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Archive for January, 2005

KIAMA HARBOUR – 31st JANUARY ‘05

I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT – I HAD FOUND A HARBOUR WORSE THAN WOLLONGONG!!    Less than one third the area, with a massive swell running into the entrance … and chocker-a-block full with boats. 

But I didn’t realise this to begin with as it doesn’t hit you how cramped the place is until you get in and looks around for a possible space to berth a 10 by 6 metre yacht. 

* Kiama Harbour ... for 24 hours, too rough to get off the yacht! *

There are always good souls who will jump to trying to help a visitor … and with Kiama Harbour, I found about 8 guys who were great.  The first two directed me to a bunch of tyres hanging over the side of the wharf (closest to the swell) and I put up with this buffering for only about 2 minutes. 

* The entrance to Kiama Harbour ... through the surf! *

One of the guys seeing I wasn’t happy, then had a brain surge, and pointed to two empty berths side by side.  They knew both their owners and one suggested I contact the professional charter operator by radio, as he was due in.  I invited this chap onboard to make the call on my behalf, which he did.  To shorten the story, the charter operator and his crew swarmed over my boat, which I had to spin through 180˚and then reverse into the berth, with the stern of Tsunami about 6 feet from the 3 meter high concrete wharf wall, covered in age old barnacles.  We had lines going everywhere and I swear I had my eyes closed most of the time throughout the manoeuvre … and then all of a sudden Tsunami was in place.  A miracle!!

* Great looking pelicans at Kiama *

The down side was … all the boats are constantly bounced around by the Tasman Ocean swell rolling into the harbour. 

Another one night stand … as I was out of there the next morning.

4-5

ooOoo

 

posted by admin in AUSTRALIA,Kiama Harbour ... N.S.W., Australia,NEW SOUTH WALES ...AUSTRALIA and have No Comments

WOLLONGONG HARBOUR – 29TH JANUARY ‘05

 Will never forget over-nighting in Wollongong Harbour.  Can’t believe there are such bad harbours in existence!  Although it must have been great when it was first built to provide a freight system by sea, for coal and other products, that was back in 1868…

The total area of the `harbour’ would be 3-4 acres, with the northern half packed with local pleasure boats.  The balance of the harbour, bearing in mind half the area has to be left vacant for manoeuvring boats, is taken up with commercial fishing boats.  Mooring/anchoring space is such a problem, a number of desperate pleasure boat owners raft-up (tie along side) other boats, pleasure or commercial, just to have a place to `hang their boat’! 

* Wollongong, NSW, Australia ... A harbour from Hell! *

As I was signing off, following my journey from Botany Bay, with Wollongong Coastal Patrol, (a volunteer radio watch group, which all pleasure boat owners use so that one’s movements are tracked along the coast – a great service which would spring into rescue action if one failed to communicate with them at pre-arranged times) I posed a casual question, as one does; “Can you recommend a spot to moor overnight”, not realising there would be a problem.  “No” came back the answer without hesitation, ”although you may be able to raft up with a professional fisherman, but just make sure you’re on board when he wants to go out”! 

* Wollongong Harbour from the beach ... Call that a beach? *

Great!  By the time I passed through the heads of the harbour I had a chap waving me down, the very same guy who had just given me fairly short shift on the radio.  He had found a spare spot against the wharf which will be “ideal”.  To cut a long night short, I spent every minute of the night worrying about how I was to minimise the belting of the boat against the wooden pylons.  Tsunami has three large fenders and I had great practice positioning these in unison with altering mooring line tensions to the wharf.  The big problem is the constant surge from the ocean washing into the harbour.  It’s relentless and churns up all floating objects. 

To add to the insult of the poor mooring facilities, there are no showers ashore for visiting yachties; and the closest Woolworths/Coles is nearly 2 Kms.   To make up for all of this, there is, however, a Fish & Chip shop on the foreshore which rivals the best I have experienced anywhere, anytime.

I left Wollongong for Kiama Harbour, vowing never to return unless my life depended on it!! 

