There are only a few times a year when the tides and times are just right for exploring Mercer Bay, when it’s possible to access both sea caves. We struck it lucky with one of those ones on a recent Sunday tramp.
The conditions were absolutely perfect for the descent down to the ruggedly beautiful Mercer Bay. The temperature was cool, there was almost no breeze to whisk up the sea, there hadn’t been any rain for a few days, and the tide was perfectly low—king tide!
For those that haven’t made the trip down the very steep cliff face (now rope assisted in two places where there aren’t enough—if any—handholds on the almost vertical sections) it’s a lot of fun. And a bit of a workout. You have to make sure you’ve got your balance or a good handhold before you snap that photo of the cathedral to your right that you’ll be viewing from below soon enough.
Once down on the beach, we noticed that the sand had banked up quite significantly since the last trip, which just added to the spectacular beauty of the bay, with its waterfalls trickling gently down the cliff faces into the bay.
After a quick recce to ensure the water and sea levels were safe—compared to previous trips it was very low—the whole group (twenty people) waded into the first 50-metre sea cave, headlights ablaze.
It was still looking safe, so we ventured into the more open sea-ish area at the bottom of the cliff.
We saw some very cool starfish, rock formations and colours to enjoy as we entered the second sea cave where the cathedral is.
Light streamed into the cave through a hole in the rock a hundred metres above. It was interesting to note that there was a lot of fresh rock fall at the back of the cave!
After we all took a huge number of photos, we scrambled back up the cliff to the Mercer Bay loop track to check out the spectacular views from the different viewing platforms.
This is always an absolutely stunning tramp to do, and I encourage all club members to give it a go.
But just a word of caution for those who choose to go down without the club.
Please check and double-check that the weather conditions, and especially the tide, are right. Wait until the weather is calm and dry, the tide is at an absolute low, and don’t forget that headlamp or torch.