Tuesday May 20

Left Basin Mooring 4.00am. We were not the first though, Bella Almafi had left sometime before us. Not a bad run. Light West to NW winds, a bit heavier, lumpy and gusty across Stockton Bight. At Port Stephens we had caught and passed Bella Almafi as the wind stated to die out but we kept sailing just past Broughton Island, then gave in and turned on the motor.

Noticed only 3 coal ships waiting at Newcastle instead of the usual 20 plus we normally see. Things must be tough in the coal industry.

Arrived Sugarloaf Bay in the dark at 6.00 pm only to find another Wharram looking Catamaran in our spot. We had marked on the chart where we wanted to anchor prior to arrival and I was quite put out to find it taken. Lea took over and put us in another suitable place to drop anchor. Bella came in about and hour later.

95 Nm for the day so we had a luxurious hot shower and a big spagbol washed down with a nice glass of red, slept 4.5 hours then got up at 1.00am to do it all again.

Wednesday 21st May

First up and out this time and it was amusing to hear the other boats log on with the local volunteer Marine Rescue having to repeat their details over and over again to satisfy Marine Rescue paperwork. One boat was hounded on the radio all morning as some operator had missed getting some vital piece of info like what colour is the boat. Our relationship with Marine Rescue is we will call you, don't call us. We overheard a rescue just out of Ulladulla on our way up and were appalled at the total lack of correct radio procedure used throughout the rescue. Can't say as we ever have been impressed with this lot over the years; as someone said ” nice uniforms though”.

The female logging in from the Wharram Cat look alike sounded a bit too bohemian for me; her boat might not be a Wharram but she definitely was. I suggested to Lea we head a bit further north to Port Macquarie instead of Camden Haven where she was heading. Now I'm a boat snob!

We had a nice little westerly breeze 12-14 knots which pushed us along very comfortably. Died out off Camden Haven. Still wanted Port Macquarie and fortunately the breeze filled in again and we had a good sail all the way to the breakwater, passing 3 other cats enroute. Tacking Point was actually gybing point as we headed for the entrance.

Picked up the marina mooring we had booked, then went for a long walk to stretch the legs. I was also on a mission to find a suitable container to use as a duct in my new fridge circulation system, as well as another seal for the genset water pump.

Thursday 22nd May

Up early for a run along the foreshore before it got too hot. I do 5 km while Lea does 8 km. Lea a bit sore after falling on the anchor a couple of days ago.

Maintenance 1/2 hour

Sourced a bearing and seal supplier but it was 3.2km away in the industrial estate. It was quite warm and after our morning run it seemed a bloody long way. However, we found a man with a vernier and he confirmed we needed a metric size seal for our imperial size pump. Fortunately he had one in stock. 22mm x 12mm in case I ever need another one.

Then it was back to Settlement Point for some lunch and re provisioning. Back at the boat Lea unpacked all the groceries while I removed and rebuilt the water pump yet again. This time we had success and no more leaking of salt water onto 240 volt alternator.

Dave and Annie arrived in their beautiful big new campervan, diverting from their trip home after 3 weeks of touring to catch up with us. Very enjoyable afternoon drinks on GL followed by a great meal at the local Vietnamese restaurant, Mekong.

Friday 23rd May

Cleaning and maintenance 1/2 hour.

Washing, drying, vacuuming and creating a hole in back of fridge to get power to new recirculating fan. I didn't have a long enough piece of wire for the job but thought Dick Smiths, just over the road at Settlement City, would have some. No. Another 6.4 km walk to the industrial estate and back to Jaycar. Lea bought some more drawer tidies for stuff. Noticed no water coming from telltale of outboard.

Back onboard Lea met the neighbours Bill and Trish on 2XS a Chamberlain Nimbus 43 like Lea's old boat. They are heading for Darwin also so we may cross paths again.

The outboard telltale was cleaned out and the new fridge circulation fan installed. Basically all this does is pull warmer air from the top of the fridge near the door and pushes it back and down across the evaporator, keeping the whole fridge at an even temp. I now run fridge cycling between 3 and -1.5C whereas before it had to cycle at -4 and -7C which meant a big build up of ice on the evaporator.

