Eden to Brisbane – The Last Leg
It is quite a long approach into Eden and it is rather a large harbour taking in the different bays, we had contacted the harbour master to go alongside the dock, unfortunately it is on the side that has the swell pushing us onto the dock but conditions were good at this time, the cost of the dock is $25 per day for vessels of our length. Again the dock has pylons so the fender boards were required and we have to watch the tide levels with the length of docking lines. We soon learned to also take an anchor 45⁰ off the bow to hold it away from the wharf naturally. We did this by me lowering the dinghy and taking our large Bruce anchor out and dropping it in the appropriate spot and then tension the anchor rope this helps to hold the boat off the dock.
Just after we got settled a fishing boat came along on the other side of the dock from us and people started arriving, one of the guys wives told us that the fishermen go out getting prawns and when they get alongside they cook them and sell them from the boat as well as to the fish shops. So that is what we had for lunch, 1Kg of cooked prawns as fresh as $20. A nice lunch of beer and prawns.
Fortunately the harbour master told us to get settled if we did not catch him today see him Monday, by the time we went for a walk ashore he had gone home so Monday it was.
Whilst we got our prawns organised along came Peter and Chris off ‘Honey Bee’ a monohull yacht, they had been looking out for us as both of us had been told about each other by three sets of mutual friends, so we finally met each other, they were anchored out away from the dock. They were heading off to town and we told them about the prawns so they bought some and we stored them in our fridge until they came back.
We also talked to a couple from Victoria that was walking the docks, they love looking at the waterfront and boats, so we had a chat and as they were interested in what we had done I gave them a card so they could check out our blogs. They thanked us and asked if we needed a lift into town to do the shopping and we said we are fine.
We had a quiet night aboard as we were both a little bushed from the last couple of days.
Saturday – 08/03/2014
We decided after breakfast we would head into town so off we went as we got to the end of the dock the couple we were talking to yesterday were there to meet us and ask if they could drive us into town. What a nice gesture, again the Aussie spirit comes forward, there are a lot of nice people out here. We took their offer and they drove us up the steep hill to town, we thanked them and they asked if we wanted a lift back and we said we were fine and they realised we were used to doing what we do.
We had a look around town and checked where things were and on the way back we called into an important shop to get a few bottles of red wine then we headed to the Whale Museum, a very interesting place, Eden has a lot of history not only being the first place in Australia to start shore based whaling but also maritime events and political side. It was first thought that this is where the houses of parliament would be. I bought a book from the museum called the Two Fold Bay Story, great little book worth a read.
Australia’s first shore based whaling station started in Snug Cove in 1828 when Captain Thomas Raine sent a party of 25 men who stayed for 3 months and others followed after them. Many of the places and streets are named after the men who started whaling in the area, fortunes made and fortunes lost. There were many aborigines worked the whaling boats and the man they worked for treated them fairly and they were paid well which was different to many others and the incredible part is that the killer whales (Orca’s) that worked with the whalers. They would round up a whale and drive them in the bay and it was known for one of the killer whales to come into the bay and let the whalers know they had a whale and would lead them to the whale they had rounded up. You may ask why the killer whales would do this, well it was for reward, killer whales like to feed on whales lips and tongues, they learnt that the whalers once they had harpooned a whale from a whaler boat not a ship and once they had tired it they would then kill it and tie a buoy to the harpoon rope the whale would sink, this is when the killer whales would feed on the dead whales lips and tongue, some day later the body of the whale would start to decompose filling the body full of gases and the whale would float and that is when the whalers would tow them in.
The killer whales would work in groups and in one group there was a leader and the most famous in the area was a killer whale named Tom, Tom’s skeleton is in the museum, Tom was found dead in the bay aged around 35 years it looked like he had an apses on a tooth which had eaten away part of his jaw, they feel that this prevented him from eating and he died from starvation. Tom was thought to be a lot older as they thought he had been around many years before, apparently they are identified by the shape of their fin, but apparently there must have been two Toms, one replaced the other.
Whaling ceased in the area for a number of reasons, a gold rush started at one time, then there was the industry of sleeper cutting which many whalers took on outside the whaling season and in the end felt it safer to continue sleeper cutting rather than tackle the monsters in the sea where their lives were at greater risk. This combined with less whales coming to the bays for the simple reason there were fewer female whales, the fact was that the whales that came to the bay were looking for some place to have their young so many of the whales that were killed in those times were in calf this naturally lessened the numbers of the future whales to be. The other thing to was that there were now whaling ships and chasers operating, the chasers did the harpooning and then fill the whales full of compressed air keeping them afloat at the end of the day they would tow them in and tie them to a buoy ready to be hauled ashore.
Some of you may feel disgusted that this occurred but one has to remember that this was the only oil for lighting and other uses of that day, it is not really any different to what we are doing today in drilling for oil and other products but most drive cars that uses these fuels and oils but every time there is a disaster in the industry we all get up in arms about it, but as I say again we all use these products as the people did in the days of whaling. Whatever your thoughts it is part of our history and a very interesting one. Eden and Two Fold Bay has a lot of history besides whaling , the later days of fishing which is now falling away with new restrictions. This place used to have an enormous amount of fishing boats today they are but a few.
One thing I have noticed in our travels is the many smaller places closing down as the industry has been taken away from them and there is nothing to take its place, empty shops and business premises and the crime rate rises in the way of theft. I believe we have to protect the environment but sometimes I wonder whether we are going too far the other way, look at the crocodile population, let’s face it today they do not have a predator in this country and as the waters warm up they will move and already are moving further south. Food for thought. One fact is that many governments try to encourage people to move to rural areas to reduce the growing numbers in the cities, but the problem is they are also creating much red tape and restrictions that business cannot survive in the rural areas and they are closing down.
Sunday – 09/03/2014
It is a wet rainy day today so we decided to head into town early with the washing to the Laundromat and whilst the washing was being done head to a cafe for breakfast and there is a great little cafe in town called ‘Cuppaz Cafe’ if you want a great feed this is the place very friendly service and most the locals go there. When breakfast and washing and drying was complete we headed back to the boat and whilst it was calm decided to go and anchor out as the seas were going to get a little rougher today. On returning we got things organised started engines let go of the docking lines and then I pulled the Bruce anchor up which as I did it helped pull us away from the dock, we went out just passed the moored boats and dropped the anchor.
