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COUSIN ELAINE AND GEOFF … from WESTERN AUSTRALIA … 17TH MARCH 2005

 

Had a call from my cousin Elaine (Nee Fulwood) and husband Geoff on Thursday 17th March ’05 and it quickly became evident they would like a sail on Tsunami.  They had both lived permanently onboard a power boat earlier in their marriage and were therefore `old salts’.  We met on the following Saturday and they accepted an invitation to stay overnight. 

* Cousin Elaine (nee Fulwood) and Husband Geoff ... they loved Pittwater. *

 An overnight gave us the time to sail around to America Bay on Hawkesbury River and on Sunday, to call on the rubbish barge and waterfall around the corner in Refuge Bay (not to be confused with Refuge Cove where the oyster operation occurred.) 

* Rubbish disposal ... always an on-board problem. The local Council did something to help! *

* Geoff ... Elaine and Lloyd. Hawkesbury River, 20 kilometres north of Sydney. *

I may have mentioned the `rubbish barge’ in earlier writings?  It is a Council/Govt installation which is a moored barge (about 3 by 6 meters) which carries 6/8 240 litre bins.  Boats in the area deposit their garbage in the bins and a Council workboat comes regularly to empty them. Haven’t seen anything like that in the West!

Elaine catered for the weekend in grand style and they were clearly both taken by the space and comfort of the Cat though Geoff did force Elaine from their cabin with his snoring!

* Friendly Pelicans ... Big Birds! *

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BARNACLES AND TSUNAMI, PITTWATER, NSW … 12TH MARCH 2005

 

Later that day, I went to see friends, whom I made on earlier journeys to Pittwater, Cath and Roger Manning, (co-owners of a Seawind 1000 Cat, `Orca’).  They had invited me to call on them at their magnificent home overlooking Refuge Cove (a smaller cove than the `Basin’ and about 5 miles from Refuge Bay, Hawkesbury River and the waterfall.)  On arriving and pirating someone’s mooring it was great to have a meal with them and catch up. 

* Roger and Catherine on `SV Orca' ... the Basin, Pittwater, NSW *

 I mentioned to Roger the incredible amount of coral growth (barnacles) forming on the hulls of Tsunami … a bit like an oyster farm under there!  He suggested I beach the yacht on the sand flats in front of their house (it dries out at low tide) apparently the previous owner of Tsunami had done the same thing once!  Anything to try to save a few $$$, so, at next high tide, which was in total darkness just to make it more interesting, with Roger’s help, (he loves messing around with yachts) we backed Tsunami over the flats and anchored forward and aft (back and front – I know you knew that?)

* `Tsunami' almost high and dry in Refuge Cove, Pittwater, down from Roger/Caths Mansion! *

I had imagined Tsunami would rest on her two keels and the hulls would stand proud of the sand.  Wrong!  The keels and rudders sank straight into the sand/mud up to the hulls.  By the time this was evident, I had spent $400 on antifoul and brushes etc!  So turning to plan `B’ … scrape as many ‘oysters’ off the bottoms and polish with scouring brushes.  That took all of the next week to do, mainly because the high tides were getting lower … and the low tides were getting higher.  Each day less area of each hull was being left bare and it became necessary to work underwater. 

* Coral growth ... it loves to grow on anything floating on water! *

* When there's water in it ... Refuge Cove is beautiful and straight down from Roger/Caths house! *

Now I have done some of my best work in the dark, but underwater???

Tsunami went like a scalded Cat on the trip to Lake Macquarie, so I am convinced it was the oysters that had been holding her back before. 

 

 

 

 

* The magnificent outlook from Roger and Catherines balcony! *

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PT HACKING/SYDNEY, NSW – 16/17/18/19TH FEBRUARY ‘05

 

I like Pt Hacking, about 20 miles south of Sydney Harbour; it’s a good anchorage, plenty of room to swing and a sandy bottom, less likely that your anchor will drag.  Opposite the anchorage, about 150 meters, is the Royal Motor Yacht Club and they welcomed me with an offer to use their floating dock, shower, clothes washer and dining room … doesn’t get any better than that!

* A good looking Power Cat at anchor! *

The weather was against me anyhow so a long rest was OK by this boy.

Took off early on Sunday 20th February as there was a southerly blowing again … after a giant thunder storm the night before.  Three hours to Sydney south Head and another 90 minutes to my anchorage at Roselle Bay, as close as one can anchor to the centre of Sydney.  Great!!

