UP A LAZY RIVER….

OOPS, I MEAN,…THE MURRAY RIVER!

 

Yes, There is a connection to these two men…no, not age! So, it must be looks! 

Years ago, in August of 1960, BobbyDarin, recorded an energetic song and accomplished this by the age of 26. I was about the same age. Well, okay, I was 10 years younger but he is quite good looking and talented so he makes a great comparison! Both of us are/were of a carefree and happy go-lucky personality. It may be a decade apart for our ages, but this song certainly holds a connection. Have you any idea what that may be?

Up The Lazy River. Could that implication be for those that swam in this river, enjoyed the calm waters, excitement or the call of danger? For me, it was likely a combination, though, had I realized the extreme danger, I may not have been such a show off! But, when you are young and out for a great time, accompanied by your friends, especially that of a beautiful young woman, you just may want to turn her head and act up a bit!

Well, after thinking about the river and telling my friend the story of what happened, she said, it reminded her of the song, Up The Lazy River. I suppose the tune is one way of thinking about it, but just consider the words as you hear my story! And thank you for joining me on this adventure!

Just for fun, if you do not know this melody, here is a link. It’s jazzy and a tune that is opposite, yet similar to what you find in the Murray River-excitement!

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2F2xDtgNdA

Here are some of the lyrics:

Up a lazy river by the old mill run

That’s a lazy, lazy river in the noonday sun

You can linger for a while in the shade of a tree

Linger, maybe not be the best idea in the Murray River, as the one Bobbie speaks of, though there were shade trees there too and a winding, lazy river, where so much mystery lies beneath the surface.

Looks? Fun in adventures? Curious at heart? Maybe only in the lyrics of this song!….Up a Lazy RiverLinger awhile in the shade of a tree…Throw away your troubles, dream with me.

But, that may also depend on how quickly you get out of these waters. Even for the fool at heart and the carefree, this is not a joke!

One thing I can assure you of, is there are no dreams you would want to throw away. But plenty to think about as the Murray River, offers those brave at heart, the foolish or even the adventuresome, a river where nature has provided you with about everything you could or even may not want. 

The beauty and serene appearance of this river is both true but also very dangerous. It offers boaters many opportunities but caution is advised to swimmers or divers into the water. for the underbrush and various poisonous snakes.

FYI: A touch of history, which began millions of years ago:

The Murray River is an ancient river with it’s origins that date back about 130 million years ago. That meant-years ago, Australia was under a shallow sea, so it appeared as a group of islands when looking at a map. During the early times, these groups of land began to rise above the sea and the sea backed away from the land, forming a river. That began 100 million years ago, so imagine the prehistoric type creatures that began there and you have to wonder if any of the relatives still exist. This land and river formation in time, became known as the Murray.

The major geological events affecting the character of the developing river were the formation of the Great Dividing Range of mountains and two enormous sedimentary basins -the Murray Basin and to the north, and the Great Artesian Basin. The Murray-Darling Basin is about 250,000 square kilometres and is bounded by the Great Dividing Range to the east, and the Mount Lofty Ranges to the west.

The Murray River is 1,558 miles long and from 12 to 25 feet deep depending on what part you are in. The river area also host many different species of life in varying animals and plants. 

Approximately 1,000 species of plants can be found in Australia, many of which are toxic to both animals and humans. One of which was this deadly tiger snake that filled the waters, I had just taken a swim in!

The Murray-Darling Basin is home to many land and water species, many of which are endangered. According to the Murray River Travel website, at least 35 birds and 16 mammals are endangered, and 20 mammalian species have already become extinct there. In total, the basin is home to hundreds of native species including 98 kinds of birds, 53 frog species, 46 varieties of snakes, 100 types of lizards, three species of freshwater turtles and at least 45 species of fish.

All in all, Australia, though it has many aspects that may be cause for you to avoid, is a destination that fills the hearts of so many. So as the verse sys, Up a lazy river, how happy we’ll be; Up a lazy river with me! Everyone’s in love, Up a lazy river, Up a lazy river with me. But, I for one would not go there again as a swimmer!

I was and have always been one, that may have acted hastily and a bit compulsively. But, I honestly did not know the dangers that had laid before me as I dove into the waters of the Murray River, swimming across and then back, as my friends were on the shore frantically yelling, Chris, get out. I was grateful to reach the shore still unaware of why, but I was embraced with affection from my friends and the blonde I had been smitten with that entire day!

It had all seemed harmless to me, as a paddleboat was casually sailing up this lazy river whilst the houseboats and kayakers were moseying along under shady trees lining the shores. But something desperate was in the voices of my friends yelling at me. 

FYI:

Moral of the story! 

After this experience, we decided to finish exploring parts of Australia but my next stop, though still in the area of the Murray River, was in Melbourne to get a job picking fruit! Grapes and peaches seemed like a calm idea and one that would earn me spending money to finish visiting destinations I had wanted to see. 

Grape picking! 

Melbourne offered many opportunities for fruit picking and I decided to join others in the vineyards picking grapes.

But as with any fruit picking, it requires you to be in a good physical condition as it is hard labor. Picking fruit, if in Cobram, is a very large fruit growing area and is situated on the Murray River, just 250 kilometres, (which is just over 155 miles) north of Melbourne, but it does require all of your strength and durability to finish a hard days work.

Fruit picking in Australia, is a marvelous way to extend your summer vacations, which is for three months, as it earns you extra money to travel from one area to another. Backpackers, as others extend their visits to enjoy the awesome terrain and natural beauty of Australia, as these jobs are readily available, as seasonal work. The season runs from December to May and the summer weather can be brutal as you stand  in the sun for hours picking fruit. It is imperative you drink lots of water and wear a hat to protect your health against the heat.