We dropped the mooring at 16.00 and set off for Coffs Harbour. Enjoyed a nice little westery for the first 40 Nm. The current at Trial Bay was strong as usual so we used motor assist to get past the headland. Wind was a bit more fickle and light after that so continued on with a fair bit of motor assistance. The lightening storm out to sea was very impressive during the night watches.

We arrived at Coffs well before first light and debated whether to continue on. Decided to pull in as very little breeze. Lots of surge in the marina made tying up a bit stressful but finally got settled. Shower and bed.

Saturday 24 th May

Up at 8.00am to see some boats had already left to head further north. We probably should have continued on last night as weather not that great for sailing anytime during the next 7 days. Anyway it was another beautiful day so Lea got into the bikini and we gave GL a good shampoo and bath to clean off all the accumulated salt.

We enjoyed the obligatory walk along the beach and up Muttonbird Island

Followed by an afternoon nap.

We were invited earlier for late afternoon drinks aboard Windy Spirit, a Chincogan 40, with Reece and Linda. We enjoyed chatting to them about Indonesia and Malaysia which they cruised in 2009.

I cooked a mini roast beef in our new portable oven that we've nicknamed the light house. It lights up the whole boat when it cycles on. If we cooked in the cockpit with it at night it could cause a serious navigation hazard.

Sunday 25 th May

Another 4.00am start.

Began with a very light breeze but we got in a bit of sailing in between spurts with the motor on. Had a glitch with the GPS just inside South Solitary Island which was a bit disconcerting. The GPS had us doing 10-12 knots with lots of current with us and placed us well north of South Solitary when in fact we were right next to it. A GPS reset cleared the problem and it has behaved itself since.

A new breeze arrived after Dawn and we had 5 hours of easy sailing to windward. Trimming kept us busy to get the most out of the breeze.

Arrived Yamba around 14:00 just as the wind died and swung to the north. Anchored in warm sunshine just off Whiting Beach.

We had contacted some friends we met when cruising Christmas Beetle in 2010 who live in Yamba.Chris and Margaret also have a Chincogan 40 called Twisted. They were pleased to hear from us and invited us to dinner. They picked us up at the beach and took us for a drive around before going back to their lovely canal home. We had no idea the canal development here was so extensive and nicely done with broad canals.

A good night was had catching up and Marg offered to drive us back down to the Coast next morning so we could walk the National Park there.

Monday 26th May

Marg picked us up and gave us the Cook's tour of Yamba before dropping us off at Mara Creek Picnic Reserve at the start of the Anourie Walk, Yuraygir National Park.

 

We walked to Shelley Beach then onto the sea caves before turning around and walking back to the Angourie township. It was another hot day and the final 6km back to Yamba was not appealing. Fortified with an ice cream we set off up the road. A lovely lady took pity on us and gave us a lift to the outskirts of Yamba which saved us about 4km of roadside trudge.

Back at the boat we enjoyed a quick swim before Chris and Marg together with Frank and Val joined us aboard for afternoon drinks. Frank and Val did Indonesia and Malaysia in 2009 with Reece and Linda off Windy Spirit.

Tuesday 27th May

Still anchored at Whiting Beach we were planning to move across the river to Iluka as the wind was supposed to come in hard from the north in the afternoon. However, we were fogged in still at 8.00am As we wanted to catch the high tide we went anyway with radar and Nav lights on. It had been a busy night for the prawn trawlers as there was no moon, so there was a constant stream of them returning. Anyway we had no trouble and soon dropped anchor on the other side.

I then sat down to catch up on the blog while the fog blanketed our world. It all suddenly cleared about 10.00am and the sun was out for another beautiful warm day.

We were soon off in the dinghy to explore the rainforest walk to Iluka Bluff.

After the 5 km rainforest walk and an explore round the town it was back to local fish co-op to get some fresh prawns. Back to the boat and settled into a very nice lunch and an afternoon siesta.

Life's good!

 

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