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Liam learns to drive manual and nails stalling on the Brooker

My day started woken at 5:03 by the sound of beautiful heavy rain on the window and roof, I turned over so so cosy tucked into my bed. I awoke again at 6 am and panicked that I had to be at the sheds in 30 minutes. You’ll all be glad to hear I made it.

At the sheds we all faffed, grabbing personal gear where BJ loudly announced he was a wetty kinda lad these days and would be a wetsuiter for life. Look out on Facebook marketplace for a very lightly used drysuit he is selling on behalf of his mother.

Two blues, a mountain bike, five paddles, two pumps and some questionable knots later the tray was packed and the buckets took up the middle seat talia, bj, Liam and myself were loaded into the Ute and off towards the Brooker. The Meander would be todays victim.

Then, I got a lovely hour twenty nap in, as we raced through towards the meander. I was awoken by the cries of talia excitedly exclaiming “snow!”. The winter wonderland of Spring Hill to Oatlands was very fun, until we entered the roadworks and became trapped behind a large oversized truck, that meant the opposing traffic had to be stopped to let them through.

Only slowing us down by about 5 minutes as we were first in line to get past we then sped through towards Campbelltown.

At around 11 we got to the get in and quickly got all the gear out of the car. Bj then with his bike in the tray headed back to leave the car at the get out. Talia Liam and I got ourselves dressed, moved all the gear around the fence, pumped rafts and prepared to hit the meander. BJ got back and we met him fully dressed with a raft balanced across his back poised on his head gracefully. We grabbed the last of the gear and made our way down to the get in.

All dressed and my zips thoroughly checked BJ gave his safety brief and we were off. Liam and I R2ed in one blue with Talia and BJ in the other.

The first lap the river was a lovely level, 1.3m, it was a little pushier than the last time I did it and very fun. The meander is in most ways my perfect river, quick continuous grace 3 with fun spill overs, little to no wood, and beautiful scenery. I would highly recommend it.

We bubbled our way down, having fun and chatting (yelling) from boat to boat as I informed Liam we would not be surfing or being silly.

We Eddie’s out, and me and Ben turned to one another, “where’s that pour over?” “Not sure, maybe it’s kinda disappears at this height?” No, it doesn’t, it’s just around this corner. Liam and I led, and having run it before we ran it again. The line was perfect hitting the center of it really well, except we were side on instead of facing straight. Liam was on out of the boat fairly quickly, I managed to stay in until the boat stayed at the bottom of the pour over and I moved out of it. BJ and talia opted not to take that line and run the lovely tongue on the right of it. This rapid reminds me of a slightly more intense version of the pour over on the picton. BJ and talia later recounted, that they watched my feet in place of head and decided to run further right, what a boring choice.

Liam and I were both swimming with out paddles, BJ hauled me into his bit from knee deep water and I floated over rocks swimming towards a large Eddie, careful not to damage the drysuit. Liam by this time was back in the boat with his paddle.

All back in our own boats and newly named, Ruth’s pour over, found we all had a little giggle before continuing down stream. In the last good grade 3 section Liam and I bumped a rock catching me off guard and sending me back in for my second swim. Dry suits are slippery. Back in the raft Liam and I had Eddied out rather well on a rock sitting just out of the water with a fair drop around it. Sitting both at the very front we bubbled off and made our way down the rest of the river, making sure to scare talia that we may be wrapped.

The rest of the way was pretty chill. We then deflated rafts and chucked them in the back of the Ute, lay down the tarp and then all hopped In. We drove back to the get in unloaded and then BJ went off to do the car shuffle while Talia Liam and I moved the gear around the gate and repumped rafts.

Sore hands and a dropping river we decided that this was probably our last lap. Talia and I R2ed this time, leaving the boys to miss every surf wave they tried to catch and Ben to prove he doesn’t lock in taking a swim on almost nothing. This was followed by the spotting of a big cow on river left, we all practised our moos but didn’t get one back. Disappointing, but a beautiful cow. At the get out we all very carefully lifted the rafts over the sand, and did some expert down hill rolls. I personally, was helpful as ever, and accidentally informed everyone of my lack of rolling practise.

All in all I had a lovely day and there’s no one I’d rather spend nearly 8 hours in a car with than BJ, Talia, and Liam.

Sorry Janina (and Nik) hate to do your favourite without you, it’s not my fault you can’t take the second day off of a new job. We all missed you!

The drive home was via Campbelltown for kebabs of course. The drive home was sped up by the watching of rivers formed next to and around the road, and Ben’s informative reading of wikiriver, planning his week. He also heavily advocated for a northern move for all of us, explaining the many benefits and comparing travel times to and from all the “good” rivers from launnie and Hobart. Launnie won out, so the four of us are in the market for a nice cosy share house if you know of one going, feel free to drop a comment.

Liam impressed us all at how quickly he picked up the manual, as we raced an unsuspecting comrade home from Campbelltown who we leapfrogged with overtakes until they got the upper hand in roadworks just before the southernoutlet in town. In this particular stretch Liam showed off his ability to stall, and we were all very impressed. A very solid effort.

The pack up at the sheds was very efficient, as we arrived back in the rain of Hobart having had sunshine all the way home.

For anyone wondering this trip had more than a 2:1 driving to paddling ratio, perfect.



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