* Back in Sydney Harbour. Manley Ferry on the left ... Australian Warship on the right. They both went around me! *

Whilst sailing down the Harbour with mainsail and jib pulling hard, I promised myself that today was the day I was going to sail under the Bridge with full sail load flying!  Bugger the little ferrety 200 tonne Cat public ferries.  About a mile from the Bridge, all was going well … then, for some reason I looked behind me, as one so often does, and there, from out of nowhere, was a whopping great Australian Navy Warship about 200 meters behind, on the port side.  To top it off an 1100 tonnes Manley ferry was the same distance on my starboard side.  Bugger it … rules of the ocean are power gives way to sail, so I kept on my course and they both went around me. 

* The sailors lining the rails looked very smart in their whites ... but, nobody would wave to me! *

* Almost Home at Roselle Bay, Sydney Harbour. *

I waved at the warship, but nobody waved back … and the decks were lined with white clad sailors. 

Sydney Harbour … anything can happen and it usually does!

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ULLADULLA, NSW – 13/14TH FEBRUARY ‘05

 ULLADULLA – 35° 21’23S … 150° 28’42E

Next day through to Ulladulla, which has a great little harbour … deserving a two night stay.  A pleasant little town.  First time I have been expected to pay a wharfage fee of $15.00 per night … not bad really for the comfort of the conditions experienced.  There was little ocean surge though and I was told it can get rocky in the harbour … so maybe, in equal ocean conditions, tying up alongside the Ulladulla wharf may equal that of Kiama and Wollongong??

* Ulladulla, New South Wales ... very pleasant, but the Harbour is open to any sort of `easterly'! *

Ulladulla Coastal Patrol radio room volunteer staff were great … and their $2.00 shower was a relief as well.

As my `super-lure’ didn’t catch a dam thing on my last leg, I went shopping for an old stainless `spinner-lure’ I used whilst in Carnarvon … another $9.00 outlay.

* Ulladulla, NSW ... OK! *

Next leg … Ulladulla to Jervis Bay.

JERVIS BAY – 15TH FEBRUARY ‘05

This run was a nightmare, as the breeze was blowing from the North East, exactly the direction I wanted to go (yachts will not sail directly into the wind – they need to attack the wind at 35˚minimum, at least Tsunami does) and so I had to sail across the wind and out deep into the ocean before I could tack Tsunami and triangulate across to the point I wanted to reach, namely Jervis Bay.  Makes for a longer day and does add to the stress of the journey because it’s slower and longer! 

* Jervis Bay ... Home Base to the Australian Navy Fleet! *

The Jervis Bay Territory is a territory of the Commonwealth of Australia.  It was surrendered by the state of New South Wales to the Commonwealth Government in 1915 … so that the Federal capital at Canberra would have access to the sea.  Interesting Aye? 

By the time I reached Jervis Bay a forecast southerly change had arrived and the mooring at `Hole-in-the-Wall’, Jervis Bay, was a dream.  

A section of this coastline is used by the Australian Navy for a `shelling’ target range, from ships at sea … and after I arrived, about 16:00, I could hear the explosions from the shelling just north of my anchorage.  The coastline is called Beecroft Peninsula and there can be a requirement to sail 12 miles to sea so as not to be a `target’ inside the range. 

JERVIS BAY TO PORT HACKING – 16TH FEBRUARY ‘05

My planning for this leg of my journey was dominated by an ambition to stay out of Kiama and Wollongong Harbours, so I was prepared to sail for 18 hours to do this, direct from Jervis Bay to Pt Hacking non-stop, about 78 miles.  This would have required sailing at night which I had not done before (on the east coast).  As the weather would have it the southerly winds persisted, (up to 25 knots), picked up at 04:00 in the morning, so I was up and ready to go at sunup … very not me I can tell you!  The yacht took to the wind magnificently, although I did start with too much sail up (the screecher is a monster in a stiff breeze) … so, with the screecher down and the standard jib up … and two reefs in the mainsail, Tsunami averaged over 6 knots and took me through to Pt Hacking in 12 hours, arriving at 18:00 with plenty of daylight left.

* The `old' lure worked ... but I couldn't eat the red flesh? *

My stainless lure caught a fish … and was he angry!  A 4/5 kg Tuna, only he had red meat when I filleted him and on enquiring with John Drinan, (Melanie’s partner) he concluded it must be a `Bonito’.  They can be eaten, with great preparation, but not by this boy!  The fish in Port Hacking had a free meal.

