Mof’s Riverina Weekend
A gaggle of jet boats assembled Friday for a long weekend of boating on the Tumut and Murrumbidgee Rivers at the foot hills of the NSW Snowy Mountains.
A few keen punters launched on Friday for an equipment shakedown and headed up stream on the Murrumbidgee to the Tumut R confluence. I launched a few hours later with local boater Matt M hoping to meet up with them on the river. A phone call to Mof (Michael F) indicated they were just 20 minutes up stream and on their way down, so we decided to boat locally until they arrived. About 1.5 hours later a few boat loads of very tired crew arrived having had a superb day on the river, albeit punctuated with plenty of push pole action and heat exchanger cleaning. A couple more hours were spent on the river bank chatting and boat tinkering before heading into town.
Saturday morning was greeted with minus 3 degrees and had warmed up to minus 1 for launching. A cold fog hung around for a couple of hours making progress up stream on the Tumut uncomfortable and tricky. The water was bracing being feed from the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme, catching the ill equipped with cold feet all weekend. Ryan our “Bogan” jet boater had a solution to warm his feet after pushing, by wearing his sheep skin “UGG Boots”, allegedly they provide good throttle control and exceptional warmth; a trend that is sure not to catch on. One boat had a breakdown lasting a good hour which gave us some respite, allowing the sun to burn off most of the fog. This boat was eventually left on the river bank and towed back to the trailers at the end of the day.
The river was very low at approximately 390 Ml/day (4.5 cusecs m3/sec) and slightly dirty with the residue of recent rains. Logs were abundant and caused issues for all boats, which at times were un-expectantly launched into the air or thrown off course. On many occasions small log jams had to be boated over as this was the only navigable part of the channel, a fun task on the way up stream, made difficult when travelling back to the trailers due to the low sun. Saturday night was spent at the local pub, where even the town mutt had his own chair and looked on as the local’s chatted, appearing to hang on their every word. Plenty of sore and tired jet boaters ate well and told stories long into the night. Mike from Harris Marine in Christchurch had joined us, his second time boating in the Riverina area. Keen jet boaters thought this a great opportunity to talk jets with Mike, however he always seemed to be implicated or blamed for all the big pushes of the day and there was little time for talk!
Camaraderie was very strong on this trip with breakdowns and big ‘stucks’ dealt with seamlessly, ensuring all had a great weekend away regardless of mechanical issues or delays. Jet boaters always seem to band together, we were even nice to the Kiwi, although it was some relief to drop him off at the airport on Monday.
Sunday morning we launched into the Murrumbidgee River at Gundagai and headed down stream, however another tow was required and the little 142a Buick V6 was put back on its trailer with a sore and sorry motor, with the factory installed steam and oil having escaped. Curiously the factory installed ‘Lucas Prince of Darkness” electrical smoke did not leak out, so he has that going for him. A great day was had exploring the small side channels with one particularly tough stream ending up with 3 boats in a dead end pool contemplating the way out. All exited the tricky channel with varying degrees of success and largely unscathed, save for one windscreen capping looking a bit second hand.
A few boats headed for home while a small group boated up stream from the trailers to the Tumut confluence, the Tumut was slightly lower than the day before and challenging as we made our way up with some exciting navigation moments and the odd push. The weather quickly turned bitter with icy rain making the trip back to the trailers a bit uncomfortable and without incident. Another big feed in the local pub warming by the fire was most welcome as we recounted the great weekend to date. Monday morning 3 boats dropped into Phill-on Marine in Tumut to discuss repairs, talk motors/jets and take a tour of the workshop, a great ending to an awesome weekend away.
Boat and Crew Specifications:
Michael F “mof” and Hughy “the Gondolier” Rivercraft 17ft bow rider 383ci C.O.M.E Racing Chev and Hamilton 212 2.4kw, Ryan P and Steve L Rivercraft 17ft sport boat Lexus and Hamilton 753, Paul M and Wayne S Hamilton 142a Buick V6 and Hamilton 773, Gav “gary” and Shannon Hamilton 142a Chev V6 and Hamilton 753, Matthew F and Mike H Scott Boats 4.45 HSV Chev LS2 6.0 and Scott 8.5” 852, Matt M and Gary Aitchison 17ft Chev Moe Engines 383ci Hami 212 3.4kw, Steve L Aitchison 17ft no motor, no jet unit but ready for re build after a new delta was just fitted.