Murray Mouth

Murray Mouth: Sunday 14 February 2020

As per usual I forgot to ‘volunteer’ somebody to do the Trip Report. So here is my offering.

After I managed to wake up to the alarm at the un-Godly hour of 6:00 on a Sunday morning, I checked the weather for the South Coast and it looked really good.

I had previously checked tide times and heights which were also favourable so there was nothing to prevent the Club from undertaking the, now, annual trip to the Murray Mouth.

Barb and I arrived at Goolwa a bit early – I can never judge the traffic and the amount of time it will take – so we visited the Goolwa bakery, as you do, and then headed off to the meeting point for 9:30. (I can recommend the bakery’s old fashioned fruit Danish).

Gavin, Caroline and Carmel had already arrived so Gavin and I did a quick inspection of the entry/exit track and the beach conditions. All were fine.
As the rest of the crew arrived they reduced tyre pressures ready for the beach.

After a phone call to confirm that one of our members was not attending and a quick discussion on sand driving, radio procedures, setting the convoy positions etc, we were off for our beach driving adventure.
For most of the 10.1 km drive to the Mouth, the sand was churned up by a lot of traffic but the base was hard and it was easy for speed to creep above the 40 km/h limit.

There were the occasional soft spots but, with a bit of momentum, everybody made it through the hazards.

The only area that could have been considered difficult was the bypass around where the pipe from the sand dredge crosses the beach. This had to be driven with high momentum, basically the – ‘drive it like it was stolen’ technique.

We arrived at the Mouth around 10:30, in time for morning tea and to watch a seal playing in the current. There were several other groups, including what we believed to be a commercial tag-along tour.

Why you would pay for a tag-along tour when joining a Club like ours would get you there for free, is beyond me.

Parked at the Mouth

After about an hour of watching the seal, having a look at the dredging operations and the dogs splashing about in the shallows, we moved off back towards Goolwa for the cockle beds, a bit of fishing (bait drowning) and lunch.

We struck a bit of drama taking place on the by-pass. As I was driving up the slope around the blind bend at full power there, immediately in front of me, was a bogged vehicle! That got the heart beating I can tell you. I managed to avoid the vehicle but got bogged myself.

The vehicle was a very old Ford Explorer being driven by a back packer who had virtually no English, no sand driving knowledge and no recovery equipment. Parked in front of him was an old Hi-lux. A snatch strap was already in place BUT it was around the front suspension of the Explorer (no recovery points) and over the tow ball of the Hi-lux! When I pointed out the dangers of this configuration, the recovery driver said ‘I haven’t done this before and that’s what I saw on YouTube!!!! Bloody Hell!

A bit of shovel work and the Explorer was eventually extracted but, I must admit, we all hid behind our vehicles when the recovery was actually in motion.

After that bit of drama we eventually arrived at the area of the cockle beds where most of us helped the Club’s ardent fisher people collect their quota of cockles.

A couple of Members tried their best at obtaining enough fish for a barbeque lunch for everybody but we had to settle for our sandwiches.

Ayliffe, Quintin and Bronwyn’s son, had a great time wallowing in the shallows. Fortunately Bronwyn had the foresight to take a change of clothes for him.

We spent a couple of hours enjoying the ambience of the area until we realised that the gap between the sand dunes and the wave wash was becoming noticeable smaller. It was time to go.

I had managed to convince some of the ‘alternate drivers’ that driving on this beach was not difficult so passengers became the drivers for the rest of the drive to the exit ramp. Indeed, one or two of the A.D.s even overcame their fears and drove the exit as well – WELL DONE.

A really good day.