Friday 31 August 2012- Day 7

Crew were able to have a small sleep in this morning as we didn’t have to be at the Swan Hill bridge until 10am. It was Andrew, our cooks, morning off so half the crew got breakfast from the golden arches while the other dined at Spoons Waterfront Restaurant.

 Right at 10am we set sail from the Pioneer Settlement and mad our way out of the Little Murray into the Murray and pulled up on the Victorian side of the bank. A few whistle bows alerted the local community that we were ready to go under.

The practice bridge lift was successful so a houseboat went first and then the PS Adelaide departed. The bridge lift is located to one side of the river as this allows the vessels to use the natural river channel. In front of a huge crowd the crew were able to direct this grand old lady of the river through the pylons only having to use the fenders on one area. The PB Iron Dry followed us through and joined our flotilla.

As soon as we were through we turned back around and steamed out of Swan Hill. It wasn’t long until we came across the BeveridgeIsland punt crossing. The punt itself was underwater however we still needed to make sure the bow of the boat didn’t catch on the cables.  

Second punt crossing was Speewa Ferry. Just as we cruised around the bend the ferry was just shooting across the river with passengers. By the time we cruised past the cables had been lowered.

The next hurdle was the NyahBridge. We arrived an hour early however this allowed the houseboat, who had gone under Swan Hill bridge with us, time to catch up.

Crew jumped off board and we all assisted in the collection of kindling. Even Lil, the dog from the Iron Dry assisted!

It was at this point that our engineer, Michael, noticed something drastically wrong with the boiler. The fire bars had collapsed which was an operational issue as this is what allows air to get up into the boiler. After over 80 years of use this cast iron succumbed to the wear and tear of the boiler.

It was agreed that we would go under the NyahBridge and cruise for another hour however sos phone calls were already being made to the local riverboat community.

Our spot of paradise for the night was at a small township called Wood Wood.

The excitement of the trip had soured a little as the realisation of the issue sank in. After our roast pork and veggie dinner the crew got stuck into the removal of the firebars as local welder, Steve Clark, had agreed to arrive at 6am on Saturday morning to assess the damage and begin the repair.

The coals from the boiler were used to make an instant campfire so after the hard and hot job was done a few drinks were had on shore.

Distance Travelled: 70km

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