Monday, April 29, 2013

Lord Howe (30th April)

Hard to believe we have already been away from home for 1 month.
We had a very slow trip out to LHI (Lord Howe Island) mainly due to light winds and plenty of current against but managed to arrived early last Thursday morning (26th April).

It is a pretty spectacular place to arrive at from sea.  Unfortunately not able to upload photos at the moment but will try and add some later as it is awesome to see.

LHI is a really pretty place and a great place to hang out if you want to chill out for a bit.

On Saturday we decided to do an extreme rope assisted walk to the Goats House on Mt Lidgard which was fantastic and we soon found out why the ropes are there when trying to make out descent - it was really steep.

We have done plenty of snorkeling around the lagoon.  The water in the lagoon is exceptionally clear and the coral and fishies here are amazing.  Apparently it is the most southern coral in the world.  We also walked over to Ned's beach yesterday for a swim and also to feed the fish - this whole concept seems a bit odd to Grahame (our resident fish killer).  When you get near to the water there are all these fish (both big and small) waiting in the shallows for a feed and fighting over each morsel that is thrown into the water.

 Been doing lots of weather checking with our fellow yachties that are parked in the lagoon with us and looks like we might be heading off on the next leg to Noumea on Thursday.
We have met a lovely couple, Oscar and Graciela from Zenitude who are pretty much doing the same trip as we are so sure we will get the chance to catch up with them at plenty of spots over the rest of the adventure.

Will write again (and hope to include some photo's) once we get to New Cal.

Did hear on the grapevine that those mighty blues had a good win over the Crows which did put a bit of a smile on the dial !!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Escape from Sydney - Off to Lord Howe (22nd April)

Finally the weather is behaving itself and the plan is to leave the CYCA today and start making our way to Lord Howe.

It was a big day here at the CYCA yesterday with the opening of the winter season. We were very impressed with the level of boat they provided for the Sail Past - perhaps we could look at doing something similar for the start of the season down the SBSC this year (see photo below)

Official Sail Past Boat @ CYCA
We had the customs people on board early this morning to clear us out of Australia so even if we don't escape today we will need to be out of here first thing tomorrow morning.

At this stage the only thing holding us up is the delivery of a new part that MAY make our sat phone link up to a data connection *fingers crossed*.  After talking to some fellow cruisers we are not all the confident as they seem to have had the same experience as we have but can only try.  We have received a few tips up here so will be looking at some other options as well as we continue on our travels.

Grahame (aka Roger) was presented with his official Mustang Sally "Coral Sea Cruz" shirt so we hope to see him wearing it with pride down at the club.

All going well we will be out of here by lunch time and will try to submit another Blog report once we get to Noumea early in May.

Bon Jour for now!

Amazing what you can catch
 at the CYCA

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sydney - still trying to get our of here (20th April)

We arrived in Sydney at the CYCA last Saturday (13th April) and it was a lovely sunny day with light winds blowing.

Sunday was spent going through the jobs list to make sure we were ready to depart for Lord Howe as soon as a good weather window appears.  At this stage we were hoping that we might be on our way again late this week!

Monday we hired a car and went out north to visit the Sat Phone people in the hope that they might be able to get it working for data connection but unfortunately they had no more success at getting this working than what we have been able to do so headed back to the boat feeling pretty disappointed but they haven't given up hope on us yet so will keep our fingers crossed that we can get this sorted before we leave.

Grahame (aka Roger) arrived at the boat latish on Tuesday and we then went out and had dinner with my nephew Jon and his girlfriend Carmel at a very night place called 4fourteen in Surrey Hills.  We don't get many opportunities to catch up with them so it is always nice when the opportunities arise.  They had some very exciting new for us in that they had just recently got engaged and are getting married next August which is exciting and we are really pleased for them.

As the nice weather was holding up we decided to head over to Manly on the Wednesday and had a spot of lunch at the 16' Skiff Club.

We got a good tip from Grahame and have purchased a weekly public transport ticket which allows us to go on the ferries, buses and trains so we are making sure we are getting good value for our money.

Mark has always wanted to go to Cockatoo Island so we headed over there on Thursday.  It originally started as a convict settlement and has been transformed into many things from a school for girls to a ship building yard which only recently finished in the 1990's.  These days it has been set up for the tourists and also has accommodation available for school groups etc.  Anyhow it was a really interesting day out.

