Australia 15 May: Salt Creek, SA - Strathalbyn, SA

Song of the Coorong

Rainbows have been seemingly everywhere over the last few days. Yet every time we see one, it brings a new and special thrill, as only a rainbow can ...

Today was a lovely day for a long run, and a day for a lovely long run.

The schools all had their NAPLAN tests (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) today, so couldn't receive any visitors, meaning for us today was all about running ...

... enjoying Nature ...

... and the journey.

Today for much of our run we were running alongside the Coorong – a remarkable 140 km-long saltwater lagoon, separated from the ocean by a similarly long and narrow strip of sand dunes.

This whole area is a National Park, famous for its exceptional beauty and unique wildlife ...

... a magical place where earth, water and sky comingle in one incessant song of myriad subtle melodies.

Both saltwater and freshwater lakes and lagoons abound along this long stretch of road ...

Our Mongolian runner, Oyungerel, is always eager to take the opportunity to brush up on her English: luckily Varunavi (herself from Slovakia, and living in Switzerland) is an extremely able and enthusiastic teacher.

Zina was sporting a particularly pink pair of socks today!!

Enroute we came across a surprising variation to the usual way of crossing a river: instead of a bridge we took a ferry that looked just like a piece of road!

The river we were crossing happened to be the mighty Murray River – the longest river in Australia – which is a Sri Chinmoy Peace River, which we last crossed over two weeks ago at the border between Albury (NSW) and Wodonga (Vic). Between then and now we have run about 1700 km and the river itself has flowed for over 2000 km and grown to an enourmous size!

At this point it is about to reach its penultimate destination ...

... the beautiful and vast Lake Alexandrina, its outlet to the Southern Ocean.

We were very happy to meet with the boatman.

In the morning we were still running in the rain, but as the day advanced the sun finally burnt away all the clouds, with plenty more rainbows along the way. We were all very happy to run in the sun!

We will all miss Prasasta, our great New Zealand runner, who leaves in a couple of days.

The autumn grape vines of this famous wine-making region were especially beautiful in the afternoon light.

This year we are using for the first time a new Peace Torch designed by Udar Robinson of Canada. It is by far the best Torch we have ever used in the history of the Peace Run since 1987 – it is strong yet lightweight with a carbon fibre handle, it burns evenly and consistently AND – as demonstrated here by Drishalu – it even burns upside down, without any fuel leaking out!

Lisa and Andi, from Germany, upon seeing the Torch stopped their car and turned back to ask Asankita – who at that point was happy of an excuse for a brief rest – all about the Peace Run.

Our other Mongolian runner Bayarkhuu, despite running 30 km yesterday, really has too much energy ...

... not to mention, flexibility! (he was not 'showing off' here, just going through the motions of his usual stretching routine...)

The poise of Drishalu ...

Salil thinking about who he might share his chips with ...

Prachar working on yesterday's report ...

... and a capturing a photo for today's report ...

Steve is a Man on a Mission ...

After our boys had finished our running for the day, we drove over the kms already covered by our girls team ...

... and reached the same ferry crossing of the Murray River.

The ferryman wanted to know what had taken us so long!

He was happy to hold the Torch for the second time today!

A few of our boys team are staying tonight at the charming Blackwell House in Strathalbyn ...

... while the remainder of our boys team are at the delightful 170-year-old, Heritage-listed Watervilla House, also in Strathalbyn, where our hostess Jane has indulged our every whim and treated us like princes.

Thank you so much to the owners and staff of Amble Summit in Mt Barker for a wonderful night's accommodation. Our girls team were delighted to stay in such a comfortable and serene environment.

With an hour to spend before dinner, Steve wandered the streets of Strathalbyn, admiring this lovely town ...