Eden town has two supermarkets and many other shops to get all your needs. There is also a great fish and chip (plus other seafood) shop near the docks, it is the one that is around the corner from the larger cafes.
Eden is a very nice part of this world and worth a visit, people are friendly and the place is very clean and tidy. For travellers there are toilets and showers down by the docks. Quite a unique shower it has a preset temperature of around 40⁰C and it has a timer button instead of taps so you have to keep pressing the button whilst you have a shower.
As far as using the dock it costs $15 up to 12 metre boat and $25 for 12 – 15 metres per day. The problem I have mentioned before if there is a surge it can bounce you against the dock, the other alternative is contact one of the fishing boats and raft against one of those or just anchor out.
Eden to Sydney via Jervis Bay and Crookhaven
Wednesday – 12/03/2014
We set off at 0710 hours after waiting for the wind to change we will have a tail wind going north which is not always good for us but a lot better than being on the nose. As we progressed further north the winds strengthened . Two other yachts followed us out of Eden these being monohulls worked the wind a little better than us. One of the yachts was ‘Honey Bee’ the other was a French yacht. These yachts were wing on wing where we just relied on our headsail.
The seas were getting a little lumpy but not too bad, we reached Batemans Bay late in the night ‘Honey Bee’ turned in to the entrance but we continued on, not having an anchor winch and not having been to Batemans Bay before I did not want to get myself in a position where we anchored and then for some reason had to move quickly, the fact is once the anchor is down we can’t move quickly it can take up to 20 minutes to bring the anchor up by manual system.
We sailed through the night and entered Jervis Bay at first light, as we were going to get strong NE winds for the next few days we decided to go to the north of Jervis Bay to Callala Bay, if we are lucky we may be able to pick up a public mooring. It has been many years since I have been in Jervis Bay, I think the last time may have been in 1967 on HMAS Attack.
Thursday – 13/03/2014
As we approached Callala Bay we contacted VMR to let them know we had arrived and we asked them about the moorings, they gave us the Lat/Long for its location and we found it amongst other moored yachts, it is a large pink coloured buoy.
A friend Simon informed me that some insurance companies will not insure your yacht on these moorings, Club Marine is one of these. Fortunately we are with Panteanius and we are covered. The problem is that this bay is not protected against any southerly winds and they are some of the strongest winds in this area, we have all heard of the “Southerly Buster ” that comes up the NSW coast. It is always best to check with your insurance company or read your policy thoroughly to see what you are covered for. Club Marine have got a few areas where they will not cover insurance on moorings. When we arrived at Callala Bay there was one yacht already on its side on the beach where it had come off a mooring in the winds yesterday. Fortunately it was not a large yacht and it was retrieved by sailing club members at high tide.
These moorings are regularly inspected it is just the holding and the high winds from the south whip up quite a bit along the open waters of Jervis Bay.
Once we were secured on the mooring we had a feed a shower and a rest. Nancy contacted her brother and sister that live about 25 minutes away and Keith came to visit in the afternoon and tomorrow Phyllis and Ernie will pick us up and take us out to their place.
Callala Bay has a small jetty that has fresh water tap nearby along with a boat ramp, toilets, rubbish bins and a BBQ area. It is about a ten minute walk from the jetty to the small shopping centre that has just about everything. There is a hardware store that is packed with all sorts of goodies and does gas bottle top ups, close by is a Cafe, be warned do not order a hamburger and chips unless you are really hungry, I was about to order a burger with the lot and the lady that owns the shop talked me out of it, so I got the plain burger and could hardly finish that, the chips were left on the plate. Very nice and plentiful. There is a Post Office, Bakery, IGA supermarket, Coffee Shop, Fish and Chip Shop, Pizza Restaurant for evenings, Hairdressers, Newsagents, and many Real estate offices.
Nancy’s brother Keith came over in the afternoon and we spent some time with him, Keith lives in Nowra and is writing his third book, he is retired but helps out at the local museum. We had a quiet night aboard watching the water Police carry out some exercise.
Friday – 14/03/2014
Nancy’s sister Phyllis and partner Ernie picked us up in the morning and we called into Keith’s house and then all went for lunch at the RSL club, then we went to Phyl and Ernie’s place for the afternoon before coming back to the boat. We had a good drive around the countryside. We returned on board for a quiet evening.
Saturday – 15/03/2014
Very quiet day did a water run and washing. Went for a walk into the shopping centre and had coffee and a look around.
Sunday – 16/03/2014
Another quiet day had a visit from an ex-work colleague Simon May, Simon is the one we missed seeing in Batemans Bay he brought us a nice bottle of red wine, he said he did not know what our stocks were like. Thanks Simon, very nice mate it is a shame we did not get to see Tracey but one day we will catch up again. I picked Simon up in the dinghy and he came over for coffee and a chat.
After Simon left we went for a walk then checked the weather, the seas are still well up around the 3-4 metres and winds from the north it looks like Tuesday if we leave early in the morning we may be able to head up to Greenwell Point at Crookhaven before the north winds strengthen later in the day.
Tuesday – 18/03/2014
We set sail at 0315 hours under a moon lit night with light winds. As we exited Jervis Bay the waves picked up a little after changing course north the waves started to rebound off the cliff faces and this is the norm for this area so it is a little uncomfortable when close to the land. A couple of fishing boats were well lit up and working. Some fishing boats have their floodlights on but they don’t always have their navigation lights on this often makes it difficult to guess the direction they are heading as the floodlights are on each side and on the stern and even if they have the navigation lights on they are difficult to identify against the bright lights so it is always the best to give them a wide berth.
As we neared Crookhaven I found that there were many small boats out fishing not many of these had any lights on whatsoever, it was just on first light and they were hard to identify. There were more than a dozen boats out there and more coming out as it was near high tide when the fish bite.
We entered Crookhaven and made our way up to Greenwell Point and anchored behind ‘Honey Bee’ where Peter and Chris had anchored after coming up from Batemans Bay.
Later in the morning we headed ashore and on the way called in to see Peter and Chris, Peter said it is a nice place here but he would be pleased to leave because of all the small motor boats, they go passed at full speed and rock the hell out of all the anchored boats. We will be both heading out tomorrow.
We went ashore and had lunch at a small restaurant, very nice seafood platter for two. There are a couple of eateries here and a small shopping village with small supermarket and Post Office. There is also a swimming pool and outside are showers and toilets.
