Monday, 14 July 2014

W...H...A...L...E...S... say it with me people!!

MONDAY July14Th – WEDNESDAY July 16th
We left Kiama with a sigh of relief and a great deal of thanks that we got away from the mooring from Hell unscathed and only slightly traumatised. If I ever travel to Kiama again, it'll be by car!

As we moved away from Kiama, the coast took on a decidedly industrial feel.
We were heading down towards Port Hacking/ Cronulla on our way to Sydney on seas that were fairly high and rolling but with enough wind to be able to use the sails for a while. We were pushing along quietly with no particular thought process going on or particular expectations at all and in fact I do believe I may have been slightly snoozing in the V berth when suddenly, out of the blue, the day became COMPLETELY AWESOME!

Why?” I hear you inquire (although that may just be in my head). The reason is.... WHALES!!!!!!! Yes, we finally got a closer view of whales when one suddenly breached in front of and kinda sideways of the boat. I totally missed it of course (due to the fact that I like to sleep a lot on these journeys, especially if I feel I might be ill), but Dave managed to grab the camera and catch the aftermath of it whilst yelling at me to come up top. Arrrggghhhhh I couldn't believe I'd missed it again but instead of disappearing from view altogether, a few minutes later there came a noisy plume of spray and then a smaller one only about 30 metres from the boat port side.... a mother and calf! Oh.... my.... gaaaaaaaawd... whales, whales, whales!!! (can you tell I was a teensy bit excited?) We snapped as many shots as we could but they only stayed a few minutes before once again taking a massively deep breath and buggering off. Noooooooooooooo!!!! I felt a little gutted that they'd stayed for so short a time yet again but at last my faith that we'd see more was restored. One day they'll hang around a bit longer.

Cliff-top house at the entrance to Gunnmatta Bay

I was still on a bit of a high when we approached the relatively narrow channel into Port Hacking. Turning in along the cliffs into Gunnamatta Bay (seriously.... that's the name. It's almost as if someone said one day.... it's not a problem if you stay in the channel but if you stray outside, it's gunnamatta! Nyuck, nyuck!) I was struck at how constrictive the approach really was. At one stage the water shallowed off to the point where, when another boat approached us from the opposite direction, I was worried that we may run aground on the edge of the channel as we both passed by. It sure looked like a lot of water but obviously looks are deceptive. Though not a large bay, there were a lot of boats moored and anchored. This was promising for a still water night. I was glad to finally tie up in the Cronulla Marina.

Cocky on the wind vane.

The following morning came bright and sunny. Though not warm, it wasn't freezing either so we made the decision to get the bikes out in the afternoon and take a look around. In the meantime, a visit to the showers and laundry were in order. The marina didn't have the best facilities, with unisex showers and toilets but they were adequate and the water was hot, which was all that mattered. While we were waiting for the washing to finish, we sat on the boat and watched flocks of cockatoos having fun with boat bits. They picked and pecked and chuckled and screeched their way along the marina and no, even our boat didn't come away untouched. I saw one of them land on the wind-vane and although I took a photo, I didn't realise that it was actually bending the vane. (the repair is coming up in another blog post). 

Passenger ferry on GunnaMatta Bay, pulling in at Cronulla.
Helicopters we have seen buzzing around Port Hacking
After the mundane stuff was done with and the cocky shenanigans were over, we donned our helmets and hit the road. Up and down the mall we went and then wend our way to Cronulla Beach on the opposite side of the Peninsula. We stood by and chatted as we watched surfers trying to catch some waves and also spent a moment of quiet at the Bali Memorial which honours the 7 local women who died on that day.

Though a pest, I do love these miner birds
View down Cronulla Mall.

The 'bike' path was brilliant, even though it actually wasn't a bike path and pictures of bikes with a large red line through them and “No Bikes” were painted all along the path. We rode anyway as the paths were pretty much empty and it seemed as though a lot of locals also ignored the signs. We felt so rebellious, I almost felt obliged to get a tattoo or something. Part way along was a very interesting memorial obelisk to Matthew Flinders and George Bass. They seem to be very big on obelisks on the east coast.


The path was directly along the foreshore and the wide beach and beautiful rock formations made the journey an interesting one.


All along the beaches were sea pools which I could imagine were hugely popular in summer, particularly since even in the middle of winter we saw at least half a dozen people swimming. Rather them than me but more power to them if they have that kind of constitution. It made me feel cold just looking at them and i decided then and there that I'd never be an 'iceberger'. We stopped often to traipse over rocks and read snippets of information along the way. At one stage a young tourist asked me to take her photo in front of a tiny waterfall that was trickling down rocks next to the path, and she then returned the favour by taking ours. I hope she's enjoying her holiday. 

 We parked the bikes in one of the lovely park areas and ventured down to look into rock-pools in the hope of seeing creatures such as crabs or starfish scuttling or lurking about in the clear water but sadly we didn't see a single one, though we did see many sponges, squirts and tiny corals. 

History of the 'Ladies pool and dressing rooms' at Cronulla
Not sure but I think this may be a poignant memorial to a couple of drowned surfers.

 The little snippets of history were very interesting indeed, particularly with the surfing culture that's developed in the area.

Awwwwwwwwwww. :D xx
The view back towards Cronulla. It's a lovely spot.

Gorgeous little waterfall that ran down the cliffs that lined the bike path.
Many of the houses along the foreshore cliff area were hugely ostentatious, particularly one, an enormous white monstrosity which had a sign on the gate claiming that, because of the view “This house is Blessed by God. Don't believe me? Then turn around.” I was almost tempted to go to the door and inform them that I'm pretty sure that nature and millions of years was what produced the view and that if there was such a thing as a god, he or she wouldn't appreciate the pure pretentiousness and gaudy nature of his property. :) There was one house though that had the most awesome wooden chair in the front yard, which Dave and I immediately coveted. It was huge enough for both of us and all the grandkids all at once. How wonderful would that be?!

Awesome outdoor sofa!
We followed the path for as long as we could, going from a wide paved path, to a more narrow paved path, then to a narrow hard-packed dirt path to an abrupt rocky end and then turned around and did most of it in reverse before taking another road back to the marina. All in all we cycled about 11 or 12 kilometres. Not bad considering I have problems walking 100 metres nowadays.

Despite the highly negative reputation Cronulla gained during the riots, we found the area and the people to be really nice.

Location: Cronulla NSW, Australia
GoogleMaps | GooglePlus Local

No comments:

Post a Comment