Moruya is famous for its granite. Between 1924 and 1932, 173,000 blocks of granite were cut, dressed and numbered in Moruya before being shipped to Sydney to face the piers and pylons of the new Harbour Bridge. 240 employees from 14 different nations worked at the quarry, many of them stonemasons from Scotland and Italy. A small community was built around the quarry consisting of 72 cottages, bachelors’ quarters, a community hall, post office, store and a school. This was known as ‘Moruya’s Golden Years’. We can only imagine the noise and the dust generated by all that stonework. Fortunately for us, that was all a long, long time ago and we had a nice peaceful night in our b&b. Still can’t help thinking it would have been easier to build the bridge here in Moruya rather than lugging all that heavy stone hundreds of miles up the coast.
Our journey around the south-east corner of Australia continued and we stopped near Narooma, at the glorious Carter’s Beach. The colour of the sea was stunning.
Again, a sign warned us of rips and strong currents, strong surf and submerged rocks. But from above, it looked so peaceful. We couldn’t resist a walk along the beach though. Yes, it was windy, but it was also sunny.
The sand was good for scraping the last of the mud from the bottom of my trainers. Yes, trainers. For the first time in months, I chose to wear proper shoes rather then sandals for a walk on a nice, safe, flat surface. This is for medical reasons. Months and months in the heat and humidity caused no problems. But just a few days in the relatively cold weather of New South Wales has caused the skin on my heels to crack. Crevasses worthy of an Antarctic expedition. Just a little sore. So it’s back to a regimen of moisturiser, socks and shoes.
We drove on to Narooma to look at a rock. Not a lump of granite, but the Australia Rock, so called because the hole in it resembles the shape of Australia.
It was a pleasant walk which gave us some nice views.
The crew mowing the grass on the high bank were friendly enough, not so much the woman who drove past us, on the road closed to traffic, with a scowl so sour, she could curdle milk from a hundred yards.
Fortunately, we weren’t on the road a minute earlier, because that’s when a large ant-hill or something was mown, throwing clouds of earth in all directions.
Another day, another campaign against fossil fuel extraction.
The steamer, Lady Darling, carrying coal from Newcastle to Melbourne, sank near here in 1880. The site is now protected as an Historic Shipwreck. The masts were visible above water for a while, but no longer.
Adam had visited Montague Island to see and to swim with seals, but we decided not to do so on this occasion.
The walk along the breakwater was enjoyable, but there was a slight smell. Then we saw why. Seals were basking on the rocks, soaking up the Sun, not at all bothered by us two or the handful of other visitors.
A couple of young ones were playing and play-fighting in the water. I wish I’d caught this moment on video. One of the pups climbed out and nudged his Dad on the bum. Dad leapt about a foot in the air, grunted his disapproval then went back to sleep. We’ve never seen a seal goosed by another seal before.
As we were talking to a local Aussie lady, we saw dolphins leaping a long way out in the sea. It was only a small pod and they swam right by the little inlet, but that was another wonderful surprise.
Our new friend told us where to go to see sting rays later on. They come up close to the beach when the fishermen are processing their catch. That’s why we went over to Bar Beach after lunch.
Narooma, Bateman’s Marine Park, Wagonga Inlet, Bar Beach, Eurobodalla, Narooma Bar, Mill Bay, Sapphire Coast. I’m sure they use all these names just to confuse us visitors. Where’s Bar Beach? Oh, this is it, you’re already on it.
I walked along Mill Bay Boardwalk because the sea water here was so clear, you could see the sea bed, the sea grass and any little fish that might come by. There may well have been sea dragons too, little sea horses, but they’re very well camouflaged.
The pelican was just swimming around and around for the sheer pleasure of it, he wasn’t looking for food or a mate, he was just having a good time paddling around in the water.
Then from underneath the boardwalk, I spied this wonderful creature.
There were no fisherfolk gutting fish today, but I found the table where they would normally do their work. And I guess Ray knew what time of day to come sniffing around.
I found another one having a lie down, and I only wish I had some fish guts in my pocket to throw down for him.
Another breakwater was begging to be walked along, so I obliged. The only lifeforms on the beach were a young couple running and dragging their dogs behind. But, hooray, out at sea, another slice of dolphin action. Fantastic!
It’s always good to learn something new, and today, I found out that I’ve been spelling ‘telaphone’ incorrectly all my life. At least, according to this old phone box in Central Tilba.
We walked up and down the main street here, admiring all the old buildings. Dairy farming and then gold attracted settlers to the twin towns of Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba.
The rest of our drive to Eden was uneventful: we admired the views and hoped to arrive at our b&b before it became too dark.
Bega and its cheese will still be here when we next visit but we ran out of time today.
But how lucky were we today with the wildlife we saw, all totally unexpected! We’d seen signs warning us of the presence of wombats, possoms and kangaroos but we saw none of those on the road, alive, just a couple of corpses.
Our hostess in Eden was named Eve. No, of course not. She was Fran, a retired Maths and English teacher and very pleasant to speak with.