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Our flotilla comprised 12, including new members Ian V and Christine L, guest Kath Peglar, and members trying out kayaking for the first time IanM.

Having demonstrated how to get into a kayak from the pontoon, we embarked discovering that black plastic and hot sun do not mix – a number of paddlers finding themselves in the “hot seat” but not in the running on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.

Our new paddlers set off under the guidance of more experienced paddlers, gaining their “water wings” and confidence as they went, such that the paddle leader had to catch them up for an on water paddle briefing. The plan was to paddle down the canal to the Swing Bridge and hop out of boats and observe the opening of the bridge before a short paddle up the Latrobe River and then return to start.

Paddling into a gentle breeze we made good progress, with occasional passing motorised craft providing a wave or two to contend with, reaching the bridge just as the opening commenced.

The Sale Swing Bridge is one of 2 operational Swing Bridges, the other being in Darling Harbour. Designed by John Grainger and built in 1883 by the Victorian government, it was the first movable bridge built in Victoria. Its wrought-iron structure, 45 metres long, pivots on cylindrical steel columns. At its peak, the bridge was opened up to 20 times a day, allowing the movement of steamers between Sale and Melbourne. The bridge underwent major restoration works towards the end of 2003, which were completed by the start of 2006.In April 2017 vandals lodged a block of wood in the gear mechanism, causing an axle to bend and the bottom roller beam to crack. The bridge was re-opened in July 2017 after a $160,000 repair. It is opened on Weekends at 3pm – check on line for more in formation on opening days and times

With significant water coming down the Latrobe River, and the hot and humid conditions, in the interests of paddler safety it was decided not to extend the paddle up the Latrobe. Participants spent time relaxing/snoozing in the shade and having an impromptu dip before climbing back into boats and commencing the return journey.

2021 01 09 Sale to Swing Bridge 1 171

2021 01 09 Sale to Swing Bridge 5 175

Particpants: Ian Mayer, Jean Jackson, Katherine Pegler, Kate Senko, Graham Talmage, Don Creed, Pat Williams, Roz Spratt, Josie Lomagno, Christine Lomagno, Ian Venebles, Avenel Jane

Trip Leader - Avenel Casson