Saturday 8 September 2012- Day 15

After our first and only night on the Darling River we used the shower facilities at the local caravan park and enjoyed a light breakfast. A coffee run was organised by Anthony and Mark, and once a collection was done went off in search of a opened café. They not only found a café, but a very lovely owner who could see they were going to struggle carrying them all back, so assisted in brining the coffees onboard. What great customer service in Wentworth! 

It had been agreed last night that all the boats would be ready to depart at 8.30am for our journey back upstream to Mildura. The PS Adelaide was very excited as we were hosting freelance journalist Justine who was representing the Age. Justine arrived just in time, dropped off by Dani from Mildura Tourism, and once everyone was onboard we departed with the Oscar W and Industry.

A helicopter, engaged by Mildura Tourism, added to the atmosphere at the junction of the Darling and Murray and as each boat cruised from one river to the other, it was captured by a photographer leaning out of the helicopter.

For the PS Adelaide and Iron Dry crew it was déjà as we had cruised the exact same stretch of river yesterday.

After 15 days on the river this was the crews first time to actually sit back, relax and enjoy the cruise as the boat was looking pristine. And anyway, the excitement of cruising with all of the other paddlesteamers was too great to miss!

Unfortunately the flotilla was leaving one boat in Wentworth, the PS Ruby. Even after a full night of working the engine and boiler the Ruby’s crew were not able to fix her in time for the PS Melbourne’s celebrations.

It wasn’t long before all of the boats were at the AbbotsfordsBridge. The helicopter was again hovering low around all of the boats ready to capture this historic moment. For the first time in our journey we proceeded to go under the bridge facing forwards. That in itself was very exciting for the crew.

As this was the last lunch Andrew was going to cook for the crew, he made sure it was extra special. We sat down to enjoy freshly made coleslaw, potato salad and a leg of ham.

Also onboard for the day was Scott Thorpe, the PS Melbourne’s captain. In the afternoon our captain Graham Trist invited Scott to take the helm. This was a pretty amazing moment as we were cruising alongside the Oscar W and who should be steering? Scott’s father EJ Thorpe. Great experience for both father and son.

Even though the PS Adelaide is the oldest working wooden hulled paddlesteamer in the world, it didn’t stop us leaving all the other vessels (except the Amphibious) in our wake as we cruise to Mildura.

Cruising into Mildura the bottom enders moored at the Mildura Homestead in readiness for the Saturday night function, however we kept cruising to be with the other top enders back at the Pointons private mooring.

As soon as we arrived back, everyone got ready for the evening function at the Mildura Homestead. All crew attended along with the Port of Echuca manager and the Shire of Campaspe mayor Kevin Simpson.

The function was held in the old woodshed with the bottom enders moored right out the front. Dinner was catered for by the local Rotary Club. Once completed crew ventured out to see what nightlife Mildura had to offer.

Distance Travelled: 55km

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