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Archive for November, 2004

SPIT BRIDGE, SYDNEY HARBOUR … 27TH NOVEMBER 2004

Returning to the `Spit Bridge’ mentioned earlier – it really is a trick!  It’s obviously a very old construction made from thousands of tonnes of steel and concrete … and it pivots from one end only.  It carries four lanes of traffic from central Sydney north to areas such as Manley, Dee Why and on to Pittwater and many other suburbs.  IT IS VERY BUSY! 

Through the working week its first opening isn’t until 10:15 and following that approx. every 90 minutes.  Of a weekend it opens earlier and more frequently.  

* Spit Bridge, Sydney, Australia. (Compliments of Wikipedia Images.) *

My first approach to this bridge was 16:30 on a Saturday afternoon, just as there was a small fleet of yachts coming in from a day’s racing.  Being a novice and polite I let all the other craft through first and followed on.  About 50 meters from the god-dammed-bridge the lights (there are red/green, stop/go lights, identical to road traffic lights) turn red. !!  Lloyd does a panic 180˚turn and heads back to sea (uttering a few curses that would change the colour of a rose) and looking back saw the operator had turned the red back to green.  Another 180˚ and back to the opening.  The fool of an Operator had been hasty in his switching of the lights and had seen the situation he had put me in and did the right thing.  I cannot begin to describe the backup of traffic … there were cars banked up out of sight! 

I have another story to do with me coming back through the bridge but that will have to wait til another time! 

I liked Middle Harbour and Bantry Bay, despite the ‘excitement’ of the Southerly.  The area is a lot like Pittwater and the Hawkesbury River … one can be in a bay and there is a feeling of total isolation from that mob of 4,000,000 people just over the hill!  As with much of the housing overlooking Sydney Harbour, most are multimillion dollar establishments

* Refuge Cove, Pittwater. Photo taken from Roger & Caths house. *

and many of them have multi-millions of dollars worth of fibreglass floating around in front of them.  There sure is a lot of money (or debt) in Sydney. 

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WELL … NOBODY’S PERFECT … 27th NOVEMBER 2004

***  Double Click on photo to enlarge.

Was directed to a small, quiet bay called Bantry Bay, which is an offshoot of Middle Harbour, which is an offshoot of Sydney Harbour (Port Jackson as it’s officially known).  To gain entry to Bantry Bay, one must manoeuvre under a huge steel swing bridge called `Spit Bridge’.  More on Spit Bridge later! 

Anyway I made it to the bay late afternoon, Saturday 27th November and being a weekend all the public moorings were taken and many boats were at anchor (a nautical term you will recognise.)  Nearly all water around Sydney Harbour is deep … as though the many bays have been gouged out by glaciers a long time ago.  As I motored down the bay the average depth reading was 13/14 metres (“metres” you may ask, “thought you were at sea Lloyd and everything was measured in nautical miles/feet?”   I don’t know; guess my gauges are calibrated to read depth in metres!!  Since you are going to be so pedantic I will read the instructions tomorrow and find out!) 

Anyway, 13 metres is about 40’ which is way too deep for me to anchor Tsunami.  When in a narrow channel with other boats around the rules say – “for every metre of depth of water, one must let out 3 metres of anchor chain/rode (rope), minimum”.  That would mean I would have to drop about 40 metres of chain, all I have in my closet and when the wind changes, which it does all the time, Tsunami the yacht would be swinging on approximately a 40 metre (120 feet) radius!  Now you can imagine what would happen in a bay 60 metres wide?  Go on, draw a sketch to scale!  Added to that, most of the other yachts in the bay are tethered to moorings which have a swinging radius of, say, 5 metres!!  Add that variable to your sketch. 

So I carried on up the bay until I was in 5 metres of water … and I dropped the pick (nautical slang for anchor) … reversed back on the anchor/chain (which is always mandatory to make certain the anchor is holding well) … it can be disastrous if the anchor was to drag, particularly if you’re asleep at the time.  Add that possibility to your sketch … if you’re very clever! 

