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Peel Inlet

Peel Inlet is a large shallow estuary formed by the Murray, Serpentine and Harvey Rivers. It covers about 136 km2,  providing a wonderful potential for sailing protected waters but its average depth is a mere 2m, making it more suited to trailer sailers than deep keelers.

The Peel and Harvey Estuaries are renowned for their populations of blue swimmer crabs, and good feeds can be found with ease over the summer and autumn. We often take Sandpiper South from Perth and spend a few days living on the estuary, sailing, relaxing and feeding on crab. The summer wind patterns of morning Easterlies, noon calm and afternoon South Westerlies is quite reliable. Tidal flows in some places can produce a sharp chop when opposed to the breeze but nothing dangerous or difficult.

Launching
We tend to head for Port Bouvard or Dawseville, to launch, preferring to access the Southern and Western parts of the estuary. Other good ramps are located in Mandurah itself, at the Mandurah Ocean Marina, but these put you on the Northern side of the Old Mandurah Traffic Bridge, which, at 3.7m clearance, is a problem for sailing boats.
The Port Bouvard Marina has an excellent ramp into deep water, with two launch, and two retrieve facilities and good long finger jetties. It charges a $10 access fee. We leave the car and trailer there with no problems to date.
The Dawesville ramp is a good public facility, with excellent concrete ramps and finger jetties. We have found it to be rather shallow in the mornings on a low tide. While we have left a car there overnight, security is a concern. We have also found it to be extremely crowded on a weekend or holiday.

Sailing
The Harvey Estuary provides a wonderful sail of approximately 10nm South to Heron Point, where there is a camp site accessible by road. The area around the camp is very shallow but useful for an overnight stay. We find that the morning Easterly is perfect to sail down Harvey Estuary and the afternoon sea breeze can give a great ride back up. Sticking to the middle of the estuary usually gives enough depth.

The main Peel Estuary is outside of the marked channels is generally deep enough for trailer sailers, giving 2 to 3 m.

Channels
There are numerous marked channels around the estuary. Some can be very narrow in places and shifting sand can silt areas. Some channels (such as the one East of the Dawesville Cut) are in areas that don't have speed restrictions and unthinking power boat drivers can be a problem, creating a large wash and making life generally uncomfortable. The entrance to Port Bouvard Marina, although an 8 knot zone, is also known for crazy power boaters and jet ski madness.

Dawseville Cut
The cut was created to create a seawater flush for the estuary, reducing the algal blooms caused by nutrient build-up. It has been very successful. The tide will move at up to 2 knots through the cut and an outgoing tide opposed to a big swell or fresh on-shore winds can create dangerous conditions at the entrance. Furthermore, conditions can change rapidly so care needs to be taken if accessing the open ocean via the cut.

Anchorages We Have Used and Enjoyed
Point Grey (32 37.2917 S, 115 40.8238 E)  Get in as close as depth allows and anchor on edge of sand. Sand areas will dry at lowest tide.
Heron Point (32 44.2250 S, 115 42.6361 E)  Shallow but protected with road accessible camping area.
Meade Point South (32 42.0860 S, 115 41.9318 E) Tuck right in behind the big sand spit for protection from the sea breeze. Crabs on sand spit.
Dawesville - Four public mooring buoys in 3m between Dawseville ramps and Dawesville Cut.




Sandpiper at Heron Point

Heron Point Camp Area

A feed of Peel Inlet Crabs



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