A helpful local hailed W. as he arrived exhausted and sodden at the wharf and introduced himself as “Jim the Wog”. Jim summed up the situation in a second.
“If you not so fat, you paddle better”.
Over the next few minutes Jim proceeded to completely exhaust the contents of a six pack of Bundy and Dry while regaling W. with details of his celebrated past. A prize fighter, marathon runner, serial entrepreneur and renowned lover of younger women, by his own account Jim had decided the underside of the Bourke weir was now the place he could best pursue the latest chapter of his life as a personal coach and philosopher. When B. arrived soon after Jim greeted him at the water’s edge.
“You posture she piss weak an’ you clothes look like shit”.
Understandably Jim had too much on his plate to be able to help us carry the boats to the top of the levy and besides he needed to save his strength. Rising unsteadily to his feet he made his way slowly up the bank steadying himself by grabbing at the grass and shrubs, all the while while offering helpful, if entirely theoretical advice on the best means of manhandling the boats to safety. Biding us good day this modern-day Socrates promised to report back the next day on details of the intimate rendezvous he had planned that afternoon with a local woman of substance whom he assured us “rooted like a rattlesnake”. It was hard not to be impressed by Jim. The great shame was D. was about half an hour behind. Both fearless observers of reality, they would have both learned much from an exchange of ideas.
B. had only enjoyed the tail-end of the Jim-the-Wog experience and after rolling the tricky Seabird kayak a couple of kms upstream he was wet and shivering in the drizzle.
“Who was that?”
“Jim the Wog”
B. nodded as though it all suddenly made sense.
“He’s a good judge of character”
As we struggled up the steep bank (on the left side of the Bourke wharf) B. agreed everything possible should be done so D. and Jim could meet.
The drag up the bank was tough and B. sat to catch his breath for a moment. “Do you think he’ll be back here tomorrow? The secret is not to tell D. We’ll lure him here with some story about the wharf’s remarkable engineering.”
“It’s just a bunch of logs bolted together”
“Exactly. That’s what it looks like. Just tell him we don’t understand how such an extraordinary structure can stand against the floods. The rest will take care of itself. ”
After thinking for a while W. nodded in agreement. “This is a good plan. We can stand up the top and listen. My money’s on Jim to crack first.”
Day #9 – Bourke Town
Day #10 – Bourke – 26km Downstream
Day #10 – 26kms – 55km Downstream of Bourke
Through this section the river is wide and there was no discernible flow. But there were plenty of great looking campsites. White sand beaches were common on many of the bends. There was more and more animal life the further we traveled downstream. In particular we saw many large flocks of ducks which were flighty and generally took to the air before we were within 100 metres of them. The river meandered a lot through this section and rocky reefs and banks were common.
The second weir below Bourke town is at the 54km downstream mark. The drop was about a metre and a half. We portaged on the eastern bank, relaunching about 30 metres downstream.
Day #11: 55km – 91km Downstream of Bourke
Day#12: 91km – 137km Downstream of Bourke
Day #13: 137km – 168km Downstream of Bourke
Day #14: 167km Downstream of Bourke – Louth