Maunie of Ardwall
We're enjoying Newcastle and had a really good Hunter Valley wine tour on Saturday - 4 wineries plus a brewery visited, 30 wines and 6 beers tasted. The only snag was that the Yacht Club marina was full, due to a Farr 40 regatta, so we got onto the pontoon next to the Maritime Museum. It is a great location, apart from the wash from the huge tugs as they return from guiding the vast coal ships in and out of the commercial docks. Last night at 4.00am we had a tug in an extra hurry to return to its berth and Maunie was rolled violently and slammed against the pontoon - a rude awakening that's also left a mark on our topsides. Currently awaiting a call back from the Operations Manager at Svitzer, the tug company, to give him some constructive feedback!
That aside, all is well and we will stay another day before heading on to Broken Bay and Pittwater.
We returned to Fame Cove yesterday and we are just debating when to move south - there has been a big swell (over 3 metres) offshore for the past couple of days but it is supposed to be reducing. The light winds at the moment would mean motor-sailing so we don't fancy rolling in big waves!
More rain and light winds are forecast for tomorrow so we may stay here to do some boat jobs before moving on to Port Stephens.
We followed the progress of the tug on AIS and a NSW Maritime Police boat came up to us to warn us of the approaching tow (they were happy that we were anchored well out of the main channel) and it passed us at a steady 4 knots - the tug was the Kotor and the ship was a suction dredger called Pelican.
All well aboard Maunie, enjoying a relaxed Sunday afternoon in the sunshine.
Luckily the swell is less than 1m and the breeze has died away again so the open roadstead anchorage is very calm (it probably doesn't get much better than this here). We'll leave for Port Macquarie in the morning to get to the bar at HW (lunchtime) and there we'll wait for a couple of days for the NE wind to arrive properly; we've had enough of motoring!
All well aboard
Anchored in 3m, well sheltered and out of the current and we'll stay here another day due to the wind veering SE / SSE - the town of Iluka is very pleasant and the fishermen's cooperative does great fish 'n' chips. It gives us time to sort a problem with one of the mainsail reefing lines which had become jammed in a block in the boom - a bit of a challenge....
The anchorage is pretty shallow (max 3.5m) and the mud very soft so it took us three attempts to get the anchor to bite but it's a very peaceful spot. We plan to dinghy across the river to explore the bright lights of Ballina tomorrow before resuming the south-bound passage. All very well on board.
Anchoring in a flooding river is a Bad Idea - vegetation and debris can build up around the anchor chain pulling the boat's bow down or breaking the anchor out so we were lucky to get the one remaining berth in the little marina here, tucked downstream of a big motor yacht. As the day progressed and the rain continued to fall, the river turned dark brown and branches, navigation buoys and all sorts of unidentified floating objects swept past us.
Overnight a gales swept through but we were well-sheltered from it. This morning, hallelujah, the rain has stopped and there is a little sunshine so we can dry out! Now we have to find if the technicians have been able to get in to work so that the job we came here for can be addressed.
Di's cough and cold has really hit her hard but Graham's man-flu is being held at bay, just. We'll need to restock at the Yamba pharmacy today!
We managed to sail under the Harbour Bridge without starting the engine and it is good to be back in the city. Noticeably warmer, too, but we have gained nearly 10 degree of latitude since leaving Recherche Bay in Tassie. Will be in the harbour for about 10 days - a mix of boat work and seeing more of the sights..
We'll head ashore to explore this afternoon.
Overall, the passage has gone pretty much to plan, with some fast sailing though the adverse current (nearly 2 knots at times) was a pain. We are hugging the coast for the final few miles and it does seem to have taken us out of the tide's grip. We have not managed to get into any really good sleep patterns, however, so a post-lunch siesta may be required.
We have thoroughly enjoyed the cruising down the east coast of Tassie and can recommend the island as a brilliant sailing area, even if it does get a tad chilly when the wind blows from the south.
The sail down the coast yesterday took us past the spectacular cliffs and rock stacks at the southern end of the Tasman Peninsula and through the 'Hole in the Wall' between Tasman Island and Cape Pillar.
Yesterday, being the 1st of February, marked the end of Dry January so a couple of cheeky beers were enjoyed in the quaint mock-Tudor Fox & Hounds pub.
There's a strong wind warning for today so we'll stay here and explore ashore before sailing for the bright lights of Hobart tomorrow.
