Our paddle last Saturday was on Stingray Creek, North Haven.
Twelve of us enjoyed the morning on the water & Greg led us on a different route, veering west to explore a large, meandering lagoon then rejoining the creek for awhile before veering west again into another large bay just before the entrance to Queens Lake. A good run in tide enabled us to paddle these large, expanses of water, the first home to lovely sandy shallows which nurture juvenile & sapling mangroves, the second sheltering oyster leases.
Stingray Creek is part of the Camden Haven river system. The Camden Haves rises in the Great Escarpment & Comboyne Plateau & flows east for 72.4kms, descending 698m. It is described as a small but scenic river which broadens considerably as it nears the coast. It becomes part of an expansive & interesting waterways system including Watson Taylor Lake. It then joins water from Queens Lake, travels through North Haven & Dunbogan before entering the Pacific Ocean at Camden Head. It is referred to in Wikipedia as ” an open & trained intermediate wave dominated estuary”.
We started our paddle under the ‘new’ North Haven Bridge over Stingray Creek. This bridge cost $26 million to construct & was officially opened to traffic in February 2017. The original bridge over the creek was built in 1925 & was described as a “pack-horse” punt pulled by hand. After this old punt sank, travelling to & from Laurieton reverted to a rowing boat until 1931 when the Humpty Back Bridge was opened to the public.
Our paddle was very easy on the eye & some enclosed sections were quite ‘dreamtime’ with tree covered hills in the background descending down to lower areas of different vegetation types. There were some lovely old mangrove trees along the way & shallows dominated by mazes of the pale, spindly trunks of younger trees. Despite knowing that the local suburbs were just behind the tree line, you could feel a quiet solitude & sense of isolation in many sections with simply trees, water & hills all around you.
After exiting the second bay area we headed back up the creek, past two little side creeks which lead back to the lake but were too shallow to navigate. We pulled up for a leg stretch next to one of these creeks on a lovely sandy spot with a grassy area, shade & lovely views back up the main creek. Several black swans were gliding around & I spotted a beautiful white bellied sea eagle surveying our progress from on high. Bill checked out the lake but it was too shallow to get around to Limeburners without going right out towards the centre.
After loading kayaks etc back at the bridge we headed to the café under the North Haven Surf Club where we enjoyed ocean side refreshments of coffee & a variety of burgers which were very generous in their proportions!!
Thanks Greg for leading this paddle & showing us a different part of Stingray Creek.