 4-12

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EDEN TO NAROOMA, NSW – 10/11TH FEBRUARY ‘05

 

Just a dawdle north at an average speed of 6 knots … pretty good going, so I kept going … through to Narooma instead of the shorter trip planned to Bermagui.  No dolphins!

* We called into Narooma on the way south to Eden! *

Anchored in Narooma for two nights as winds weren’t favourable for a northerly journey.  Learnt from Coastal Patrol the local newspaper had taken a photo of Tsunami coming through the Heads as they had tipped them off that a `Tsunami’ was about to hit Narooma.  It was just a small photograph with appropriate caption “The tsunami, sailed one up from Batemans Bay, crossed the Narooma Bar on Friday afternoon (February 4th) … and our desk calendar quote for the day was; “Without adventure civilization is in full decay.”  Alfred North Whitehead.”  Nice I thought!

 Bought a lure and line in an effort to catch a fish or two by trawling.  $26.00 for the lure and fittings … $60.00 for the cord line.  I thought afterwards I could have bought a lot of fish for that outlay!

 

BATEMANS BAY – 12TH FEBRUARY ‘05

From Narooma through to Batemans Bay … and another encounter with about 30 dolphins.  They have such a good time playing with the bow of the yacht and I tired watching them before they tired playing.  In fact I am certain they like an audience and a lot of their carry-on is a form of showing off … they were even jumping up through large wave surges up to 2 meters clear of the water … what fun! 

* I'm sure this was a `female' wanting to show me her underbelly! *

Had a rough night at anchor in Batemans Bay.  Couldn’t work out why but blamed the strong tidal flow and wind direction.  One night was enough

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EDEN, NSW – 7/8/9TH FEBRUARY ’05

EDEN – 7/8/9TH FEBRUARY ’05 … MY DESTINATION BEFORE RETURNING NORTH

*

42 miles south of Bermagui, Eden is famous (at least locally) for its early history of whaling … it’s now infamous for its huge wood chipping industry … and the bastards woke me up the first night here with the buzzer of their wood chipper roaring its head off … AND it’s about 2 kilometres across the bay.  Down with wood chipping; when you see the huge piles of chips it’s impossible to fathom how many millions of trees they must shred.  That’s my short statement on wood chipping!!

I had my second and third encounter with dolphins during my run to Eden.  When I have eventually set the boat up to sail – set auto pilot, set main sail, tie main sail down with `preventer’ (a tie down roping arrangement that prevents the mainsail & boom crashing across with a sudden change of wind direction), choose whether to use the standard jib or screecher and set whichever, check direction of travel on GPS Chart Plotter (no point heading for New Zealand when one wants to go to Eden), make cup of coffee … then I can go and lounge on the foredeck (up front)!  And I call this “getting away from it all”! 

* This is `SV Skandia' returning to Sydney ... it was one of the yachts we saw leaving on the `Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race ... It's keel broke off and it `turned turtle' ... but is now repaired! *

Whilst relaxing on the foredeck on this particular day I suddenly spied movement under the bow of the yacht … DOLPHINS PLAYING!  They were just wonderful … a pod of about 10 playing in front of and between the bows of the cat.  There were two babies, whom I only sighted twice … and they were flying just as fast as their parents.  They gave me a 20/25 minute display whilst the yacht cruised along at about 4 knots.

Despite the dolphins, this seemed a very slow start to a trip, with only 13 miles covered in the first 3.5 hours, I even checked we weren’t dragging a cray pot (they are all along the coast).  Anyhow things did speed up, possibly with the help of the eastern current which runs down the east coast from north to south (have you seen `Looking for Nemo?’) … this current is real and I have experienced up to a 2 knot free ride.

How do you know, I can hear you saying? Well, I have two independent speed reading systems on board, the first is a paddle-wheel mounted through the hull which measures the actual speed of the boat through the water!  The second is an electronic calculation done by the GPS (Global Positioning System – satellites) and this gives a very accurate measurement of the speed of the boat `over the ground’!  Got it?  If the two reading are not the same, then the boat is either belting into a current, or being carried along by a current!   I.e. if the speed through the water is 4 knots and the GPS reading is 6 knots then the boat is being carried along by a 2 knot current (which happened to me on this trip more than once.) 

Another time one can prove the theory, whilst anchored in the Bermagui tidal river flow … my `speed through the water’ gauge was reading 2.5 knots when I was in fact anchored!  Tricky aye?

