Riverboat 2015

OK, this is not a story about Gippsland, but the blog provides an easier way to let friends read about the trip. And so it was that 2015 saw the Gang of Ten (GoT) descend on Renmark, South Australia, for a week of formidable adventure along the mighty River Murray. The GoT arrived at Renmark on a Tuesday afternoon and, while the Gatherers went into Renmark in search of sustenance, the Hunters were instructed in the finer arts of floating castle handling and the like. And, as the Gatherers’ quest continued into the late afternoon, the Hunters conferred with the gods and performed traditional rituals that would be repeated throughout the weekend.

Hunters conferring - Murray River Renmark

Hunters conferring – Murray River Renmark

Upon the Gatherers return, both Hunters and Gatherers joined in feasting on mighty Snags felled and prepared but few days past. And when the hunger was satiated, there followed stories telling of mighty deeds and great bravery from the past.

Gathering in thought - Murray River Renmark

Gathering in thought – Murray River Renmark

Consuming a might feast - Murray River Renmark

Consuming a might feast – Murray River Renmark

Tales of mighty deeds and great bravery - Murray River Renmark

Tales of mighty deeds and great bravery – Murray River Renmark

Tales of mighty deeds and great bravery - Murray River Renmark

Tales of mighty deeds and great bravery – Murray River Renmark

Tales of mighty deeds and great bravery - Murray River Renmark

Tales of mighty deeds and great bravery – Murray River Renmark

As the night wore on and darkness prevailed, the tales became awe inspiring and full of disbelief, truly worthy of the GoT. All the while, the Iron Gate loomed in the distance, stirring and rumbling in fitful slumber, while the Lord of Light fought the darkness.

Tales of mighty deeds and great bravery - Murray River Renmark

Tales of mighty deeds and great bravery – Murray River Renmark

Tales of mighty deeds and great bravery - Murray River Renmark

Tales of mighty deeds and great bravery – Murray River Renmark

Tales of mighty deeds and great bravery - Murray River Renmark

Tales of mighty deeds and great bravery – Murray River Renmark

The Iron Gate - Murray River Renmark

The Iron Gate – Murray River Renmark

Looming Darkness - Murray River Renmark

Looming Darkness – Murray River Renmark

As light flooded the early morning, the Iron Gate was raised from its slumber and the GoT were given their pass to travel into the unknown lands. The Hunters were on edge and ever watchful as the Iron Gates opened, not knowing what lay beyond, but nevertheless excited by the potential challenges that lay ahead.

The Iron Gate - Murray River Renmark

The Iron Gate – Murray River Renmark

The Iron Gate - Murray River Renmark

The Iron Gate – Murray River Renmark

The Iron Gate - Murray River Renmark

The Iron Gate – Murray River Renmark

Beyond the Iron Gate lay a world of wonder. The fortresses of the lords inspired awe, sitting atop the cliffs with mighty floating castles resting below. As we progressed, the Citadel of Renmark came into view and glowed in the sunlight, but was soon left behind, where we came upon remnants of unknown battles of the past.

Fortresses and Citadels - Murray River Renmark

Fortresses and Citadels – Murray River Renmark

Fortresses and Citadels - Murray River Renmark

Fortresses and Citadels – Murray River Renmark

Of Battles Past - Murray River Renmark

Of Battles Past – Murray River Renmark

Of Battles Past - Murray River Renmark

Of Battles Past – Murray River Renmark

The gods were angry this day sending searing fire upon us and, with the heat climbing to the mid-40s, we sought safe haven for the day where we could shelter and seek relief from the unrelenting fury. Because of the unrelenting fury cast upon us, our soles were truly tested as they floated above the cooling waters of the mighty river.

Unrelenting Heat - Murray River Renmark

Unrelenting Heat – Murray River Renmark

Unrelenting Heat - Murray River Renmark

Unrelenting Heat – Murray River Renmark

Unrelenting Heat - Murray River Renmark

Unrelenting Heat – Murray River Renmark

As tensions eased, Hunters drew their weapons in order to maintain their skill at arms, while others looked towards repairing damaged armour. This was not a place for complacency, as one never knew what would confront the GoT the next day. Preparation and practice was paramount and that drove the ethos of this journey, as did acknowledging the gods; Bacchus was nobly honoured and regaled.

Skill at Arms - Murray River Renmark

Skill at Arms – Murray River Renmark

Skill at Arms - Murray River Renmark

Skill at Arms – Murray River Renmark

Repairing Armour – Murray River Renmark

Repairing Armour - Murray River Renmark

Repairing Armour – Murray River Renmark

The following day, the call of Bacchus beckoned even stronger and led us to a woolly shed of potentially high risk. It was a place upon the river, enticing all comers with promises of pleasure and other worldly delights, but much could be felt brewing unseen. Fortunately, the GoT were made of sterner stuff and survived the temptations, despite the Siren Song, and managed to make sail and seek safer climes.