The anchorage is quite good holding and the river has a strong flow so basically we turn with the flow of the tide, the small boats do go by at full speed but not really a worry to us in our catamaran, we rock a little but not to concern us but a monohull does rock a little more.
Wednesday – 19/03/2014
We headed out at first light at 0550 hours at first the winds were light and we hoisted the sails and motor sailed for a short time until the winds kicked in we are expecting some strong southerly winds. We had a good sail north sometime after we left we saw the sails of ‘Honey Bee’ but this time they did not catch up to us we sailed wing on wing and was sailing at a good speed.
We arrived at Gunnamatta Bay, Port Hacking at 1450 hours and picked up a friend Barry’s mooring which is very handy when the anchor winch is broken. When Barry came home from work we went ashore to meet him and we went to the Cronulla RSL club for dinner with some of his friends. This club has recently been renovated and it is a beautiful club and very nice meals. The view over the beach and sea is terrific.
We returned on board and got ready for another early start tomorrow.
Thursday – 20/03/2014
Well we did not get away until after breakfast there is little wind, we let go of the mooring at 0715 hours and made our way out the channel and out to sea, we hoisted the mainsail as we left the narrow channel as we may get some assistance from it but it looks like another motor day.
We passed Botany Bay, Captain Cook would not recognise it if he were alive today in fact I hardly recognised it, my last time here was on HMAS Moresby as we participated in the Cook landing enactment in 1970 we were the escort for Britannia. Botany Bay is now Sydney’s main shipping port.
Thursday – 20/03/2014
As we neared Long Bay the wind vanished and the sea glassed out, we entered Sydney Heads and into the harbour, Nancy contacted Janet at RANSA (Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association) to see if we could pop in and say hello, Janet said we could come alongside the dock. RANSA is in Rushcutters Bay , we arrived there and Janet was there to help us tie up, we went inside and had a chat and bought a new burgee. We also dropped some books into their library before leaving.
We left there and headed further up the harbour under the coat hanger, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and went on to White Bay where No. 6 dock is where there is a fuel base to top up with fuel. It is a 24 hour self service, however, although the machine accepts all banking cards if you are not registered with Baileys you have to get the attendant to authorise the sale, we just phoned the number on the machine and he came straight away.
We left there and headed to Athol Bay near Taronga Park Zoo and picked up a mooring, they are supposed to be a 4 hour limit but by the time the 4 hours is up it will be near sunset so we will stay overnight.
We watched a lovely sunset and the night lights of Sydney .
Friday – 21/03/2014
A beautiful morning on the harbour the ferries starting their runs and other ship movements, earlier before light we awoke to a noise which was a passenger liner arriving with all its bright lights shining across the water.
After breakfast we slipped the mooring and headed for the Spit Bridge with its first opening being 1015 hours.
The sun had gone behind the clouds and the wind picked up a little. We were lucky enough to pick up one of the moorings at the bridge to wait out the opening once through the bridge we headed to Sugarloaf Bay and hoped one of the moorings were free. As we went along looking at some of the waterfront homes, they must be worth a fortune. Houses on the lower levers have stairs from the road at the top some have a spiral staircase. They would have to be very fit people climbing those steps every day.
We arrived at Sugarloaf Bay and fortunately there was one mooring available the other three were taken. These moorings are 24 hour use times. The bay is very nice, quiet with some homes but mainly National Park Lands. Being Friday a few other boats arrived and anchored overnight. We had a quiet time aboard.
Saturday – 22/03/2014
We headed for the d’Abora Marina by the Spit Bridge, the only marina that had space for us and a very expensive marina at $175 per night. We needed to go into a marina to give the boat a good clean and so that Nancy’s sister could visit us. They do provide a good service at the marina there were two young men waiting to help dock us and the person in charge was very helpful.
As soon as we settled I started scrubbing the boat and Nancy headed for the laundry, we had just both finished as Nancy’s sister Marge arrived and we had lunch at the cafe at the marina. Marge left after a couple of hours and I went for a Nanna nap.
Later we went for a walk and called into Plonk Beach Cafe, (don’t know what attracted me to the place), we sat and had a refreshing drink a nibble of sour dough bread and balsamic and olive oil before heading back to the boat for dinner.
Sunday – 23/03/2014
We had breakfast whilst listening to Macca on Australia All Over had showers and got ready to be picked up by two lovely friends, John and Kim Chong at 0900 hours. They had offered to pick us up and take us shopping and then we were going for lunch.
They arrived and after hellos as we have not seen them for 4 years we headed for Chatswood shopping centre, we got the shopping done and went back and unloaded it on the boat then we set off for lunch, Kim had picked out a Tai Restaurant for lunch which was very nice, we chatted and caught up with the times. After lunch we went to John and Kim’s home, they have this large unit on the edge of The Rocks area and from their 23rd floor you can see the harbour up towards Cockatoo Island, the bridge and the Luna Park and where the passenger liners berth at Circular Quay. The units have their own gym and swimming pool on the second floor, very nice.
Kim and John had also organised to go out to dinner and took us along to The Orient Hotel in The Rocks which is a splendid old hotel. We had a great dinner and after went back to John
and Kim’s for coffee before returning on board. Thank you John and Kim for a wonderful day and spoiling us.
Monday – 24/03/2014
We had some time before we could go as the bridge opening is at 1015 hours during the week that is the earliest time, so we filled the water tanks rinsed the boat off and did last minute things and had a shower before leaving. At 1015 hours we went through the bridge and headed out to Sydney Harbour Heads and turned north.
Sydney to Lake Macquarie via Broken Bay
Monday – 24/03/2014
As we headed north a strong wind warning was issued but at this time there is but a breeze, I had the headsail out which gave the one engine that was running a bit of assistance but very little, the stronger winds are predicted for around late afternoon and it was our plan to be inside Broken Bay by then. Another yacht came out behind us and tried to tack trying to use sails only but gave up after a while as the wind decreased even more. We reach Barrenjoey Head at the entrance of Broken Bay and as we turned in we saw the storm heading towards us, we quickly put the clears up and rolled one of the side covers down. We were about 300 metres inside Broken Bay when it hit around 30 knot winds and white out rain, I turned the navigation lights on and slowed down a little and headed for Hallets Beach in Cowan Creek where there are a number of National Park’s public mooring buoys are located. There were quite a number of yachts and motor boats on the water they were all heading the opposite direction to us so I kept well to the right side of the creek taking the longer route.
