This has given us light and not very useful SE breezes for a few days and so we've stopped for a few days at Iluka, at the mouth of the mighty Clarence River. It's here that we have taken an interest in the huge works that man has undertaken to try to manage the elements when the weather isn't so unusually settled.
This image of the entrance to the Clarence River clearly shows the way in which the river has been managed, since the early 1800's, to try to make it a safe, navigable waterway. Of course, until the first quarter of the 20th Century, road and rail links along this coast were pretty sparse so the ability to allow coasting vessels to make port safely was vital to the growth of the region.
We took a walk out to the end of the northern breakwater on a fairly gentle day:
|Thousands of tonnes of rock, to be regularly maintained after winter storms|
|In between the breakwaters, you can still get sizeable, breaking waves so it's vital to exit or enter at the right stage of tide|
|The bar at a dangerous time|
Whilst we were waiting for the weather, we managed a few walks, some chores and even a session in a gym with a great view:
|Lots of Australian parks have these brilliant kits so we use them whenever we can|
|The breakwater was built to join up to Muttonbird Island in the foreground. The Marina came a lot later.|
The marina was badly smashed, two boats were sunk with many more badly damaged and the repair work is still going on.
|The crane is hoisting huge pre-cast concrete blocks onto new rocks already laid; the plan is to make the breakwater taller and wider|
|Thatchers Cider comes from Somerset in bulk tanks and Coopers Brewery (another family-owned business, based in Adelaide) fills it into kegs and delivers it.|
At the point are the remains of Trial Bay Gaol, built to house low-risk prisoners in 1886. Their job was to build a huge, 1500m breakwater from the aptly-named Laggers Point to create a safe anchorage in the bay. The project overran in time and cost and, even as the first 300m of rock wall was built, the waters behind it began to silt up so it was abandoned.
We had hoped to go into the Macleay River to the SW of the photo but apparently there hasn't been a flood to wash the river bar out for several years and now it is deemed too shallow and dangerous for most boats. So we're anchored in the bay instead and it's calm but a little bit rolly. Tomorrow we'll get the maths right to go through the bar entrance at Port Macquarie.