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The Blackwood River Descent~ The Longest River in the South West
For years I have been paddling parts of the Blackwood River and for years I have thought about paddling the entire length but other trips further a field always took priority. However a short quiet period in the shop and the fact that the river was flowing nicely due to winter rains, it became apparent that it was the right time to give it a go.
The Blackwood River officially starts 25 kilometres downstream of the small town of Moodiarrup, where the Arthur and the Balgarup Rivers meet. But I wanted to start further upstream, as far up as I could go, just as long as my kayak would float. I envisaged that spot would be near the tiny community of Duranillian about 15 kilometres upstream of Moodiarrup. So on one Sunday morning in September 05 we headed there. If I got in at Duranillian the trip would be 460kms long, which I reckoned would take me 7 days and be very close to Augusta just in time to meet my wife Jenny there, for a long weekend holiday.
Alaine was my support crew for the day. The idea was for Alaine to drop me off at one point, wait a little further downstream to make sure there was enough water in the river and then when I was sure that the river was going to be do-able, she would head home. Simple!
On the way to Moodiarrup I checked the Arthur River (the main Blackwood tributary) as we crossed it on the Albany Highway, near the Arthur River Township but it didn't look promising so we drove a little further along the Arthur River - Darken Road to meet it again. Here 10kms from the Arthur River Township there seemed to be enough water for me to start my challenge. By starting here though it would increase the total distance to nearly 500kms and make it impossible for me to reach my goal by Saturday, but miracles could happen.