The storm eased a bit by the time we got to the moorings and there was only one of the five being used, Nancy had to go out and get wet when picking up the mooring once secured the rain stopped and it was a pleasant night.
In this area there are two types of public moorings, there are the usual pink coloured marine parks moorings and then there is the yellow national parks moorings, all these you can stay on for 24 hours so many people move from one to the other every 24 hours if they are staying for a while. It is alright to anchor in most places with water depths not too great. (I have written more detail of this area in the Sailing the East Coast section of the blog)
Tuesday – 25/03/2014
We headed out of Cowan Creek at 0600 hours and it was still dark, we logged on with VMR on the way out of Broken Bay and requested a bridge opening at Swansea for 1400 hours our planned time as this was near high tide. There was little wind again, I used the headsail to start off with but that proved pointless in the end. There were two other yachts behind us they also tried sails but to little effect. We arrived at the Swansea Bar and it was quite calm, we headed in towards the bridge and picked up a mooring whilst waiting the 15 minutes for the opening. Our friends Colleen and Brian were on the shore to welcome us with a wave and waited for us to go through the bridge.
We were ready at 1400 hours, we had slipped the mooring and was drifting near the bridge, we noticed another catamaran similar to ours coming across the bar and steadily negotiating the channel to the bridge, it was ‘San Sousi’ with Juliana and Hugh aboard they are fellow shaggers, yes Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club members.
The VMR tried to contact them but they did not answer, then the VMR called us to see if we could contact them to get a wriggle on as the bridge operator was waiting for them to catch up to us to go through. We contacted them and they caught up to us and followed us through the shallow channel to the lake. After we were in the lake Nancy called them up to say hello, they said it was their first time in the lake and they like us was staying a couple of weeks and we may catch up.
They were heading to a different part of the lake to us so we parted and we headed for Summerland Point, after anchoring we got the boat tidied up and had showers and then headed ashore to Colleen’s and Brian’s house where we stayed for dinner, Colleen and Brian are long time friends and good people. They had a great thing for me the new electric motor for the anchor winch, which will now wait for tomorrow.
We had a good night catching up with them and their daughters and grand children. After we headed back to the boat for a good night sleep.
Wednesday – 26/03/2014
Went to the House house, (Colleen’s and Brian’s) to pick up the electric motor for the winch then returned to pull the winch out, the amount of times I have had that winch out I should be able to whistle and it should do it itself. So out with the winch and remove the electric motor and fit the new motor and then put all back together and do the test, all fingers crossed and all went well.
The rest of the day was fairly quiet.
Thursday – 27/03/2014
Lots of rain all day so not much activity outside. At 1630 hours with a break in the weather we headed ashore to meet with Margy Ferrington who was picking us up to take us to her and Randall’s home for dinner, Randall is an ex-work colleague we both worked for the NSWRFS. We had a very pleasant night catching up and lots of talking regarding our circumnavigation as Randall and Margy are also sailors having their own yacht on the lake.
Saturday – 29/03/2014
We went to Colleen and Brian’s place for a farewell to Alison and the children who are off to Perth to join Michael who has been transferred with his work a nice night was had as usual with this bunch of nice people.
Monday – 31/03/2014
Our main fridge went on the blink, looking at the sight glass on the drier it is showing a lot of bubbles blowing through it which means it has lost a lot of refrigerant gas. Got onto the internet looking for a refrigeration mechanic and came up with a group called New Age Air-conditioning, I phoned them and they asked if I could meet their mechanic at Belmont at the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club and we organised it for lunch time.
We had a motor sail up the lake to Belmont and went alongside the dock. Clay the mechanic arrived at 1215 hours and set to work, a very efficient and polite young man. He nailed the problem very quickly and found that the valves were leaking, to replace them he had to evacuate the gas, fit the new valves and recharge the system, this takes time and time as we all know is not cheap.
We always say it is a small world and after talking with Clay found that he was originally from Cobar and actually used to play football with Corey, Nancy’s daughters husband. Clay finished the work and said to check the fridge overnight and if I have any problems to give him a ring tomorrow and he will come back and add more gas but he thought all would be well and it was. I expected a high account and was not surprised when it was emailed to me, refrigerant gas is not cheap and that alone was $150, labour at $93 per hour so $524 went quickly, joys of owning a boat.
After the repairs we headed over to Wangi Wangi and picked up a public mooring for the night, tomorrow we meet one of Nancy’s FB Women Who Sail Australia site friends. We had a quiet night aboard in beautiful surroundings.
Tuesday – 01/04/2014
Shelly and Steve on ‘Orak’ came over and anchored close to us, Shelly is a friend on the website for women sailors, they came over in their dinghy and came aboard for coffee. and a chat. A lovely couple talking to Steve we found we had a lot in common and knew mutual friends in the rural fire service and national parks industries. They took us ashore at Wangi Wangi to do a little shopping then we went aboard their boat for a chat. We then left and went back to Summerland Point.
Wednesday – 02/04/2014
Got going early this morning doing a water run and then the washing.
Today was an outing day Brian was taking us for a drive. We are starting to research our proposed next life after sailing which we are not sure when it will be but we will move on one day off the water. Health permitting we are looking at land travel so we are researching motor homes and since there is the state of NSW largest motor home outlet at Bennets Green not that far away Brian took us there for a look. I have always been a planner at heart I started researching catamarans and sailing 8 years before we purchased Alana Rose. One has to plan as we are not getting younger.
We had a good day and we have identified what we are actually looking for as far as size and style so we will be looking at other makes and models in the future. We had a massive lunch at one of the hotels before heading to do some shopping and heading back to the House house and then the boat.
Thursday – 03/04/2014
We have other friends arriving today, more ex-navy friends Carol and Mal who live at Victor Harbour SA, they are arriving at Colleen’s this afternoon so we are heading up there for the evening and catch up. It will also be our farewell as we will head to Swansea Bridge tomorrow at high tide and go through the bridge and pick up a mooring for the night.
It was a good night catching up and having a nice dinner with good friends and then it was time to say goodbye again.
Friday – 04/04/2014
We got ready to leave although no hurry, we have booked the bridge opening for midday, we thought we might get a sail but it was short lived as a light rain moved in killing any wind, we arrived at the bridge at 1125 hours picked up a mooring and waited for the bridge opening. Once through the bridge we picked up another mooring on the outside and just spent a quiet time for the day and night.