I also chose to pick peaches and pears. Peaches were harvested between October to January and pears between February and March. So you can see, I had plenty of work to do all summer long and could travel seeing everything I wanted. I worked long enough to earn the money I needed to travel and enjoy myself and then worked again to move on. 

Of course the benefits of eating fresh fruit, was a plus and one I enjoyed!

But, then I traveled to Robinvale for picking pears! 

It is a town on the south bank of the Murray River in north western Victoria, Australia. It is connected by a bridge to Euston on the other side of the river in New South Wales. At the 2011 census, Robinvale had a population of 2,134.

The photograph and map below shows you where I spent much of my time picking fruit. 

So, in closing this part of my journey, I invite you to enjoy Up The Lazy River, the Bobby Darrin style and not Up The Murray River in the noon day sun, with a swim as I had done!!

Before I close, I want to share just a bit about my time and job scallop fishing in the port of Phillip Bay, from an Aussie fishing boat. This was a surprise to many of my friends but actually it is the spirit in diving and swimming that had me loving this job. Fishing…not in the usual way!

I did not dive under the sea for these wonderfully delightful and fresh scallops. Instead, a net placed into the water by the trawler, dragging the bottom and scooping them up. After bringing them up we had to inspect them for the proper size. The small  ones we threw back. The scallops line the floor of Port Phillip Bay and are literally laying on the seabed waiting for me to scoop them right up!

Commercial fishing has been a part of the Victorian fishing industry since the early 1970’s.The waters of the Victorian zone extend out to 20 nautical miles from the high tide water mark, but exclude the bays and inlets along the coast where commercial fishing for scallops is prohibited. Not sure what a scallop looks like? Here is how you likely see the ones on your walk-along the beach!

This is not the Aussie boat I was on to scallop fish but hey, it was a few decades ago and I wanted to share with you what I could find close to my experience. 

Actually when you walk-on the beaches, this scallop is likely one you pick up due to its size, shape and beauty. When I wrote this blog, my friend said to me, I did not know those were the ones I collect!

FYI:

Be watchful as there are Blue Ringed octopuses in these waters and likely to be scooped up in the nets whilst scallop fishing. Not watching where you put your hands whilst scallop fishing could be a  deadly mistake! These octopus’s almost send a signal saying, don’t mess with me. Such is the case with this vividly colored blue-ringed octopus, filmed off the coast of Kiama, New South Wales, Australia. They can be identified by their yellowish skin and characteristic blue and black rings that change color dramatically when threatened. They eat small animals, including crabs, hermit crabs, shrimp, and other crustaceans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-ringed_octopus

They are recognized as one of the world’s most venomous marine animals.[3] Despite their small size—12 to 20 cm (5 to 8 in)—and relatively docile nature, they are dangerous to humans if provoked and handled because of their venom which contains the powerful neurotoxin tetrodotoxin.

Blue-ringed octopuses spend much of their time hiding in crevices while displaying effective camouflage patterns with their dermal chromatophore cells. Like all octopuses, they can change shape easily, which helps them to squeeze into crevices much smaller than themselves. This, along with piling up rocks outside the entrance to its lair, helps safeguard the octopus from predators.

pastedGraphic.png

Variable ring patterns on mantles of Hapalochlaena lunulata

If they are provoked, they quickly change color, becoming bright yellow with each of the 50-60 rings flashing bright iridescent blue within a third of a second as an aposematic warning display.

Information above regarding the octopus is courtesy of Wikipedia

Scallop fishing is done between January and through the month of April due to the water being warm enough to enjoy the dive without much flash gear. Timing is also important. Planning a dive on either side of the low tide is best, so there is less current to deal with and shallower water for free diving. A simple wetsuit, booties, and fins with a good silicone mask and a snorkel that purges is what you will need. Of course you will also need a weight belt to keep you beneath the water for scallop collecting. And…the catch bag is critical for your bounty!

The best method for scallop fishing is to anchor your boat in water 2 to 4 meters of depth (6 to 12 feet), and throw out about 20 meters (65 plus feet) of rope to use as a resting post between dives.

Please, if you are lucky enough and find a huge gathering place for scallops…take only what you can eat as they are best for enjoying fresh and waste would be so sad! 

Please stay tuned for my next story about Australia, the sites to visit of interest and learn more about my journey through the country…jobs I worked at and special interest that kept me roaming from one place to another.

Peace comes in some jobs and I was very lucky in life to have found so much I enjoyed whilst affording me the peacefulness and beauty of nature. It really does not matter what you may encounter as long as you keep an open mind and enjoy a new challenge. All my experiences made me who I am today and how I imagine my lovely Irene fell in love with me. I miss her in my life but I invite you to come along and meet the woman who helped shape my life and who I dedicate all of my writing as I feel her beside me. Come join my adventures which my son, Simon has helped me learn to enjoy, as I started over in life.

So, come with me…Up The Lazy River…no matter which one it is or what walk it may be in life! Never give up but enjoy your life taking a chance on what lies ahead of you.

I invite you to live life to the fullest and grateful for each new day. If you want to read about a special topic, please write to me and I will reply.

  

Until We Meet Again!,

        Chris

Chris Ambrose, Author 

       70 is the new 50`

No matter what Life throws at you, 

it’s where Giving Up, is Never an Option!

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/70-new-50-Create-Enduring/dp/1999889509/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518401023&sr=1-3&keywords=70+is+the+new+50

You are also welcome to write to me for a signed copy of my book.

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