Monthly Archives: April 2011

Maianbar Crab Fest!

Serge and the Soldier

If you really want to impress your overseas visitors, skip the Opera House and Bondi Beach and take them on a tinny tour of The Shire. They’ll thank you for it. Our tinny takes a maximum of four people (apparently maritime regulations consider Rhubarb as cargo) so we left the kids with the outlaws on Sunday morning and headed up South West Arm under cloudy skies and the threat of rain. As always these conditions meant there was nobody else about.  Since I had my hands free (no children to restrain) I took a few movies on the camera which I’ve published to You Tube and included below. Initially I thought it was going to be uneventful with not much of visual interest to write home about, but as usual Port Hacking came up trumps.

Hot Cross bun and thermos stop….

The ever optimistic Rhubarb

The tinny

We stumbled on some sculpture by the sea….

Sculpture by the Sea

Rhubarb in her element…..

When we stopped at Maianbar to give Ruby a burn we came across hundreds and hundreds of soldier crabs. I was sad that the children weren’t with us as they would have loved these pretty little pink and blue “Mr Pincys”. We’ll have to plan a return trip to Maianbar at very low tide again and hope they come out to play. I’m also wondering whether these critters would make a good soft shell crab salad? Can you eat soldier crabs?

A crab in the hand's worth two on the sand

No paparrazzi please


Almost gone

 Soldiers on the march….

Have fun on the water this Easter Weekend, wherever you are. We’re heading to Colo River for a spot of camping :)

Outdoor Type: The Essential Ingredients

Why do people describe themselves as “the outdoor type”? Because they were brought up to be? Because its cool? Or is it because at some point, when they were young and impressionable somebody took them under their wing and into the great outdoors? I could be wrong but you don’t hear about that many adults who are self confessed “indoor types” one day and climbing Everest the next.  It all starts much earlier….

As a little tacker I was lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of the world with lots of space to run around and let my imagination run wild, thanks to the life choices my parents made.

Godolphin Hill...where many happy hours were spent

I also had some rather good company in my older  and younger brothers and sisters. My parents set a good example; they gave us a loose rein when it was safe (which was most of the time) and banned TV when it was sunny, a habit (or a rule?!) that they’ve passed onto me as a parent. They kicked us into the outdoors. I also got taken to some fabulous places by some generous adults. Having no close grandparents we adopted a neighbour, called Bob, who used to let us build stuff in his workshop and who took me on my first proper overnight hike with his granddaughter. We did one particularly memorable hike when I was about eight years old to Nanjizal, a beach at the bottom of a rugged Cornish cliff that you can’t get to unless you walk 8km (also not labelled on google maps yet :)); this struck me as rather special at the time and is a benchmark I use to this day. Then came sailing. My best friend Polly took me out in her Mirror dinghy and taught me how to sail.

Capsized off a turning mark in Carrick Roads, spinnaker pole overboard, Jib Halyard stuffed, cacthing a tow home! Falmouth Week 1991?

Her parents then let us loose on their 25 footer. And so began a long line of mentors and benefactors who taught me, inspired me and gave me the opportunities and the resources to lead an outdoor life. This ultimately led to sailing adventures far away from home…and ten years later I’m still at sea so to speak…sorry mum…

Reg, playing in Temptation Creek, oh..sometime back in the 70's

So to answer this question “why do people call themselves the outdoor type”? I think there are a few ingredients that shape the outdoor type, young and old:

  • The right environment. You don’t have to move to the wilds of Africa, just regular visits to a place where trees outnumber people or the river runs a bit wilder than normal
  • The right catalyst: Great outdoor mentors. Many people I know who are self described “OTD’s” began their journey when someone showed them the way.
  • The right company: solitude is lovely but a real love of nature comes from sharing the love with someone else. For kids this is often just being allowed to play together outdoors, unsupervised.
  • The right freedom and opportunity: If you’re a parent, find a way to let your kids loose, if you’re an adult give yourself permission and unplug from the matrix.

This month is Get Outdoors month. If you and your family are already self confessed outdoor types and are planning adventures for the Easter holidays, why not invite a little friend along and show them the great outdoors? Are you an outdoor type? Who showed you the way?

P Plates Overboard

Armed and Dangerous

I’ve just ticked off a major item on my longterm to do list.  As promised in last years post License to Thrill or License to Spill: Gettting Qualified on the Water, I’ve finally completed the requirements to obtain a NSW Maritime Boating License. Rather than do the self study and online test combined with completing a log book under Reg’s supervision,  I joined a class of nine others at the Australian Boating College for a full day course. This course covered both the theory and practical in one hit.

If you’re keen to get on the water in a hurry, this course comes highly recommended. The theory tuition does away with the confusing language of the standard training content and delivers it in a more user friendly format. Furthermore if you are new to boating, the course is delivered in the context of your local waterways. Throughout the morning we discussed local examples of hazards, common weather conditions etc. that we might come across in Sydney Harbour, Pitt Water and Port Hacking; something you wouldn’t benefit from by doing the course independently. We were also brought up to speed on recent changes to the maritime law in NSW, including that it is now compulsory for children under 12 years to wear a life jacket at all times (more on that next week).

Charting Dangerous Waters!

The afternoon on the water (4 or 5 students at a time for almost three hours) gave us all the opportunity to take the helm, practice anchoring, driving at speed, in figure eights in forward and reverse and emergency stops at high speed. Whilst the tinny can do 20 knots fully cranked, much of this won’t apply until we upgrade to a stinkboat (but why would we do that?!). Having said that it was quite a lot of fun hooning around the upper reaches of Middle Harbour, which was deserted by everyone else in favour of a dry afternoon indoors watching the election coverage. How dull.

Before we headed back to the boat ramp at Tunks Park we took a bit of a tour around some good spots to anchor or beach your boat. The waterfalls were running and the bush trails invitingly signposted, awaiting exploration. A few of my classmates expressed surprise at how remote and enticing these places seemed, despite being only a stones throw from the CBD. Now that they’re licensed the harbour is their oyster. Hand over the helm Reg.

Eat My Wake

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