Date: Saturday, 13 August 2022
River: Leven River.
Water level: 30 cumecs.
The first weekend of the guides course was a smash success without a wrap in site, except for Luke’s excellent drawings on the whiteboard. Too much rain meant there was a night before email, letting us all know we’d be paddling the leven instead. A very exciting development, especially as it's another one to tick off on the shirt! woo!
The troops (without our northern comrades) gathered at the shed at 4pm on friday afternoon, otherwise known as 4:45 in Joshua Lucas time. With the trailer well packed and the contents of the shed thoroughly examined and explained to the soon to be trainee guides, we made our way towards cars. Tony, Talia, Liam and I jumped into the patrol and with a fairly well loaded trailer we got on the road. Freya amazingly had a three seater van - with the third conveniently hidden just somewhere near the bed.
With an hour to kill before we would be allowed in to our accommodation (new Motton community hall at 10pm), we all decided a stop at Campbelltown was well worth it. Our car voted for pizza/wedges and then a kebab. A fantastic call. All happily full and ready to head on with Paul Kelly blasting and my dulcet tones harmonising perfectly we were there in no time.
Once we were there we all got comfortable and set up our beds. Looking more like a air mattress show as we all examined and tried pretty much all options on the market. After this we all got to check out BJs new van set ups be admire Freya’s too. Back inside we found ourselves in a circle for a quick informal yoga session in which we all discovered much inflexibility, and a very competitive spirit amongst us. thankfully, no injuries. After quickly having called it a night only 2 (ish) beers in.
Unfortunately for me, the two beers were not quite enough to lull me to sleep with Tony’s passion for snoring. Without too much fuss, I did get to sleep and was cosy and tucked up until morning lessons at 8 am.
The Saturday consisted of morning lessons with Luke, Micheal tied us up and drove us made and a lot of good throw bagging all together. Erin impressed us all with her arm and won the lot of chocolates on offer for throw bagging. Josh and BJ both had the morning to get caught up in willows in the top section of the leven, and work out a slightly better get in for the rest of us. Josh on his return showed off Eva and his new matching towel hoodies and may I say, I was more than a little jealous.
All this work got us ready for lunch, which was mostly wraps and my discovery of just how great wraps can be when gently fried with cheese inside. Full and dressed in our various river gear we then got off the river, and enthusiastically pumped up three blues and a purple, ready to hit the water. We did two runs, without too much fuss. Josh showed off his renew love for wetsuits and explained to us how much better wetsuits are. We all agreed he looked fantastic in them. Justin on the other hand was keen to show off his cool new dry suit, and looked phenomenal in it. Learning and guiding the Leven was exciting but perhaps not as constant or pushy as the mersey, still a great river none the less. We all enjoyed a few fun surf spots and say a platapus or two, and i attamped to no avail to catch myself a duck friend. Despite not having a duck friend I was fairly happy with my new and old human friends.
We had all officially popped our cherries and felt pretty good on the river. Then a nice refreshing swim session.
At the end of the second lap we all flipped and recovered. As miracles happen, we managed to keep a hold of all our paddles, showing it is in fact possible to swim and not yeet your paddle to the other side of the river. Incredible stuff.
Back at the get out for the second time we had a chance to put into practice all our good work throw bagging from earlier. A little swim before being throw bagged and gently pulled into the bank. Luke from his sling and river bank instructed and took many a photo. What a legend for coming and organising even without being able to paddle.
A few of us finished the day with a swim just in the bathers, it’s not cold, just really refreshing. Perfect in the sunshine, but all the car shuffling did leave me with a slightly wet seat for the ride back to hobart on sunday, oopsies.
Back in the community hall we set up a make do drying line, and turned on all the nice heaters. Liam managed to standing on a table burn his forehead on a ceiling mounted heater. Very silly behaviour, and completely sober too.
Back at base I got busy in the kitchen cooking up roughly ~180 grams (dry weight) pasta per person to go with 237 jars of pesto, and roast veg/chicken thighs. Lauren cooked up a delicous apple crumble to go with it. Very full and happy bellies also got to devour a lovely (thanks Josh and Eva) birthday cake for Justin. What a 60th! Wooo!
for anyone wondering, with the type of sauce i went for perhaps more like 160grams dry weight perperson would have been better, but the pesto pasta made for a gret sunday lunch.
With a few more beers, giggles and cars being pulled around on 3to1s we all called it a night fairly early as we had to be outside waiting for Nik and janina at 8 am.
The next morning josh turned on the lovely bright fluros at 6:45, just after his cowboy music alarm awoke us all. What a perfect start to the day. With all our personal gear packed up and the perfect breakfast (leftover apple crumble/pesto pasta) in our bellies we realised collectively it was time for wet wetsuits and slightly soggy thermals, with all the dry ones under a 3 raft trailer stacker. After sufficient groaning, mostly from me, we were all dressed and Josh very kindly found my helmet, witha reccomendation for an optomistrist visit. Greater by the lovely pitter patter of overnight rain and the leven dropping of 26 cumecs vs 39 the day before. Better yet, NWB was up and we for once, are in the wrong part of the state. Oh well! Monday morning anyone???? (yes, very fun!)
Back in river we did two rafter fun laps, with lots of quick eddie catching from everyone and plenty of eddie almost catching from everyone. BJ showed off his teaching skills, suggesting anything but backing away from danger, from what I saw.
Talia put a big hole in a packraft at the get in and opted to jump into a raft. Oopsies. We forgive you. Mysterious hole promised to be fized by josh, and we were all smiling in no time at all.
Two fun runs of the river with lots more Eddie’s caught, missed and bumped out of, some indredible rescues as Laurence pulled me into the boat fully on my back and later Nik very kinda my retired my shoelaces and my hands with gloves on are impossible to use. A lot of comradry and great conversations and some very good and steadily improving guiding led to a fanastic day on a beautiful river, even finishing in the sunshine.
That afternoon clean up was speedy. With everything cleaned we said our goodbyes and got on the road again - the kebabs of campbelltown calling.
Roadworks made for a bit of a slow trip home, but Tony with the trailer took the mudwells (?) back way instead and met them at the same time while we admired the prettier road and judged all rivers/creeks/streams as the rain thundered down filling them up. first half of winters rain in one day!
Back at the sheds the pack up was amazingly quick and we were home by 730 pm. I personally was tucked up and asleep by 9.
Overal a fantastic start to the guides course with lovely company, some good lessons and plenty of laughs.
Thanks to everyone for coming, Luke for his hard work putting it together and hydro for letting me try the leven! A great fun river.
Bulldozer - Tony
For snoring at record volumes and never failing to ram his boat or car through or towards anything.