We like Lake Macquarie it is well organised with many public docks (2 hour limit) that has pump out stations for the black water (toilet holding tanks water) and fresh water supplies, a local chart can be purchased from boating places and some newsagents around the lake. All these services are supplied by the local councils and there is no charge for their use. There are a number of public moorings around the lake that have a 24 hour limit these are pink in colour and are usually found where they are trying to protect sea grasses. You are not allowed to anchor in some shallow waters where there is sea grass.
Saturday – 05/04/2014
We had to wait for some tide to cross the Swansea Bar so we let go of the mooring by Swansea Bridge at 0800 hours and motored out to the bar crossing as we got onto the first set of leads a small motor boat passed us then at a crucial moment on the turn of one lead to the other the motor boat stopped and was drifting into our path. I got the air horn and gave a blast. They had pulled up right in front of us because they realised they did not have their life jackets on, it is law that you have to have these on when crossing the bar.
The bar itself was very tame with just a little swell, once clear of the bar we hoisted the sails although the day was another motor sail type of day, the wind came and went on a regular basis. We stayed close to shore in about the 26 metre depth so that we did not meet the East Coast Current which runs north to south at a rate of around 4 knots.
We arrived at Port Stephens at 1510 hours and picked up a public mooring near the marina at Nelson’s Bay. There is a public dock in the marina complex that can take about four boats and you can stay there for 3 days free of charge, however, we went ashore after learning about it some days later and our cat is too wide to fit between the poles at the dock.
There are three public moorings in this location the only disadvantage of these are that there is quite a bit of wash from the boats coming and going out of the marina, the marina complex has a number of shops and cafes.
Sunday – 06/04/2014
The public moorings have a 24 hour limit although at the moment there is not a high demand for them but we decided to do the right thing and move to another location so we headed to Salamander Bay and found that the single public mooring was not being used so we picked that up for the day. We had made contact with good friends Cath and Tim Deverell, Cath worked with me in the NSWRFS many years ago now and the last time we saw them is when their youngest son was 2 years old. Cath picked us up and we headed off to lunch with her family. It was great catching up with them both. After a long lunch Cath took us to the shops so we could pick up a few things.
Monday – 07/04/2014
We had contact with another couple of friends Don and Carol Luscombe and made arrangements to meet them for coffee at Nelsons Bay. We dropped the mooring and headed back to Nelsons Bay and picked up a mooring again. We went ashore and met Don and Carol, Don is a very prominent volunteer member of the NSWRFS and has done a lot for the fire service. It was good catching up and having a chat. After parting we headed back to the boat and as we were in the dinghy we noticed ‘San Sousi’ anchored close by so we went over to say g’day and told them we were about to leave the mooring if they wanted it. we got back aboard and let go the mooring to go back to Salamander Bay where we had been invited to dinner by Barbara and Jim a couple of Americans that work here and are sailors themselves and have a yacht in the marina. We were in luck again as the single mooring was vacant so we picked it up again.
Around 1630 hours we headed ashore to meet Barbara who has a beachside unit in the bay. Barbara and Jim often invite cruising yachties to dinner if they hear of them in the bay, Barbara works in the VMR so working the radio she knows what yachts are visiting. What a wonderful gesture.
We had a very good night and dinner with Barbara, Jim and granddaughter Ali. When leaving they waded in the water to assist us getting the dinghy back in the water. Lovely people.
Tuesday – 08/04/2014
We dropped the mooring and motored over to Fame Cove a wonderful little sheltered cove that has five public moorings. The fact that we like the moorings here is that there is a lot of sea grass and you can be fined if you anchor in the sea grass.
We spent a quiet day at this cove, we did attempt to dinghy up the creek but it runs out of depth in a short distance.
Wednesday – 09/04/2014
We headed for Shoal Bay which is the closest bay to the port entrance, Shoal Bay has four public moorings and again most were free so we picked one up secured the boat and went ashore for a walk and lunch.
Our intention was to leave late afternoon and sail through the night to Port Macquarie. When we returned on board I went for a nanna nap to get some rest before leaving.
We ended up sailing out at 1600 hours taking the line through the southern side of the sand bar, it was another case of motor sailing with little wind as we passed Broughton Island I noticed a yacht that had left some four or more hours before us tacking using the light winds, a lot of work for a short distance, our boat is too big and heavy to tack in such light winds. The other factor is that we have a very short weather window before the northerlies start to blow again.
The seas were quite good and it was not really cold during the night it was quite a pleasant night sail.
Port Macquarie and Iluka
Thursday – 10/04/2014
The seas were nearly flat and little wind as we headed to Port Macquarie, we arrived at Port Macquarie at midday and I was very pleased to see new leads to enter the port. My first time entering this port some years ago I did what I normally do when entering a port for the first time and that is to stand off the entrance and check the leads. The first time here I did this the leads were hard to see but I eventually spotted them a very dull orange set of triangles, once found I checked that they lined up with what the chart plotter shows and was pleased that they both line up so all I had to do was follow the leads on my chart plotter and occasionally check the leads proper. As we were doing this we had notified VMR of our arrival and they were eyeing us coming in and radioed asking us to go further north and recheck the leads. I explained that we were on the leads and the reply was that he understood that but with the conditions it is better to enter from a little further north. After entering we found that the leads had been in the wrong place for more than seven years because the sand bar had shifted. The problem was that the leads could not be relocated because to put the back triangle lead in place they would have to cut down some Norfolk Pine that are heritage listed. My comment was why don’t they put in a Port entry Tri-light lead, this could be mounted on the area of the front triangle lead, naturally in the correct location and there would be no need for a back lead. Tri-light leads as I call them is a light mounted on a post that has red, white and green light, if you are in the correct position to enter you have the white light showing, if you are too far to port a red light shows and too far starboard the green light shows. Well in the last two years since our last visit that is what they have done.
The other sad part is that the volunteers of VMR could not say back then that the leads are in the wrong place because of our litigated country. The other factor is that many boaties do not communicate with VMR or Coastguard so they would not have any assistance and if they had entered the port using the old leads they would come to grief as one motorboat did some years ago which I believe went to court and maybe that is the reason for the new leads.
