Part 2......... 30th July, still in Broken Bay
By now we were starting to feel decidedly grotty and in need of showers so we went further along Cowan Creek and moored Venture in Houseboat Bay where we then took the dinghy to the very end of Cowan Creek to the most gorgeous marina at Bobbin Head. The facilities were amazing (huge, gorgeous ensuite bathrooms, lovely little private lounge, small kitchen facilities) and the staff were wonderful. There's a café and restaurant, chandler and information centre and overlooking the marina is a wide balcony with tables and chairs. There was even fish feeding off of the marina railing. Not tiddlers either but big fat fish who seem to know they're safe from a fishing rod as it's a marine sanctuary. A couple of little kids stood there tossing out fish food and were delighted every time the fish scrambled for a morsel. A few ducks got in for their share too. So cute!
|Gorgeous park opposite the Empire Marina|
|Ahahahaha .... these guys have a sense of humour. |
Whilst the dinghy was safely tied up there, we wandered along the river frontage and over to the inlet of another offshoot named Cockle Creek where we watched a couple of guys racing miniature remote control speedboats. I think Dave drooled a little while he watched. Like most guys, anything remote controlled has an almost magnetic appeal and these were actually pretty awesome as they zipped about at high speed.
|A pod of paddle boats coming together before mating season. Beau'iful plumage!|
When the buzz toys ran out of juice, we crossed over the creek and went exploring along the beautifully maintained walking/interpretive trail, starting at the historic Station (although I'm not entirely sure why it's historic as I had trouble finding information about it)and following the cliffs.
|The historic Station Picnic area|
|Just one of the many massive sandstone outcrops in the area|
We followed the board-walk through the mangroves that lined the creek. We walked for a couple of kilometres, spotting wild turkeys, ducks and other birds plus the odd lizard or two that were too fast to snap on camera. We also came across a massive mound of leaves that was about 3-4 metres across and over a metre high. Initially we couldn't work out why anyone would scrape all of the leaves into such a mound until we came across an interpretive sign that told of the bush turkey nests. Mystery solved! They weren't huge birds but they sure built massive nests.
|It seems that someone is either supremely optimistic, recklessly naive or simply can't read|
The board walk became a path which wound through greenery, between boulders and along the river's edge. We wandered a fair way but had to turn back before we really wanted to as time was marching on and we were only at the marina temporarily. One day I'd love to walk a lot further than we did. The views and the area are spectacular. I would have loved to bring Venture in to the marina overnight but we really had no reason to and it's always better to save money where we can so the decision was made to stay in Houseboat Bay for the night and move on tomorrow.
We left the bay during mid afternoon the following day and followed Cowan Creek downstream to the major offshoot of Smith's Creek. In Smith's Creek we found that we were totally alone, which was fantastic. Again, the only thing that surrounded us was deep water and the bushland for miles and miles as the creek wound deep into the Ku-ring-gai National Park. We took Venture to the furthest public moorings we could find, about 2 nautical miles upstream. There we stopped for the night and the following day took the dinghy even further up the waterway where Venture couldn't go. It was stunningly beautiful and is one of the places you could never experience unless you had a boat. Later we sat in the cockpit and watched a pair of sea eagle collecting nesting materials and tucking it into an already substantial nest. I sometimes feel so fortunate that I am able to do what we're doing and see what we're seeing, even if I do get sick or frightened occasionally.
|All alone at Smith's Creek. It felt like a million miles from civilisation.|
Because of the sheer beauty of the place and because we were in no huge hurry, we lingered another night before finally conceding that the time had come to move on with the weather, so in the morning we motored the entire length, briefly hopped down the Hawkesbury River as far as the railway bridge and then turned around and headed for the Royal Motor Yacht Club Marina in Pittwater where we were staying the night before venturing further north. The marina was pretty busy and, despite being put into a pen for the night, we were asked to move as the 'owner' of the pen had come in in their boat and wanted it. So we were sent to another finger.... a super-yacht finger which must have been 20 metres long! It was wide and private and quiet and fabulous and quite a bit closer to the marina facilities. Ah, sometimes things work out well. :)
|Heading in towards Pittwater and ducking through the traffic on a busy afternoon|
|And the sun rises on another beautiful day as we head off to continue up north.|