Monthly Archives: January 2012

Hidden Treasure Up the George’s River: Part II

Way back in 2010 I wrote about our first proper adventure up the George’s River. We’re really getting to know and love this stretch of water as it now almost  literally laps on our doorstep. Whilst not as sandy or as clear as the water’s up South West arm, George’s River is a more complex system with many tributaries and creeks to explore. Of these, The Woronora is fast becoming a favourite, not least for the rich diversity of wildlife that calls it home.

Percival

I’ve always thought King Fishers were shy and solitary birds so had to look twice when I saw this fellow dart up onto the phone wires…

p1040007-800x600

…and then swoop down to join his mates for a chat on the tinny hoist. They are called Sacred Kingfishers and are one of five King Fishers species down here in Aus. I love King Fishers.

p1040010-800x600

We’ve made a few trips up the Woronora on both of the most recent public holidays; New Year’s Day and Australia Day…

Rhubarb...

Helping Hand

Head of the River

Beach BBQ

River Cottage

Ratty's House

and discovered the charming Woronora Boat Shed and Cafe where we stopped in for Miss One’s first Cornetto on New Year’s Day…

Just one Cornetto

and made a note to return for a proper job brekkie with friends, which we did this Thursday the 26th, to celebrate our collective Aussiness…

The Boat Shed

We had the most relaxing breakfast in the history of breakfasts’ in the company of four under four.  You wouldn’t think this possible so close to the water but the treasure trove of toys and books at the back of the cafe kept ours busy for ages..

Toy Story

..and its generally a pleasant place for boaty types to fossick about and admire..

Mermalaid

collections

..and we weren’t disappointed by the coffee and breakfast, after which we took our little friend for his first tinnie spin back to Oyster Bay. He was well impressed.

It was this big

And finally a few things to consider you’re thinking of heading that way…

  • We launch at Oyster Bay Boat ramp which you can find here at the end of Oyster Bay Road. This is great for small boats on trailers and for all kinds of tinnies. It’s quite shallow and there are very few facilities but this means there are no queues for the ramp and plenty of trailer parking.
  • There are plenty of other places to launch including the ramp at Tom Uglys
  • If you don’t have a tinny you could hire one from Como Marina. These boats go pretty slow (max 10 knots I think) so they can be driven by unlicensed operators. This really  isn’t an issue because much of the river is 4knot and 8 knot no wash zones.
  • If you’re not familiar with it I do recommend having a thorough look at the charts and be aware of the absolute need to stick within the channel as you could come unstuck, well actually get stuck and that’s not fun.
  • Another option is to drive to the Woronora Boat Shed and hire one of their many kyacks and canoes. The perfect way to explore this beautiful stretch of water.

We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea

Last year we sold our beloved skiff and I wrote a heartfelt valedictory post about it here, where I celebrated the love of a boat that sadly had to go. In the meantime we’d sold our small house in south Sydney and headed for the leafy burbs of the ‘Shire, content with the tinny and the occasional race or delivery with old friends and connections whilst we focused on raising two girls and giving them a taste of the briny.

When we advertised the skiff online we got side tracked perusing the marine classifieds and day dreamed of the possibilities, a bit like some people do on domain.com on a Friday night accompanied by a chardy or two (actually that’s me as well). We pondered a few items in the four figure category, commenting on how lovely it would be to have something with a cabin to do overnighters on with the girls and take them outside of the heads.  Having just bought a house and not having yet sold our current one, not to mention the renovations required on the new one, we categorised a lead keel boat in the “several decades away” basket. In fact having done a few thousand miles on other people’s yachts, being a “proper” boat owner has never been top of the list.

But what would you say if someone offered you one. For free?.

Allow me to introduce you to the Red Endeavour.

img_2526

Generously donated by a family friend whose budget and ambitions have changed, this boat has been a  family fixture for about a quarter of a century. Mostly sailed on Port Hacking, and definitely pre-loved, its age a barrier to her owner’s urgency to reclaim the mooring for her replacement.

Our initial reaction to the offer was “yes, yes, yes” but there is actually more to taking on an old yacht than meets the eye. If I’m honest we both knew from the outset that we couldn’t say no. We did a bit of research on insurance, rego, moorings etc. and then went down for a lookie. Having noted the need for some TLC we uttered a predictable “yes”.

The pressing need to get her off her current moorings presented some unexpected challenges, which I will elaborate on in a future post. In the meantime she’s had her bottom scrubbed (well in need)…

Dirty Bottom

a once over from a marine surveyor (with recommendations)….

On the Slip

…..and a good gurney to blow away the guano (that’s a technical term for Sea bird poo in case you were wondering,) she was starting to look like a bit of a gift horse. I daren’t look her in the mouth.

I’m going to blog (now and then) about her ressurection which may be of interest if you’ve ever cruised the classified sections of “Afloat” magazine and don’t think its silly to adopt a bottomless money pit as your pet project (what house renovations?…)

calling all carpenters

table turned

Dunno about the dunny...

Need some money for new rope

Anchors Away!

Who has an overlocking industrial sewing machine?

..and who could resist the intoxicating and romantic aroma of two stroke…

The intoxicating and romantic aroma of two stroke

…from the egg beaters…

The egg beaters...