Well the following day both my thermometers on board read 41 degrees Celsius … and I spent a good part of the day swimming, the first time I had been swimming for about 15 years … true!  

I had a set of goggles and snorkel Melanie had given me so I christened them and immediately noticed how much grunge was growing on the bottom of the two hulls (it’s a catamaran you see!)  This discovery upset me a little as two weeks before I had paid a thug, called `Aquaman’, AU$100 to clean both hulls using an aqualung!  His name is now mud amongst the yachting fraternity of Pittwater. 

* Bantry Bay, Middle Harbour, Sydney, Australia ... Photo by Steve Bennett ...*

Late that afternoon I called across to a chap on the next yacht to join me for a beer … he brought his own bottle of Red wine (poison to me) and we immediately started swapping yarns … including me telling him about Aquaman.  I had already been impressed by this guy when I had watched him climb his mast to attach a VHF radio antenna (VHF is short distance ship/shore two way radio, which all floating units have to communicate their offshore movements to a Coastguard Station … a great service!) 

* This is the VHF radio on Tsunami ... which has a `range' of about 30 miles. *

There we were yarning away, with him explaining how he had looked down on my yacht when he’d been on the top of his mast and calculated my anchor had been placed in a perfect `centre point’ to allow the yacht to swing through 360˚ without hitting anything, including the mudflats to my north! 

But then, wham.  Without any warning, a bloody Southerly hit … and before we could say `Holy Cow Batman’, Tsunami was broadside onto the mudflats!!  BUGGER!!  (For those that don’t know, Sydney has a very nasty wind they call a `Southerly Buster’ … much like our `Fremantle Doctor’ in Western Australia, only much stronger.  When it arrives it does so with a solid front of 35 knots.  One can be enjoying a 5 knot northerly, when out of the blue the `Southerly’ slams like a steam train out of control.

* This is how Tsunami would have looked whilst `hard aground'. It's just that this is-not Bantry Bay! *

My friend of 30 minutes, David, had an instant plan … motor in his dinghy to his yacht, which was swinging from a mooring, that not even a cyclone would move (I think but you know you can learn to doubt your judgement) towing a 40 metre line (rope), which he proposed wrapping round his winch and pulling Tsunami to deep water.  Sounded like a great plan, possibly because it was the only one we could muster … so I dug out a 40 metre line (spare anchor line … yes I have a huge spare anchor on board) and away David went in his dinghy.  The line was 10 metres too short!!  Dived into the anchor locker for another line to attach to the too short line and we were in business.

To cut an already long story short, David winched Tsunami back into deep water and I motored to a mooring which had been vacated.

Bought David a special bottle of WA wine for his effort.

My lesson is to pay a lot more attention to how well the anchor is holding by mercilessly backing up on it well beyond the point where I already think it is well dug in!

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ooOoo

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INVERTER AND OTHER ELECTRICAL THINGS … 25TH NOVEMBER ’04

I spent most of this morning working on things electrical … as I had just two days before, bought an inverter (which is an electrical marvel that converts 12 volt DC (car battery voltage), into 240 volt AC … the same voltage as everyone has in their houses these days) and a bubble jet printer/copier/scanner. 

* Printer/Scanner/Copier and Fax machine ... Made possible to use onboard by the `Inverter'! *

* One of the greatest little devices offered a Yachty ... converts 12 Volt battery power to 240 Volt Household power! *

I needed the inverter to charge the battery in my laptop computer … and I needed the printer to make black/white/coloured copies of the information I type into the computer, otherwise, what’s the good of having a computer if you cannot terrorise people with printouts?  The inverter cost $269 … and the printer $174.  Printers will soon be `use a 1000 times and then throw-away’!

