Friday 7 September 2012- Day 14

After a relaxing day yesterday, we steamed up the old girl in readiness to cruise from Mildura to Wentworth to meet the SA vessels who were also making the journey from their home ports to help celebrate with the PS Melbourne on this momentous occasion.

We were of course still cruising with the guys from the PB Iron Dry, ensuring that we had two top enders together!

The Adelaide, still moored along side the PB Mundoo departed at 9am however first stop was the Mildura Pump Out. It had also been agreed that cook was having the morning off, so a McDonalds breakfast run was on the cards. Belinda headed into town with food and coffee orders and the met the boat at the pump out. 

Well known steam enthusiast, Roderick Smith was a passenger onboard for our cruise to Wentworth. After following our journey via the road from Swan Hill this was a great opportunity for Roderick to see first hand the workings of the PS Adelaide. 

After breakfast, crew got down to business in cleaning the Adelaide one more time, focusing on the engine, to ensure that she was looking her best before being reunited and meeting other river vessels. 

It was a very windy day, so everyone was trying to keep out of the weather however being that the Adelaide is a very small boat, this was very hard to do. In this stretch of the river we began to start seeing other private paddleboats and river vessels who were starting to head to Mildura for the event. 

We arrived early to the WentworthBridge so we moored on the Victorian side and had lunch while we waited. Today lunch was freshly cooked  burgers with a variety of fillings on offer. 

It wasn’t long before we received notification that the lift span was about to be lifted so we departed ready to venture under our last bridge while cruising down stream. Being that we were going under our fifth bridge backwards, crew got into their position, understanding exactly what their roles were in this delicate procedure. Our captain had been advised that other boats in the area go under the bridge forwards (going downstream) but everyone agreed that it was better to be safe than sorry, especially after we had gotten this far without any issues. 

Again we successfully passed under the bridge and it wasn’t long before we were close to the Murray & Darling junction. The Coonawarra came upstream to meet us and the other vessels, (already moored at the Wentworth Foreshore) blew their whistles as there was only a small length of land and trees that separated the two rivers. 

At the junction, crew could easily see the famous two toned river as both of the rivers meet. And then before we knew it, the PS Adelaide was cruising the Darling River. 

It was approx 4.30pm when we arrived and many locals and visitors were on the banks awaiting our arrival, we even spotted some very proud Echuca locals who, just by chance, were on holidays just passing through Wentworth! 

Crew were overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of boat moored on the one riverbank. Vessels included the Coonawarra, Amphibious, Industry, Oscar W, Ruby, Marion, James Maiden, Numumpii Noonguu, Settler and the Flender Himmel. Just to name a few! 

Once moored along side the Industry, their crew were very obliging allowing us to plug into their power. As thanks our boys assisted in loading their wood. Everyone was very excited and enjoyed their time wandering around the various vessels. It was agreed that the PS Adelaide won the competition for the most basic facilities including galley and sleeping quarters. 

Hats off to the Wentworth Shire Parks & Gardens Team for creating an amazing piece of artwork made from wood chips in the local park. It was placed on an incline (so people from the street could easily see it) and it boasted the words, Adelaide, Industry, Ruby, Marion and Oscar W! How cool. 

A welcome dinner was held and the Crown Hotel, featuring their famous Yabby Chowder for entrée and various platters for main. This was a great way for everyone one meet each other, with the PS Adelaide team sitting with the Ruby crew. 

Unfortunately for hometown girl, the Ruby, had struck engine issues on the way back into port which was of great concern. The issue was of a serious nature and a plan B was being put in place for those who had made cruise bookings onboard the Ruby for the weekend as it didn’t look like she was going to make it to Mildura. Everyone had their fingers crossed though, as crew were going to work into the night to rectify the issue. 

It wasn’t long before everyone started to head back to the paddlesteamers sharing their own riverboat stories from the weeks adventures.

Distance Travelled: 55km

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