Has anyone heard of an air-boat? Or been on one? I hadn’t until we boarded Elka a fortnight ago.
We were camped along the Murray River in Renmark and decided we’d had enough of watching the water skiers and jet boat riders. It was time for some action of our own, for some serious fun on the water.
In nearby Berri a bloke called Brian Smith from BMS tours runs a small boat business. He told us he loves taking people into “his office” as he calls it, the back waters of the Murray. But we weren’t after a sedate river cruise or paddle steamer.
And we didn’t get it. We got the ride of our life.
Elka is a flat bottom vessel propelled by a powerful 454 Chev Motor and with its skid plate it can access the creeks and side waters of the Murray, it can go in water just six three inches deep. This is Brian’s baby, his pride and joy and boy, does this baby go!
Brian was a jovial, fun loving skipper, quick with a joke and knowledgeable with stories of the River and the environment. We had head sets on so we could talk to each other through the mics and so we weren’t deafened by the noise of the engine.
And, boy was it ever noisy. We started off slowly before Brian opened up the engine.
And then we flew.
But then he slowed it down. From exhilarating 360 degree spins along the wide open river we glided smoothly into backwater creeks and through green marshes.
And when the engine was cut it was instant tranquility.
Not a sound could be heard except the occasional swish of the water as fish swam by.
And flocks of pelicans who eyed us curiously as did birds in overhead trees.
It was fun. It was exhilarating. And it was relaxing, all at the same time. It was the absolute highlight of our stay in River land country.
For over an hour we lost track of time and found a touch of Murray River magic on board Elka.
Wishing everyone a touch of magic today, where ever you are and what ever you’re doing.