The inverter didn’t work!!  As I started to say earlier, I spent all this morning working on why the inverter wouldn’t work … and finally came to the conclusion it was a voltage/amperage surge problem throughout the yacht’s electrical system, which was upsetting the inverter.  I therefore needed to install a dedicated power line direct from the battery to the inverter!  Simple in theory, but when I started to follow the electrical circuits back, it proved to be somewhat more difficult than I had imagined. 

I looked outside and the sun was shining … it was a beautiful day (it has been overcast and dreary for more than a week) and it occurred to me I wasn’t here to have my head in the bilge … that can wait!  Pulled up anchor, sailed under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, past the Opera House (OH) and dropped anchor in a small bay alongside the OH on the doorstep to the Governor’s Mansion … and had lunch!   Perfect. 

Have a feeling I may have taken an award winning photo of the Opera House and The Bridge

* John and Melanie during Xmas visit of 2004 *

Tonight I pinched a mooring (meaning I hooked onto someone else’s permanent anchorage … there are thousands around Sydney Harbour) in Rose Bay, still within sight of the Central Tower of Sydney.  We did have a time with the Royal Motor Yacht Club of NSW (an annexe of the Pittwater Club)? 

Bloody hell it can get rough in Rose Bay, the boat is actually rocking a little in the 25 knot NE’er.  What an interesting Bay though, as it is the home base for a flying aircraft business and I had these ‘planes zooming over my mast all day, to land!  Everything can and does happen in Sydney!

* A very freindly Marina `Royal Motor Yacht Club of NSW`... Rose Bay. *

Decided to move across the Harbour to Little Manley Cove, about 5 miles across the Harbour and just 600 metres walk from the Ferry Terminal at Manley.  Stayed the night on a mooring I borrowed and it was also a bit rollie. E.g. Tsunami was moving from side to side, making living onboard uncomfortable.

SATURDAY 27TH NOVEMBER ’04 … MANLEY

Next morning I decided to walk into Manley Centre (I am trying to walk everyday as I do not have the bike on board) … and I fear I’m putting on weight again due to the fact you do not get a lot of exercise on a yacht.  The saying is … “Get fit to go sailing – Not go sailing to get fit!” … and it’s true.

I may not have mentioned, there’s 100’s of millions of dollars floating on the water around Sydney … in the form of privately owned yachts and powerboats.  However, Sydneysiders have climbed new heights, as, whilst powering ashore in my dinghy today, I spotted this orange flash floating on the surface of the water, diverted slightly and guess what? … A nice new $20.00 note came floating by and I was forced to snavel it.  Couldn’t have this piece of flotsam polluting the waterways!

My Inverter is going great guns now, as is the printer …

Plan to sail back to Pittwater Tuesday or Wednesday … as I’ve been invited to attend a Xmas function held by the Coastal Cruising Yacht Club of Australia … at Cottage Point on the Hawkesbury River.

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SWISS VISITOR’S ANCHOR DRAG …

We had a bit of drama yesterday.  A new catamaran arrived on the scene in Roselle Bay and anchored about 150 metres from me.  It was flying a Swiss flag and had obviously just come in from the ocean as it was VERY grubby.  The owner (Solo Sailor) had left it and gone ashore and I’m guessing he was `Almost Mental’  from a long journey?  As I watched the boat, it slowly drifted across the bay toward the steel Anzac Bridge … it was dragging its anchor.  I lowered my dinghy and took off for the craft only to dead heat with a Water Police boat … someone had seen the same incident and ‘phoned them.  I offered to help tow it back to shallow waters; however, the `Big Policeman’ said all he was going to do was let out more anchor chain.  So I buggered off and left them to it!

* ANZAC Bridge ... a very, very busy vehicular bridge between Pyrmont and Glebe Islands (part of the suburb of Rozelle) in proximity to the central business district of Sydney, Australia. The bridge forms part of the Western Distributor freeway leading from the Sydney CBD … and Cross City Tunnel to the suburbs of the Inner West and Northern Sydney. *

So this great fourteen metre cat sat, square in the middle of the channel … with all boats in the area forced to avoid it. 

