We have spent five days up the mighty Gordon River. It has been a thrill and a huge adventure. You know what they say, you haven’t had an adventure if you did not wish you were elsewhere at some stage! Well guess what!
It has been such a mix of moods, sights and experiences. We started in calm, sunny weather, motoring up the big broad river, and as we progressed upstream, the river narrowed and meandered, becoming more interesting. The weather became changeable too, sunny one minute, overcast the next, misty in the evenings and early mornings. We had surprises at every bend in the river. We enjoyed beautiful rainforest walks, amazing cliff sites and places to stop at with welcoming huts. We saw platypuses, we admired sensational reflections and patterns on the water from the surrounding hills, rainforest and clouds in the sky. We stayed at superb anchorages where the evening mist slowly enveloped us and took our breath away.
But then it got nasty. A strong westerly change descended on us, with heavy rain and gale force winds. By that stage we had gone as far as we wanted to go: to Sir John Falls, some 20 miles upstream, and we had tied ourselves to the jetty there, thinking it would be a good spot to weather the storm. Anchoring was not really an option given the depth of the river: 25+ meters. We were sitting comfortably, sheltered from the wind. What we had not counted on was the river rising fast from so much rain, and the number of tree trunks careering downstream, so much so that it was dangerous to come down the river for a couple of days. The Gordon and Franklin Rivers are a huge catchment area.
So started the anxious watch of the flood level and the frequent repositioning of our mooring ropes along the jetty poles that were disappearing as the water was rising up and up. The Gordon rose by two meters. Some of the signs and poles were totally under water and we got close to floating off the pontoon. We were watching tree trunks floating past at the rate of one every three minutes. That is 960 in 48 hours!
We live to tell the tale and share the photos. But we won’t be seen up a wild river again when heavy rain is forecast!
We escaped out of the Gordon on Tuesday 20th March, did a ton of laundry in Strahan and reprovisioned the boat, ready for the next stage of our voyage. We have a weather window to get down to Port Davey and as we post this we are leaving Macquarie Harbour and heading south. It is all go on Take It Easy! Here is the map of our next passage.
And now we hope you enjoy this gallery of our unforgettable Gordon River expedition.
We will be out of internet coverage again for possibly several weeks, as there is nothing but wilderness down there. Our intention is to cover the 90 miles passage in two days, to see a bit more of the coast, but it will depend on how the wind and swell develop. Stay tuned though and do send us messages – we will respond when we get out!