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Published: September 6th 2015
Heading out on to the water at 1770 aboard the LARC
We head off to the marina early in the morning to catch a LARC. LARC stands for Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo (vessels built for the military to transport troops and equipment in and around coastal areas). It has a huge 7 litre diesel motor, four wheel drive (and a propellor to push us through the water).
This cruise / trip / experience is something unique. A full day on an ex-army vessel exploring the creeks and waterways (and what is in those waterways) as we journey along the coast of Bustard Bay to the lighthouse at Bustard Head.
Our crew are David and Blake and they provide the commentary, feed us, drive the LARC and keep us amused.
To get to the lighthouse involves sailing over the Round Hill Creek (where the marina is), the Eurimbula Creek, (site of an early sawmill), Middle Creek, (a mud crab sanctuary) and Jenny Lind Creek (below the lighthouse). Plenty of opportunities to see stingrays, sharks and other sea creatures and birds.
We get to the base of the climb to Bustard Head and stop for late morning tea / lunch. After that, we get back in the LARC and climb
Georgi and LARC at Bustard Head
very slowly to the top of the hill where we inspect the lighthouse and the buildings around it (including one house that has been converted to a museum).
The lighthouse was built in 1868 and was manned until 1986. In 2002, after vandals had almost destroyed the properties, the Bustard Head Lighthouse Association began restoring the site to its original condition, enabling the lightstation's tragic history of murder, suicide, abduction and drowning to be told. It would make a great TV series.
On the way back, we see how the tide has receded and take time to assist a couple who have become stranded when their tinny was left on the beach. The tide has dropped at least two metres meaning that a water passage over the Round Hill Creek now becomes a slow drive around deep holes in the sand (the LARC has no suspension).
A great day of exploration, history and fun. We get back to 1770 about 5pm and head off down the road seeing how far we can get before fading light (and the active wildlife) force us to park and have dinner before retiring.
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