Home' Afloat : AFLOAT March 2016 Contents Take monthly with water March 2016 45
ON THE WATER
with David Lockwood
Along with the fish frenzy, it’s been an extraordinary summer
on the water for boating adventure. I have voyaged through
climate extremes, to unexpected exotic locations, spent
days and nights on the water, and test driven some special new
We kicked things of with our annual liveaboard family fling
to the Hawkesbury River, of course. This sabbatical saw us travel
about the much-loved creeks, river, Broken Bay and Brisbane
Water for 10 days. Nothing new about that, only we seemed to
have an especially harmonious family time, with no medical
dramas, not too many bites or stings.
We started in clandestine Cowan Creek, where you wouldn’t
even know there were yachts out there losing masts, tearing
mainsails and with man overboard (sadly not ending well)
dramas. That is the beauty of a well-chosen boating playground:
there is always somewhere to escape the weather and still make
a fist of things.
From here we shot downstream to a favourite Hawkesbury
River beach, where we lucked on a timber table and chairs that
had washed ashore. That became our base for lunches and dinner,
as the kids played in the small tidal lagoon and we caught a few
flathead for dinner out yonder.
As the onshore winds and seas abated – as indeed they will
in Autumn around Sydney – we ventured into the not-so -wilds
of Broken Bay. You have to know what you are doing on these
lee shores. But places like Pearl Beach, Iron Ladder Beach and
Maitland Bay hold immense holiday appeal. Although you are
in your well-trodden backyard, there’s a sense of real adventure
Then came the call for an assignment with Nomad Sportfishing
Adventures from Lizard Island to the remote Tydeman Reefs off
Princess Charlotte Bay, 100nm further north. How could you
refuse? So we berth the boat and I flew my family to Port Douglas
for four days of tropical fun.
It being the stinger season, we swam in freshwater creeks,
caught tortoises, dived with rainbow fish and Jungle perch, hung
out under the canopy of the Daintree rainforest, and rode zip
lines and flying foxes. We also took a super-fast RIB to Low Isles
for some skin diving with Nemo. The family flew out and I went
into Round Two...
Sunset over the Hawkesbury River.
Family and fishing –
the meaning of life
This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip that entailed steaming north
of Lizard Island at 6-8 knots on an 80ft aluminium mothership,
with 400hp Cummins engines ticking over, before disembarking
into 25ft Contender centre consoles with twin 200hp Yamaha
outboards to fish the remote coral gardens.
In the monsoon season, it was especially hot, humid and
extreme. Not only in terms of fish-a-cast giant everythings, but
with the 7.30am-5.30pm tropical days spent in an open boat. The
remote Great Barrier Reef is just mind blowing and a must-see.
I had Australia Day in the Marlin Bar on Lizard Island where I’d
been a decade earlier.
Back in Sydney, the boating resumed the very next weekend
with the family back aboard on picturesque but never prosaic
Pittwater. Then I winged it to Melbourne to test some Whittley
trailerable cruisers, which that family does so well, before heading
back home to test some dreamboats.
The Regulator 23 Centre Console redefines your notion of
how small boats travel through the water; the Riviera 525 SUV
proves that luxury and active boating pursuits can mix; while the
Jeanneau Merry Fisher 695 with 200hp Yamaha outboard is one
good value French-made fishing and family rig. The local mussels
cooked on the stovetop of the Whittley weren’t half bad, either.
All of which got me thinking about a common thread linking
my boating travels this summer past – family and fishing. These
two requisites form the basis for so many boat design, builds and
voyages today. Boat builders are becoming very good at making
family/fishing boats with few compromises for either pursuit.
Family and fishing remain the foundation of Australian
boating. Given the opportunities out there, few activities are as
rewarding. You realise that when you finally plant your two feet
back on terra firma and get back to work so you can afford to
go boating and fishing again. Therein the meaning of life. h
Our base for lunches and dinner, as the kids played in the small
tidal lagoon on the Hawkesbury.
Kids fishing off the wharf at The Basin.
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