River Murray Houseboating
Houseboat "My Lady"
"My Lady" generally travels in the area between Swan Reach and Waikerie, but has travelled the area from Wellington to a few kilometres past Rufus River and Lock 7 where the voyage was cut short due to low river levels and excessive weed constantly fouling the outboards. Over the years, quite a few voyages have been curtailed by high water flows (floods) and low water levels (droughts), but "It's all part of the adventure!"
Although the Murray River is the third longest continuously navigable river in the world, these travels have only spanned approximately 525km (326 miles) of the permanently navigable 2000km (1243 mi), the crew of "My Lady" prefer travelling for a short time and then taking time to explore the area around each mooring. At their favourite sites, they may linger up to a week before moving a few more kilometres.
In the 80's, the houseboat "My Lady" started as a Murray River hire boat "Jabaru II" licenced to carry 12 crew. After it finished its time as a hire boat it had a couple of owners as a private vessel.
In 2004, the "My Lady" was sold to its current owners. It was then converted from a "liveaboard" to a holiday vessel fitted out to take two (2) to three (3) couples, although on most voyages the crew consists of one (1) couple and one (1) Doberman.
The houseboat is approximately 19 metres (62') long and 7.5 metres (24.5') wide and floats on two steel pontoons. It is powered by two (2) 60hp (44kW) outboards. The upper deck carries a table and set of chairs and is covered by a Bimini sun shade.
With two fridge-freezers, a pantry cupboard and a store room, the houseboat can carry enough provisions, fuel and water to support the crew for many weeks without re-provisioning, but it is common practice to reprovision when ever possible, otherwise it can take a long time to fully restock the vessel.
With a 400 litre (106 U.S. gallon) fuel tank and few riverside fuel pumps, it is much easier to carry a 20 litre (5.3 U.S. Gallon) jerry can or two at each stop than to have to refill a few hundred litres in one go. In the early days, Mark learnt the folly of not keeping the tank topped up when one river stop ran out of fuel and they had to wait a couple of days until the fuel tanker refilled the petrol station, so he could then refill the boat to get to the next refuelling point along the river.
The boat was originally fitted with two (2) 45kg (99 lb) gas cylinders, but they can be difficult to swap over when travelling. As a result, one of the gas bottles was replaced with a stand that carried an 8.5kg (18.7 lb) BBQ-sized gas bottle with space for a spare bottle underneath. These bottles are easy to carry and are widely available at petrol stations and many other stores.