Port Macquarie has quite a small marina and some moorings however, there was no room for us so we had to anchor so we went passed the moorings and dropped the anchor, we called into the marina and asked to use their dinghy dock which cost $20 for the week, they have showers available and we did top up water containers each time we went ashore.
We are looking forward to catching up with family here which will be tomorrow after we are rested, I have one daughter living here and one about to move here.
Friday – 11/04/2014 through to Saturday 19/04/2014
We had a great week in Port Macquarie with family having many dinners at Melinda and Steve’s, they have done wonders with the house that they bought here and young Sam has grown so much since we last saw him. Also had granddaughter Tarryn there she had to go back to Dubbo for a while but returned with her mother Cherie so it was great catching up with them. Cherie and Tarryn are moving to Port Macquarie permanently and was in the throes of moving gear here.
We also caught up with Nancy’s nephew Jeff and his wife Marita, it was good seeing them again we have not seen them since Jeff had his motorcycle accident where a bloke ran a red light and hit him, he nearly lost his leg but due to his determination he refused to let them take it and he is doing great although the leg will never be the same as before.
We also met some new friends through Nancy’s website of women sailing and had a good night with a number of boaties at the marina with a seafood night.
After a great week the seas had subsided to a level where we could cross the bar at Yamba so Sunday we left Port Macquarie with Steve and Sam waving us on from the break wall. We had decided to bypass Coffs Harbour and sail overnight to Iluka as north winds were going to move in again and we preferred to wait it out at Iluka rather than Coffs Harbour.
One of the main problems of the NSW coastline is that most places have sand bars to cross to enter the ports and some are worse than others, we have crossed them before when seas are up and it is no fun so these days we prefer to wait the time out to get a good crossing. The unfortunate part of this is if there have been very high wind conditions this brings the seas well up and it takes a few days for the seas to go down afterwards which usually means that we miss the good sailing winds that follow the high winds and when the seas have settled there is little wind at all.
This was the case for this run we had some wind but at times had none at all.
Again we hugged the coast to ensure we did not get into the East Coast Current, it was close to land as we left Port Macquarie you could see the ripples at the edges, at one stage we had to cross a section of it for just a few metres and we went from 6 knots back 2.9 knots. It was also visual close to Smoky Cape and along the coast to Trial Bay.
We passed Coffs Harbour around 2200 hours and had a pleasant night at sea arriving at Yamba crossing at 1100 hours, the bar was very calm and easy to enter. It was just on low tide when we entered and after entering decided to anchor at Iluka rather than Yamba these towns being on opposite sides of the Clarence River. The choice of Iluka was due to the forthcoming winds from the north.
Entering Iluka Harbour is always interesting especially as it is just after low tide, I followed a track I had previously taken and although I did this I did run out of depth, however, the bottom must be silt as we still glided through it to deeper water and dropped anchor.
After anchoring we decided to go ashore and have lunch at the pub and the meal was great. We also talked to some locals and visitors and one couple that was holidaying said that her father had had his first beer in this pub when he was sixteen, he has just turned ninety three. So the pubs been here a while.
23/04/2014 to 25/04/2014
Wednesday – 23rd
We went ashore and caught up with a friend from Dubbo days, Robert used to work with Nancy as a fitness instructor and is now a Police Officer at Iluka, it is always good catching up with friends that we have not seen for a while. We then went for a walk around Iluka had coffee and found out where the Anzac Day march and dawn service is held for Anzac Day.
Talked to a few locals and got talking to a couple that have a motor home so we had lots of questions as we think that will be our next venture, and we thanked them for their candid comments that will be very helpful.
Thursday – 24th
We went a walk ashore and went to the Fish Co-op for fish and chip lunch, but did not do much else.
Friday – 25th – Anzac Day Lest We Forget
Up very early to get to the dawn service and when we arrived there was quite a gathering for a small town like this. After the service we went and had breakfast at the memorial hall but we did not go for the rum like some although it is a tradition I wanted to last the day.
We went back on board for a while then I organised us to get ashore for the Anzac March and did very well being an hour early. However, not all lost we sat and talked to some of the locals, we sat in the shade until it was near time for the march and when we went to the muster point I met Gary also an ex-sailor and from there Gary and his lovely wife Janice looked after us. After the march and service they gave us a lift to the luncheon at the Bowling Club where we were also joined by friend Robert and wife Karen so a good afternoon was had. It was a fun afternoon meeting other locals and visitors alike.
Leaving the club we said goodbye to friends and returned on board. Tomorrow we leave for the Seaway at the Gold Coast with another overnight sail.
Gold Coast, Tipplers Passage and The completion of the voyage.
Saturday – 26/04/2014
Up early and underway by 0540 hours, we headed out of Iluka Harbour and out to the bar crossing and as we neared the bar the fishing boats were entering after a nights fishing. Once into clear water we hoisted the mainsail to try and catch what little wind was around a little later we were able to set the headsail also. We have 102 Nms to the Gold Coast Seaway so we should get there in good time the way we are going. The seas were a little confused at times having swell come from two directions.
We neared the Gold Coast before midnight and crossed the bar at low tide at 0040 hours after entering the Seaway at the Gold Coast we headed north and anchored off South Stradbroke Island near Perry’s and then got the head down by 0130 hours.
We were up again by 0630 hours due to the usual thing that happens in this mad place high speed boats heading out to fish rocking the you know what out of us. We often say that you only sail to the Gold Coast to pass through it and the Seaway.
So whilst at Iluka when we met Trevor and Gaye on ‘Biaha’ a Lagoon catamaran and I told them about a quiet anchorage near Paradise Point as they left before us and we said we would see them there. So we weighed anchor and headed for that anchorage, well when we got there it was packed, Trevor was the last boat in the line, as we neared him I said someone let the secret out.
We found a whole and dropped anchor and they came over a little later and they said they had let Shelly and Rick off ‘Neriki’ know that we have arrived and they would probably be here tomorrow, they are good friends of ours, so a dinner was being organised.
After a while we headed ashore to pick up a few things and have coffee. We then had a quiet day and almost a quiet night. We watched a movie and as we were nearly finished the wind kicked in and all of a sudden boats were swinging in all directions, the yacht closest to us swung one way and we swung the other and seeing this we were not happy to stay just in case one of the yachts broke free so in rain and dark we weighed anchor and headed back towards South Stradbroke Island and anchored near Currigee Camp as soon as we were settled we hit the sack and went to sleep.
