Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Big Storm / Aftermath 2

We like the beach in winter.
Usually deserted, it's a great place to find a spot out of the wind and in the sun to do a bit of quiet reading.
But now it is a little depressing to see 'our' beach in such a mess.
But there is an alternative. A few kilometers further south another favorite has been relatively undamaged by the storm although the parking lot was inundated and large rocks were washed off the breakwater onto the boat tramp.
Maybe the off shore islands helped break up the monster north easterly swell that resulted from the gales.

This is Kioloa and is home to one of the many Marine Rescue stations dotted along the NSW coast.
It provides a vital link in the chain of marine safety services between Ulladulla and Batemans Bay, maintaining radio watch and patrol over that stretch of water assisted by its offshore rescue vessel Kioloa 20.

Kioloa 20 is capable of responding to marine emergencies at short notice and provides peace of mind for over 200 amateur fishermen who venture out to sea in their small boats as well as coastal shipping.
Kioloa with its 'satellites' Merry Beach and Pretty Beach, is a sleepy little village during non holiday times. Numerous kangaroos roam the streets, sleep in the shade of the trees or provide entertainment for the few occupants of the camping grounds and caravan parks.
Life sure does move at a leisurely pace during the off season.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Big Storm / Aftermath 1

"Our" beach before the storm.

And after.

Where did all those rocks come from?
Obviously buried for a long time as we have never seen them before.
It will take some time for the sand to come back, but it will......eventually.
Another east coast low with heavy rain and strong winds is predicted for this weekend.
We have just finished repairing all the flood damaged fences caused by the last storm so hopefully the next one won't be so bad.
Update 21/6: We only had steady rain amounting to 29mm on Sunday. The predicted gales did not arrive.
Today, the shortest day of the year, is clear and sunny. Predicted maximum temperature 18°C (65°F).

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Queen's Birthday Long Weekend 2016

Although Elizabeth II's real birthday is 21st April, most states in Australia celebrate the occasion on the second weekend in June.
"Celebrate" is probably the wrong word. Apart from the rabid monarchists, she gets little thought over the period. The only official events I can think of are the Trooping of the Colour at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and the announcement of the Birthday Honours by the Governor General.
For most Australians it's just another welcome holiday.
She is 90 years old and has been Queen of Australia for 64 of those.
The line in our old national anthem, but still the British one, 'long to reign over us' certainly is apt.
While the Republic debate in Australia still rumbles on in the background, there are more important social and economic issues going on at the moment.
I think when Charles eventually ascends the throne there will be renewed calls to break our ties with the monarchy. We will just have to wait and see.
So what happened locally during the three days?
The biggest event is the Shoalhaven Coast Winter Wine Festival.
It's popularity has been growing each year.
It is estimated that around 15000 people visited the various wineries this year. Most of these are concentrated in the north.
Down our end of the region it was however slim pickings. Our friends down the road have closed their winery to enjoy a retired life and, for some unfathomable reason, the biggest winery, Cupitts, decided not to participate in the festival this year. Instead they offered alternative arrangements to celebrate their 9th anniversary.
This left only one, Bawley Vale Estate to hold the fort festival wise. At this stage we have no information as to how they fared.
click to enlarge

In town the Milton Quilters held their biennial Fabulous Threads Exhibition. It was as popular as ever with over 80 quilts on show. I was press ganged into helping with the set up and pull down which involves considerable work but a free lunch. The co driver participated as well as helped out, 'white gloving' it for a few hours. There was no competition apart from viewers choice.
There were all sorts of hand made articles for purchase and the Milton-Ulladulla Men's Shed had beautiful woodwork items for sale. And of course there were vendors with their fabric (bolts and fat quarters), patterns, sewing supplies and notions. I know it's a bit sad I can speak some 'quiltlingo'.
Want some more?
OK then...mismatched points, puckers, FMQing, jelly roll, binding, basting, WIP/UFO.

Then there were the usual regional markets which are very popular. Sadly the Milton Scarecrow Festival was cancelled due to a lack of organization volunteers. A revival of this popular family event is planned for next year.
Our area was packed with visitors over the three days. They enjoyed superb winter weather with constant sunshine, little wind and warm daytime temperatures in the high teens. Quite a contrast to last weekend.
I don't ever envy them their very slow stop start drive home to Canberra or Sydney on crowded roads on the Monday.

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Little History Washed Away in the Storm

At the height of the storm last weekend the swell at Bawley Point,'our' beach, averaged a height of 6m (20ft), with occasional rogue waves recorded at 11m (36ft). This, combined with a exceptionally high tide and storm surge, washed away what was known as the Bawley Gantry.
The gantry has been a landmark on the headland for ever. It was a great place to fish from and a fun place for kids to jump off.
Many happy hours have been spent there.

When this area was first settled back in the early 1800s the main occupation was timber getting. Huge stands of red cedar, black butt, spotted gum, messmate, stringybark, ironbark and mahogany were logged and shipped to Sydney or Ulladualla where a thriving ship building industry had been established.

The main means of transport was coastal shipping. The country was too rough for proper road building and logs were transported from the forests, east by bullock drays, to the coast along rough tracks. Here sawmills had been built on headlands that offered reasonably protected port facilities.

One such mill was built at Bawley Point in 1892 and operated, sometimes under great economic and logistic problems, until 1922 when it burnt down. The milled timber was shipped by means of punts which were lifted by a crane into the water from the gantry and towed out to the ship’s side.
Apart from some foundations the gantry was the last remnant of the mill.
The old crane was washed away in a big storm in 1974.
What's left of the gantry high and dry in the sand dunes

Monday, June 06, 2016

The Big Storm

Our autumn was the warmest on record.
There had been little rain for months.
All to do with La Nina and El Nino said the experts.
But an 'east coast low' was about to change things.
These winter low pressure systems are quite common and are usually a bit windy and can dump a fair bit of rain on us.
But this one was a doozy.
The Bureau of Meteorology began issuing warnings on the Thursday.
Fierce winds of Category 2 cyclone (hurricane) intensity and torrential rain began hitting the south coast of Queensland on the Friday and extended all the way down to Tasmania, a distance of over 2000km (1300ml) by the weekend.
Storm swell breaking against cliffs Sydney eastern suburbs

Result was lots of building damage, flooding, electrical and communication outages, cancelled flights, huge seas with the inevitable beach erosion with some houses being washed into the sea and, sadly, a number of deaths. Why do people try to drive through flooded creeks?
We think we missed out on the worst of it with winds gusting only to 70km/hr and rainfall of 300mm.
We experienced some flooding when our creek broke its banks and a huge branch came down, just missing the house, but hitting one of our water tanks. No damage but a bit of a difficult clearing job.
This extreme weather event of course brought up the global warming/climate change debate again. 
My take on this?
Climate is weather measured and averaged over a period of time.
La Nina and El Nino are ocean events which have always happened and have always had an effect on global weather, just as other similar long standing events have.
But normal weather patterns which have always happened are intensified dramatically as the seas and atmosphere warm.
Heat is energy and just as with any system the more energy put into it, the more energy comes out.
So normal events like this one become over time more and more extreme as everything warms up.
Look how many years in the last two decades were the warmest on record. All the warmest years happened in the last decade or so.
Update 9th June: Tree successfully cleared from tank. No damage. A miracle!
The huge surf opened up the coastal lake our creek runs into so the flood waters dissipated within 2 days. The paddocks have dried out amazingly quickly. Small amount of fence damage caused by flood debris which is easily fixed. A few trees down which will be turned into fence posts and/or next year's firewood.
Unfortunately the storm on its trek south has caused some havoc in Tasmania with severe flooding and loss of life.