Like all Australians, Hanh and I managed the original COVID19 lockdown at home in March.With the second lockdown, like all Melbournite’s we pushed the limits of boredom through the 121 days.

Hanh busied herself by taking up vegetable gardening from the basic principles. Basic principles realised vegetables from dried seeds from previous vegetables we had bought at the supermarket. I supported the concept as I could see the advantage if the pandemic turned to some kind of greater event.

I had a myriad of jobs I could do at home that I had put off, sometimes for years. Although after about 100 days I had got a bit “over” these. That said it was very convenient to order things on line and I must thank Rhonda and Adrian Brewer at Float a Boat for helping with supplying me with components for a model project I was working on.

Toward the end of the lockdown, country Victoria had some of the rules relaxed and friends Ian and Fran from Bendigo and WBA members Russ and Marg Hurren from Nagambie had planned a Murray River trip starting at Swan Hill. At the same time, I had planned on taking Mars to the Gippsland Lakes when the COVID rules were relaxed. When Hanh heard that the Murray River trip was on, I decided this was a better option, provided our Melbourne lockdown was relaxed before they completed the trip.

As it turned out, the Hurrens could only go as far as Robinvale with Ian and Fran continuing. By the time the Melbourne lockdown was relaxed, the Murray trekkers were just days before their schedule arrival of reaching Robinvale. The lockdown was relaxed on the Monday and we were towing Mars to Robinvale by Wednesday.

The next three weeks had us travel downstream to Mildura followed by entering Wentworth on the Monday NSW opened its border to Victorians. From Wentworth, we travelled the Darling River then back to Wentworth and then home. The November weather was variable and the traffic on the river was low apart from close to towns.

The wake boats presented a problem for 14ft Mars particularly when tied to the river bank. Given my holing in 2019, I discussed this with NSW Marine Authority when licence-checked on the Darling River. I was told they police people making unnecessary wake for which the wake maker is responsible. I said I made reports and had the registration number of the offender, with no action (so insurance was impossible) and told him how one wake-maker a few days before was the NSW Maritime Authority.

Sadly, I think with the wake hazard and the low interest from officialdom, the risk of damage far from assistance is too great and this could be my last Murray River trip.
Andrew Campbell