Monday – 28/04/2014
We got up as usual first light and decided to head back towards Sovereign Island and instead of anchoring near Paradise Point to go north of the islands bridge and anchor there where we had noticed the day before there was only two boats.
This we did and dropped anchor and a little later ‘Neriki’ joined us and they came over and there was lots of hugs and shaking of hands, we have cruised with these people on a number of occasions and have not seen them for nearly two years.
Later Trevor brought his boat around to the same anchorage. We all had drinks and dinner on ‘Neriki’ with each of the ladies preparing a dish and a good night we had.
Tuesday – 29/04/2014
We went ashore for a water run to do washing later, I use containers of water for the washing machine as it is easier and faster. Then we went ashore to get a few things from the shop and then we set sail for Tipplers Passage, lovely spot in the week crazy on weekends. There were only two other yachts in the anchorage so plenty of room.
We went ashore for a walk and see what has changed, they now have a restaurant/bar next to the store/office that is open weekends and public holidays where you can have breakfast/lunch/dinner which is good for the boating people. Not sure if it will continue through the winter months.
Wednesday – 30/04/2014
We did chores on the boat a few repairs but generally quiet times a little later in the morning ‘Neriki’ arrived so it was sundowners and dinner on our boat tonight.
It was a good night catching up with Shelly and Rick, they have done heaps of work to their boat and will be cruising north again this year.
Thursday – 01/05/2014
A quiet day going ashore for a walk over the island to the beach on the open sea side of the island, bit of a paddle in the water, still too cold for me to swim but there are also a lot of rips here so I would not chance it if it was warm.
It was dinner on ‘Neriki’ tonight and to say farewell again as we will be heading for Manly tomorrow, it was a good night and when we finish all the work on the boat we may catch up with them north.
Friday – 02/05/2014
We waited for the rain to ease before weighing anchor I watched the met site radar and as soon as it passed we headed off but we knew more was coming.
It was a motor day again in fact later the wind was going to be strong and right on the nose. We chose to go via Jacob’s Well as I know the shallows had been dredged two years ago and being near low tide I did not want to chance Canaipa Passage, there is only a few hundred metres difference in distance between them to our destination.
The rain did come causing poor visibility and as Murphy’s Law it happened at the most hazardous area near the narrow passages where we have to negotiate ferries and barges and yes there was one of each.
Once through the shallow passages and into Moreton Bay proper we then had the wind increase to 25 knots on the nose, are they trying to discourage us from finishing this journey. You know I know it is a concern of many people that if they come to grief it is usually when they are close to home, this can be in any form of transport. The trick is don’t relax until you get back, always treat the areas as unknown because things do change.
We finally reached Manly and went to the allocated berth at Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club Marina where Andy and Cath off ‘Paws’ was there to take our lines and they organised a get together the club for dinner.
So our circumnavigation of this fine country was completed after 2 years and 6 days and 10,310 nautical miles travelled. I suppose this is an achievement but really many sailors have done it, yes I do feel that I have achieved something of a challenge but I have to take my hat off to the earlier sailors that did it without the aid of GPS, regular weather reports, internet and HF radio that provide these things to us today. The big thing today is knowing how to use the technology that is provided but at the same time to know what to do if it fails or know when it is wrong and electronic charts are not always accurate. We still use paper charts as well as electronic and I recommend that people should do the same because when the chart plotter fails or are wrong you need to know what to do.
I would like also to thank all those that helped and supported us on this great voyage, I have mentioned in past notes the kindness that was shown to us.
I don’t like putting names down just in case I miss one and that would be disastrous but I am going to give it a go and if I do miss anyone my humble apologies
Mark and Susan who looked after our mail sending it to us or scanning it and emailing it.
Colleen our official communications officer, Colleen was the contact who kept up to date where we were and what we were up to in case of emergency.
Alison and Rob in Darwin not only helped us get in and out of the lock in the marina but welcomed us into their home and gave us a very special Christmas with their family.
Ted and Desley also Darwin making us very welcome looking after me whilst Nancy was away, loved that roast duck and the assistance Ted gave with electrics.
Brendan in Broome that not only run us everywhere to get the anchor winch motor fixed but got on the lathe and machined it for us and his lovely friend Jodi that invited us into her home for dinner and transported us.
Stephen that allowed us to use his mooring in Broome which was very helpful when our anchor winch was down.
Jim of Fremantle Sailing Club who invited us to his home for dinner with other of his yachtie friends and made us welcome.
Lorraine also in Perth that organised a welcoming for us of the (SICYC) Shaggers and a good afternoon it was.
The Fremantle Sailing Club Marina that made us very welcome and have the most realistic marina fees as like Tasmania. (Here we had first 3 nights free and $35 per night there after)
Gavin and Rae at Bunbury, Rae from marine radio organised Gavin to assist us late at night to do a fuel run and whilst he was at it he gave us a full night guided tour of Bunbury.
Mark of Southern Ocean Sailing School, Albany, who helped us get into the marina did shopping and fuel runs for us and was willing to help where he could.
Ingrid and Geoff of Albany also SICYC, welcomed us into their home and gave us the full guided tour of Albany.
Kevin at Esperance, who just offered up his vehicle for us to go shopping and do fuel runs and he and friend Zero gave us lots of local knowledge of anchorages prior to crossing the Bight.
Max Port Lincoln , offered us a lift to get our gas bottles filled and also gave us a full guided tour of the city.
Carol Kangaroo Island, marine radio operator that looks after all the boats and picked us up took us to their community hall for dinner gave us her vehicle the next day to look around and do fuel and shopping runs.
Leigh, John, Mark and Bert Cape Jaffa, good friend Leigh organised free marina berths for us and left s his car to use whilst we were there. John who owned the marina berths that allowed us to use them free of cost, Mark and Jackie who loaned us their larger vehicle for the entire time we were at Cape Jaffa and Bert and Janet, who from the first day we arrived offered to help in anyway he could and they also welcomed us to their home for dinner.
Ron and Dave Beauty Point Marina, two great blokes, they run the marina voluntary and are willing to help wherever they can and they were very good to us.
Glen, Nigel and families, what can I say about these blokes and their families, they all made us welcome in their homes and had a great Christmas with them, supplied a vehicle for the entire time we were there to go out and see Tassie. Beautiful friends.
Wayne and Anne at Devonport, although friends from way back they run us and other yachties around to get what we needed such as fuel runs.
