Yesterday’s forced family fun was on the water. While a lot of you are huddled indoors around your fireplaces, we here in Sydney are in the middle of a heatwave. Sunday was going to be one of the hottest days with coastal temperatures around 39C (102F) and much higher out west.
Apart from squashing myself inside my fridge, the coolest place to be was on the water so early Sunday morning we packed up the esky and headed down to our little runabout.
We took the boat over to a place called Castle Rock. Castle Rock is a little known and very secluded beach on Middle Harbour. Because it’s ‘off the beaten track’ and because there are no shops, cafes, car parks or amenities, you’re not going to be bothered by large crowds.
To get to Castle Rock you can park your car (for free!!!) at the end of Ogilvy Road then follow a track that twists and turns but ultimately leads to the beach. The walk should take no longer than 10 minutes.
Or you can arrive by boat and if there is a nor-easter blowing, Castle Rock is very popular with all the boaties as it’s sheltered from the wind.
As it was so hot, as soon as we were anchored I was over the side and into the water. The water at this time of year is lovely and refreshing and a very pleasant 18C (64.4F). And the water at Castle Rock is crystal clear and very clean with lots of soft, golden sand. Now it’s not the Barrier Reef but a lot of people were snorkelling as there is some fish life and with the water being so clear, it’s a lovely way to explore the foreshore.
I swam over to the beach where, because ‘Sydney is just an overgrown country town’, I managed to find two sets of friends. One group had arrived by boat and the other by kayak. All were out on the water for the same reason as me; to escape the heat.
My elderly ladies still have a lot of up-and-go about them and they weren’t going to be left at home for the day. First into the car and then onto the boat, Ruby has surprised us all with how much she loves the water. If we’re not careful, she’s throwing herself over the side. Rosie, because she’s a runt and runts are always missing a few bits and pieces, is missing ‘courage’. She’s very fearful of the water but I put her in because otherwise she’d roast.
After a lot of relaxing on the boat alternating with swims to the beach, we packed up and went up Middle Harbour to where you can go tubing. Alfie loves tubing and so he had a lot of fun zig-zagging at high speed behind the boat.
When we brought the boat back we realised we’d been out for about six hours. I had not set a good example for my offspring as while I thought I’d done a good job of applying sunscreen, I was burnt to a crisp.
As we were walking back to the car with the tube, the towels, the esky and the swimming bags plus two dogs on leashes, we were stopped by a couple who wanted to pat the dogs. They asked, ‘What sort of a mixed breed are these?’ I said, ‘I do beg your pardon but these ladies are pedigrees’.
He then asked, ‘How old are they?’
‘Ruby is 14 and a half and Rosie is 13’. He nearly fell over.
‘That old? I thought they were three or four. Gee they look good. What are their anti-ageing secrets?’
‘A good fur coat to protect their skin from the sun’, is what I said but apart from that, just a tonne of love.
And that’s how we spent one of the hottest days of 2014.