The Second Voyage, Bermagui to Brisbane

03 Dec 02

On Sunday we had a farewell party with some of our friends on the boat at Bermagui.

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We had originally planed to leave on the follow Monday but decided to give ourselves a break to recover from the party and leave on Tuesday. Of course Monday was perfect weather for heading north, 5-10 knt southerlies. Tuesday dawned fine and clear but the wind had swung to the north and it look a little longer than usual to get ourselves organised to leave port but by 0630 we slipped out lines and headed north out of the harbour. Gus had come to watch as go and waved as we cleared the channel. Vicki, Gus's wife, was still at home but she took pictures of us and later rang to let us know how photogenic we were. The big difference was that this time we had our dog 'DG' with us.

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The wind stayed northerly for the rest of the day and we motor- sailed all the way to Batemans Bay, but at lest we were on our way. We picked up a mooring just off the town. The biggest chore of the day was launching the dinghy getting the dog and ourselves in and ashore for a 'nature run'. DG was firmly of the opinion that the boat was 'home' and a good dog didn't do that sort of thing on ones home. We only got a little wet.

 

04 Dec 02

The forecast was for 10-15 knts southerlies, so after another quick run ashore for DG we slipped our mooring and headed up the coast. The wind was light at first and directly behind us so we had the genoa up only. As we passed Ulladulla we were engulfed in a heavy fog and I need to put our nav lights on. It cleared after about 15 minuets. A little after 10:30 a strong wind warning was issued with a prognoses of strong winds for the next 2 days. The wind had swung more westerly and had strengthen to 15-20 by now. Jervis Bay was just ahead however I did not was to spend a couple of days hold up there as the bay was so large and finding a protected spot would not be easy. Greenwell Point was 15 miles further north with the promise of a protected spot to sit out the next couple of days. The approach should be easy as well, we could hug the coast and pick up plenty of protection from the strong wind and wave from the Pt Perpendicular cliffs of Beecroft peninsula. We called into the Volunteer Marine rescue (VMR) to advise them of our plans and we advised the Navy firing range on Beecroft was active at that time and that we needed to clear it by 12 miles. BUGGER !! We asked VMR to call the Beecroft range and confirm. I did not want to 12 miles out, beating back in the wind would not be fun. The range control advised that we could transit through provided we kept 3 miles off. Point Perpendicular was almost obscured by the smoke from bush fires that were raging through the local area.

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Well, that was do able. I altered course to give us the necessary standoff distance. At about this time the blades on our 'Air Marine' wind generator decided to spontaneously disassemble them selfs (always wanted to use that term in the right context) and did so with a very loud BANG. I was in the saloon at the time and Susanne was in the cockpit. I rushed out to see if Susanne was ok, she was fine. The wind generator had lost 2 blades and half of the third and was still trying to run. I shut it down. I checked the Max speed reading on the wind instruments, a gust of 32 knts, it was supposed to be able to handle more than that, oh well, at lest no one was hurt.

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We tracked north waiting to get clear of the firing range so I could turn back towards the coast and our intended next stop. After about half an hour the range control called us to say they where finished for the day and we could move back towards the coast, thanking us for our cooperation. Thankful we changed course. The weather was not finished with us yet. The wind swung more northlery and increased to 35-40 knts right on the nose. We had all our sails down by now and with both motors running a max revs we took almost 2 hours to do the last 6 miles to the Crookhaven river entrance. Susanne was NOT HAPPY with this situation!!. The Crookhaven area was also under threat from bush fires.

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Approaching the Crookhaven entrance I was looking for the leeds in the channel when the VMR at Greenwell point called us up and advised we to turn to port now, we were heading towards a sandbank. Turn we did and followed the directions, it was not until we were well inside the channel that I could make out the rather small set of leeds. We followed the channel about a mile to the town of Greenwell point. The wind was now hitting 45 knts and the was little protection from the wind in the river but there was no waves. We headed for a vacant mooring when another call from the VMR advised us that the mooring we were heading for was under repair and would not take our weight, oh well, time to anchor. We picked a spot near the moorings and let go, we dragged at almost 1-2 knts. Picked up the anchor and tried again, same result. We got on the radio and asked the VMR for advice on a location with better holding, They invited us to berth outboard of their rescue boat, on the understanding that if they needed to go out, we would need move at short notice, no problems we said and they provided us with directions. A little while latter we were secure along side the rescue boat and we settled down for the night.

