Friday, March 4, 2016

Some South Coast Kayaking: Tomaga River, Wagonga Inlet, Tollgate Islands, Three Islet Point

Right now, and for the foreseeable future, we are based in Moruya, looking after a lovely older Collie and a house on a few acres. And, it has been hot, almost every day in the 30's with nary a sea breeze making it the eight kilometres inland to cool the air down. Consequently, we have been out in the sea kayak a lot enjoying the local waterways. There is a ton of kayaking down here, open ocean or protected inlets, lakes and rivers. 

Sunset from the house

Our first couple of trips were with the Eurobodalla Kayakers. Regularly on Tuesdays, a group paddles up the Tomaga River from Mossy Point. Apparently, you can paddle right up to the Zoo at Mogo, but when I went we paddled up to and around a little island in the river making a distance of about 10 kilometres. This is a pleasant little paddle and there does not seem to be any motor traffic to speak of. A really big sting ray hangs around the boat ramp. 

Our kayaks at Three Islet Point

Our next paddle was also with the Eurobodalla Kayakers and we went down to paddle the calm clear waters of Wagonga Inlet at Narooma. We launched under the highway bridge and paddled out to the bar where three or four seals were lazing close by the rocks. There were also many rays swimming in the shallow waters. Wagonga Inlet has really clear turquoise water so it is very pretty to paddle around the many inlets and bays. 

Heading out to the Tollgate Islands

With the hot weather continuing, Doug and I launched from Corrigans Beach in Batemans Bay and paddled out to the Tollgate Islands which are about 3.5 km offshore. It is always a bit disconcerting to start a paddle trip by heading straight out to sea, but conditions were very good with a 1 to 1.5 metre swell and barely any wind. Although the islands appeared very distant when we started paddling, we arrived in just about an hour. We circumnavigated the two islands but had to stand a fair way off shore as large waves were breaking on the rocky reefs that surround the islands. In calmer weather, you can paddle between the islands. 

At the Tollgate Islands

On our return trip, we paddled southwest and landed in a dumping surf - not our best idea - on Wimbie Beach, then followed the coastline north, did a lap around Snapper Island and paddled the length of Corrigans Beach. Snapper Island has a big sea cave on the northwestern end, but, the swell was too big to get in close. 

Snapper Island

Closer to Moruya, we had a fantastic morning surfing the kayaks at the southern end of Broulee Beach. The most sheltered launch site is a bit of a carry, and the surf is probably better at low tide, but we found very friendly waves along the southern end of the beach near Boat Harbour. Sea kayaks are so long that they can ride even small waves. 

The Tollgate Islands look far away

The northerly flow continued with hot weather and northerly winds, apart from our next paddle day when the winds switched to southerly early in the morning. We had planned to launch from Long Beach and paddle out to North Head which is on the north side of Batemans Bay and got up to find the wind forecast to blow from the south instead of the north. The winds however, were not forecast to get above 15 knots and the swell was low (around one metre) so we stuck with our original plan. 

At Three Islet Point

It is really easy to launch from Long Beach as there is a carpark right by the beach and even a water tap for washing your gear afterwards. We paddled southeasterly in very calm conditions past Chain Bay and Maloneys Beach before the wind came up. By the time we got to Three Isle Point, the wind was up around 10 knots and it was bumpy off the point which really sticks out into the tidal current. I was glad we had thrown a few water jugs in the boats for ballast so they did not bob around so much. We managed to land in a little grotto just inside Three Isle Point and scrambled on friable rock along the headland to view the Tollgate Islands. 

Seals in Wagonga Inlet

On the way back, we passed by Long Beach and paddled past Square Head and landed at the mouth of Cullendulla Creek. We had a brisk wind off our beams on the way back to Longs Beach. A group of three other kayakers happened to be pulling out at the same time as us and we met up with one of the local sea kayakers who I had been in contact with via email. Neil is a very friendly guy who not only fed us lunch at his house but gave us lots of great local information on other kayak trips in the area.

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