The Den of Bacchus (Woolshed Brewery) - Murray River Renmark

The Den of Bacchus (Woolshed Brewery) – Murray River Renmark

The Den of Bacchus (Woolshed Brewery) - Murray River Renmark

The Den of Bacchus (Woolshed Brewery) – Murray River Renmark

The Den of Bacchus (Woolshed Brewery) - Murray River Renmark

The Den of Bacchus (Woolshed Brewery) – Murray River Renmark

Thus the GoT travelled onwards, seeking new lands, where they would feel safe and secure from the vicissitudes of life on the mighty river. Fortunately, it didn’t take long to find secure ground, though one of the Hunters was temporarily immobilised by a cleverly disguised trap, requiring a short period of meditation and reflection for a full recovery.

Safe Harbour – Murray River Renmark

Trap for the unwary - Murray River Renmark

Trap for the unwary – Murray River Renmark

Meditation and Reflection - Murray River Renmark

Meditation and Reflection – Murray River Renmark

It was only later that the true import of the safe haven was revealed, as dragons appeared in the distance and then came to inspect the intruders of their domain. But seeing that there was nothing of significance or concern on the floating castle, the GoT were quickly left to their own devices with a clear sense that the dragons were not impressed with their new visitors.

Dragons - Murray River Renmark

Dragons – Murray River Renmark

Dragons - Murray River Renmark

Dragons – Murray River Renmark

Dragons - Murray River Renmark

Dragons – Murray River Renmark

Dragons - Murray River Renmark

Dragons – Murray River Renmark

Once it was known that the dragons were gone, relief and happiness ensued. Toasts and other offerings were proffered to the gods once more, thanking them for their greatness and protection. Such was the power of these entreaties, that even water nymphs revealed themselves because of the GoT’s exhortations.

Thanking the gods - Murray River Renmark

Thanking the gods – Murray River Renmark

Thanking the gods - Murray River Renmark

Thanking the gods – Murray River Renmark

Thanking the gods - Murray River Renmark

Thanking the gods – Murray River Renmark

Water Nymph - Murray River Renmark

Water Nymph – Murray River Renmark

Not a Water Nymph - Murray River Renmark

Not a Water Nymph – Murray River Renmark

A calm and quiet morning followed, giving the Hunters the opportunity to display their mighty hunting skills in an unknown land. Great water creatures were ensnared and brought on board the floating castle. But even these were sneered at by the hunters, always seeking greater prey that would truly test their mettle.

Dawn Breaks - Murray River Renmark

Dawn Breaks – Murray River Renmark

Mighty Hunters - Murray River Renmark

Mighty Hunters – Murray River Renmark

Mighty Hunters - Murray River Renmark

Mighty Hunters – Murray River Renmark

Mighty Hunters - Murray River Renmark

Mighty Hunters – Murray River Renmark

Mighty Hunters - Murray River Renmark

Mighty Hunters – Murray River Renmark

As the sun began to rise higher and heat the land, though not the fire and brimstone of past days, the GoT stirred into life in search of another shore to continue the adventure. It was not long before an encampment, with foreboding cliffs nearby, was considered suitable. To honour this find, Bacchus was once again remembered with great feeling.

The ever changing landscape - Murray River Renmark

The ever changing landscape – Murray River Renmark

Honouring Bacchus - Murray River Renmark

Honouring Bacchus – Murray River Renmark

Honouring Bacchus - Murray River Renmark

Honouring Bacchus – Murray River Renmark

Today would be a day of festivities and, as the day wore on, further rituals were carried out in honour of Edesia, with Bacchus never far from anyone’s mind. Suckling pig and tender wild fowl were the order of the day, along with fruits of the earth.

Let the feasting begin - Murray River Renmark

Let the feasting begin – Murray River Renmark

Let the feasting begin - Murray River Renmark

Let the feasting begin – Murray River Renmark

Let the feasting begin - Murray River Renmark

Let the feasting begin – Murray River Renmark

With the oncoming night, the Gatherers began to display exotic movements, slowly rising to a frenzied crescendo. The Hunters were fixated in awe.As the Gatherers’ movements became more frenetic, the Hunters could no longer resist and responded with their own rituals displaying their warrior status. This greatly impressed the Gatherers.

Warrior Rituals - Murray River Renmark

Warrior Rituals – Murray River Renmark

Warrior Rituals - Murray River Renmark

Warrior Rituals – Murray River Renmark

Warrior Rituals - Murray River Renmark

Warrior Rituals – Murray River Renmark

Warrior Rituals - Murray River Renmark

Warrior Rituals – Murray River Renmark

With darkness fully enveloping the land, the GoT gave sacrificial thanks to the gods by the flames and light of a searing fire. This led some of the Hunters into deep meditation, clearly contemplating the day ahead and potential deeds of valour.

