Thursday, June 30, 2016

Saving The Best For Last: Moruya Heads to Tuross Head By Sea Kayak

After turning back at Pedro Point on Sunday, I was keen to head south from Shelly Beach again in the sea kayaks and get at least to Mullimburra Point, so, when MS decided to join us the possibility of a one way trip emerged and I got keen to paddle from Shelly Beach right down to Tuross Heads. I was not sure, however, what Tuross bar was like after the June east coast low so called PC, another keen sea kayaker, whose house overlooks Tuross Bar. Not only did PC assure me that the bar was fine, but he also offered to help with the car shuttle driving MS and me back to Shelly Beach after we dropped off the cars at Tuross Head. If that was not awesome enough, PC would even paddle out from Tuross Head and meet us near Bingie Bingie Point to guide us back through the bar. A good forecast, sunny weather, great company, car shuttle help, and a local guide to help us navigate Tuross bar, it was all too good to pass up. 

Seal spotting off Toragy Point, PC DB

MS and I had got a look at Tuross bar when we left the cars in Tuross Heads. It was slightly messy but not looking too bad and I was anxious to impress on MS and PC that they assure Doug that entering at the end of the day would be easy lest he be somewhat anxious throughout the entire trip. I'm not sure what either of them really thought but they were certainly enthusiastic in assuring Doug that paddling over the bar at days end would be easy. 

Seals off Bingie Bingie Point, PC DB

The coastline from Moruya Heads south to Tuross Head is basically a series of long beaches broken by rocky headlands with off-shore reefs. Pedro Point is the least prominent and Mullimburra the most prominent. As usual, there were a few dolphins patrolling the mouth of the Moruya River and a cluster of seals resting in the surf zone off Toragy Point. With a swell about half the size of last Sunday, paddling across the reef at Pedro Point was easy as the gap between breaks was easily negotiated. At Congo Point a rock platform curls north and breaks all the time but provides a somewhat sheltered landing in a southerly swell. 

Passing Black Rock, PC DB

Paddling down Congo Beach we passed some short basalt cliffs which may have good bouldering at low tide and took a trip around Black Rock where sea birds nest. We landed for lunch in a minor shore-dump at the little beach on the north side of Mullimburra Point. I knew of a narrow gauntlet at Mullimburra Point that runs clear, albeit narrow from one side of the point to the other. MS had, of course, paddled through and we thought we would take a look on the way by. When we actually got to the gauntlet, as so often happens, we all had reasons not to enter. MS did not want to damage his boat, I did not want to damage my body, and Doug was basically having none of it. I paddled cautiously in from the north and saw a very narrow passage with a big rock in the middle that did not even look a paddle length wide. Had I known that you could actually enter or exit half way through, I think I would have been more inclined to give it a go, but perhaps I am just feeling braver when I am not at sea in a small boat. 

At Mullimburra Point, PC DB

South of Mullimburra Point is Grey Rocks where there is good bouldering with sand landings on solid granite slabs and boulders and then we reached Bingie Bingie Point where there are more granite boulders to climb on. At Bingie Bingie Point, as prearranged, we tried to raise PC our respective radios and mobile phones (the battery in our phone had died and MS was unable to operate his through his waterproof case) but were unsuccessful. We could only hope that PC had paddled out from Tuross Head without waiting to hear from us. Another cluster of seals were rolling around in the swell of Bingie Bingie Point.

Photographing the photographer photographing seals, PC DB

Paddling down Bingie Beach we were well spread out and I was thinking it a shame that PC had done a car shuttle but would not get a paddle when I saw a bright red kayak far out on the horizon. It could only be PC and we all paddled over to greet him. Paddling south, we saw a Fairy Penguin in the water but were unable to get very close. 

Finally, we approached Tuross Head. I was, as usual, at the back, and by the time I arrived Peter was half way in and fast disappearing into the swells. PC was going to give us a sign, the standard raised paddle, when he got in, but, with all the breaking waves it was really almost impossible to see him. MS was busy rehearsing the set-up position for an eskimo roll which was maybe not that confidence inspiring. I took my hat and sunglasses off and put them away in case I got dumped. 

Black Rocks, PC DB

It was a bit tough to hang around off the bar getting a feel for the waves as we were getting carried steadily south and inshore to where the waves were breaking. I managed to avoid any real breakers by paddling swiftly back out but Doug got caught a couple of times as waves broke directly on the stern of his kayak. I'm pretty sure I saw the whites of his eyes the first time one broke right on this stern deck. MS was next in, then Doug, and I followed right behind Doug. Once you started paddling in, it wasn't actually too bad as right in the channel the waves did not seem to be breaking. It still got my heart pumping though, half from paddling as hard as I could and half from wondering if I was going to get slammed from behind. After that, landing on the beach near the caravan park was easy and another grand winter day out on the water was over.

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