15th February

Back at Moruya Heads and ready to rock and roll. Lyn and I had arrived at Lyn Smiths last night but waited until this morning to attack the kayak preparations. Three new wheels needed to be fitted but one stubborn bugger would not come off. Without proper tools it had to be a workshop job. The bloke at the tyre place put it on the vice, gave the axle a whack with his lump hammer and off popped the wheel. Back down to the start point only to find a bearing still on there. The bloke at 4×4 eventually had it cut off so we could put the new wheel on. All set up completed I paddled towards Moruya while Lyn drove up to the welcome area.

At 11:45am she advised me on the radio to head in with the flotilla that had paddled to meet me. This lot was well disciplined and we came in together as you can see by the photos. It was the biggest flotilla by far and the most people at the welcome group where the speeches were held. Two councilors had escaped from the council meeting and addressed us. They had just helped pass the fossil fuel divestment motion and advised that our effort had stimulated the vote. Wow, what a team Eurobodalla!

The most amazing aspect of the welcome was the list of organisations whom were thanked at the end. It was huge and truly inspiring. There is a great problem with organisations wanting to do their own thing and not help others. I have been battling this for as long as I can remember so to see the cooperation here was great.

After the euphoria of the welcome it was back to business paddling up the Kiora bridge and then the start of the long walk. It was a big day and I called it quits after 6.00pm.

Moruya welcome 170214 (17)Bugger

Moruya welcome 170214 (40)That was a good practice, now let’s try heading to the bank

Moruya welcome 170214 (93)Paddle salute

Moruya welcome 170214 (118)Lyn Smith reads Climate Emergency speech

Group imageHope the wharf can hold us

P2143244The route is up there somewhere

Moruya welcome 170214 (146)Very different to the ocean

DAY 2 Araluen Rd 170215 (23)Time to get out. Shame the only way was under the bridge

DAY 2 Araluen Rd 170215 (3)Righto let’s get this walking stuff done

DAY 2 Araluen Rd 170215 (7)Take me to the hills

Next morning was very cool. Lyn had a jacket on until the sun really got going and lifted the temperature to about 30 degrees. Most people had told me that it was pretty flat with a few small hills. I would hate to see what they call a big hill. We did 4km stints that started at 50mins and ended up at well over an hour. I walked until I could walk no more which was 22km and left the kayak at Fergus and Trish’s place to return down the valley a few kilometres to Anne and Allan Rault’s who provided dinner and a little cottage complete with gardens and kangaroos.

DAY 2 Araluen Rd 170215 (9)Athlete’s food. Lyn Smith’s chocolate cake with just a bit of cream

P2153251Lots of small pockets of farms

P2153247Horses. They have shown an interest. Now let’s see.

P2153248Yep same behaviour as the rest of Australia and the USA

LYN:      Friday 10th       After finishing the main paddle leg on Thursday, with a spectacular finish! Steve got Warren up at 3.30am on Friday and they drove back to Sydney where Warren lives. Steve then continued onto Ballina to pick me up (and the kayak wheels) for the next rigorous section of the trip, the walk up the hill to Canberra.

Monday 13th         We left Ballina at 5am and arrived at Lyn Smith’s (a friend of Steve’s) around 6.30pm. Lyn is also one of the organisers of the Moruya welcome, she belongs to 350 Eurobodalla. Lyn had a lovely meal prepared and we started by toasted the successful trip down the coast and the beginning of Steve’s next journey.

I think Steve’s new name should be ‘Marathon Man.’ He never does things by half, long paddles, long drives & long walks

Tuesday 14th        The day started with Steve being interviewed by Simon from ABC South East radio. After an interesting conversation about the science behind climate change, they began talking about the gap between rural/country people’s concept of Climate Change compared to city dwellers. Steve, Warren and I witnessed this all the way down the East Coast. Country people live in nature and they see the changes as they are happening, while city dwellers lives are more insular and they listen to what the media tells them. There of course exceptions in both cases.

The first job of the day was preparing the kayak for towing. Steve pulled out the wheels that he had brought back with him from Ballina. One of the wheels attached to the towing rig was locked on. So we headed into Moruya to find a workshop that could assist with its removal, within a couple of minutes they had the wheel off. Back in the truck we headed down to the beach so Steve could show me where he came unstuck on the bar; while it was calm day, I could see that it was shallow and in certain winds the entrance could become difficult. Talking about difficult, when Steve went to position the new wheel he realised that both he and the mechanic had missed taking the old bearing off with the wheel. No amount of WD40, filing and hammering could remove the bearing (yes that’s correct the engineer couldn’t fix this one!) So it’s back to town. Took a mechanic with the right tools to grind the bearing off. Thanks to Glen from Ironman 4×4 at AMH tyres for your help.  (Perhaps if Warren had been here two engineers could have fixed it?)