The sail south was a bit mixed as the northerly wind was rather fluky, but we flew the spinnaker for a while and motor-sailed a little in cloudy and rainy conditions The anchorage in Canoe Bay is beautiful and sheltered from all directions; we are tucked behind the wreck of the 1907 Dutch cargo vessel Andre Reboncas (later named William Pitt). The wind will go southerly tonight and tomorrow so we'll hike some of the coastal path and, we hope, see some penguins, and then sail round to Port Arthur, the old convict station, on Wednesday.
For the first time since we arrived in Tasmania, there are clouds in the sky but we should have a good sail across to Maria Island to explore the National Park.
Awesome fish and chips lunch from the Fish Van and very friendly folk in the Tourist Information centre.
This morning we had a gentle sail down the Freycinet peninsula and we are anchored off the National Park Schouten Island in 8m of clear (but cold) water. The wind has just turned SWSW and gusty so, although we are reasonably sheltered, a 33ft yacht that anchored ahead of us just dragged its anchor and came very close, very quickly. Luckily the crew were still aboard and motored to find another spot.
It is another perfect summer day with bright sunshine so another walk is planned for this afternoon.
So it is very good to be here and we already feel better after bacon sandwiches and salad. The wind should drop a little this evening to allow us to get ashore for a walk tomorrow.
All very well aboard.
Today has been an easy day but a frustrating one in that the wind was just not enough to sail at any respectable pace so we motored from 08.00 until 19.00. The Irish Flag spinnaker flew for an hour of peace as we consumed the excellent lasagne that we made before leaving Eden but there was then another couple of hours of motoring.=20 The wind has now kicked in so. after an fast hour with the spinnaker, we are back to white sails with two reefs in the main as the wind increased into the mid-20s. The wind is on the beam, though, so at the moment it is lovely, fast sailing in fairly flat waters and our ETA for Wineglass Bay is about 09.00. This will, we hope, be well before the wind goes south westerly.=20 All very well aboard and we are looking forward to landfall.
The window to leave for Tasmania tomorrow looks OK, though with a trough coming through on Tuesday bringing strong westerlies for a few hours, so we'll just check the forecast update this afternoon and make the decision as to when to leave (probably in the early hours of Sunday morning). Meanwhile we are preparing on-passage meals today.
The reason for the move is that a southerly gale is forecast for later tomorrow. We could probably have shifted in the morning except that a naval vessel is due to come alongside the ammunition-loading jetty here at 07.00 and it'll have a 500m no-go zone imposed around it. Anchored boats already here can remain at anchor but nobody will be able to come into the anchorage until the re-arming process is complete at 16.00.
Met two boats we know from Opua, NZ, here - Mekyo and Seeker - and there are quite a few others queuing up for the crossing to Tassie. Looks as though we'll all be waiting for another few days at least....
We should be in Eden early afternoon.
So re-fueled and re-provisioned, we are ready to set sail for Eden tonight.
It looks hopeful that we'll get easterlies then a fairly brisk NNE tomorrow night and Friday so that should be our window to get to Eden. The next challenge will be finding a good passage window for the 300nm to Tasmania.
The forecast suggests the southerly breeze will be short-lived and so we plan to check the update at 4.05pm then head south for an overnight passage of 120nm to Eden. Suspect we'll have to do some motoring but the sea state has calmed.
Once the wind kicked in at about 11.45 we had a couple of hours with the Irish Flag spinnaker flying, until the wind got up to the early twenties, then back to white sails, reefing down as the wind increased. Jervis Bay is huge and there is a long fetch for wind-driven waves to develop so we had a great beat, lee rail in the water, up to the northern beach where the tall trees gave us some decent shelter. Good holding in clear sand in 5m depth.
This is a beautiful place - unspoilt by development on land or marinas and masses of moorings on the water. The golden sand beach in front of us demands inspection.
Today's forecast is for 25-30 knots from the north and 2.5m waves which would mean a rolly, dead-downwind run to Eden (about 18 hours away) so we are going to sit tight, wait for a brief front (with southerly winds) to roll through on Monday morning then do an overnighter Monday night (if the forecast remains unchanged).
All well aboard.
Cronulla Marina is well-placed (you could get the commuter train from here to Sydney if you needed it), well sheltered and very friendly. The ablutions facilities are pretty basic, though, for $55 per night.
We'll head south 60nm today to an overnight anchorage in Jervis Bay; we need to get to Eden before Sunday night as the northerly winds swing southerly for a few days after that.
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