Monday 25th June
Scott and Monica fly back to Melbourne tomorrow so it was arranged to have dinner with them at Woonona Bulli RSL Club. I was once a member of this club – 40 plus years ago. I can report the club has changed and what was once the front entry is now a cenotaph type memorial. What was once nearby houses is now a car-park. The meal deal was a rump steak plus chips and salad for $10. I expected a small hand sized steak with tiny salad. That’s OK as we normally only eat a small steak anyway. The meal which arrived was huge. Each steak would have been more than enough for two of us and the salad was huge as well.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Umm Err, nothing to report.
Friday 29th June
Thank goodness the sun was shining the wind was not icy cold and we had a chance to go for a drive. We chose Killalea State Park which encompasses two iconic surfing beaches.
In fact the beaches are so iconic they have been given a National Surfing Reserve Status on 6thJune 2009. Near the path to the beach a small granite cairn has been erected with a copper (or brass) plaque commemorating the National Surfing Reserve status. The sign is suffering from a mixture of verdigris and salt encrustation but is still readable.
The beaches are The Farm
and Mystics. We visited The Farm.
A good swell was running and a small crowd of Friday surfers were in attendance.
I was interested to note, apart from all surfers wearing wet suits and the number of women surfers, was the head gear worn by some. In fact one was wearing what appeared to be a motorcycle type helmet!
When one of the many older surfers left the water we got into a conversation and I mentioned surfing here uhemm spit splutter, 50 years ago! He also surfed here then and we both discussed those days when it was a working farm and the farmer installed his daughter at the gate to collect two bob (twenty cents) to enter and follow two wheel tracks across the hills. We were allowed to park beside a lagoon behind the beach but had to be off the property before dark. There were no facilities. As this is a State Park, visitors must still be off the property by 7.15pm as the gates are locked. Now there is a sealed road to The farm as well as the sister National Surfing Reserve of Mystics. There is a sealed car park and toilet facilities and nicely manicured grass hills sloping down to the water edge. Even if you are not a surfer this is still a magical spot. Did I feel the urge to don a wetsuit, grab a board and try a few waves?
You betcha I did!
Saturday 30th June.
Last day of the financial year.
The CO-PILOT spent the night at Corrimal helping Nicole while Errol is at work flying airplanes. She arrived back mid- afternoon and we went to visit Bass Point Reserve between Shellharbour and The Farm. The reserve has been set aside as a place or historical, cultural and geographic importance.
Once inside the reserve there are gates which are locked at 6pm Every Night and fishing, spearfishing and collecting (shells, rocks, soil, sand, timber) are not permitted. At the entrance to the reserve there is a basalt quarry not in keeping with the reserves aims but has been operating more or less continuously for a century or more.
First up was a popular surf break known as The Shallows.
When I surfed here we called it The Pilings simply because there were pilings still sticking out of the surf. There was once a jetty here which was used to haul blue metal from the quarry to waiting ships. All that remained were the pilings, now even they have gone but who knows what still lies below the surface of the water? Surfing here had several hazards. First there were the pilings to contend with, the shallow water over rocks which were pockmarked with eroded holes filled with what we called sea urchins and a rocky shoreline. If you wiped out in those days, you were not anchored to the surfboard with a leg rope but the board skipped away through the surf and ending on the rocks. You were left to swim to the beach to retrieve the board. If you stood on the rocks the chances of stepping onto a sea urchin was very high. The urchins brittle and slime covered spines would break off in your foot. That was very painful but if hospital treatment was not quickly obtained, the slime would turn the foot septic in a matter of a day. The Shallows is one of only a few areas along the coast which has black sand.
Further out on Bass Point itself was the site of a shipwreck in 1943.
All crew members were rescued by locals and members of 6th Australian Machine Gun Battalion conveniently camped nearby. Four members of the battalion were drowned in the rescue attempt. As a small boy I recall being taken here on a family excursion and recall seeing the rusting remains of the ship. Later in my surfing teen years much of the ship was scattered rusting lumps among the rocks. Still later in the early 70’s it was still visible as plates of rusting steel among the rocks but no longer evidence of a ship. Now by searching among the rocks and occasional piece of rusty metal can be found. A number of memorial plaques have been placed on the reserve. There are a number of aboriginal shell middens in the area and many of them are marked as historically significant and earmarked for archaeological survey…sometime.
From the car-park we found the walkway to a trig point.
Trig points are no longer in use as navigation and surveys are carried out digitally. The path is slowly returning to nature and it will not be long before the trig point path disappears in much the same way as the shipwreck has been reclaimed by nature.
From here we drove further around the reserve to Bushranger Cove a premier diving and snorkelling location.
I recall snorkelling here and pushing through a growth of kelp I suddenly found myself, face to face with a large cuttlefish its huge eyes seemingly staring at me. In truth I was staring at it. As it moved slowly away from me its camouflage colouring changed from a mottled green of the kelp to a mottled pinkish grey of the rocky bottom. That was one of my most memorable snorkel adventures.
By now afternoon shadows were creeping across the reserve but we had one more stop to see, Galloways Beach lookout beside the quarry. The attached photo, if enlarged clearly shows the mound of crushed granite beside the Galloways Beach headland.
Although we only had a few afternoon hours to explore, we felt satisfied with the time spent at the reserve.
Night fell with a thump so we decided to drive home on the eastern side of Lake Illawarra, stopping at Berkeley for fish, salt n pepper squid and chips for dinner.
Sunday 1st July
The new financial year begins.
We started to wash and polish WWWGO today. The wind picked up and it must have been blowing from the snow. We managed to polish an area of about one square metre before finishing for the day. It is hard work manipulating a heavy polisher around the sides of WWWGO, especially with a chill wind blowing, scattering polishing cloths every few minutes.
Enough is enough.
Perhaps I could polish a small section every day!