Home' Afloat : AFLOAT November 2014 Contents Take monthly with water November 2014 51
ON THE WATER
with David Lockwood
Welcome to a timely series detailing Sydney’s best
boltholes, starting this month with an insider’s view
of The Basin aka Coasters Retreat.
There are good reasons that some anchorages are more
popular than others. Take The Basin in downtown Pittwater. For
all that is familiar, this deep bay offers a unique escape with a
rich history that dates back more than century.
A line of Norfolk Pines still stand sentinel, but the minefield of
moorings is the hook in Coasters Retreat today. None is for public
use. So join a boating club in the Pittwater/Hawkesbury region
and avail yourself of the moorings that grace this anchorage and
many other boltholes in the vast Hawkesbury system.
Non-club members can grab a mooring on a casual basis, but
must move on when asked to by a member. This might ire some
readers, but that’s the unwritten rule. And don’t leave your boat
if you pick-up a mooring you’re not entitled to.
You aren’t permitted to anchor in Coasters Retreat in a
way that hinders the fetching local ferry. But trailerboaters
and trailersailers can anchor stern-in to the beach, where the
deep drop-off facilitates easy access. There is a landing fee for
everyone including those on tenders at Coasters Retreat. Take
your rubbish to shore, use the cold showers and barbecues to
get your money’s worth.
Stay on a Sunday night outside holiday time and you can
have The Basin campground all to yourself. You need to access
the supplied barbecue timber by mid-afternoon and then you’re
set. A real woodfire barbie here is one of boating life’s treasures.
You, too, might wake aboard on Monday morning in need of a
‘mental-health day’ to recover.
The small beach between Coasters Retreat and Currawong is
a popular anchorage in high season, especially with those who
want to walk their dog (which they shouldn’t). There is also another
free beach alongside Bonnie Doon Wharf from where a walking
track leads to Soldiers Point. You will find a Tarzan rope en route,
lots of flitting butterflies, but beware the fire-ants at your feet.
Out wide, the superyachts and grand motoryachts – the
Hollywood fleet from Palm Beach – lay claim to the mouth of
Coasters Retreat, just outside the go-slow 4-knot zone, where jet
skis and towboats dragging screaming kids add to the excitement
at holiday time.
Back in the guts of Coasters Retreat, the incredible natural
amphitheatre is the natural wonder. Yabbies are plentiful and
make a hot bait here and in other parts of Pittwater. Yellowtail
and slimy mackerel are common in The Basin, but so too whiting,
bream, kingfish, tailor, salmon, small tuna, trevally and flathead.
Squid can be caught around the weedy foreshores and blue
swimmer crabs guard the sands off Currawong.
If you’re suffering cabin fever, bushwalks lead in all directions
from Coasters Retreat and back up into Ku-ring-gai Chase
National Park. Hike out and you might find the deep freshwater
pool in the heights where this writer has enjoyed a bath in his
own infinity pool surrounded by boundless bushland. Heaven
on a 35°C summer day.
Holiday season is a little mad at The Basin, but when a
southerly buster is forecast Coasters Retreat is, as the name
implies, a perfect retreat for coasters. We’ve been stuck here for
days eating canned food from our stores before catching the
ferry to Palm Beach for lunch and supplies.
The only thing to watch is a big northeaster that can turn the
bay into a heaving mess. Otherwise, there’s more to Coasters
Retreat than is apparent when you motor in for a mooring. Team
swims with a barbecue, fish and dive, a paddle and run with the
wallabies and you have to pinch yourself this is Sydney. Which
is why some locals with a private mooring see no sense in going
Busted for anchoring too close to wharf obstructing ferry ...
and wearing budgie smugglers.
Kids playing on RMYC Opening Day.
The Basin in high season. Anchoring is banned near the wharf.
Trailerboats at The Basin. There is a landing fee for everyone
including those on tenders at Coasters Retreat.
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