 

* WOLLONGONG HARBOUR ... (Compliments Wollongong Town Council) *

4-4

ooOoo

posted by admin in AUSTRALIA,NEW SOUTH WALES ...AUSTRALIA,Wollongong ... N.S.W., Australia and have Comments (5)

PORT HACKING – 26/27/28TH JANUARY ‘05

 

Sailed another 6 miles South as the crow flies (12 miles given the horseshoe route I had to sail) to get to Port Hacking.  Pt Hacking seems just the sort of sea side town the old TV series `Sea Change’, could have been filmed in. 

* `Australia Day' ... time to hoist the Australian Jack! *

Very pretty and reasonably quiet (although the day after I arrived was `Australia Day’ and everyone and their dog was on the water in anything that floated).  Went for a walk along the ocean front at Cronulla late in the day and literally stumbled on an Australia Day Concert.  The main feature was an Operatic Concert starting at 19:30, so I stayed and enjoyed it. 

Plan to sail to Wollongong in a day or two, depending on the wind direction?

4-3

ooOoo

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BOTANY BAY – 25TH JANUARY ‘05

 

Set off from Sydney Harbour for Botany Bay, about 15 miles (as the crow flies …23 miles to sail) south of Sydney.  It seemed to have been a substantially longer journey, however, by the time I eventually picked up a tug mooring about 150 metres from the northern Mascot Airstrip, (there are two airstrips and one isn’t allowed closer than 80 metres), the centre of Sydney seemed just over the northern land lot.

* Mascot International Airport, Sydney, Australia ...*

I have always had a fascination with flight, which no doubt led me to learn to fly while I was living in Carnarvon.  After no more than 13 hours solo flight it finally caught up with me … I was clearly not born to fly after all, so I decided to leave flying to my cousin, Colin Marks who is pretty good at it.

But the fascination had never left me and this is what led me to tie up so close to the busiest airport in Australia.  Landing aircraft and departing aircraft were doing their thing just 200 metres or so from Tsunami … deafening but very interesting.  Not a good night for sleeping, although there is a curfew at the airport between midnight and 06:00am, when jet aircraft are not allowed any movement in or out. 

* Qantas at Mascot Airport, Sydney, Australia *

 

Mid morning the following day I sailed around to the southern airstrip which specialises in the larger International 747 etc aircraft.  Again I would have been no further than 200 metres from the landing aircraft!  Makes you think how easy it would be for a terrorist to shoot a plane down, being allowed so close to the strip?  The authorities will be all agog one day when it happens!!

4-2

ooOoo

posted by admin in AUSTRALIA,Botony Bay ... N.S.W., Australia,NEW SOUTH WALES ...AUSTRALIA and have Comment (1)

SYDNEY AFTER MELANIE – FROM 7TH JANUARY ‘05

 

Melanie and John left Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport around 07:00; 7th January ’05 … I’ll never forget it as it meant an early rise to get them to the airport in time.  That’s what Dad’s are for!   I’m certain they had a great break in Sydney and I’m equally certain, despite living onboard Tsunami, it cost them quite a lot of $$$$’s! 

* John and Melanie ... Opera House, Sydney, Australia *

 They did the typical tourist thing of seeing as much of Sydney as possible, but added to this was the regular occupation of savouring the culinary delights of Chinatown, Spanish and Indian restaurants and what you can buy in the fish markets.   John is a supreme seafood chef (comes from skippering a fishing trawler and having to cook to survive) and cooked us many great meals.  Ingredients were high quality seafood from the Sydney fish markets (we were anchored only 500 metres from them.) For our New Years day fare, John mentioned he had bought 4 mud crabs and in a weak moment paid $170 for them!!  Something like $40/Kilo?  Mud crabs a great delicacy and it was worth it … (says he who didn’t shell out the $170.00)!)  Then came the prawns, scallops, oysters, etc.  Fortunately, Joe and Judy (friends of Melanie and John from Albany, Western Australia) subsidised the cost of that day’s seafood.  What a great treat!

