This is a well proven cruise that we have run on four occasions. The timing is designed to maximise the Christmas New Year break and to have everyone back home on Sunday 6th in time for work on the Monday.
Our departure times will be determined by the calendar but more particularly by the weather. This will be our practice at all times. The biggest single determinant of enjoying a cruise is the weather and sailing will be brought forward or pushed back accordingly.
Departure is scheduled for a civilized hour on the 27th with a pleasant run past Sydney, Bondi and the rest of the close-in southern suburbs, Botany Bay and then across Bate Bay to Port Hacking—around 30 miles in all and very pretty too. Arrival will be early afternoon at the popular beach of Jibbon Jibbon. It is protected by a headland and is free of surf. It will be busy with day trippers in yachts and cruisers from Cronulla. The beach faces north and has the Royal National Park as a backdrop. There are aboriginal rock carvings within a short walk. It is totally protected against southerlies. Access is available to Gunnamattta Bay, Royal Motor Yacht Club and Cronulla.
The following day will involve an early start for the southerly set assisted run to Jervis Bay. It is very pretty sailing south past the high country around Scarborough, Bald Hill and Stanwell Park. It is not so pretty but very interesting past the Wollongong Northern suburbs (and Wollongong itself with its port of refuge, the very pretty convict built Belmore Basin) and then past the Five Islands as we approach Port Kembla (another port of refuge) and its busy industry. Beyond Port Kembla the land is fairly flat past Lake Illawarra and not so scenic. Later on, Bass Point to the north of Kiama appears. This is the graveyard of the City Services Boston, an American Tanker that ran aground in WW2 whilst trying to keep clear of enemy submarines (some family connections there). The crew all reached safety but 2 of the local garrison on the point lost their lives in the rescue. Bass Point is the scene today of intense quarrying of Blue Metal.
Little will be seen of Kiama as boats tend to be wide of the town (although it is a port of refuge). Kiama Harbour is convict built and stern to mooring with a bow anchor is the normal tie up system. Trip lines should be used when dropping an anchor as the harbour bottom is strewn with the debris of 200 years. The surge can take moored boats back into the stone quay so caution is advised.
It is likely that a considerable amount of motoring will be undertaken as we are leaving early and the normal summer pattern is such that the nor’easters don’t build until early afternoon.
The cliffs protecting Jervis Bay commence at Beecroft Head and we enter the Bay beneath the majestic Point Perpendicular. Care is needed abeam Beecroft Head due to the presence of the Sir John Young Banks, an area where the ocean depth is shallower than adjoining areas. On entering the Bay we move to the south west corner which is known as Green Patch. It is well protected from the south and there is a lot of sea grass and the shoreline is low. This area was proposed as a nuclear power station many years ago as it is part of the ACT and was therefore under Federal Government control. We can thank that abortive enterprise for the good quality access roads in this area and its abandonment for the sea grass to say the least.
Here we start to enjoy what we came for. A pristine environment. For those who say that there is nothing in Jervis Bay I agree with you—no ice cream shops, Maccas burgers or power stations—nothing but a very beautiful place. We will overnight here and then head off to explore the Bay next day with the ultimate destination of Montague Roads, along the north eastern side of the Bay. Here, we can enjoy a long sandy beach, some will take romantic walks, swim and laze about protected from the summer nor’easters. Anyone in the group who is interested in diving will find plenty of suitable dive spots near the heads.
A feature of Jervis Bay is the white beach-sand which is starkly different to the yellowish sand in Sydney. It looks good but anchors can be difficult to set and embarrassing moments have occurred in the past.
Whilst we will travel with all necessary supplies for the duration, it is expected that we will have access a naval facility with wharfage and a fresh water supply (but don’t rely on it). The town of Huskisson is on the western side of the Bay. There are 4 courtesy moorings adjacent to the nearby Huskisson Creek (on the southern side). The creek is high tide navigable and there are many moorings for a variety of vessels including yachts. It is the base for whale and dolphin watching boats. Huskisson is a tourist town with the usual facilities excepting that fuel is only available from a service station about 1km from town. It is not intended that the group will visit but it is an available refuge
Nothing lasts forever and when it is time to move on the destination is the little known
Crookhaven River to the North past Beecroft Head and skirting the fishing village of Currarong then entering the river at Crookhaven Heads and anchoring at the village of Greenwell Point about a mile up the river. If we start early and stay in close to the Jervis Bay cliffs we will be rewarded by the red hues on the cliffs from the low sun. This is a truly memorable sight and is a highlight of the trip.
The Crookhaven River entrance is overlooked by the Shoalhaven VMR station and they have given entrance advice in the past. Whilst every river entry must be treated with respect this is one is not considered to be unduly challenging.
The holding at Greenwell Point is considered to be very good and the village has all the facilities yachties need—mini market, fish and chips shops, hotel, paper shop and service station. There is a bus service to Nowra. The official cruise dinner will be held here at an eatery that certainly used to be good—let’s hope it still is. “Official Dinner” though it may be dress will be normal summer rig—polos, sailing shoes etc.
The mighty Shoalhaven River to the north discharges to the sea through a series of shallow channels whilst the Crookhaven has a superb entry. Alexander Berry after whom Berrys Bay in Sydney and the town of Berry are named decided to fix the problem. He had a gang of convicts dig a channel form one river to the other. The river scoured it out and lo and behold—Berry’s Channel was created. It is now the normal entry to the Shoalhaven River. My thanks go to David Baker for providing this historical perspective. We may take a trip to Nowra by dinghy or motor boat—power lines prevent sailing yacht entry.
Finally, we head off to Jibbon. An early start with a trip shortened considerably. An overnight at this now familiar beach and then north—Sydney Harbour to overnight at Quarantine Cove, Spring Cove or Store Beach and then to the mighty Barrenjoey!
To come along you will need a green (safety) card, all fuel, water, food and drink, a sense of humour and you will have to complete a simple entry form (available from reception).
Skeds will be conducted enroute for both safety and social purposes.
If you have any questions or intend to come, please give me a call on 0412 165 048 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will not be at December First Friday due to a family birthday.
Regards to all Ross Scoble