It was 11am when Steve finally launched Old Yella. He was due into Moruya wharf at 12noon. He still had plenty of time to get there. As he got closer he pulled into the north bank out of sight behind some yachts. We kept in radio contact so he would know when the organisers were ready for him to arrive. When the last craft had left the wharf he came out to meet the flotilla, and it was the best yet. I counted 20 assorted craft plus a very impressive Dragon Boat. But even more impressive than their numbers was their formation, they were a well drilled outfit. (The photos tell the story)

As Steve and the colourful flotilla approached the wharf a large crowd cheered them in.  This was by far the most impressive welcome of the trip.

After Steve met some of the organisers and invited guests they all moved over to the wharf for the welcoming ceremony. Steve was officially welcomed to Moruya by Reverend Linda Chapman. He was also welcomed by Allan Rees and Lyn Smith from 350 Eurobodalla and the deputy mayor, Anthony Mayne who handed over a large box to Steve which contained the official signature’s for the Climate Emergency Declaration which were collected in and around the area.

Two things stood out to me on the day, the announcement by the Deputy Mayor, Anthony Mayne that on this very morning at the Eurobodella Council meeting a motion had been put forward by councilor Patrick McGinlay (who was also present at Steve’s welcome) for the council to divest their interests in fossil fuels. The motion was passed five votes to four. A huge cheer went up from the crowd. A great achievement for the area. A little later when I was talking to Anthony he said that while they had talked about bringing this motion to council, he felt that Steve’s Climate Emergency journey and his arrival today spurred the councilors on to bring this to council today. I have seen many people over the past month and half inspired by Steve and what he does and says.

The second thing that stood out to both Steve and I was the camaraderie between the diverse groups in the area. They are a great example of what can be achieved when you work together for the greater good. I will endeavour to name all the groups in attendance on the day, forgive me if I miss any. They are: 350 Eurobodalla, Nature Coast Dragon Boats, Shasa, Eurobodalla Greens, Country Greens, Bawley Point Bushcare, Coastwatchers, Eurobodalla Landcare, Eurobugs (Eurobodella Cycle Club) and SAGE.

After the ceremony and picnic event in the park Steve put Old Yella back in the water for its last paddle. This was a short journey up the Moruya River to the Kiora bridge. It took a bit of pulling and tugging to get the old fella (that’s the kayak) out of the water and up onto the road. (See photo under bridge) Steve managed to drag Old Yella 6.6 km up the Araluen Road before calling it a day. Thank you to Keely Boom and her family at ‘The Burra’ for looking after the kayak overnight.

Wednesday 15th       We arrived at Keely Blooms at 7.30, Steve was in the harness in a flash and chomping at the bit to go. He headed up the Araluen Road around 7.45am. Jeff Aschmann a Moruya supporter rode his push bike out to meet Steve and rode with him for a few kms.

Then the hills got bigger…

At 4km he felt good

At 8km he felt good

At 12 km he felt ok

At 16 km he said ‘I’m stuffed!’ By this time (11.30am ) it had warmed up significantly.  The combination of the Hill climb and heat were beginning to take their toll.    I pulled out our King awning (finally christened it) and got it ready for Steve’s next stop. He had planned to have a lie down at this stop.

Alas it was to be an unbroken rest as Steve’s phone rang. ‘Hi Steve ready for your interview, just have to put you on hold for a bit and then you will be on air.’  He forgot that he does an interview every Wednesday with a Victorian community radio station, AIDT; the hosts are Tony and Mik. Tony Gleeson is a friend we have both know for many years from when he lived on the Northern Rivers.

After his almost rest, he got back on the road. Steve travelled another 4 km and then that was it for the day. We went into the next property to ask if we could leave the kayak there for the night, rather than lift it onto the truck etc. The property owners were terrific ‘No problem, come in and have a drink before you leave.’ Thank you Trish and Fergus.

We drove back to Anne and Allan Rault’s for a very pleasant evening with them. After which we retired to a cosy cottage on their property for the night.