Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shore thing

Encounter Bay will never recover its lyrical picture postcard beauty now that the classic little wooden jetty is gone.
Modern boaters demand modern facilities - so, with loud justifications about sea rescue, we now have the pontoon style metal boat ramp with its priapic stability poles and room for boats to come and go four at a time. Heaven forfend a boatie should queue.
I remain disappointed that the Council chose to bulldoze earth onto the beach to create more parking and to change the shoreline. I continue to think that the pontoons are downright dangerous as well as ugly. And I can't say how sad I was when I wandered down there to find a boatie throwing stones at the pelicans who roost on the huge and ancient Erratic rocks (dropped by the Permian glaciers 240 million years ago).

I actually stopped and said; "I don't believe what I am seeing. Why would you want to throw stones at those beautiful birds?" The lad, aged late teens, looked at me with dumb insolence. Then his father popped his head up from whatever he was doing with the boat and laughed: "He couldn't hit them if he tried! He's just seeing how close he can get a stone without hitting them."
The logic of this dumbfounded me. The psychology of it sickened me.
I have always liked boaties, albeit that I have not liked the fact that they have been allowed to vandalise the coast with the ugliness of these now ubiquitous pontoon ramps. Some marketing person has done a major coup flogging those to councils right across the land. They must be very rich indeed by now.
But, while I like boats and fishing and fishing people, I definitely did not like these particular boaties - who may symbolise the tip of the iceberg of ugly new people attracted to launch boats and jet skis from our new multilane ramp.

Despite the fact that Encounter Bay is as sheltered and quiet a water as there is in the world, they have built a massive breakwater beside the new boat ramp. This, apparently, is because the pontoons are dangerous if there is water movement. They are unstable. you see. They roll up and down and undulate with waves, making them hard to balance upon if there is a hint of weather. Well, there is rarely a hint of weather in this gentle and shallow bay - but millions of massive rocks have been carted in and a giant breakwater now reaches out into the bay.
Fortunately, the Council has done something I have not seen on other boat ramp breakwaters. It has ordained a path to be made on top of it so the real people, the locals who walk dogs and stroll the shore, can actually walk out as they did on the old jetty. It is not yet finished, but it is a positive - and I am looking forward to spending many hours out there as the years roll on. I do hope they put a bench there.