Sunday, August 14, 2011

Avon Descent

The Avon Descent is a paddling and power boating race down the Avon and Swan rivers.  Starting from the inland town of  Northam and ending up 124 kms later at Bayswater, a suburb of Perth.  Avon descent has been around for 39 years and attracts international (South Africans have won it for the past decade) and local whitewater paddlers (from rookie to olympic calibre).  Last year's Avon Descent was somewhat a failure as the drought made the river levels at 0.2 m and only 3 motor boats finished the race and the paddlers commented that it was more of a foot race than anything.  This year with better winter rains the river level was above 2 metres deep.  Making this year's race highly anticipated.  Our family travelled from Harvey to Northam for the Friday nights festivities, main street parade, fireworks, and fair.  We were guests of a former Australia-Canada exchange teacher who treated us and fed us like royalty.  Thanks again Lindsay and Liz.  On Saturday we followed the kayakers and surf-ski paddlers along the river route.  Stopping at key viewing areas where white water would show spectators some drama and the little town along the route with their own fairs and food festivals and museum visits.  See the website for a little more information.


The man-made Extracts Weir makes for some good whitewater kayaking.  Even the tandems, double surf-ski, and power dinghies went down the rapids.

Below is the town of Toodyay's fair with pony rides and international food festival.
Jackson and his hobbit pony. 

 Caleb and his horse.

We all went on a mini-train ride which was squishy, as all 4 of us plus another family of 4 sat in one car, but super fun time.  Not sure who is the youngest?  The dog, the train, or the conductor?

Collin got put into the stocks for bad behaviour at the gaol (old time jail) museum.  Lots and lots of interesting settler and convict stories told inside.

More racing on Sunday, but further down river.  Bells Rapids provided plenty of entertainment with ramps and jumps, spills and thrills.  The paddlers are sent out first, then about 4 hours later the power dinghies with their 7 or 10 horse powered outboard motor and a 2 man crew are sent out.  The rev-head crowd waited around for them and they are quick - up to 60 kmph!

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