We were so glad we stopped at the (first) Surprise rapid; The dawn was spectacular! As I went down to check the water just as the sun was lighting the hill to the East, its warmth caused the whole pool to ‘boil’ with mist. My eye was at first caught by a mysterious patch of foam drifting on the limpid pool, then I looked up and was enchanted by the dawn. I managed to catch it in the photo here. You have to be in the right place at the right time!
The strange circle of foam…
And then, the dawn:
We just could not stop snapping away at it.
Della of course took the best photo with her new birthday Galaxy S7.
Then I looked upstream to try to understand where the foam had come from. There was a weird gyre at the head of the pool.
Here it is in detail.
Della also took this photo of Spot and me examining the gyre. The river was so reflective in the early morning light.
Then a small black diver swirled through the mist.
Upstream the pool had become a magic mirror.
Whilst downstream it was a dream of silver…
Then to check out the first rapid. Churning away in a tumult. I opined I could shoot it with each boat in turn as I had the last but one grade 2 rapid (we had portaged the last). Della urged caution as we were far from help. We checked out an old pack track on the true right bank and decided we could carry the boats the 100 metres around it. So we did.
Then we came to the second ‘Surprise rapid. A somewhat shorter portage over mostly flattish rocks. This one would definitely have you out. One rock would hurl you one way whilst instantly another would hurl you the other. Paradoxically it might be better with more water. We portaged three times in all, then after a tricky Grade 2 rapid with a sharp right turn in it we were mostly safe on placid waters. We should have portaged it as well as it gave Della quite a fright.
The calm after the storm.
And so it (mostly) went on.
Past these beautiful, interesting trees – the greenest, shadiest most luxuriant native tree I have ever seen in Victoria. They were 10 metres high, had smooth bark…
And these pretty sweet smelling yellow flowers – perhaps a reader can help me out. I would plant some.
Still half a dozen small rapids before Angusvale. Like this one…
A bee-eater (one of many we saw) atop this dead bush.
Della was still going strong even though she had quite a shock on the tricky Grade 2 rapid (which we ought have portaged)!
The dogs still showed a lot of interest in our progress…
These bushes are what we used to call ‘native willow’ They will not do such a good job of retaining the riverbanks though!
The second last rapid.
The last small drop (and Angusvale) are just around the bend. What a delightful three days’ adventure. The Wonnangatta is certainly a river to dream of…
You can check the river heights here: http://www.bom.gov.au/fwo/IDV67202/IDV67202.084118.tbl.shtml
Check suggested river heights below. If you are unsure whether there is sufficient water, you can canoe the short (half-hour) section from Meyers Flat to the Castleburn Creek confluence to check it out.
Appropriate Vicmaps: Cobannah North T8322-4-N and Tabberabbera North T8322-1-N available here: http://services.land.vic.gov.au/maps/imf/search/Topo30Front.jsp Use Avenza App.