Monday 29th April

Left Broken Bay with full main up. Motor sailed past Lion Island and got a fright when we saw large logs in the water then promptly hit one. All seemed ok so we continued. Breeze came in so the Screecher went out. Seemed settled so we changed over to Spinnaker doing about 7 knots but fighting a knot of current or tide. Wind was dying out so we went into Norah Head for Lunch.

Took the SUP's into shore and had a bit of a walk around after lunch. However, the afternoon SE sea breeze came in so it was back to the boat and off again. Gentle sail up to Swansea. Easy bar crossing then onto a mooring for the night. Not much wind forecast so we debated whether to stay or move on.

Tuesday 30th April

The light Southwesterly forecast encouraged us to put the Spinnaker up early but the wind soon built up to a steady 18 knots. Before long we were racing along surfing our 14×7 Metre surfboard down the steep slope of Stockton Bight waves. We hand steered most of way to Port Stephens as we could hold the apparent wind up on 90 degrees and keep GL flying. We hit our top speed ever of 16.4 knots with Lea on the helm and averaged over 10 for the trip.

 

We gybed the Spinnaker and sailed all the way in to Shoal Bay, finally dropping the kite in the lee of Mt Tomaree.

Finished off a great sail with hot pie at the famous Red Ned's Pies at Nelson Bay

Kirra Kirra and Endurance, our friends from Bermagui were at Nelson Bay too.

Wednesday 1st May

Good walk along Shoal Bay then up to Tomaree Head. Explored the old WW2 gun emplacements and had a good,chat to RAAF officer who was supervising exercises for new recruits. He was originally from Sale near home had done 2 tours to Afganistan. Very interesting to talk to.

Finished the day with a sunset BBQ on the foreshore with Grant and Mary, Endurance, Mark and Mel, Telltales and Greg and Heidi, Sabbatical 2.

Thursday 2nd May

Washing Day at the Laundromat. Left the dinghy in one of the many spare pens at the marina. Returned to find the Marina management had left us a lovely new laminated bookmark.

Beautiful weather again and hot so afternoon of SUP's and swimming

Friday 3rd May

Long walk into Salamander Shopping Centre to sort out Lea's Banking Issues with the ANZ.

More SUP and swimming. Tough Life!! Front coming in overnight though and weather supposed to get nasty Saturday Night.

Had sundowners aboard Kirra Kirra and John and I agreed we should get a good sail tomorrow morning before Southerly really builds.

Saturday 4th May

Left Port Stephens early and caught a good ride out with the fast flowing tide. Kirra Kirra had got away early so the chase was on. Had one reef in the Main and alternated between Screecher and Genoa as wind speed and angle varied. Passed Kirra Kirra but she sails well, just handicapped by the small self tacking jib and no Schreecher.

We were disappointed to miss Broughton Island again but the weather just wasn't right to stay there.

Arrived in Sugarloaf Bay in time for lunch.

Just got settled at anchor and a local fisherman came out to request that we move as we had parked right in the path of the mullet schools he and his friends were waiting for. On the promise of being given some fish we agreed to move. However, the fish never arrived so we all missed out. We enjoyed another nice walk up to the Seal Rocks Lighthouse and a chat with the fishermen. Good blokes except for one who had an attitude and tried to make us feel responsible for the fish not showing. The mullet catch had been poor so far this season. They catch it for the roe, the rest ends up as pet food. They use jet boats to run the nets around the school when it enters the bay.

It was starting to blow by mid afternoon but we were well protected in the bay. Instead of increasing the wind died overnight and allowed the swell to get around the headland and give us an uncomfortable jiggly night.

Sunday 5th May

Off early again for a 50Nm run to Camden Haven. Light Westerly instead of forecast 20 knot Southerly. Started with full Main and Genoa. As wind backed to the South we changed to Screecher but by mid morning the Southerly was in and right up our bum. We spun into the wind, dropped the main and finished the trip under Spinnaker alone loping along with 14-16 knots of wind behind us. It was obviously blowing more offshore as the swell was starting to build.

We arrived at the Camden Haven entrance about 1.5 hours after low tide. The flood hadn't started yet and the waves were breaking right across the bar and just offshore. We circled in close for a look a couple of times and on our way out the second time nearly got cleaned up by a big wave standing up in front of us. Fortunately we got over it just before it broke. There was no way we were going in so we had a discussion with Marine Rescue and Kirra Kirra coming up behind us and agreed to wait until the flood in was running. Within half an hour the bar had significantly calmed as the tide started to run in and we made a tentative approach. Initially Lea was watching the Bar and I was watching our back. Once we agreed to commit Lea insisted I not look behind, so I focussed on the Bar ahead and Lea called the waves following. In the end we had a very calm crossing and so did Kirra Kirra. However, we heard later that a mono called Bojangles got broached on the bar and had a very scary crossing a few hours after us so we must have picked a nice gap in the wave sets. It was a bit of an anticlimax in the end as I was half hoping for a bit of a surf.

Tied up at the United Serviceman's Club Jetty but ended up gouging a deep hole in the gelcoat on a screw sticking out of a pole on the jetty. Not happy Jan!! Got the repair kit out and patched it up straight away and used the mix to touch up a few other gelcoat chips.

Finally enjoyed a stiff drink with John and Jo then off for Sunday Night Roast at the Club for $8.00 a head.

Monday 6th May

Off for coffee then a brisk walk up North Brother the 475m mountain just behind Laurieton with John and Jo

Back for lunch and the application of the next layer of gelcoat to the repair. AFD and a movie called “Best in Show” an American spoof about Dog Shows and Americans. Very funny.

Tuesday 7th May

Lea up early for long run to Camden Haven breakwater while I had a sleep in and a read. Joined John and Jo for a walk to Camden Head and Point Perpendicular.

 

Bar still being closed out by large wave sets. Back to GL to put the final layer of gelcoat on repair. Walked up to Oyster Farm for Oysters and fish to BBQ aboard Kirra Kirra. Had a great night. John favoured us by sharing a bottle of his own vintage shiraz “Six in the City”. He and 3 other mates make a barrel of wine every year and its very good. Note to self- don't buy Luderick again, even though very fresh it was crap fish! Oysters were great!

Wednesday 8th May

That brings us back to today, “Blog” day. Easy day doing minor repairs to spinnaker sock and I will polish out the gelcoat repair. More walking this afternoon. Should be in Coffs early next week getting ready for the big trip across to New Cal.

 

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