* A beautiful Albatrose looking us over! *

“One must sail in deep water to catch the current”, my Charter skipper friend in Kiama Harbour had advised me, meaning water deeper then 100 meters, so doing as he advised, I found at times I was 10 miles off the coast.  Conversely, when I head north again I certainly don’t want to be sailing into a 2 knot current, so the trick is to stay close to shore (3/5 miles out) where the current has no effect!  A strange business!

The day of the dolphins was also the day the famous yacht SKANDIA passed me sailing north.  This is the yacht which lost its keel during the Sydney to Hobart race and one of the stars we saw leaving Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day ’04.  Obviously someone had spent a great deal of money firstly salvaging the boat and then fitting a new keel!!

The second encounter with dolphins came later the same day.  I was about 3 miles from Two Fold Bay, which is the bay the Town of Eden overlooks when, again I was lounging on the foredeck and I spotted a dolphin jumping a wave about 100 meters to the right.  In a flash there were dolphins swarming around the bows of the Cat, to the extent they seemed to be jostling for position … they were packed like sardines in a can and at times, with the swell running between the hulls, I could have reached down and touched them.  This was no small pod!  They were spread over an area about 200 meters square and it was impossible to gauge just how many there were … hundreds?  Again the show went on for 20/25 minutes, which in terms of distance travelled is a long way as Tsunami was travelling at 5.5 knots.  A great experience!

* Sunrise or Sunset ... I can't be sure? *

Eden is a very neat, clean, colourful town, set on terrain which borders on mountainous.  Therefore one gets plenty of exercise just walking from the harbour to town, or, as I also did, to the local Eden Coastal Patrol lookout to say thanks.  Again, here is a bunch of well trained volunteers doing a life-saving job … and for no other reason that I can fathom, other than to offer a service to the sailing community … a little like Rotary International, only on a smaller scale.

Two Fold Bay is quite large, roughly 2 by 3 miles in area and I tried different anchorages each of the three nights I was here.  The last being in a bay over which towers that cursed wood chipping complex.  They are grinding away at the timber as I write! 

* These gloves had served well, I thought! *

There is a new, dedicated Australian Naval wharf here and it’s a big deal when a ship called in (security), which happened the first day I was here.  Again last night, another ship of some sort sailed right past the wharf and to within 800 meters of where I was anchored and they dropped an anchor for the night.  Must have wanted to give the crew a smooth night to catch up on sleep? 

Being wide open to the Tasman Ocean, there’s a constant swell running into the Bay, so, no matter where one is anchored, there’s always a movement of water under the boat.

Had a great feed of locally grown mussels tonight, as there was a fishing boat alongside the wharf, advertising `fresh mussels’.  $5.00 bought me enough for three entrée size meals … BIG and yummy!  The skipper had wanted $10.00 but couldn’t change a $50!

* War Ships in Eden ... The Navy has a Munitions store there! *

Tomorrow I turn around and head north … and this time I will not be as anxious to call into a couple of lousy little ports called Kiama and Wollongong.  I am going to sail longer legs, with fewer stopovers … a new experience!

4-10

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BERMAGUI, NSW – 6TH FEBRUARY ‘05

 

I wanted to experience another small harbour before my long leg to Eden.  Bermagui is 12 miles south of Narooma, just a 2/3 hour sail.  And about 2/3 miles south east of Narooma is a large island called Montague Island, a seal haven, so I headed for Montague!  Came across two large seals sunbaking on the surface of the ocean and sailed within 50 meters of them before they dived from sight.  Montague Island is a striking, large granite island with lighthouse and was worth a visit, even though I only came within 500 meters.  Then on to Bermagui … only another 2 hours away.

* Bermahui, NSW ... A small unimpressive town ... with a good Dog Show! *

There was a very professional `Dog Show’ under way … with Champion Dogs (and would-be Champions) coming from all over NSW.  A very impressive turnout and an interesting range of breeds!

Otherwise an unremarkable town which seems much run down and I wasn’t sorry to leave the next morning.

* A poor anchorage with strong currents! *

* Tsunami ... quite happy in the shallow water and strong currents! *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NAROOMA, NSW – THURSDAY 4/5TH FEBRUARY ‘05

* A strong current runs in this channel due to a large inland lake area. *

48 miles south of Batemans Bay, pretty much a good daylight sail for Tsunami and me.  I had been warned about Narooma by an Eden located sailor and his wife I had befriended in Sydney.  They had a very bad experience entering the river as a sandbar had built up across the mouth of the twin stone breakwaters leading from the ocean to the river.  With rogue (occasional very large swells) from the Tasman Ocean, very bad breakers can occur unannounced!  I did try to avoid Narooma but it would have meant sailing to the next southerly harbour and entering at night … something I am trying to avoid at the moment!

