For the past 23 summers I have been sweating my bum off in a dance studio, arguing over the musical dynamics of a boto fogo and whose turn it was to make a cuppa. Now, I’ve just discovered that there is a whole community of people that spend their summers floating up and down the Murray River. Hanging off the back of speedboats. Riding jetskis and laying on inflatable beds shaped like animals and colourful summery food products. Spending entire days in the water and under the sun, loving their lives.
Then 10 young professionals (alright 9 … I hardly consider myself a young professional) from Melbourne turn up and hire a houseboat.
Even though I swore that I would never get on a boat ever (EVER!) again after the time I was a sailor disguised as an entertainer #cruiseshiplyfe, when the idea to spend a long weekend on a houseboat was presented to me, I disregarded the promise I had made to myself. I bought a wide brimmed hat, a bottle of sunscreen and googled: “Murray River safety concerns”. It was the day after Australia Day and a few of us a nursing hang overs but we had three eskies full of booze, a seven seater spa and an endless catalogue of games accessible via an app to look forward to. We divided the grocery list between us, packed Cards Against Humanity in case we need any extra entertainment and carpool to Echuca.
I was appointed salad things as my job for the weekend. I took it very seriously and prepped and planned what I would serve. I carefully calculated how much of everything I would need and I even considered people’s food allergies and taste preferences. That’s a lie. I just got enough vegies, goats cheese and a pre-made potato salad for everyone. I was showing off a bit when I kicked off the first barbie with a mango and avo salad and then backed it up the next day with beetroot, sweet potato (which I baked) and goats cheese salad. After my previous failed attempt to make scones for this group, one of the boys turned to me and said:
‘You’re on salads from now on… No more desserts for you.’
Instant coffee and tomato sauce
After a discussion about ingredients required for espresso martinis, we realised there was no coffee anywhere on the entire boat. Not even in one of those fancy shower scrubs. Two days and 10 Melbourne coffee snobs without caffeine could result in some devastating outcomes. We searched online for anywhere to stop and have a coffee but that proved difficult and we ended up walking through a caravan park to find a little general store that sells everything from coffee to fishing bait to brake fluid. We gather our supplies then make our way back to the boat with tomato sauce, instant coffee and three kinds of alcohol for espresso martinis.
I feel anxious about parking my push bike in a bike rack. So when it came to parking the house boat I just pretended to read my novel. But I was secretly watching intently and panicking on the inside. On the last day we stopped by a winery and while getting off the boat, avoiding the mud was near impossible I was still very excited to have a real coffee. Halfway through the tasting the waitress informed us that we were, in fact, parked in a space reserved for the paddle steamer. We claimed to have not seen the sign and a few of the boys go to move the houseboat while the rest of us continue to enjoy the wine. The boys eventually return after moving the houseboat twice and play down that it may be an issue on leaving. We all enjoy a great lunch and return to a bogged houseboat. Most people got behind the boat to push, except a few of us who are more concerned with uploading Snapchats and avoiding mud. Luckily a nice bloke on a jetski stopped to talk us through getting out of the mud otherwise we’d still probably be bogged up the Murray.
(no hashtag for this one)
We didn’t catch any fish and no one stayed up past midnight but it was such a ripper weekend. I never thought I would be the kind of person to spend a long weekend up the Murray, but maybe I am…
About a year ago, just after I started my new job in a corporate environment, I wrote a blog on personality types in the office. I described one of the “types” as people who save up to go on holidays to Thailand and up the Murray…
Now that’s me.
I’m that kind of person.
Loving my life.