tide when the rapids calm down. The freshwater was the real attraction here and I couldn’t wait to explore the swimming pools!

1 comment:

Amanda said...

The day you stop getting nervy over these things while Simon remains cool as a cucumber will be the day I suspect robot aliens have taken over your body.