Creek mouth silt has locals stumped
SAWTELL locals have been left scratching their heads trying to recall the last time the water flow at the mouth of Bonville Creek was so low.
The figure most locals are coming up with is approximately 20 years.
The shifting sands at Sawtell have blocked Bonville Creek's exit to the ocean. Usually the creek empties into the sea immediately south of the headland but a combination of events following big swells last weekend has reduced the flow to a trickle.
The mouth had gone from a large wading pool to an area dry enough to roll strollers over for families visiting the beach on Thursday.
According to Sawtell residents Robert Redmond and Eric Hull, who have lived in the area since 1947, the event was once relatively frequent but the planting of vegetation on sand hills near the headland had stopped much of the beach's northward movement.
Mr Redmond remembered catching prawns in the catchment with his family when it was dammed in the past.
"We'd go down and get a bucket of prawns in a couple of hours," Mr Redmond said.
"They'd get stuck in there at low tide."
Mr Hull said there used to be much more water running out of the creeks in the area and fishing boats had been able to use the shelter of the waterways as moorings.
Doug "Kojak" Duncombe, 82, said last weekend the surge in Chinaman's Creek, which feeds into Bonville, had been immense.
"The surge in the creek was huge, you could have surfed up it," Mr Duncombe said.
Mr Duncombe has lived near the headland for about 20 years and said he had never seen the mouth so constricted.