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 Lake Burrinjuck

12 May 2018 

Coordinator: Torsten Schwich 

Not a dive trip as such, but worthy of a trip report...

After a long time of planning (first boat purchase sub-committee meeting was held in September 2016, in anticipation of the purchase to be made in 2017), and a lot of effort put in by half a dozen people involved in the rather lengthy process, our new boat arrived in Sydney on Friday, 27 April 2018.

Following a lot of driving around between Bega, Sydney and Canberra, Ray dropped a registered NIAID boat on a registered Belco trailer off at its future home right next to the oval.

A few more things were to be done, such as ensuring all safety equipment got on board, and then it was time to take "it" (the boat is still to get a name) for its first ride. The main purpose for this was to ensure we take sufficient time and care to follow manufacturer's instructions on breaking in the engine (but of course it was exciting to check it out, too).

Glenn had offered his place near Lake Illawara as the base for drivers who could then swap through the 8 or so hours of initial driving. However, since the weather turned sour at the coast and pressure was on to get the engine broken in prior to SJYB, it was decided to activate plan B.

Hence, Scott W., Scott M. and myself headed towards Lake Burrinjuck on Saturday morning. A stop in Murrumbateman to fill the empty petrol tanks allowed time for a coffee.

None of us had been at the Good Hope boat ramp (thanks Andrew and Jeremy for the suggestion!) before, and after overshooting and having to perform a 12-point U-turn to get back to the turn-off to the ramp, we were ready to prep the boat for its first club launch (not without paying $30 (!) for getting access to the ramp).

The wind shield was fitted to the console, covers removed from fancy looking new instruments, and straps removed from the bulky 115 HP engine. We had envisaged driving the boat along the Murrumbidgee river all the way to lake Burrinjuck, but locals at the boat ramp dimmed our enthusiasm, indicating that the low water levels meant we would potentially not be able to get through. The old water level marks along the embankments and cliffs looked daunting indeed.

The launch went smoothly, the engine started without problems (so much quieter than Tigger's 4-stroke!), and off we went, heading West on the river. Following Yamaha's recommendations, the first hour consisted of potting along at varying speed without exceeding 2000 rpms; perfect opportunity to check out the fancy 2D sounder, which shows things like dead trees quite clearly once you know what you're looking for).

It was overcast, drizzling at times, with a max. of 14 degC, and we were glad to have brought multiple layers, rain jackets, and gloves (not sure how Scott W. was able to cope without them!). The next hour allowed us to to increase the speed to get on the plane. The ride was surprisingly scenic, with cliffs at times, trees breaking through the surface that pointed back to the time before the area got flooded, grazing cows, pelicans, and sea eagles.

To our delight, the depth increased steadily, and we saw 30+ meters on he sounder just before the entrance to the lake. After a quick spin on the lake, we made our way back to the boat ramp (at one point we had to turn around as water levels got to about 1.5m!). The only boat we saw on the water we passed just before we got back to the ramp; a little tinny with 3 people fishing on board. Around the next bend we heard them firing a few shots from (at least one) gun - interesting.

With slightly frozen feet we got back ashore after 2.5 hours and all agreed that this was a successful and pleasant first run in our new ANUSC boat that drives beautifully, has lots of power and a few extra gadgets, despite its very similar look to good old Tigger when viewing it from afar.

We're looking forward to lots of good diving with it!

-- Torsten.


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