05/06 Dec 02

Spent the next 2 days a Greenwell point, did some shopping, had lunch at the local pub (good value) and relaxed.

07 Dec 02

Forecast 10 knts south westerlies turning north westerly later in day. We head off at just after 0530. The forecast was spot on and we cruised up the coast under full main and genoa at 7-8 knts.

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Caught the first fish of the trip, 4 slimy mackerel, which went back, we weren't that hard up for a feed. In the afternoon, the wind did indeed turn north westerly but we had enough angle to hold our course all the way to the entrance to Port Hacking.

Just south of Port Hacking, we were passed by USS Spearhead, an Australian built US Navy fast Cat, impressive at 30 knts plus!

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Doused the sails and entered the port, turned right and headed to Jibbon beach, just inside the entrance. It was a fine sunny Saturday, and there were a lot of people and day boats at the beach, and with 4 cats and a tri, multihulls outnumbered monos.

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With all the moorings taken we dropped the pick and relaxed for the rest of the day, swimming, cleaning the bottom and props and a nature run for DG. Called some friends and made arrangements to get together tomorrow after we picked up a mooring on the other side of the harbour.

08 Dec 02

Slept in until 0830 and after breakfast, picked up the pick and headed off to find a mooring close to Cronulla, after 4 hours of trying we gave up and headed back to Jibbon beach which was again packed with day boaters. Dropped the pick again but stayed ready to a move onto a mooring as soon as one opened up. Rang our friends and explained the situation, they decided to grab some Champagne and jumped in the car and headed down to Jibbon beach. They arrived about an hour later, I was down in the bilge working on the fresh water pump, saved by a 'cooeee' from the beach. Settled down to champagne, paster and fresh fruit... yummmm. Our friends headed off just before dark and we settled down to another night at Jibbon beach. We shared the beach with another couple on a Lagoon 41 Cat, 'Miss Glamor Puss' and a motor cruiser that pulled in later that night.

09 Dec 02 Spent the day veging out doing very little. You just need to do that some times. The forecast for tomorrow is Southerly 10-15 knts so we plan to move up to Pittwater tomorrow.

10 Dec 02 Woke up to heavy rain and fresh ENE winds, so we decided to stay put. more vegging out.

11 Dec 02 Still at Jibbon beach, woke up this morning and found the wind already gusting 15-20 and heavy rain, so we decided to stay put. Tomorrow already has a strong wind warning out and forecasts of 20 knts and 3 meter plus seas, so we will probably stay here for another night. Hey we are cruisers and we wait for the right weather conditions, this is supposed to be fun, not hard work!!   Did a little shopping at the local town of Bundeena. Nice place and very dog friendly, which surprised me this close to the Royal National Park.


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13 Dec 02 Left Jibbon beach at 0530 with a 5-10 knt southerly. Under full main and genoa head north at around 6-7 knts.  In the afternoon the wind picked up a little to 10-15 knts and swung a more Northerly. We continued to carry full main and genoa at around 8 knts. Picked up a berth at the Newcastle Yacht club, quite nice. Had dinner at a restaurant called 'Magrove Jacks' very nice, excellent food and even better service.

The house batteries are showing signs of dieing fast. The old batteries are only 5 months old but the previous owner, for reasons that escape me, fitted standard car batteries, not deep cycle batteries. I expect that the loss of the wind generator has exacerbated the situation. A local 'battery world' shop has my preferred type of deep cycle batteries (USC2200) at a very good price so I made arrangements for a new set to be delivered to the boat. While I was browsing the battery shop I saw a nice new 1700 Watt inverter at a very nice price and I thought that if I had a spare $800 that would be a good investment as a spare for the boat ( I should learn to listen to that little voice). Caught the bus into town to do a little shopping, and back again with arms full of groceries. The bus drivers in Newcastle are the best I have met, full of friendly directions and suggestions and on the trip back, stopped out side the marina even though there was no bus stop to reduce our walk

14 Dec 02  Left Newcastle at 0600 with 10-15 knt SE . Full main and genoa at 7 knts. Pulled into Foster Tuncurry. Nice place. Picked up a vacant fishing boat berth ( thought it was a visitor berth) waiting to see what the weather is doing before deciding when to move on. Planning to go to Laurieton next.

