April 7 - 13, 2013: Issue 105

 Easter at the Basin
by Robyn McWilliam

Easter is a special time for ‘messing about with boats.’ A light southerly breeze makes the Basin a perfectly protected spot on Easter Friday.

An array of boats, from massive cruisers to yachts to small runabouts, fills the bay. Most vessels are on moorings, others are anchored. Holiday makers have been attracted to this area for over a hundred years. This year favourable weather encourages outdoor activities.

After a still night, Saturday morning is calm, the sunshine glorious. Time for a kayak excursion. As most of the bay has a four knot speed restriction this is fairly safe.

We leave the raft-up on our club mooring and head along the southern shore known as Coasters Retreat. A pathway meanders in front of a number of houses that have water access only. Children fish from wharves. Oyster-encrusted sandstone lines the shore.


Past Bonnie Doon wharf paddle boarders move between boats and dinghies putter ashore. Our paddles dip and drip as we glide towards the netted swimming area. The tide is high enough to skim over the wire. Within the inner portion of the bay you’re surrounded by hills of bush. A huge sea eagle sits high on a branch awaiting prey. Gum trees tower over spiny grass trees. In the sandy shallows stingrays skelter along the bottom.

Bonnie Doon wharf

As we head back to the main picnic place, Norfolk pines dating from 1934 dominate the skyline. The smell of barbecues wafts across the water as children shriek and splash while they swim. To the north of the main wharf the camping area behind the beach is a mass of
tents. Ferries and water taxis provide access for the campers and their mountains of equipment.

We return to our boats to catch up with friends. People chat in cockpits; others read the papers or a book. Perhaps the cappuccino boat will soon appear for coffee.

Whether on the water or ashore everyone seems to be enjoying a relaxing Easter outdoors. This tiny part of Pittwater continues to provide pleasure for all holiday makers.

 Words and Images by Robyn McWilliam, 2013. All Rights Reserved.