30 minutes later the owners arrived (bet they got a shock) and again a police boat appeared out of the blue.  I would have loved to have known what went on between them, as I am certain the cat owners would have at least been given a good telling off … if not a ticket! 

MY FORTUNE FOR BREAD AND MILK …

Last Sunday (21 November ’04) I walked about two kilometres (I’m on shore now so Klm’s are OK) looking for milk and bread … I was getting hungry having almost run out of essentials.  My policy is to ask anyone who looks local for advice and this I did with an attractive, late 40’s mother who was with her son.  She offered apologies for there being no sensible shopping centres in the area, (as though it may have been her fault) only boutiques. 

* Many goods are sold via a small, fast moving vessel (Fruit, Coffee, Icecreams etc). The small boat in the forground was selling Icecreams ... but, not milk?

I turned to head back to Tsunami and next thing I felt a tug on my sleeve and it’s my attractive lady offering spare milk from her supply at home … if I was OK to walk to her house!!  Thought my luck might have changed, although the kid bothered me.  She was an angel, living in a house half the size of a football field and to boot, Anne, (we had introduced ourselves to one another by now) came forth with half a bag of muffins and a litre of milk (it must have been my appearance, as I hadn’t shaved for 3 days!)

I shall send Anne a Xmas card.  I did note her address!

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SV TSUNAMI REGISTRATION … 17TH NOVEMBER ’04

As I still had not transferred Tsunami to my name, due to the screaming `wally’ of a salesman (meaning he was inept, to put it kindly) I had been dealing with at Seawind, the brokers for the deal … not providing me with a `Bill of Sale’ … in the end I had to become abusive toward the Wally, as Waterways would not register Tsunami without me providing proof of ownership … i.e. Bill of Sale!

* The location of the NSW Maritime Registration offices ... Roselle Bay, Sydney! *

 

My challenge today was to sail to the office of Waterways … Waterways being the managing body looking after Marine Registrations and all things to do with boating within NSW.  I knew where the office was (Roselle Bay where visiting yachts can anchor free of charge) as I stumbled on it when I was over in June ’04, to inspect Tsunami and ultimately buy it.  

This Government Department has just changed its name to `NSW Maritime’ … much to the disgust of local boaties.  It seems to the Tax Payer … that anytime a Government Department gets a new Chief Executive Officer … they must change the name of the Department, at huge cost!

* Approach to Sydney Harbour Bridge ... I can get `hairy'! *

The trip down Sydney Harbour, past the Opera House and under the Bridge, was wild!   The closer you get to the Bridge the more congested it gets on the water … and here I was with my `Screecher’ up (a Screecher is Catamaran talk for a very big and powerful jib.)  

* Sydney Harbour Bridge with Brother Barry *

It’s like sailing into the eye of a cyclone and at one time I was confronted with a 200 tonne ferry, the bloody minded driver of which was definitely going to run me over … absolutely no doubt about it!!  For some reason, which saved my life, I remembered having read that every private craft on the Harbour must give way to public ferries. So I did!  Quick!

* The Northern pylon of `The Bridge' *

Melanie (left) having a `water-fight with hoses' with friend Trish ... Children will be Children! *

Had a new experience today … locked myself out of my own yacht!  What a shock!  My luck held out though as the last thing I did was throw the second set of keys, which I normally take ashore with me, onto the side table in the galley.  For reasons I cannot explain, I did not lock the deck hatch above the galley.  Therefore, I spent no more than 10 minutes with an Ockie strap (a rubberised strap used for holding goods and chattels down) and an oar to hook the keys above deck and into relieved hands.  Some call it luck … but, I plan ahead for these eventualities!  There is now a spare key hidden outside the cabin where no one will ever think to look – he said hopefully…

