Surfing at Agnes Waters
Anchored at 1770
We sailed out of 1770 on a sunny Sunday morning. After hours of deliberation by Gerhard regarding tides and the swing of the boat (and of those around us) and how he was going to raise the two separate anchors. It was clearly quite a challenge for him but from my point of view at the helm it seemed to go quite smoothly. He then just had to navigate us down the river and back out to sea.
We loved 1770 but I’m not sure we will find ourselves there again – not on Sunny Spells at any rate: the sand bars and the depth of the river (or lack thereof) made it a challenging and restless week for Gerhard.
On a very positive note though we loved 1770 and Agnes Waters. It was quiet and quaint, friendly and stunning. We walked the headland where Captain Cook on HMS Endeavour first landed (24 May 1770 – hence the town’s name) on what was to become Queensland. As the boys and I walked along a lovely rocky path cut through tropical bush with occasional wooden bridges crossing creeks ( or the bed of a creek at any rate) I commented on how it must have felt to be Captain Cook and Joseph Banks landing here for the first time ( you know, trying to do the whole ‘education in the field’ bit, and to take their minds off how hot and humid it was). Hugo was suitably impressed …”did Captain Cook build all of these bridges and paths as well Mum?”. Bless him…
The local council have made a super effort with board walks and footpaths along the river’s edge with signs pointing out the different plants, fish and bird life that Cook had noted in his ship’s log. I also noted that having come ashore on 24 May Cook and his crew set sail again at 4am the next day. What a pity; they missed out, failing to enjoy the lovely beach and surrounding area.
I was also fascinated to read that it wasn’t until 1987 that Agnes Waters got its first commercial motel. The then dirt road was graded twice yearly and the motel owner travelled to Bundaberg every week to bring back bread, milk and vast quantities of ice for local residents since electricity did not reach Agnes Waters until 1987!! That’s really not that long ago! Bookings for the motel could only be made via VHF radio at Round Head point and you just hoped someone had relayed the message down to the motel owner. Incredible!
The river had mangroves along it, enormous pelicans swooping in, fish jumping and the ever welcoming warning signs about the dangerous stone fish. We did not explore the stunning sand bars and ‘beaches’ that become so evident at low tide. Whilst picturesque and clearly a source of tourism income, they were not our ‘friend’, more a source of concern and something to be wary of. We therefore did not explore – but they were spectacular in the evening light, with Bustard Head lighthouse in the distance.
We all enjoyed our surf lesson on Agnes Waters beach. Gerhard of course was standing on his first attempt. Oscar did extremely well also managing some wobbly stands. Hugo was up on his knees but claiming to be standing and performing somersaults thanks to his vivid imagination and penchant for story-telling! I came up the rear – not unlike a large walrus and whilst I will continue to try and surf I think I probably require something the size of a banqueting table to actually get myself up on my feet.
We used subsequent days on the beach to ‘hone’ our surfing skills, and to Hugo’s credit, once he was put onto our big board, he got straight up. He was quite a way away from me up the beach but I swear I could still see his big grin and ‘whoop’ of delight!
On our last evening we had one of our ‘family meetings’, as proposed by Oscar. It’s helpful to reflect on the positive things about our trip so far and to also allow the boys to feel some ownership of the adventure and an opportunity to raise any concerns. Hugo introduced the concept of ‘he who holds the pencil gets to speak’ (a very useful idea presumably learnt from his Bilgola class teacher) – which is highly amusing when the chairman (Gerhard) talks during Hugo’s pencil time and results in Hugo waving the pencil and pulling amusing faces to indicate that Dad has just broken the rules. (He has a lot to learn!).
There were typical discussions regarding highlights: snorkeling, surf lessons, big fish, playing with Dad in the surf and the beaches. In terms of requests for the next few weeks they included: cycling, more exercise, more visiting places away from the coast, more chocolate croissants and visiting the Italian restaurant at Hervey Bay and most importantly.. Please, no more catching fish – we’re sick of eating fish!
So, after a stunning day’s sailing from 1770 to Bundaberg (which was unexpected: we thought we would be bashing into a bit of a southerly) we tied up just before dark. A long but positive day. We plan to cast off and set sail for Hervey Bay at 4 in the morning. Happy days …