Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Busting out at The Gardens

One of the fun things about Big Lagoon is that it is usually blocked off from the sea. This makes it comparatively safe for young swimmers. However, as with most lagoons there are a couple of creeks feeding into it, and the level oscillates and eventually rises until the water is lapping at the base of the roadway on the little bridge we use to get to The Gardens.

When that happens, the local council sends a bloke along with a shovel, and he digs a narrow trench -- just two shovel widths wide -- to release the water. Now, with the amount of water backed up in the Lagoon and the nature of the loosely packed sand, the trench doesn't stay narrow for much time. Away it goes! Click on the photo above to see it full size. That's about an hour or so after the trench was dug.

All of a sudden, the nature of the beach has changed again. The channel from Big Lagoon has now become a water chute you can have fun in with boogie boards.

This is very much a temporary phenomenon and in a few weeks Big Lagoon will be sealed off again and the water will begin to build behind it for a year or so, and then the whole things starts again!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Big Lagoon - a safe alternative

Pounding surf is not for everyone, and The Gardens area caters for that as well. Close by the surf beach, about 300 metres from The Gardens House, is Big Lagoon. Yes, it's not a very imaginative name, but you've got the English to thank for that, specifically Lady Franklin ... I'll tell you about that another time.

Big Lagoon is a couple of kilometres long and really deserves its name, regardless of the lack of imagination. More importantly, there's a great place for kids to get into some supervised water play up at the beach end. It's shallow, clean sand, no current - ideal for kids to muck about in. It is water, and they should be supervised at all times though.

Because the lagoon opens to the sea occasionally, fish get in and it's also a good place for junior fishers to drop a line in and try their luck and develop their skills.

The surrounding sandy beaches provide a very comfortable area for the adult supervisors to relax and enjoy the antics.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Surfing ... of course

The Gardens is at the northern run of the East Coast surf beaches. Cosy Corner is just a short drive away, or, if you are not feeling that energetic, you can always step out the back gate straight on to Taylor's Beach - four km of lovely white sloping beach, and the main break is up the top end, right near the house.

The other good news is that there are quite a few surf areas before you get to Taylor's Beach, so the break is not usually crowded - all the other areas would have to be dead flat before Taylor's becomes crowded. You can find information on Eastsurf Online Surf Magazine.

The good news is that Big Lagoon is a good area for the "grommets" to splash about in, in relative safety.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Not a French connection

This is a picture of Tobias Furneaux, who, despite his surname, was English. The name is thought to have come to England along with William of Normandy in 1066. Furneaux commanded HMS Adventure on Cook's second expedition to the antipodes. On 17 March 1773, he named St Patrick's Head, St Helen's Point, the Bay of Fires and Eddystone Point. In the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Dan Sprod describes him as "an experienced, if somewhat unimaginative, navigator."

Furneaux named the area the Bay of Fires because he saw a large number of small fires as he passed that section of the coast. He also reported the area as being heavily populated, and he was not too wide of the mark as there are many sites with evidence of occupation. Many of these sites are Aboriginal middens (shell and bone deposits) in the sand dunes. These sites are protected and it is important not to disturb these sites.

Furneaux is remembered by name of the Furneaux Islands in Bass Strait. The two largest islands of which are Flinder's Island and Cape Barren Island.