Crossing an ocean was supposed to be the tough part of coming home. As it turned out the journey down the East Coast of Australia was much more taxing. We had decided to bring the boat all the way home to Paynesville so that we could undertake some window re fixing work at our leisure.

The local sailmaker at Port Bundaberg did a great job repairing the Schreecher for us in very quick time. Chatting to one of the other yachts gave me the idea to try a long length of wire pulled up the mast on a halyard as an antenna. This worked much better than the short whip we have and we were able to not only send and receive data much faster but talked to yachts still in Vanuatu. I have subsequently started on a mission to master the black art of HF Radio Comms and redo the radio setup to maximise the strength and clarity of our signal. Another job!

We enjoyed a social afternoon on the lawns of the marina with the SHAGS club and caught up with our old friends Gary and Mel from “Whiskers”.

Gary had been working on a new lure for trolling using fresh real but no live bait. So far he has been very successful with them and gave us one to try.

 

Caught up with the washing, hosed down the boat and spent a day exploring Bundaberg.

Sunday 6th October

Took the ebb tide out of the Burnett River after letting the shipping clear.

Soon had the spinnaker up for an exhilarating blast across Hervey Bay in a fresh NW'ly. We sailed past the fairway mark toward Fraser Island hoping to see some whales. No luck there, so we reduced to Schreecher down the narrow gutter along Hawks Nest Beach and around to Moon Point. Anchored for the night with lots of other boats in shallow water and minimal protection.

Monday 7th October

We took the flood tide current and a nice 15 knot NW to weave south through the Great Sandy Straits. Stopped at Dream Island just north of Gary's Anchorage as the tide changed. Lazy arvo but once the tide had dropped significantly, we took the dinghy to check water depths around us as a change in wind direction was forecast during the night. Sure enough we were too close to a shallow bank that would have had us stuck on the mud next morning. We moved further down the Channel.

Tuesday 8th October

The houseboat next to where we were anchored was now high and dry on a sand bank. Breeze picked up making it very uncomfortable as the tide and wind fought for supremacy in the control of our boat causing us to snatch against the anchor and spin around. Moved down into Gary's Anchorage proper well sheltered from the strong SE'ly. Had a quick walk on the island but got back early to lock the boat down against sand flies.

Wednesday 9th October

SE'ly still blowing hard so we waited until afternoon to move down to Elbow Point an anchorage close to the Wide Bay Bar ready for a quick getaway next morning. Wind finally started to die the evening.

Thursday 10 th October

Up at 4.45am and on our way by 5.30am. to cross the bar at slack water low tide. We had a light northerly as we followed the procession of 6 other yachts across the bar. The big yacht “Equinox” passed us early but we eventually passed everyone else as the breeze built. We tried Gary's new lure after a big strike on the line took another lure off us. Unfortunately, for the rest of the way there was no other fish in the ocean.

We had the kite up but a Strong Wind Warning was current so we watched the weather carefully and as soon as we had the first gust over 20 knots it was down. As it turned out we could have held it all the way to Maloolaba as the wind didn't come in any harder until after we arrived. However, I have had enough issues over the years getting spinnakers down in winds over 25knots not to want to repeat the experience. Did the last 10 Nm under Schreecher.

We arrived at Maloolaba about 2.00pm and as the anchorage area was crowded and it was really starting to blow again we elected to splurge on a berth at the Wharf Marina.

Friday 11th October 2013

Off to Marochidore Shopping Centre, by bus for some retail therapy. The trusty little Olympus Camera finally died so we got a new waterproof compact Lumix.

Back at the Wharf there was an evening market with an Enyo lady. Lea was very excited and ended up placing a $500.00 order for cleaning goodies.

Saturday 12 th October

Up early for a long foreshore walk to Alexandra Headland and back. Enjoyed a few hours with Rod, Kirsty and Jackson over a fish and chip lunch. Little Jackson has grown heaps since we last saw him.

