The fantastic thing about paddling in Sydney is that there are so many secrets to be found. On my usual paddling spot (Middle Harbour) there are all types of areas to be discovered, and one of these secrets is Scotts Creek.
At the end of Sugar Loaf Bay, about midway up Middle Harbour, is a set of mangroves that seem inpenetrable at low to middle tide. I’d heard about this area from other paddlers but had never had the chance to explore it with the right tide. On this particular day, I’d managed to get there on a very high tide, paddling through the high winds and constant rain that have been buffeting Sydney for the past few weeks.
A meandering creek narrows and passes deep into the mangroves, an enchanting paddle through skeletal trees that seems a million miles from civilisation. Then the creek turns and passes under a huge rock overhang, which on this particular day was a thousand dripping channels caused by the rain.
As you pass the rock the creek narrows further (at times to little more than a kayak width), with the folliage changes suddenly to sub-tropical bamboo and palms along the banks. This is an incredible change in flora as you move deeper and deeper into the creek system.
At this stage I was starting to scrape both my kayak and my paddles on the rocky bottom and had to turn and head back through the incredible serenity of this secret spot. With the gentle patter of rain falling through the silent ghostly mangrove trees I couldn’t help but feel enchanted by this incredible part of Sydney. Love this city!
This has been one of the true highlights on some of our very lucky Eco Tours – it really needs a ‘high’ high tide. It is amazing that you are only about 7km from the CBD however you seem to be completely in the wilderness.
Remember – please leave only paddle strokes….
So true about the wilderness thing, it seems impossible to equate which part of Sydney this is running through. Absolutely amazing.
I don’t remember the bamboo being there in the late eighties?
Areas change; which just adds to the interest in paddling. Look forward to having another look some day.
We’ve got a few of those Mangrove trails around here in Florida. I haven’t yet been caught in one when the tide went out, but I hear trudging out thru the mud is no fun.
Portage in mud would be terrible, I can’t imagine just how horrible that would be!
I’m heading out there this weekend, according to the BOM there’ll be a high tide early Sunday (http://bit.ly/QWX3n). When you get to the end, how do you turn round?
Thin Paddler, my Nemesis!! 😉
You turn around SLOWLY. My yak is 5.38m and I managed to do a 3 point turn to about face. Enjoy it mate, its a great paddle!
Right, SLOWLY. So it’s wide enough then. Also, to reach the creek, do you veer to the left or right as you enter Sugar Loaf Bay?
Veer to the right. 🙂
Thanks mate, I’ll report back!