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FIRST TRIP INTO THE TASMAN OCEAN – 16TH NOVEMBER ‘04

Today was a triumph for me, as it was the first time I had taken to the open sea on Tsunami … and to make it even more gratifying, I was headed for my favourite harbour, Sydney.
This is an indication of the rugged coastline around the Heads to Sydney Harbour

* This is an indication of the rugged coastline around the Heads to Sydney Harbour * (Photo by Melanie)

I had been practicing with the VHF radio (ship to shore) on board, as I knew it was vital to have a safety link with the shore in case of any open sea disasters.  All went well in this regard and I find the Sydney Coastguard Service very professional, with a human being at the other end of the radio waves and not a mindless computer.

SV Tsunami - Pittwater to Sydney Harbour ... 2004

* SV Tsunami - Pittwater to Sydney Harbour ... 2004 *

My foray onto the Tasman Ocean proved disappointing to a large extent, as the wind was blowing from the direction I wanted to travel … south … and it was light in strength.  When it became clear I was not going to be able to get to Sydney Harbour by sail alone, I called on the two iron spinnakers (9.9 hp Yamaha outboards) and they did most of the work during this four hour passage. 

Not a fast passage for fifteen nautical miles, but the forecast of East to South East winds at 13 to 18 knots just didn’t happen.  Instead we had 7 – 10 knot southerlies … just 20-30 degrees off the nose … therefore the fault for the slow passage can be laid at the Bureau of Meteorology’s door!  They would love that!

It was a little scary sailing around the North Head of Sydney Harbour for the first time, as it was easy to imagine what the end result would be if anything went wrong (such as tangling the props in a fishing pot line, many of which are set out all along this coast.)  There are also quite a few beaches along this coastline and just as many vertical cliff faces and nasty rock lined shorelines.  And this of course is what you see when sailing through the Heads of Sydney Harbour.

Central Sydney, New South Wales ... taken from Farm Cove alongside the `Opera House'.

* Central Sydney, New South Wales ... taken from Farm Cove alongside the `Opera House'. *

I borrowed a mooring around the corner of North Head, at a bay called Spring Cove.  This is only a mile, or less, from Manley.  (You will notice I talk in `miles’ now, meaning nautical miles, not Imperial and one nautical mile equals 1.85 Kilometres … I am at sea now you must appreciate!)

Without doubt the two most photographed sites of Sydney

* Without doubt the two most photographed sites of Sydney! ... Opera House and Bridge *

It was interesting to watch the regular comings and goings of the slow Manley Ferries and the faster water jet catamarans.  Both offer an excellent service to Circular Quay … the centre of Sydney Central Business District (CBD), right alongside The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The slower ferries seemed to run until about 23:00 – an excellent service!

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PERIOD ON PITTWATER AND HAWKESBURY RIVER … 16TH NOVEMBER ’04

It’s been close to 4 weeks since I have turned the computer on and made any comments … can’t believe the time has gone by so rapidly! 

STOCKING TSUNAMI:

Loading was done at the Royal Motor Yacht Club, Pittwater, Sydney

* Loading was done at the Royal Motor Yacht Club, Pittwater, Sydney *

My biggest worry with packing the wagon to come across to the yacht was … I would bring twice as much `stuff’ as I could fit on the yacht!  Not only would I pay extra in fuel to drag it all the way across Australia, but, with not having the room on board Tsunami, it would have to be packed back into the Mercedes which would take on the role of a storeroom!  But it surprised me and it all fitted on board with room to spare! 

Still haven’t brought the bicycle on board though as I left it with the last owner of the Tsunami, until I really needed it. 

I have Tsunami on a Royal Motor Yacht Club (RMYC) mooring leased by the previous owner and paid $250.00 per month for the favour.  I was quick to learn that boy does nothing for nothing! 