Sunday 13th October

Out the entrance by 6.30am and decided to take the NE channel into Morton Bay. Another building forecast for a downwind run. Started out with Schreecher but reduced to Genoa around Tangalooma. Good strike on the lure again and another lure lost. Wind gusting up to 30knots as we approached St Helena Island. Crazy racing folk were out and one 9 metre cat was on its side nose down and mast in the mud. Another boat was returning to shore after requesting by radio an ambulance for a suspected severe concussion.

We pulled into East Coast Marina, Manly. Allan and Mary, the owners of ” Christmas Beetle” joined us for drinks and dinner.

Monday 14 th October

Another early start to catch the last of the NW. Out by 6.30am but the wind had already backed to the west at 20-25 knots. We had a bumpy beam reach to start with but didn't have to turn on the motors untill Coochiemoldo Island. We then motored most of the rest of the way through the Broadwater with the wind 20-30 knots SW. Despite the cancellation of the Strong Wind Warning (SWW)

After the anxious moment passing under the power lines on the Main Channel we chose to follow the Jacobs Well Channel, passing the sunken yacht above. By now it was dead low tide. No problem until the last shallow spot. We had a couple of light bumps then stopped solidly aground. We waited an hour while we had lunch then backed off the sand bar with a big dose of reverse and continued on our way.

We angled up to access Tiplers Channel and anchored just off the now closed resort, grateful to get out of the wind.

Tuesday 15th October

Beach walk early, shooed off the duck

then took the tide to Bum's Bay. Caught up with Rob and Henma from ” Easy Rider” finally on their way South after 2 seasons in the Kimberley's.

Wednesday 16th October

Rob and I helped each other up our respective masts for checks and maintenance, Rob let the wrong end of his main halyard go so decided to take the opportunity to replace it. I checked the fit of some LED replacement globes for the masthead lights.

Long walk up to Marina Mirage and Southport Yacht Club Chandlery

Thursday 17th October

We moved to Paradise Point and “Easy Rider” moved into Runaway Bay Marina for engine service and new solar panels. Another strong wind was forecast and our anchorage experiences strong tide flows so after visiting Rob and Henma, Lea returned to GL while I caught the bus to get to Whitworths for a new halyard for Rob and LED's for us.

Walked back to Runaway Bay late afternoon and picked up Rob and Henma to go next door to Southport Yacht Club to catch up with Roger and Louise our boatbuilders. That extended to a great dinner and a good night.

Friday 18th October

A quick trip ashore to stock up on meat led to some real estate tire kicking around the area. We had a look at an older canal house with a jetty big enough for GL up for auction the next day. Then we checked out the new development at Salacia Waters on Paradise Point. Really liked the apartments. Large, waterfront, 3 bedroom, double 15 metre marina berth available. Fantastic lifestyle development and facilities. Would be a great place to live but the figures don't stack up for an investment.

Saturday 19th October

Returned to Bum's Bay and again anchored near “Easy Rider”. SE'ly still blowing strong. Had a BBQ on GL with R&H but Dave and Suzie from “Bahama” were unable to join us.

Sunday 20th October

Calm morning so we did another long walk and a brief catch up Kel and Helga from “Mojo” who we met back on the 2010 trip in CB.

By midday a light breeze was in from the ENE so we left through the Gold Coast Seaway and headed South under Full Main and Schreecher angling offshore to try to get into the East Australia Current running South. The wind remained light and the large SE swell made for an uncomfortable motion that gave me the worst case of sea sickness I've had in over 20 years. The breeze filled in a bit and we had some good sailing into the evening. Then it died off and we Motorsailed through a messy sea state until the breeze returned.

Monday 21st October

Another SWW was current for the Northern NSW Coast and we were expecting up to 30 knots form the North to the south of Yamba. We got it and were racing along under Schreecher for many hours between 10 and 12 knots

It was a freezing cold and damp night with 95% humidity

Tuesday 22nd October

Arrived at Esmeralda Cove, Broughton Island at 08:00am after 265 Nm on the log but over 300 Nm covered, thanks to the current which ran at 2.5 knots much of the time, in 44 hours.

We had a little rest then went ashore for a walk and to meet the “locals” who live in the “fishing shacks”

The families who own these “shacks” are descendants of the fishing families that started coming here a hundred years ago. They now have a constant fight with DSE or the NSW's equivalent to keep their property. It was a lovely spot and the scenery was beautiful.