Jim at Stanley, Jim is a special person, he allowed us to use his fishing boat berths when the seas got serious, you are a gentleman and I say that not because what you did but what you have done in the past and what you have suffered. Cheers Jim.
Frank and June Hobart, also very long time friends but did lots to help us and take us around.
John and Kim Sydney, also good friends but were there for us to do shopping and they took us to lunch and dinner and their home they are special friends to.
Barbara and Jim Port Stephens, the lovely American couple that are also yachties and welcome stray yachties to their home for dinner.
Gary and Janice Iluka, these people made us welcome to their town and looked after us on Anzac Day.
Finally I would like to thank the love of my life Nancy for doing all she does aboard and never complains.
Some that I mentioned are long time friends but I wanted to say thanks to them to. But it is special those that we had never met before and what they did for us which goes to show the Australian Spirit still lives. Thanks to all of you that made our trip very special, and I hope I have not missed a soul.
Brisbane to Lake Macquarie – the final voyage.
We had decided to sell our wonderful catamaran and after hauling out for a two week period and making sure all was good with her we put her up for sale not realising she would go so quick, six weeks she was sold.
Selling our beautiful catamaran Alana Rose was not the easiest thing we have done, this vessel has been our home, our safe haven in storms and has looked after us in many a rough sea. Unfortunately the time had to come, many a person had asked me how long we would live-aboard sailing for and my answer was, “As long as I can hoist the mainsail we will keep doing it”. Well my shoulders are telling me that I can’t do that anymore. I have torn ligaments, new and old, the old ones have calcified and I have arthritis in both shoulders. Many people have said get electric winches, besides the cost it is not only the fact off winches. Our last sailing here to deliver the boat has proven that, just holding onto things when the seas are rolling causes pain.
After being back in the water after hauling out in June/July we advertised the boat for sale, we looked at the market what people were asking for a similar quality boat and we undercut them by around $40,000. This brought the right results with a flood of people wanting to check the boat out. I think some were just tyre kickers just wanting to look but not ready to buy, but there was some genuine buyers some had to sell something before buying etc. The annoying part is those people that say this is just what we are looking for, I have to get finance before making an offer and it is a lot of bull, why not tell the truth just say nice boat but not what we are looking for, it won’t offend anyone, it lets the seller know that you won’t be back. We had one couple come look at the boat twice and said they would contact us and let us know if they were not interested and they did just that, and I thank them for that, it is the right thing to do. Well we finally had a couple that came liked and bought and I am pleased to say they are a lovely couple and we are pleased Alana Rose is going to such a nice home and nice people.
They paid the deposit organised the survey and the day of the survey the surveyor rang them gave them the all clear and an hour later the money was in our bank, good way to do business.
They asked us if we would deliver the boat at our leisure and I explained we had to get a weather window. Well the Gods must have been on our side as come the Monday night after the survey which was on the Friday we had a three day window. Jason the new owner or should I say half owner as his wife Alyson could not come due to work commitments, flew to the Gold Coast boarded late afternoon and at 1900 hours we set sail.
Although we had a three day window it was not all beer and skittles. We left with a light head on wind until the change that came in around 2200 hours so we motored until the change hit then we got the sails working and through the night we had 15 knot winds from behind but unfortunately another squall came through then we had little wind and it meant we had to motor. Fortunately we had picked up the East Coast Current which gave us an extra 2 knots.
It was then a day of motoring until late Tuesday night when the winds came in from the north at speeds of around 30 knots, this got us sailing with little headsail at speeds of 8 to 9 knots this continued through the night until about late morning when a large black cloud came in from the southwest. Nancy being on watch had to yell out to Jason and I as the front hit, we scrabbled up on deck to get the sail down, it was rather cool just wearing my undies. We then had 30 knots from the southwest for some time as we slammed into the seas. The foul weather stayed for around 90 minutes and then we had WSW to W winds between 13 and 18 knots, we had the mainsail reefed to assist one engine as the wind angle was not good to sail alone.
This continued through the night. Before going off watch on the Wednesday night I checked the weather again for crossing the Swansea Bar and got a bit concerned. It had changed from an 11 knot westerly to a 20 knot SE wind which could stir the water up and prevent us from crossing. So I went to bed concerned and did not get any sleep thinking of what we should do if we cannot cross the bar. When back on watch four hours later things had calmed a little we were now in amongst the large ships moving about and at anchor near Newcastle. At one stage I had to call one of the cargo ships as we were on a collision course, I identified it on the AIS on the internet site. I checked the weather forecast again and fortunately it had changed back to the original of westerly 11 knots.
We had arrived early so we sailed past the Swansea Bar a short distance until daylight when we contacted VMR and got the go ahead for crossing the bar. The crossing was the smoothest calmest I had experienced and I cursed because I lost sleep worrying what we would do if we could not cross.
We picked up one of the moorings near the Swansea Bridge at 0700 hours and booked an opening for 0900 hours this gave us time to clean up and have showers. Our dear friends Colleen and Brian were at the bridge to wave us in for the last time, Jason also had friends in a 47 Leopard catamaran on the other side of the bridge to welcome him in his new boat.
Jason was on a learning trip on the way down I remained skipper and he was very pleased with Alana Rose performance and we certainly had different weather to test her out. His comment was he knows now he will feel safe in this boat.
We motored through the channel to Lake Macquarie and when we had got through the drop off I handed Jason the wheel and said you know where your home is and you know the lake better than I take the wheel. We went across the lake to Dora Creek to Alana Rose’s new home, the parking was going to be tricky so Jason asked if I would do that so he could see how I approached it, it is a very tight spot but going slow we did alright and Jason has the confidence that he would not have any trouble doing the same.
Alyson could not be there until she finished work so when she got home we sat in the cockpit with the champagne to hand over the boat officially.
We stayed with them for the weekend to assist in anything they needed to know, we moved off the boat into the house and I do not mind admitting taking my last bag of the boat there was a very large lump in my throat and a few tears fell. Nancy and I are going to miss this boat and the life at sea, it is in the veins, but we now know we have a new adventure waiting on our land ship, our new motor home.
Alana Rose stay here just a short time and was re-sold to another very good home where the owner spent quite a lot of money on her, new electrics, new hard top on the cockpit, new electronics and more. I think it was the time to let her go and have these spoils that we would not have been able to do. We had a great 8 years sailing over 35,542 nautical miles.