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Checking out Echuca at checkpoint

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October 07, 2017

Kev Cook touches down in Echuca in his trusty kayak

AN EXHAUSTED kayaker took a much-needed breather in Echuca during his voyage down the entire length of the Murray River.

Kev Cook’s plans to reach Echuca were delayed when he met about 20 young kayakers from Moama, who were so interesting to talk to that he got distracted and missed his checkpoint.

“Look on the bright side — it’s good to see students and kids doing this sort of thing instead of playing PlayStation and Xbox and being on social media all day,” Kev said.

After some furious paddling to make up for lost time, Kev said he is well on his way to reach his final destination in November.

The voyage was long, cold and arduous, but Kev said he wanted to experience hardship to draw attention to the hardships faced by regional and rural towns.

“What I’m going through is nothing compared to what farmers are struggling with, so I wanted to raise awareness for them,” he said.

“It’s been good but sad to listen to some of their stories. I heard local farmers are not covering their costs, which must be devastating.

“We’ve got a comedy night coming up in Wentworth on October 7 which will hopefully raise their spirits a bit.”

Kev said his own mental state was “pretty good” despite the headwinds, the hard flows, the dead trees blocking the way and the freezing morning baths in the river.

After having spent several lonely nights huddled over a campfire, Kev said he had been looking forward to a hot shower and food in Echuca.

“I was really excited to get to Echuca. I want to spend a bit of time here wandering around taking photos taking in a bit of the history.

“Echuca is very similar to Morgan, my hometown in South Australia. It’s also a port town. Paddle steamers used to come from Echuca and stop at Morgan.

“My goal is to try to get people to come to Echuca, Morgan and the places we’ve been to along the river. People go to Bali and overseas for a holiday and spend thousands of dollars overseas – why not come to regional Australia and help the local businesses.”

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