 

The old guard, with places on the island, are slowly dying off now as age catches up. This grave marks one of them and is at the top of the eastern peak of the island.

Overnight we were again waiting for 25 to 30 knot Northerlies but fortunately they never arrived and we had a early and restful night.

Wednesday 23rd October 2013

A small gap in the the forecast 30 knot winds so we headed for Newcastle. We were gone by 07:00am and managed to sail most of the way in a light NE before the wind dropped out and all went quiet with occasional little puffs on the nose. I decided the change was going to arrive early so we dropped all sail. Within 10 minutes we had 20 knots from the W which rapidly built to 30+ knots which in turned kicked up a nasty steep chop on the water. We waited for a ship to enter and followed it into the calmer waters of the port.

Rang Newcastle Marina and they had 4 blokes to help us get into the berth. All went well and we were soon settled. Dennis, our neighbour, offered to run us into the supermarket later in the afternoon. This was typical of the warmth and friendliness we experienced throughout our short stay in Newcastle.

Thursday 24th October

Big cleanup morning then a long walk along the foreshore into town

 

Nobby Island
Fort Scetchly

And the sea baths

Friday 25th October

Weather still very unstable, oscillating between SE and NE short, sharp and stong blows. One yacht here had been stuck here for 6 weeks trying to get a decent window to head to Melbourne. We left Newcastle about 11:00am bound for Sydney within the small weather window available.

Expecting to motor in light and variable winds we were pleased to get an ESE at 9 knots to help us along. The large residual SE swell didn't help me and I enjoyed another good dose of sea sickness. By afternoon the wind had backed further to the east so the Shreecher was out with a full main pushing us along nicely over the liquid mountains.

The breeze backed further and eased leaving the boom crashing and banging around driving us crazy. We eventually gave up and dropped the Main. The strong NE we had been expecting all afternoon finally arrived just as we approached Sydney Heads. We motored up to Manly Beach just on dusk, to find Heather and Steve on ” Billyana” already there. They joined us for a drink or three.

 

We spent the next couple of days enjoying Manly and Balmoral with Heather and Steve. Thought we might leave Monday 28th but the window was small and a gale was forecast so we decided Sydney was better in a gale than Jervis Bay or Ulladulla. Tucken into Collins Bay and enjoyed a lazy day.

Tuesday 29th October

Moved across to a new mooring in Quarantine Bay. Warm morning so took the opportunity to scrub the waterline. Also checked genset cooling water flow as it seemed less than usual. Temperature plummeted and wind built to 40+ knots when the front hit just before lunchtime.

Wednesday 30th October

Wind blew all night but calm and cold in the morning. Went ashore to explore the old Quarantine Station.

Very impressive display and great to see such an important piece of history preserved.

Back to Manly for provisions.

Thursday 31st October

Coffee in the morning with Heather and Steve at Balmoral Beach while waiting for the sea breeze to come in. A nice NE developed so we had an easy run down to Jibbon Beach, Port Hacking.

Friday 1st November

Very comfortable night. Good walk in the morning again waiting for the sea breeze. Headed off around 10:00am Spinnaker up by 11:00am Great run all day. Changed down to Schreecher for the night in a steady 20 knots from the NE.

Saturday 2nd November

Wind died at 2.00am as forecast just north of Montague Island and we completed the trip to Bermagui under motor and current.

We enjoyed another 3 day stay at Bermagui one of our favourite coastal villages as gale force Southerly winds blew out at sea.

 

Tuesday 5th November. The last leg!

Waited for the wind to begin to back to the east. Left around 12:00pm. Good sail down to Green Cape then in the evening the wind went behind us and eased. Motor was back on for the rest of trip.

Wednesday 6th November

Got out of crappy sea state around Point Hicks, then an easy calm motorsail to cross the Lakes Bar around midday, catching the last of the flood tide in. Relaxed at Flagstaff Jetty for the afternoon and night.

Thursday 7th November

Motorsailed up to Paynesville and home.

The End ( for now)

 

 

 

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