Friday, 11 July 2014

Knocking about in Kiama.... literally!

FRIDAY July 11th – MONDAY July 14th Kiama
We left Jervis Bay fairly early for the trip to Kiama, hoping but not holding our breaths to see whales. Again, we were out of luck and even worse, the ride was rough and nasty and miserable as the seas were choppy and just plain blech. Unfortunately I was not a happy Misty as the seasickness pills took over again and I slumped into the usual Kwell-induced stupor, thus leaving poor Dave to cope yet again with the most part of the trip. I was getting weary of the lumpy passages we so often seemed to do and just wanted to get to our destination.

I was well awake once we got closer but as I looked at the map of the bay, I was worried. It looked tiny but on the other hand, it seemed well protected from the weather. Following a phone call, Dave was instructed on how to best approach the only available mooring in the harbour and when we finally inched into the tiny man-made bay we found that we needed to back in to the wharf/breakwater. It was one of the scariest things we had had to do to date because the instructions that were being yelled to us by the guy standing on the wharf were meant for someone with a boat that could easily reverse, which Venture could not. Luckily we had tied fenders all the way around and Dave kept a cool head as I grabbed the mooring buoy, which was just as well because the sea surge, which we later discovered was notorious, thus necessitating the building of a special surge ramp, pushed us sideways into a large fishing vessel before we could toss the man on the dock a rope. We hated every moment and were so glad to finally tie up and find that Venture was undamaged.

However, we found that getting safely tied up wasn't the end of the worry as we were informed later on by another guy that the mooring to which we were told to tie was rated to about 3 tons.... Venture is 10 tons and apart from the fact that it was blowing a gale, the swells and surges at times tossed her sideways like a cork with the only thing stopping us from again ramming into the fishing boat were the lines on either side of the stern and the flimsy mooring. We made up our minds to make this a very short term stay, despite the fact that the town itself was really lovely. It has now been voted in my notes as “Worst Mooring Place Ever” (at least so far). Seriously, if you are a yachtie DO NOT GO HERE! We went and bought pizza for tea and didn't get a lot of sleep that first night.

Venture moored at Kiama. We were on tenterhooks the entire time. It looks pretty but the swell is torturous. Kiama itself is lovely though.
When Saturday morning came we found that the large fishing boat next to us, a charter vessel, had departed for the day and the wind had dropped a little so we got the bikes out and went out for the day for a bit of a sight-see at the Kiama Blow Hole, the Kiama Lighthouse and to another of the beach pools that seemed to be quite common along the east coast. The water in the pools was crystal clear and I can imagine it would be awesome fun in the summer. The blow-hole was active and loud and wet and impressive. Luckily we caught it when the sea and swell was in the right direction to force the water well up. It was pretty impressive I must say. It's definitely worth visiting.


History Lesson**!
The Kiama Lighthouse was established in 1887, 10 years after the creation of the Robertson Basin, a man made harbour to service Kiama's supply of crushed blue metal and paving blocks for the streets of Sydney.

The original equipment was an oil burner with a catadioptric fixed lens producing a light that was visible for nine miles. This was upgraded to the local town coal gas in 1908 with an intensity of 1,500 candelas and a range of fifteen miles. This was further upgraded to acetylene gas and group flashing in 1920. At this point the light was de-manned. In 1969 the light was converted to 240-volt mains electricity. Kiama Lighthouse is located in Kiama on Blowhole Point.

The principal Keeper's House was destroyed by vandals in the 1920s. The single storey assistant Keeper's House, used for many years as a residence for harbour pilots, is now a museum.


When we got back in the afternoon the wind and swell around the bay had again picked up so Dave took the opportunity to do a little maintenance work. Later in the day the fishing boat with about a dozen guys on board arrived back and again the fun and games were on as, when it tried to back in next to us, a surge pulled the boat sideways directly into our side. A huge bang followed by a few yells gave me some idea of what was happening as I belted up the stairs and onto the deck to try and help hold the fishing boat away from us while the ropes were thrown to other guys waiting on the dock. It was only by luck that we managed to get away with just a few scuff marks on the hull and clean underwear. I had rapidly grown to loathe this particular mooring and I would NEVER recommend it.

On the Sunday the fishing boat stayed put, so at least we didn't have that to worry about as we again took to the bikes and pedalled the few kilometres to the shops to restock a little and have a bit of a look about on the way back. We stopped in at a fish and chip shop that was on the end of the wharf and took our spoils back to the boat to eat with fresh bread. In and of itself, the town of Kiama is lovely and we were a little sorry that the whole mooring, bashing and being bashed into spoiled it a little for us.

The parklands along the foreshore were filled with people enjoying the beautiful winter's day.

Please don't toss your litter in the streets. You really don't know where it ends up.

Cars outside the fish and chip shops near the mooring. One chip and it's "The Birds" all over again!

This lovely heron was at the back of the boat


The following morning, and with a little surge and swell induced anxiety, we threw off the mooring lines and unhooked ourselves from the wharf. This was the one part of the entire mooring process that went by-the-book and we soon found ourselves on the ocean once more.

On this sign they should include mooring in the harbour and the very real dangers of being shat upon by mad seagulls fighting over the last chip of the day, or the first chip, or any chip in between.

Location: New South Wales, Australia
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1 comment:

  1. Fascinating and interesting as always :) Thank you