Murray River, 2012

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The numbers refer to the full set of 49 images.

1.  

Father Christmas coming down the chimmney of the Murray Princess greeted us when we arrived at the dock. He set a good informal tone for the cruise.

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2.  

Setting off down the Murray River. Yes, it was a yellow-brown colour. I'm not sure about the rumours that the ships's coffee was heated river water (otherwise the food was good if a little old-fashioned).

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3.  

These weirs are used to control the water flow down river, when it is not in flood. A small lock allowed us to sneak past the end of the weir. You can see from this image that there was healthy 'normal' flow in the River, neither drought nor flood.

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4.  

This was the best-equipped of the many people who took our photograph as we cruised along in our historic vessel.

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5.  

There were lots of pelicans, both on the water like these and 'riding' the thermals high in the sky (and out of reach of my camera).

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6.  

This part of the Murray is full of backwaters many of which come and go as the river level changes.

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7.  

When the bow thrusters failed, the ship's tenders pushed us round the bends. Happily, the engine was soon mended.

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8.  

The Murray Princess was moored/tied up every night. Often, it was just tied to trees in the middle of the countryside as here.

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9.  

Bird life on the River is prolific. The eucalyptus, or gum, trees were often decorated with birds. I think these particular ones are Little Corellas.

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10.  

We had lovely warm/hot early summer weather but one night there was enough rain about to give us a fragmentary rainbow behind the trees illuminated with early evening light.

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11.  

Cliffs like these frequented the multiple bends on the river, generally just on one side. The bright colours of the rock morphed from orange to yellow as we went downstream.

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12.  

We were fortunate to visit an ancient site of occupation by the Ngaut Ngaut aboriginal people, and to have them as guides. This piece of the extensive hieroglyphics represents a salt-water dolphin that would have made its way upstream from the sea in drought years when the sea flooded up into the river bed. It's a rare event this far upstream but the aboriginal people occupied the river bank for millenia.

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13.  

One of the many Little Corella birds we saw on the river bank.

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14.  

Little Corellas on the river bank.

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15.  

Purple Swamp Hens in the river shallows.

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16.  

Purple Swamp Hen apparently on a mission.

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17.  

We saw Great Egrets like this occasionally. The Murray Princess was large enough to scare the birds as we approached, so we often saw the birds in flight.

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18.  

The first of several beautiful sunsets seen from the deck after dinner on board.

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19.  

Typical of our peaceful progress in the upper part of the River. The rings on the tree trunks on the right indicate recent higher water levels.

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20.  

Christmas afternoon on the River.

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21.  

Fluctuating water levels in the river can undermine shallow root systems and bring down trees.

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22.  

Shadows lengthen as Christmas Day draws to its close.

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23.  

To tie up away from a town, a crew member had to jump ashore and then catch a rope and tie it round a tree. This happened a lot and was good entertainment.

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24.  

Early sunset, Christmas evening.

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25.  

A small boat also enjoying the sunset.

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26.  

A small boat also enjoying the sunset.

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27.  

Grand finale for the sunset.

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28.  

The winner of the Murray Princess horse race receives the cup in the dining room where she won the race.

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29.  

During a multi-year drought, trees grow in the river bed; when the river comes back, many of the trees drown.

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30.  

A rare road bridge over the Murray River.

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31.  

As the sun drops the shadows lengthen at our overnight mooring.

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32.  

One of the Murray Princess' tenders makes waves on the river.

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33.  

Typical red cliffs along the river.

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34.  

View of their 'wetlands', currently dry, from Banrock Station winery.

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35.  

Dawn on the river at Waikere; the side-paddle ship on the far left is now permanently moored.

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36.  

Peak dawn colours seen from the Murray Princess tied up for the night across the river from Waikere.

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37.  

Typical cable-driven vehicle ferry; this one is at Waikerie.

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38.  

The early morning sun illuminates our rear paddle before we leave our overnight mooring across the river from Waikere.

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39.  

Murray River at Waikerie.

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40.  

At the bottom left corner, look for the rope round the tree that held the Murray Princess against the river bank overnight.

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41.  

Typical wild overnight mooring.

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42.  

The rope going off the bottom is holding the Murray Princess against the bank at her overnight mooring; the small boat is one of her tenders.

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43.  

Another mooring rope shot, this time at the bottom right.

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44.  

Cormorant taking off as the Murray Princess approaches.

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45.  

Small flocks of these ducks were common floating on the river and flying away as the Murray Princess approached.

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46.  

Duck heading for the bank as the Murray Princess passes.

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47.  

Darter preparing to take off.

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48.  

Darter in flight.

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49.  

The chimmneys again; Father Christmas long gone.

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