SEAWIND REGATTA … 2004 

As fate would have it the Annual Seawind Regatta was held the weekend of 30/31 October ‘04.  The Regatta is organised by the Seawind Factory and entails nineteen Seawind owners converging on the Royal Motor Yacht Club, located on Pittwater, Broken Bay … 15 nmiles north of Sydney, New South Wales … for a series of fun races over the weekend.  There’s a barbecue dinner on the Saturday night, compliments of Seawind and other sponsors of the weekend. 

Tsunami/Dejavu on Pittwater, Sydney, NSW

* Tsunami/Dejavu on Pittwater, Sydney, NSW *

I just happen to have been right in the middle of the Pittwater area at the time and there was no way I could have avoided being part of it!  Not that I wanted to.  

As the yacht was new to me I offered the previous owner the skippering position for the weekend and he was thrilled to be involved.  We didn’t win anything, not even the raffle, however, we did have a great amount of fun … and I learnt a lot about how to handle Tsunami.  Two workers from the Seawind Factory were our guests on board … plus the sail maker for the Seawind range and he was in charge of setting the sails for the two races on the Saturday. 

We were having a lot of fun ... it was a great weekend!

* We were having a lot of fun ... it was a great weekend! *

A fun part of the day is when all 19 Seawind yachts, of four different classes (850, 1000, 1160 and 1200) rafted up in four lines abreast for lunch.  I have good photographs of this spectacle, as I motored around them in my dinghy, but will not know how good they are until I pickup the prints next week (no digital camera at this stage.)

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SMITHS CREEK … Hawkesbury River … 3RD NOVEMBER 2004

 

Here’s a special little piece of paradise and a creek I will certainly take Melanie and John to when they come across in December. 

 It’s like a huge menagerie of birds and a peaceful, small tract of water set in a jungle … and hard to believe there are 4 million people living just over the hill in Sydney!  The two mornings I awoke there the water was like glass and again I am sure I have special images of the area. 

Swallows ... they seem to think they own you if you anchor in their territory

* Swallows ... they seem to think they own you if you anchor in their territory and shit everywhere *

Erica at Smiths Creek, Hawkesbury River, (20 Km north of Sydney)

* Erica at Smiths Creek, Hawkesbury River, (20 Km north of Sydney) *

One night I spent with Tsunami rafted alongside a Seawind 1000 `Orca’, owned by Cath and Roger Manning. They are members of the Royal Motor Yacht Club (RMYC) and befriended me, at the time of me inspecting Tsunami for the purpose of purchasing. We raced back to the RMYC but they were too good for me and I ran a bad last … just wait until next time!

Smiths Creek and new freinds Catherine and Roger of SV Orca' ... anther Seawind 1000 Catamaran

* Smiths Creek and new freinds Catherine and Roger of `SV Orca' ... anther Seawind 1000 Catamaran *

THE BASIN … Pittwater, Broken Bay … 6TH NOVEMBER 2004 

I have stayed overnight at the Basin several times.  (The Basin is a small bay off Pittwater, pretty much filled with moorings.  It’s just 30 minutes motoring north from the RMYC and many Members come here).  It is much quieter than the RMYC mooring and very beautiful.  A great place to go ashore for exercise, with a walk along the coast line.  There are regular hourly ferry services to this bay as there are forty or so houses around the shorelines … the residents of which rely on the ferry for transport to and from work each day.  It’s a National Park and hoards of campers come across on holidays and weekends.

LION ISLAND … Broken Bay … 7TH NOVEMBER 2004

Lion Island guards the entrance to Pittwater and the Hawkesbury River, from the Tasman Sea

* Lion Island guards the entrance to Pittwater and the Hawkesbury River, from the Tasman Sea *

 Lion Island is a huge rock sentinel shaped like a Lion when viewed from the north and south, guarding the entrance to Broken Bay … which is the bay opening from the Pittwater and Hawkesbury River areas, into the Tasman Sea.

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