But….most importantly, when she’s scrubbed up and sea worthy I hope to bring you tales from the ocean waves with two under 5…

pondering the high seas

are you sure about this?rail fodder

hiking training

old anchor rope

…as well as the usual escape tales from the tinny, which I assure you will retain its rightful spot (in my eyes anyway) as the ultimate getaway vehicle from the stresses of modern life…

The tinny life

 What lengths have you gone to to avoid house renovations?! :)

 PS – If you’re interested in the captions that go with the photos, just hover your mouse over the image.

 

 

 

Slow Out of the Starting Blocks

southcronulla

Early this morning I swam in the sea pool down at South Cronulla. On my own. The water was as flat as a millpond, zero breeze. Just ten laps. The water was warm and afterwards I felt a million dollars like I knew I would. Followed by ten minutes basking on the steps of the surf club with a coffee I was a new woman.

Taking part in an ocean swim has been on my agenda for an embarrasingly long time without much action. I vowed to give it a go in this post last year, hoping that a public proclamation of my intentions would force me into the necessary training regime. My efforts suggest I’m not that interested but I really I am, I just can’t seem to fit this singular activity into the hectic life that is a part time working mother of two pre-school children (who dont always sleep at night). Children and water need close attention so when I am not working and can make it to the beach with the kids, the closest I get to a proper swim is a wallow in the rock pools at low tide or at best a waist deep wade in the surf with a monkey on the hip.

My swim in solitude this morning was thanks to Reg being on holidays and at last a miniature surplus of time as a result of a long summer holiday that has allowed us to catch up on what has been a crazy busy year. When school (work) is in again it will be back to the grind and weekends dedicated (happily) to family time, sorting out the domestics, boating pursuits etc etc. So ocean swimming, other than training in the pool while the kids are in lessons, seems destined for the dream box again.

The thing that really appeals to me (having skulked around the general vibe of ocean swimming types; the ones on social media anyway) is the cameraderie and the idea that by coming last I won’t be laughed at (is this true?!). I know that if I did come last,  the physical rewards would compensate. I’d love to hear from any other ocean swimming mums and dads. Am I trying to fit too much in? How do you fit in training? Perhaps I should forget the training and just enter a swim that has a short course for beginners or would I just end up as shark food? Anyone down the southern side of Sydney interested in a weekday ocean swimming mother’s group where we can take turns?

surfreport

Messing About on Boats

Do you ever wish you were four again? The other day my little girl told me she wanted to be just like me. This isn’t necessarily a good thing but it put a smile on my face. I’ll dine out on it until she’s a teenager and tells me she hates me and wishes she’d never been born. Last Tuesday we took her for her first proper sail on a 30 foot yacht.

At The Helm

 I reassured our skipper that she is well behaved and great at following instructions, almost certain that in a new and slightly unfamiliar situation she’d be looking for guidance and doing as she was told to stay safe. As it turned out she had more confidence than a cabin rat in a hold full of cheese…

…below decks on a yacht is 4 year old cubby house heaven…

Cabin Rat

Portholes

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet

If she does turn out to be just like me she will love sailing and the sea with a passion. If she doesn’t, then so it is, she will be passionate about something else and that is fine. I’m not fussed if she doesn’t want to race, but if she just likes to mess about on boats, I will be a happy woman, and we will forever have some common ground on which to be friends.

Soul mates

Dreaming

What age would you return to if you could and what passion would you like to pass on to your own children?

Christmas in a Mangrove Swamp

When conjuring up the perfect spot for a Christmas breakfast picnic, a mangrove swamp probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind. But if you go down to those woods on a Christmas day you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. The trip down there was very quiet; the boat ramp at Oyster Bay was empty, there were just a handful of kayackers and the odd angler catching Christmas lunch from the tinny.

Christmas Breakfast

Having done a quick reconaissance last week we headed back to Towra Wetlands, a protected tract of mangrove swamp on the South West corner of Botany Bay. There’s oodles of bird life and you can actually explore them without a tinny as there is a board walk accessible from Kurnell (with a permit). Towra is the largest remaining wetland in Sydney and home to the endangered Green and Golden bell frog as well as a nesting ground for migratory wading and shore birds so tread carefully (we just cut the outboard and floated up to the edge of the mangroves). High tide is the perfect time to explore this enchanting mangrove forest as there is the least likelihood of causing damage, the swamp is completely submerged and the fish are jumping. We tied up in the cool shade of the trees for a Christmas picnic of mangoes, croissants (or “Croissonauts” as pronounced by Miss Four) and a flask of coffee.

Mangrove magic 1

Mangrove Magic 2

Mangrove Magic 3

Mangrove Magic 4

Mangrove Magic 5

Mangrove Magic 6

Mangrove Magic 7

Peeping Out

Of course the ultimate Christmas morning luxury is to be spade fed mangoes in the shade of the mangrove trees…

Mangoes under the mangroves

And if you’re really lucky you might catch the odd cyster catcher..

Oyster Catcher

and a sea eagle….

Sea Eagling

…before heading home to stick that other bird in the oven…

Heading Home

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...