East Coast Spectacular [18]

Wreck Bay to Currarong – A Classic Paddle

By Arunas Pilka

Early last winter in a paddle organised by Mark Shrimpton from South Durras I had my first experience of sea kayaking. This first taste of sea kayaking had me hooked and thirsting for more.

Eagerly I awaited the next issue of the news letter in which upcoming trips would be announced only to be disappointed to find that the trips organised for the remainder of winter were ones that I could not attend due to one reason or another.

Because of my inexperience I was not confident enough to paddle alone and so had to resign myself to not paddling again until spring.

This year having gained a little experience I decided that I would paddle regularly through winter. I decided that I would paddle alone if necessary but that anyone was welcome to come along and to that end I would inform Patrick so that he could mention my trips on the info line.

The first, an overnight trip from Bateman’s Bay drew no response and so I went alone, on the second, also an overnight trip from North Durras I had more luck and Jeff Blamey and Jeanette Mill from Canberra joined me in their Puffins.

For the third trip I thought that an overnight paddle from Wreck Bay (South of Jervis Bay) to Currarong (North of Jervis Bay) being closer to Sydney and involving some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in NSW had the features to attract some of the Sydney club members.

Things looked promising at first with several people showing interest but in the end it was Alex Preema in his Rosco, Andrew Stephenson in a borrowed Greenlander and myself in my Seafarer who were to make the trip.

Andrew and I met Alex at 8.00 am at the Greenpatch camping grounds as arranged and we made the short drive to the Summer Cloud Cove boat ramp.

We quickly unloaded the boats and gear and left Andrew on guard armed with his trusty pocket knife while Alex and I drove both vehicles to Currarong.

At Currarong we met Geoff Wallace a friend of mine from Nowra who ferried us back to Summer Cloud Cove. By 10:45 am we were ready to set off.

We paddled from Summer Cloud Cove into a stiff southerly but I knew that once we rounded St Georges Head we would have the wind more or less behind us. By the time we made St Georges Head Andrew was already complaining about the comfort level of the Greenlander and as a result of the rebound at the headland of the beginnings of seasickness. He was therefore not unhappy that we had only a short paddle into Steamers Beach for lunch.

Despite the southerly there was not much in the way of surf on Steamers and so we made a fairly easy landing on the eastern end of the beach. While enjoying our lunch in the warmth of the winter sunshine we all agreed that all the people who stayed away from the coast during winter were missing out on the best time of the year After lunch the 10 km or so to Murray’s Beach just inside Jervis Bay went quickly with the southerly behind us.

Once there I was keen to have a paddle of the Greenlander and Andrew was extremely pleased to oblige. We made the necessary adjustments to the steering gear of both boats and paddled the 3 or 4 km to Bream Creek where we were to camp.

The campsite proved to be a flat sandy beach at the end of a narrow protected inlet where under the watchful gaze of the resident sea eagle we settled down to a comfortable night’s stay.

The following morning the southerly was still blowing prompting Andrew to comment that I was obviously not having my usual influence on the weather which normally guaranteed headwinds

After rounding Point Perpendicular we paddled north marvelling at the spectacular beauty of the cliffs, playing amongst the rebound of the 1.0 to 1.5 m swell and investigating the entrances of numerous sea caves that would be exciting to explore further in slightly calmer weather.

By the time we had reached the Drum and Drumsticks Andrew had had enough of the Greenlander and was going to give his back a rest even if it meant swimming. We looked around and found a boulder beach inside Lamond Head where a landing was possible, we struggled ashore clambering over the boulders with fully laden boats and despite me twisting an ankle and almost breaking a toe Andrew considered this a small price to pay to give his back some relief from the torture of the Greenlander.

After lunch Alex took the opportunity to get some photos of the spectacular rock formations in the area and we also investigated the possibility of camping in Gum Getters Inlet (Landing is no problem but flat ground to camp on is scarce).

The paddle of the remaining distance around Beecroft Head and into Currarong passed pleasantly and without incident and by early afternoon we were on the beach at Currarong.

After carrying the boats up the beach and washing them in the fresh water creek we packed up and made our way to the local shop for a well deserved feast of fish and chips before saying our goodbyes and heading home.

This is a trip I can wholeheartedly recommend. The scenery is unparalleled and the area provides challenging paddling. So if anyone is planning a trip to this area in the future I for one would welcome the opportunity to do it again.