15 Dec 02 (Sunday) Started the routine of download the latest weather forecast while deciding weather to leave when the inverter died. The inverter makes 240 Volts ac power from our 12 volt batteries and runs the refrigeration and computers. Anyway, the smoke leaked out of the inverter. Have I told you about electrical equipment and smoke? no? ok listen up. Electrical equipment (like inverters) don't run on electricity at all.... they run on smoke, really!! and when part of the equipment is damaged and the smoke leaks out,.... well they don't work any more. Of course the smoke is most likely to leak on a Sunday when every thing is closed!! Stripped the inverter down, looks like the final stages push/pull transistor pairs are toast, fixable with a good electronics supply store, Hmmmm dosn't seamed to be one in Foster (not even one that was closed on Sundays). Ok plan; get a new inverter and get moving, fix the old one when I get to Brisbane. Took my 100 liter esky to the fish Co-op and filled it with ice ($6) to keep the fridge stuff cool. Moved the boat to one of the visitor berths.  Some local people, the Hobsons who are planing to become cruisers in a couple of years dropped by and plied us with champagne and picked our brains. They helped us out with directions to local business.

16 Dec 02 (Monday) Great, things are open, found a 1500 watt inverter at the local 'Battery World' store but it was $1150. Rang the Newcastle Battery World store, $795 plus $10 shipping and it would be here tomorrow. Another trip to the co-op for ice. Susanne caught the bus to the shopping center for a little retail therapy

17 Dec 02  Received replacement inverter at 2:00 pm today and had it installed by 4:00 pm. Good weather forecast and an almost full moon so decided to leave Tuncurry and sail through the night and go to Coffs or Yamba. Started with about 10 knts with full main and genoa making about 7 knts. During the evening the wind dropped to less than 5 knts so we motored sailed for a while

18 Dec 02  Arrived Coffs harbour at 4:30 in the afternoon for the night and picked up a berth. Caught up with a couple of friends that we meet here last time through. I went and pick up some take away Thai at a local restaurant (sorry don't remember the name but it was the one next to the pub) had a great meal and then piled into bed, fast asleep by around 8:00 pm I think.

19 Dec 02 Departed Coffs at around 0600, full main and genoa making around 7 knts from the 10 knt ESE. At around 10:00 am, just north of the "North Solitary Island" and about a mile to seaward, I was on watch and in the saloon, Susanne had gone back to bed for a little combat nap when I heard a loud "bang" followed a sustained "Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" (the sound that every fisher person loves to hear, that of the drag on a big reel feeding line to a big fish) For the full story, have a look here .  Caught a massive 30Kg Dolfin fish (or Mai mai fish). Had Pan fried Dolfin fish with ginger and lime for lunch. Arrived Yamba at 5:30 pm and after an "interesting" bar crossing, picked up a berth at the local marina. Dinner was, you guessed it, Dolfin fish with garlic salsa. Early to bed, planning an early start.

20 Dec 02 Left Yamba at 4:00 am and had a good sail all the way to Southport. Highlite of the passage was the pod of Dolphins that joined us north of Cape Byron and stayed with us up until just south of Southport.  I have never seen this before but two of the older Dolphins where jumping on top of the hull bulb and as a wave pushed the hulls up where getting thrown off. This was no accident, these guys where having serious fun here. I tried to get pictures of this but the digital camera is just not up to this but this is what I did manage to get. The last picture in the series shows the trick the best.

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We arrived at the Southport Seaway just on sunset so after clearing the seaway we turned left and found an anchorage behind the spit and settled down for the night.

21 Dec 02 Manly, transited the Broadwater to Morton bay via the Canaipa Passage rather than then more popular main channel. Canaipa is more picturesque shallower and with less nav aids. I only managed to run aground once, we just pulled the dagger boards up a notch and kept going. Slipped into our assigned berth at the East Coast Marine at 2:30 pm. So endith the second voyage