Twelve of us meet at Moleside, a tranquil campsite set among thick bush in the Lower Glenelg National Park, to canoe the lower reaches of the Glenelg.
Our party ranges widely in age and experience from Lucy, 9, to some paddlers well into their 50s. One has never been in a canoe. Our destination is Nelson, 50 kilometres and four days downstream. We have hired canoes, sturdy craft, dependable and stable. They hold a surprising amount of gear tents, Eskies and barrels fit in snugly. All the gear that must stay dry sleeping bags and mats, clothes, cameras disappears into the barrels.
The Eskies are full of good food and wine.
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No one is going to go hungry. We launch our craft and set off in a ragged line. Reeds, crackling quietly in the breeze, line the banks.
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Mid-river, we manoeuvre the canoes next to one another, then each person takes hold of the canoe beside them. The six canoes become one raft, drifting gently with the breeze. We pass around home-cooked cakes, biscuits and other snacks.
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The raft disbands and we paddle on. A flock of black cockatoos streams overhead, wailing. We round a few more bends then come ashore for lunch, washed down with mugs of hot tea. Paddling on into the afternoon, we make good time and soon arrive at our campsite.
We drag the canoes ashore, upending them to keep the interiors dry. The campsite is cosy and welcoming.enter
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