Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Shopping Bus Tour: Conjola Park to Ulladulla by Sea Kayak

On Sunday, we had an uneventful paddle from Moruya Heads to Mosquito Bay getting the requisite 30 kilometres done just moments before the Mosquito Bay cafe closed. There were good waves at Moruya Heads and even an outgoing tide to facilitate paddling back out for the next wave, but both lads were shy of getting wet at the beginning of the day. I had a lone dolphin swim beside my boat through the channel and caught one good wave before we started paddling north. 

The beach and kayak shot with Burrewarra Point behind

Mark wanted to catch a few waves off Tomakin Beach, the site of previous kayak disasters. It's not that many months since I had a long swim into the beach after capsizing in a wave and wet exiting here. The Dart managed to ride a few waves in but with a heavy less manoeuvrable boat - the Tug, perhaps - I found the waves a bit small to get on. Doug was resolutely staying dry. 

Leaving lunch beach

Burrewarra Point was probably as calm as I have seen it, possibly because we managed to round it at slack tide. We had lunch, or oranges, on a small south facing beach with a squirrelly wave near Jimmies Island, and on my urging went in to check out the wave on Mackenzies Beach which always looks so perfect whenever I drive past. The swell was certainly big enough but did seem to be dumping onto a steep beach so we passed by. After that it was a straight line for Mosquito Bay and the putative delights of the Mosquito Bay cafe. 

Doug and Mark at Burrewarra Point

Monday with light northerly winds forecast we drove up to Conjola Park north of Ulladulla to paddle from Conjola Lake back to Ulladulla. A "shoppers bus" runs up the coast from Ulladulla to Nowra and it is only 1.5 kilometres to walk from the bus stop on the Princes Highway out to the boat ramp at Conjola Park. After unloading the boats at a small dirt ramp in Conjola Par, Doug took the car back to Ulladulla and joined a handful of grey haired ladies taking the bus north while I hung out at a small jetty at the west end of the lake. 

East end of Conjola Lake

It's a straight forward paddle east along the lake which is pleasant enough in winter but must be horrific in summer as I doubt anyone sticks to the 4 knot speed limit. As you approach Conjola Beach you start to hear the roar of the surf on the beach and, of course, begin to hope the surf exit will be easy and dry. Conjola Bar is currently open but only to kayaks as the water is not near deep enough for a power boat. The channel snakes around in an oxbow before draining out through some rocks. 

Heading south down Conjola Beach 

We got out of the boats to take a look at the surf break-out and it looked easy enough to paddle north through the swash zone and ride a prominent rip out through the swells near Green Island. There was, however, quite a few white-caps and a 10 knot southeasterly blowing. I made it easily but Doug got bottomed out on some rocks in the channel and had to get out of the boat again. Paddling south down Conjola Beach felt like a bit of a slog into the wind as I was feeling sore from the day before. Long beaches are like long glacier approaches, the end seems to approach quite slowly. 

 Ulladulla Head
We pulled in at Narrawallee Inlet where the bar is also open for small craft to unravel our legs. South of this small nature reserve, the developed all the way to Ulladulla. Soon after we started paddling again Doug saw a green turtle which seems very far south from their normal range. Heading east along Bannister Point we got some shelter from the wind and there are big sandstone cliffs as you round Bannister Point, where we had a bit of bumpy water but the wind had slackened. 

 Herons in Ulladulla Harbour

A few pods of dolphins swam with us as we paddled south to Collers Beach where a group of surfers were riding a small break. Next is Ulladulla Head which has a big sandstone spit sticking into the ocean, and then, happily for me, round the headland and into Ulladulla Harbour. My shoulders, back and butt were tired and 22 km was far enough.

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