Bottle Bend

Blog #4 The Hiatus – Days 10 to 18

Hacienda setup again

After leaving Lake Crosbie we had a need to sort out the solar issues that Greg was experiencing as we had serious concerns that his new 200ah Lithium battery would fail if we could not get power into it.  Drove into Ouyen and started ringing auto electricians within a 100 klm radius but had no luck due to the upcoming Easter holidays.  Decided to book into the Discovery Park Mildura for 2 days to recharge the batteries and do some washing.  Rates were reasonable at $20 a night for unpowered sites right on the banks of the Murray river.

The view opposite our camp – a floating hotel – we never saw a guest

The only drawback to our magnificent location was the riff raff doing burnouts across the river on both nights.  Apparently, this was a regular occurrence that is seemingly tolerated by the police as we never saw any police in this area to control this anti-social behaviour.

Greg rang iTechWorld in Perth to seek some help and after discussing the issue with them they suggested that the earth wires had not been connected correctly which he rectified.  The bonus however was an offer from the local Battery World franchise who offered to come over and have a look at the issue with Greg’s caravan power. Very prompt service and the guy was there in 20 minutes and ran a multimeter over all the connections and confirmed that everything should be OK from now on.  Also made some suggestions on how to refresh the Bluetooth software to ensure he was seeing the correct information.  Problem now resolved; mission accomplished now to move on.

A bit of practice when I am bored

This is new for both of us to be out camping at Easter for the first time in over 25 years.  In the past we have stayed home due to the crowds of people.  It also coincides with the school holidays so everything we want to go to is booked out.  Greg remembered staying at Bottle Bend in the Gol Gol Reserve on the Murray River years ago, it is only 25klm out of Mildura so we decided to hideout here for two weeks of fishing and relaxing.  Found a perfect flat spot for our little convoy.  The weather is unseasonably hot but if it gets too hot, we can jump in the river.

We could have moved on but the crowds will be in all our alternates for the next two weeks so it is easier for us to free camp on the river as the nearest resupply point is the small town of Gol Gol only 5 klm from our location.

A welcome visitor

Across the river we have party central including their own party float boat.  We judge the length of their trips in how long it would take them to drink a beer – most journeys are 3 can trips but the longest was certainly a 6 can trip.  At nighttime the fires are roaring (it is still unseasonably hot – 28 degC at night here) which amuses us.

On Easter Sunday we were treated to a Ski Racing Demonstration by the Mildura Ski Club.  This was in preparation for the Mildura 100klm race on the 20th April.  It was a quite exciting spectacle to watch although there were only 20 boats most towing two skiers. 

Pigs Arsenal in full flight with two skiers
It was quite a show (One of Greg’s shots)

The ski ropes were extremely long – around 100 mtrs.  Most boats were powered by 300hp outboards but a few were big bangers and one was turbocharged running ethanol fuel.  They certainly could be heard approaching from quite a distance away as the river here is quite serpentine.

Another of Greg’s shots – the boat is called Against The Grain

On Easter Monday most of the party goers packed up and went home and it became quite tranquil here.  We had a visit from a two metre long lace monitor who hung around long enough for some photos.  The birdlife here is quite shy and it is difficult to get a good shot but I did manage a reasonable shot of a Crested Pigeon.  This was the first time that I used my new (2nd hand) Canon 200-400mm f/4L with 1.4x extender which I purchased for $9K in May last year just before the COVID lockdowns.  This was going to be my goto lens on a trip I had planned to Namibia which did not eventuate due to international travel restrictions.  It will get good use on this trip out into the back blocks of Australia. 

A very large Lace Monitor came to say G’Day

Greg has had limited success fishing with only one under sized cod (returned to the water to grow bigger) and a couple of European Carp (dispatched).

Crested Pigeon

The days now are quite idyllic with the temperature hovering in the mid 20s and the nights crisp and cold.  Last night we lit our first fire at this campsite which was nice.  The stars are out in their millions but the Milky Way is not quite in the right place for the astro photography that I want to try.  That will start late in April or early May.

Crested Pigeon

Mungo NP is still booked out a fair way in advance but we finally have a booking for 3 days starting the 19th April.  We may shift to Yanga NP but are waiting on our flu shots this Friday if they get stock into the chemist we are booked into in Mildura.  As for the COVID jabs they still seem a long way away and are not high on our priority list.

Starting to replenish our water supply from the river now using our small water pumps powered by a motorcycle battery.  After double filtering the water it comes out extremely clean and drinkable.  We had to rebuild mine as the battery had died.  Discussed the issue with the local BatteryWorld manager who told me that even though the battery was less than two years old dry cell batteries need to be used and charged often otherwise they will fail.  Lesson learned and won’t make that mistake again. We both carry 90 mtrs of hose in case we are a fair distance from the water source and the pump is strong enough to draw water that distance. If further away we can even piggyback the pumps to pump further.

My new battery box thanks to Greg

Until next time…………………………………………

9 Comments on “Bottle Bend

  1. Well Dave you are both enjoying yourselves which is great..love your pelican photo and the lizard thing who origins l have promptly forgot..Glad Greg’s battery issues are resolved and your pump in action..awhile to wait to you go to Mungo n.p.. but at least you can rest up for the following months which will come quickly…hope you can have your flu shots on Friday.. keep safe, happy and well and enjoying a few laughs, a fire and a few beverages!!!!😇😇👌👌

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi guys,
    It is comforting to follow your blog, with the adventures and the ups and downs of being self sufficient of the grid. Enjoy yourselves, and stay safe and well. Much love xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lynne another day in paradise here. Waiting to see if we can get a flu jab tomorrow before we move on. Plan at the moment is next stop will be Mamanga Reserve near Balranald. Maybe Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know what you mean about camping at Easter and the School holidays, we’ve had similar issues here in Tassie. We’re waiting out the crazy, on a Farm. Love the dragonfly shot! And I can’t wait to see your Astro Photography!! Really enjoying your blog Wooly. Safe travels x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great photos and story Wooly, good to see your 200-400 doing its bit for your next calender cheers Tim

    Liked by 1 person

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