Recommended start point for this day trip is the Crookhaven Heads Boat Ramp where this lovely beach is the ideal kayak launch. Pelicans often foraging around for returned fisherman catch which can be very impressive: on this day 3 large blue fin tuna heads around 30cm long, making the fish approximately 1.3m.
Ensure to launch with a flooding tide to maximise efficiency as launching on an outgoing tide at this location will potentially drag an inexperienced kayaker through the heads, out to sea just beyond this picture.
Check the tides here: https://tides.willyweather.com.au/nsw/illawarra/crookhaven-heads.html and ensure the river is filling up when you depart and if returning to this start point make sure the tide has turned and the outgoing tide will help you return with ease.
This route is exactly 12km from Crookhaven Heads boat ramp to Shoalhaven Heads River Road Boat Ramp making an easy half day paddle or extended day trip returning to your vehicle.
Shoalhaven Heads Lake is an Intermittently Open-Closed Lake System (IOCL) which means that over varying periods of time the sand berm closes the river/lake system.
The lake appears to be closed upon approach to the entrance but as the tide rises the lake opens, meaning that the lake is currently open, but only slightly.
Heavy rainfall in the river catchment is required to fully open the lake but at times if the lake is heavily closed by a large sand berm, mechanical intervention is required by Shoalhaven Council to avoid the lake flooding surrounding townships.
The tide rises and the lake is open. This slight opening does not effect the tide too much for your return leg but at times when the Heads is fully open care needs to be taken as the tide will be strong here.
The sand dunes either side of the Heads are a haven for birdlife with hundreds of red capped plovers nesting amongst the driftwood, pied oystercatchers, great egrets, cormorants and terns.
The beach is covered in driftwood which makes for interesting exploring and seems to be not too badly polluted.
See pictures below of rubbish collected and some rubbish put to good use by locals.
Shoalhaven Heads Lake looking perfectly calm on a winters day, with the township and Cullunghutti (Coolangatta Mountain) in the background.
The channel connecting the Crookhaven River and Shoalhaven River is named Berry's canal and is Australia's first man made navigable canal, dug initially with hand tools by convicts. Named after Alexander Berry and used for getting ships into the Shoalhaven River due to the Shoalhaven Heads being too shallow and dangerous.
Greenwell Point is a small town of interest along the journey and worth a visit. As one of the regions main seafood ports the food is renowned with Pelican Rocks Cafe being crowned NSW best Fish and Chips several years running.
For more information on this route, tides, or kayak hire, don't hesitate to get in touch!