View of the harbour
from Cockatoo Island

Dry Dock - Cockatoo Island

Even though we were hoping to get out of Sydney late this week the weather doesn't seem to be behaving itself again and the forecast here for both Friday and Saturday looks horrible with strong winds forecast and also 9-10mt swells so it is now looking like we will clear customs early Monday morning and make our escape from mainland Australia early Monday arvo or first thing Tuesday for the 425NM trip out to Lord Howe.  We thought we could be in for some good entertainment down at Bondi yesterday so headed down there to see a few optimistic surfers taking on the big waves although they all decided to head back to the safety of the shore not long after we turned up.
We also checked out the Bondi Baths which was only for extreme swimmers as they had waves breaking in the pool and had half of it shut off to prevent swimmers washing out into the ocean - it was certainly a wild day down at the beach.

It is quite cold and pretty wet today so not quite sure what we will get up to - so far we have spent the morning reading papers and drinking coffee.  Graheme has headed down to Bondi today to check out the waves (from the beach of course) and has fish dinner planned for us after catching 3 bream in the marina last night - the fish killer is back.
The fish killer at work!

Hopefully all will go to plan.  Apart from the weather, which is now looking good for either a Monday or Tuesday departure we are waiting on our last hope for the Sat Phone which is a part that might make enable it to communicate with the data connection - this should arrive Monday morning and if this is the case will be out of here soon after.  Dermie has offered to be our weather guru while we are away so we do have a back up plan if all else fails which is nice to know

Will post another Blog when we are on our way down the harbour as that might be the last one for a few weeks when we get to Noumea!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Leg 1 Completed - We made it to Sydney (14th April 2013)

I forgot to mention that Broulee was officially our first spot for a swim and shower on the back of the boat which is always a bit of a treat!

Sunset at Jervis Bay
After departing Broulee Island bright and early the conditions were in our favour so we decided to continue on to Jervis Bay rather than having a stop over in Ulladulla. It makes it a pretty long day with about 58nm to be covered but we made it to one of our favourite anchorages at "Hole in the Wall" by 15:45 so not a bad run at all. So far we have seen and even fed lots of fish but so far the catch count is still at zero.  We are waiting for our crew, Graheme (aka Roger) to arrive to turn things around on the fish catching front.

We spent a nice day at Hole in the Wall and went for a great walk on the Murray Trail which takes you around the southern headland of Jervis Bay. 

Sally and Lil Sally off the Huskie Pub
As the weather is lovely in Jervis we decided on the morning of the 10th to head over to the main township of Huskisson and pull up a mooring to spend a few hours in a bit of civilisation.
We had a nice coffee and read the paper in the morning and then we were off the Huskie Pub for a spot of lunch - not a bad way to spend a sunny day in Jervis!
After lunch we are off to the anchorage in Callala Bay (where all the private boat moorings are).  Again a lovely anchorage for the night.

We were given a real treat on 11th at Callala with a dolphin display that went on for most of the morning,.  Having now seen three sides of Jervis Bay we figured we must spend a night on the east coast so we up anchor and head over to Binjindee Bay on the Beecroft Peninsula for our last night in Jervis.  On the way across the wildlife display continued with a bit of a penguin parade and next we spotted 3 hammer head sharks - as a result the swimming for the rest of the day was rather limited and pretty brief...  To finish off the wildlife spotting we even got to see three wallabies on the beach when we went for a stroll around to Honeymoon Bay

After exploring all sides of Jervis it is a very early start on Friday with the alarm going off at 4.30am.  The plan is to go to Wollongong however, if things are going well we will hopefully make it through to Port Hacking which ended up being the case.  It ended up being a very long day with 75NM covered but we ended up dropping our anchor in Gunnamatta Bay at around 17:00H.... just before the sun set.  We know we are getting close to Sydney now as we have planes flying over us every few minutes and are surrounded by house lights and have a ferry wandering past our stern on a regular basis.

One surprise we encountered in Port Hacking was seeing "Xanadu" anchored off Jibbon Beach (Xanadu was previously down at Eden for far too many years and is in included in the last editions of the Alan Lucas guide).  Doug promised last time when we saw him in March 2012 that he would be gone this year and was good to finally see him on his way north.
Arriving in Sydney

Another lovely morning on Saturday and we are on our final stretch to Sydney.  Naturally the water ways are going off as it is a calm sunny day on a weekend.  After a very pleasant motor up the coast and into the harbour we tied up at the CYCA at lunchtime.  The total for this leg of the trip is around 620NM.