* Narooma ... a classic Port to stay away from in any sort of Easterly breeze! *

Although the breakwaters seemed very close together (my guess was 25 meters) it was no problem with the Coastal Patrol Radio operators giving a good account of conditions across the bar.  It is still an unusual entry as the breakwaters are quite short (around 100 meters) and they seem to lead one straight onto a yellow sand beach, but that couldn’t be possible, could it, so with faith, you make a 90˚turn as soon as you reach the end of the rock walls!  I could write a book on my entry to Narooma … as a couple of major things went wrong during my preparation to enter. I may take time another day to explain.  Enough to say all next day was spent rectifying a mechanical problem which prevented me reversing one engine.  This can be very embarrassing if not available when required!!  Spent two nights in Narooma River.

* In a strong breeze these birds aren't stupid ... they give up flying and lay into the wind! *

 4-8

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BATEMANS BAY (B/B) – 2/3rd FEBRUARY ‘05

 

Jervis Bay to Batemans Bay is my longest solo leg yet.  What a ride … the breeze started at about 15/20 knots … dropped off to 8/10 and then slowly built up to 30+!!!  Man, Tsunami was screaming along at over 12 knots at times, with 8/10 knots average speed for the middle to late parts of the leg.  This weather was a prelude to the very bad weather the following two days which flooded Melbourne, dropped snow on Kosciusko (early February??) and tore down Sydney.  Sister Shirley even rang me to see if I was in one piece … and I could tell her I was so pleased to be on a borrowed, very capable mooring, in the Batemans Bay River riding out 35 knot+ screaming northerlies.  But my second night in B/B and still not a good night’s sleep.

* Approaching Batemans Bay ... Dolphins having fun! *

The strong wind kept up all day Thursday 3rd February … and was so strong it wasn’t safe to try to go ashore in the dinghy.  But that forced me to do a number of small maintenance jobs on the boat and I felt better when they were complete.

I liked B/B, reminded me a lot of Mandurah in Western Australia. 

* BATEMANS BAY, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA ... (Image courtesy of Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce) *

B/B has a huge, new, modern Club (Soldiers Club) on the foreshore, in the centre of town, which has a large area allocated to Poker machine … the source of the Club’s wealth!

My first encounter with dolphins occurred whist moored in the bay.  My attention was drawn to the stern of the boat by an unfamiliar scraping noise, which I largely ignored, until it occurred a second time … I rushed to the port side stern just in time to see a massive body and tailfin un-intertwining itself with my rudder …it seemed the dolphin wanted to scratch its back?  It then left my boat and swam for the next moored boat where it spent a minute doing something underwater.  Then I spotted a vital clue to the behaviour of the large mammal … a bright silvery colour dolphin about a meter long … a baby!  My guess is it was fresh born and the mother may have been trying to rid herself of the afterbirth with her underwater manoeuvres around the moored yachts?  That’s my theory and I am willing to hear from anyone with a better idea … Phone 0429 885 283

* They bring such joy to a days sailing! *

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JERVIS BAY – 1st FEBRUARY ‘05

 

Kiama to Jervis Bay is about 27 miles going south and Tsunami sailed along in good time with a strong north/nor’westerly (up to 25 knots late in the day, a warning, looking back, of bad weather to come) pushing us along at 6-8 knots.  Jervis Bay is a massive inland area of water (9 by 5 nmiles) and as everyone knows the home base for the Australian Naval fleet.  Not a ship to be seen when I arrived, although a little one arrived during the night. 

* The Northern Head to Jervis Bay ... very imposing and a good rock to stay away from. *

The entrance to the bay is spectacular; well at least the northern headland is (Pt Perpendicular.)  My Charter operator skipper (Brett) from Kiama had advised me to sail to the south eastern corner of the bay (called `Hole in the Wall’) as there were public moorings and good cover from a north/easterly.  That may have been the case, only the breeze turned around to a northerly and came belting down the bay at 30 knots … very unimpressive and perfect for making rough water.  My third night of very bad sleep!!

* My next trip to Jervis Bay found the Warship population can increase rapidly and with great stealth! *

Got out of Jervis Bay at 07:00 the next morning and headed for Batemans Bay about 52 miles south!

4-6

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