Date: Sunday, 26 September 2021
River: North Esk River.
Water level: 1.85m.
With an 8:15am meeting at the sheds in the lovely Sunday sun we rolled up two blues, a rubber ducky and a purple, packed all our gear, some extras for our friends meeting us from the north and hit the road. Luke’s car was glad to finally not be towing, as the Ute has volunteered, what a relief – how many more trips can his suspension take??
We took the shortcut through the midlands, great navigation Talia, and stopped at Campbell town for snacks. On arrival of the convoy at the get in some individuals hid getting dressed and missed the pumping while others put in the work – a true team effort. With a majority of the pumping done, we left Luke and Josh to tighten and check the boats. Getting on river right about 12, we abandoned the plan for a large scale pre trip flip in favour of the appreciating the warm sunny air for just a little while longer.
We bumped and rock hopped our way down the first section, Justin guiding my boat with great skill and handy tips from Luke. I really enjoyed a post guides course explanation and demonstration of picking lines on a river you don’t know. Josh opened strongly with having a big drink, strongly warned against for all future NEsk trips by Janina who after a previous trip and a good drink had gotten rather ill in the next few days. All getting comfortable in our boats and working out the vibe of the river we paddled our way down.
With Luke back guiding our boat we headed for some fun. With a good look at first drop our boat was selected to go first. We ping ponged our way down sending it through the middle with little to no dramas. With all the rafts following suit, we celebrated opening the first pack of sour patch kids with wide smiles.
Luke, Michael and Talia then ran the second drop, flipping in the rubber ducky. Josh’s boat swiftly followed to rescue and copied their actions while taking a slightly different line, ejecting all the crew. This time however, the boat was stuck in the hole at the bottom of the drop, and didn’t seem to be moving. With eddies well swam for, and the rubber ducky under control the team reassembled to assess what to do. Jumping from the rocks into the raft was floated a few times, but in the end the plan was to use the other blue was used to run it and bump it out.
With this plan in action, Luke, Will and Nicko ran down. They ever so slightly missed it with Luke launching from the guides position forwards in the boat as they hit the hole and Will cleverly using his full arm span to grab the OS line of the stuck raft and pulled it out with them. With some shoulders only slightly pulled out we continued down the run. Ben ran the second drop without losing any punters, feeling himself as he started eying off people to pull into the water. We were in for some wild fun.
Josh took his third or fourth large drink of the day, confident he is immune to the efforts of farm run off. Good effort Josh, recovering from too much sushi onto farm run off - perfect guts. I’m sure it won’t backfire. (This is future Joshua, I was right as rain :D )
My raft then had Nicko guiding us; and had a lot of fun on the remaining section, finding the right path in nto get stuck on rocks and remembering the river as we went.
At this level the last corner under the bridge was more of a drop with their not being enough water to run the pour over. We all had fun down the shoot with no one hitting the wall (too violently). With the rest of the river being fairly chill we decided it was time for a bit of fun.
With a full battle following and Josh showing off his new dry suit and swimming capabilities we all had our sights on flipping Talia, Michael and Luke as they sat smugly away from the group sitting high in the water and able to speedily paddle away from the oncoming Ben, Josh and I as we started the attack. With Talia being pulled out of the boat by Ben she gapped the far side OS line an pulled their gang all over and into the water. Luke then spent at least two minutes attempting to finger flip before the boat was re-righted.
With a bunch of swimmers enjoying the sun and fresh cool water we all agreed that we had floated towards the last stretch of little rapids and should jump back into the boats rather than swim the shallow rapid. I found myself back and happy in the purple. The purple after having several rapid temperature changes had gone from fully inflated to rather soggy with the front thwart being particularly low, making Bens loss of punters in his words ‘all the more impressive’. Sitting on our bouncy castle we bumped and chatted our way down to the lovely get out.
The pack up was quick with our second packet of sour patch kids being consumed for the day and wet gear in the back of the ute with the boats and paddles in the trailer. The get out was lovely and sunny, truly one of the most pleasant get outs – especially on such a lovely day.
With everyone changed and warm in the glowing sun we smiled and laughed in a big circle as we discussed the events of the day and snacked before saying goodbye and thankyou to our northern friends. With this it was time to get on the road.
On the drive home when we arrived at the brooker we found Bens mighty Mazda Metro lined up against Josh’s pride and joy the mighty Zook. Unsurprisingly the Zook was absolute destroyed by the power under the hood of the mighty metro and we took the victory (Ruth and Ben were quickly broken free from their delusions as the Mighty Zook absolutely chopped the Meek Metro).
With a quick clean up at sheds dusted off in record time with great teamwork we said our goodbyes and headed home!
Thanks to Josh for organising what was a truly wonderful, sunny, fun day on the NEsk!