Night Falls- Murray River Renmark

Night Falls- Murray River Renmark

Night Falls- Murray River Renmark

Night Falls- Murray River Renmark

Night Falls- Murray River Renmark

Night Falls- Murray River Renmark

Night Falls- Murray River Renmark

Night Falls- Murray River Renmark

The following day, the GoT were once again on the move, slowly returning to the Iron Gate. But there was still one night to be had on the mighty river and, as another location was being sought, strange creatures were seen in the distance eyeing the travellers. As safe harbour was found, one mighty Hunter displayed his prowess, dispatching great logs onto the land as if they were mere pebbles, and thus a new camp was established.

Strange Creatures - Murray River Renmark

Strange Creatures – Murray River Renmark

Mighty Deeds - Murray River Renmark

Mighty Deeds – Murray River Renmark

Land of Mystery - Murray River Renmark

Land of Mystery – Murray River Renmark

The travails of the long journey undertaken by the GoT over the last five days had wearied even the most resilient member and thus it was understandable that some rest was essential. The mighty river and land was exceptionally quiet as the evening wore on, but strange creatures frozen in time and space looked on.

Creatures frozen in time - Murray River Renmark

Creatures frozen in time – Murray River Renmark

Contemplating the journey - Murray River Renmark

Contemplating the journey – Murray River Renmark

Contemplating the journey - Murray River Renmark

Contemplating the journey – Murray River Renmark

Quiet Landscape - Murray River Renmark

Quiet Landscape – Murray River Renmark

Later that evening, thoughts turned to feeding the soul and so strange creatures of the waters were tasted, while beef and other delicacies were prepared for the night. This was to be the last feast of the river journey and so it truly brought home the forthcoming return to a more mundane life.

Another might feast - Murray River Renmark

Another might feast – Murray River Renmark

Another might feast - Murray River Renmark

Another might feast – Murray River Renmark

Another might feast - Murray River Renmark

Another might feast – Murray River Renmark

Another might feast - Murray River Renmark

Another might feast – Murray River Renmark

After the feasting was complete, the GoT once more settled around the fire and brimstone to contemplate another day well met, until the call of the Game of Oz drew Hunters and Gatherers to the floating castle. And thus did the night slowly creep upon the GoT, with one weary member after another succumbing to Somnus.

Mighty Stories - Murray River Renmark

Mighty Stories – Murray River Renmark

Mighty Stories - Murray River Renmark

Mighty Stories – Murray River Renmark

Game of Oz - Murray River Renmark

Game of Oz – Murray River Renmark

Game of Oz - Murray River Renmark

Game of Oz – Murray River Renmark

It was with heavy heart that the following day required the GoT to return to whence they came. However, the short journey back to the Iron Gate offered time to ponder the week now gone and marvel at some of the oddities that peppered the mighty river; things most bizarre and things most foul.

Return to the Land of Ice - Murray River Renmark

Return to the Land of Ice – Murray River Renmark

Oddities - Murray River Renmark

Oddities – Murray River Renmark

Foul task ahead - Murray River Renmark

Foul task ahead – Murray River Renmark

Upon arrival at their landing place, the GoT made their final offering to Bacchus; one that would be long remembered and honoured. Bacchus would have been proud.

Bacchus Honoured - Murray River Renmark

Bacchus Honoured – Murray River Renmark

And thus ended the mighty adventure, with a long journey back to the Land of Ice from the Land of Fire.

6 thoughts on “Riverboat 2015

  1. Di Brown

    Australian image once again your photography is simply brilliant and a wonderful reminder of our memorable week on the Tequila Sunset.

    1. Brenda Schwerin-Casey

      OMG!! Great narration but some of those photos!! Thanks Ray, another great log. 🙂

  2. Rochelle Schwerin

    Simply brilliant Ray, I couldn’t stop crying for laughing! Well done

  3. Grahame Casey

    Love the story. The GOT are truly the “beautiful people” and now their travails and adventures are forever enshrined in the annals of history. I hear that HBO have approached them for the rights for an upcoming mini series

  4. Joel Uren

    Loved the commentary, and some excellent shots there, you really captured the mood. I lived in Berri for five years so Renmark was my stomping ground, you made it look more interesting than when I was there. Like I had never seen the Paringa bridge lit up like that. Amazing to see somewhere you know through someone else’s eyes. Awesome.

    P.S. Sure liked the reference to the land of fire. I’ve a photo of the thermometer showing 52C in the shade one day under our verandah during summer!

    1. Ray Post author

      Thanks Joel

      It was a great trip to say the least, but it’s the company that always makes the difference.

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