* John with a large piece of art at the Olympic Stadium, Sydney. *

* Joe, Judy, Melanie and John at Darling Harbour, a `Fun/Restaurant Centre' close to the CBD of Sydney ... and Roselle Bay where Tsunami was anchored. *

Life onboard Tsunami seemed to calm down considerably after the departure of my guests.  All I had to do was to catch up on several loose ends. 

  1. Repair the electric anchor winch (as described previously.)
  2. Pick up a retrieval line and floats I left in Sale (Victoria) on the way across Australia (the supplier took the blame for this and mailed them to my friends in Pittwater.)
  3. Have the Yamaha Outboard given its first service. (Must mention here a new slant on marketing I have learnt in Sydney.  I priced an outboard motor in Perth before coming across; a 3 hp Yamaha would cost me $960.  Didn’t have the room, so decided to buy one in Sydney.  Went to a Yamaha Dealer in Mona Vale, Sydney, who priced the same model motor at $785.  Great I thought and did the deal!!  When lifting the motor into the Merc the salesman mentioned the first service was due at 10 hours – “Great”, I said.   “I assume that’s included?”  … “Negative”, said the salesman, “that will cost you $130!”     Somewhat taken aback, I said “So the real price I have paid for this motor is $785 plus $130, equalling $915?”  No comment from the salesman!  One could feel conned but I decided not to get TOOOOOO upset!  I am in Sydney!)
  4.  Have an ID name made for the stern of the yacht.  Cost $50 cash! 
  5. Get front brake pads for the Merc replaced, as the warning siren (part of the Mercedes safety system) kept screaming in my ear every time I touched the brakes.  Merc Dealer quotes $400.00 (too much!).  Had an individual mechanic specialising in European makes do it for $300.  Thought the extra $100 was better staying in my account!
  6. Buy a combination `life jacket/deck harness’.  This little number is a safety device for when at sea and has an inflatable mechanism which, if one should find oneself overboard into the H2O, is fitted with a small compressed air bottle … and on pulling a line attached to the bottle; it will inflate the jacket and therefore keep your head above water.  The second feature is a harness, which is a heavy duty system of webbing sown into the jacket, with a large stainless steel buckle located at the front of the jacket about level with one’s belly button.  One then attaches a two metre tether to this buckle (tether has two short arms at the other end, each with a substantial snap hook attached, with a large snap-hook to attach to the harness) and if it is absolutely necessary in a bad storm, you can still venture onto the deck, snap hooking your tether to the boat as you move along the deck.  The end result is to be attached to the boat if the boat should toss you overboard in very rough seas!  Cost $279.  Naughty Lloyd has not used it once … but, there will come a time?) 

As I do not have paper Navigation Charts for the Australian coastline (because they cost approx. $3,000 and because they are all accessible on computer) I have been researching a series of books containing miniature naval charts which some smart person has compiled.  (One book $61.00.)  The one which I need for this leg of my journey is out-of-print but I have another book researched and printed by another smart man by the name of Alan Lucas.  This is great for the cruising sailor, with most Australian yachtsmen having a copy onboard.  There are many such periodicals offered for travel along the East Coast of Australia and I think I have all I am going to need! 

Finally, it seemed time to deposit my wagon for storage with Sister Shirley and Merv at Windellama, N.S.W., roughly 100 Km east of Canberra and I spent a very pleasant two nights with them and their grandchildren Liam and Keira.  Merv then offered to drive me back to Sydney and I finally cast off from my land-mobile.  

* Sister Shirley and one of her woolly family! *

It seemed my exit from Sydney was overdue as it was January 20th 2005.  And I was getting stale with the City and my anchorage.  The incentive to leave Sydney, knowing I would be back many times … came from the curiosity and need, to experience sailing Tsunami in the open sea.  After all, that’s where I planned to spend a great deal of time whilst cruising the east coast of Australia.  So, this journey to Eden and back was a training run for me and the Seawind 1000. 

4-1

ooOoo

 

posted by admin in AUSTRALIA,Botony Bay ... N.S.W., Australia,NEW SOUTH WALES ...AUSTRALIA,SYDNEY ... Australia and have Comment (1)