We wandered over by ferry to Kirribilli on Saturday evening to meet up with Mark's old boss Rod and Jade for a spot of dinner at RSYS which was lovely and great to catch up with them again...  Must report that there were no Ranga's spotted!

We are now waiting at CYCA for a weather window to head out to Lord Howe.  There are a few jobs to do but in general we are pretty much ready to head off on the next leg of the adventure.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

South Coast (8th April)

Well we made it into Eden after Gybing our way across Bass Strait and dropped anchor in Boyd Town right in front of an old favourite - the Seahorse Inn.  Had a lovely peaceful night and had a great sleep and a bit of a sleep in as well as we didn't get on deck till about 8.30am which is very unlike us!
Green Cape Light
Naturally we went into the Seahorse in for a spot of lunch which is always rather nice and met up with Michael and Anne from Cellana who are heading north after spending 12 months in Tassie including the circumnavigation.... they are much braver than us as we consider Tassie a summer destination ONLY.

After a great couple of nights in Eden it is back on our way this time Bermagui which is a bit like an old friend as we spent 8 days there last year on our way south due to bad weather.  It is a great spot to stop and they are always very welcoming and have a couple of excellent coffee shops.  Unfortunately it was a pretty slow trip to Berma as we were fighting current against up to 2 knots at times and also had a bit of a NE wind spring up in the arvo which didn't help at all but we did manage to make it in before the sun went down.
Sea Horse Inn - Boyd Town
We managed to get a few chores done during the morning which included the laundry, a quick shop and also some little jobs around the boat.  In the arvo we headed into town as the place was full of motor bikes as they had all arrived for the CRAB festival (Cancer Research Advocate Bikers) which was bit of fun.

Peter @ Berma

We figured it was time to get a bit of a wriggle on so bright and early on Sunday morning we depart from Berma heading to Broulee Is. which is about a 35NM trip.  We decided this time to do a lot more rock hopping up the coast to stay out of the current which is working a treat and most of the time see only around 0.5knts against which is a lot nicer.  The weather up here is really nice at the moment which warm days and very light winds so it is motoring all the way but can't complain too much.

Broulee again provided a great nights anchorage.  We even managed to fire up the new BBQ for a steak dinner which seemed to work quite well although Mark thinks it still needs a bit of fine tuning!

We are on our way again this morning - up and out of Broulee by 5.15am as we are hoping to make it up to Jervis Bay today which is a biggish day at 55NM.  The plan is to spend a few days in Jervis and get in some nice walking before we start heading north again!

We just had to include the shot below as we see this every time we open our cutlery draw - a little present left behind from our Friday Night CREW!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Escaping from Bass Strait (3rd April 2013)

We left Martha Cove on Easter Sunday after a nice lunch with Mark's folks at Sorrento.  We spent the night at Queenscliff Marina and had a fine steak at the Espy Hotel.

It was an early start for us on April Fools day as we departed the heads around 6am bound for Refuge Cove at Wilson's Prom.  Not long after leaving the heads we soon picked up a lovely 15-20knt North Westerly breeze so it was great sailing with 1 reef and a poled out head sail down to the Prom. 
We were waved off by the Warren family who drove down to Cape Shank to make sure that we were on our way.

We eventually dropped anchor in Refuge at 11.00pm and were soon after tucked up in bed for a few ZZZZZZZ's as it was to be another early start on Tuesday to ensure we had a comfortable passage to Eden as the weather is to change to Easterlies on Thursday *ooooh nasty*.

The alarm went off at 6am on Tuesday morning, the anchor was up shortly after and we were on our way across the paddock to Eden.  Again the winds were favourable so we were able to run before a 20-25knt south westerly which continued to build during the day.  We decided to drop the main on dark which ended up being a wise move as the winds freshened over night to 25-35 knots with the odd 38knots gust.  Sally handled the conditions beautifully and was rocketing along most of the night at 8ish knots.

As predicted, on the BOM site, the winds abated early morning and we are now sailing along 15Nm SW of Gabo Island and looking forward to anchoring in Eden this evening.

Will write more (and add a few photos) soon!