Howdy strangers. Where did winter go? Its been all work and not much play here for a while. The occasional tinny trip. The lounge room at the Heron’s Nest has been strewn with companion way steps, stripped out bits and bobs of the insides of the Endeavour 26. Much sanding and varnishing. More on that in another post.
Last weekend, A few weekends ago, having reluctantly given up on the idea of fitting a camping trip in we headed down to Jibbon Beach, campstove, chairs, breakfast and lunch in tow. It was a glamour day, perfect for testing out a new camera.
The reason you go to the beach….
The sulphur crested cocky two year old….
sporting her new muddy buddy
…and other less common foreshore species…
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.
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…
…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.
We’ve made a few trips up the Woronora on both of the most recent public holidays; New Year’s Day and Australia Day…
and discovered the charming Woronora Boat Shed and Cafe where we stopped in for Miss One’s first Cornetto on New Year’s Day…
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…
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..
..and its generally a pleasant place for boaty types to fossick about and admire..
..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.
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.
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.
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.
Of course the ultimate Christmas morning luxury is to be spade fed mangoes in the shade of the mangrove trees…
And if you’re really lucky you might catch the odd cyster catcher..
and a sea eagle….
…before heading home to stick that other bird in the oven…