June 24, 2010
Tomorrow we fly off to South Africa for seven weeks and will leave Rebel in the Scarborough Marina. Our blog heading should have been Hobart to Scarborough and not Hobart to Bundaberg! The marina is on a peninsular towards the northwestern end of Moreton Bay. It is full of real cruising yachtswhere the owners have circumnavigated the world, or are in the process of doing so, or are on passages from one continent to another. This makes for loads of sound advice from those who have ‘been’ there and know how things work and why they sometimes go wrong. Naturally for us this means more work when we come back reconfiguring certain systems that are just plain wrong.
The marina is co-owned by Jaun Paul and Mara Mira. Jaun Paul and I used to sail Lasers at Southern Cross Sailing Club in Wemmer Pan, Johannesburg in the long gone days of our youth and last saw each other over 25 years ago! Needless to say there has been much catching up and swopping of stories. Next post will be from Durban or Johannesburg…
For some reason the site is not uplaoding photos – later…
June 16, 2010
Plan Four arrived in Jacobs Well under sail (real show offs!) and joined us for roast chicken. We all found that anchoring right next to the boat ramp rather noisy. So next morning we headed upstream on the high tide and threw out our anchors out again off Karragarra Isalnd, where the only downside was the rocking caused by the constant wake of the hi speed ferries that service the various islands. En route we had to pass under overhead powerlines with a height of 23m and were holding our breath and waiting to be crisped from above and run aground blow!
Once off Karragarra we met up with Pauline and Terry from Kurranulla again and Plan Four had us all on board for a team effort finger food supper. With the locals excited by their Sunday morning market of 50 stalls, we all went ashore to look and have great egg and bacon breakfast sarmies made by the Lions. Then we followed Ian to Jeff’s house, a local who over the past 15 years has cultivated his own little rain forest. He kindly let us wander through the forest where some plants are apparently pre-historic.
While we wanted to explore as many of Moreton Bay’s anchorages as possible, the wind dictated otherwise and we headed for the north of Peel Island to get some protection from the south easter. Peel Island is surrounded by sea grass and is dugong breeding and feeding ground It has a sad history as a quarantine station in the days of the early settles, followed by being an asylum (or jail) for lepers, then an asylum for those who drink too much…..
Thus far the only sign of dugongs has been distant splashing….. Tomorrow we will check into Scarborough Marina, where we will leave Rebel when back in SA over July and August.
June 11, 2010
I forgot to mention that on our trip from Iluka to Southport Ashymakaihken managed to pass us in the night. As we all know, even if it is not a race, you DO NOT want ANYONE to pass you, especially when they departed an hour after you. Ian has just reminded me that we had reduced sail and were deliberately going slowly so that we could go into Southport on a rising tide. (Does this sound like a bad loser?)
We spent most our Southport time in Marine Stadium adjacent to Bums Bay (good name for an anchorage for yotties)! Marine Stadium is pretty protected, especially from the wake of constant parade of huge motorboats, acquducks, and jet skis that hit you if you stay in Bums Bay. The location is really convenient for shopping at Australia Fair and you can actually drop anchor right opposite Australia Fair and tie the dinghy to a public wharf, or land on the beach where the shelving is good. On the east side of Marine Stadium is a five minute walk to the beach.
With Plan Four also in Bums Bay, it was again very social and I managed to escape duties and play Scrabble virtually non-stop with Brenda from Ashymakaihken (once I had forgiven her for overtaking us). We are both addicts and are desperate to meet up again for more Scrabble. As yet there is no clear cut winner. Peter from Plan Four very kindly helped Ian clean the heat exchanger, so hopefully the engine will no longer overheat when run at high revs for more than five minutes.
Yesterday afternoon we took another step north and headed for Jacobs Well, which is on the inland waterway where there are some very shallow patches. In order to go over these at hi tide, yesterday evening we had to drop anchor just before the most shallow patch. Then this morning we started up again at 7.45am so that we could go though half an hour before hi tide at 8.40am. (You do this so that if you do run aground the still rising tide will hopefully float you off the bottom…..) Much holding of breadth was done when our depth monitor fell to 1.7m, meaning we had 0.1m spare under our keel. (See photo.) All in all, with the advice from those that went through before us, and the maritime office, we made it without leaving any of our anti-fouling on the bottom of the channel. We will spend the night in Jacobs Well and are about to look for a pizza for lunch.
June 01, 2010
We finally got the weather window we had been waiting for and left Iluka on Monday at noon on a cloudless day. The wind was a lovely consistant 20 knots, with a flat sea and overnight a moonlight sky. It was wondreful not to be lurching from side to side, or peering into threatening weather – tho no photos were taken as it was all so calm and peaceful! The only reason we ran the motor was to charge the batteries.
We have already been ashore and made use of the new jetties Queensland has intalled for the marine community. This afternoon Ian dropped me off to have a decadent hot chocolate with my niece. Now to plan where to leave Rebel for two months while we are in SA.
May 29, 2010
It seems hard to believe that we have been in Iluka for 10 days now. Periodically our trip north from Hobart has been held by up adverse weather…… first in Jamieson Bay in Tasmania, then in Port Stephens, and now in Iluka. In any community where everyone is in the same predicament naturally swopping stories and discussing the weather is a common pastime. Last week three solid days of socializing only stopped when the yachts left on weather windows we choose to ignore. Two days ago we met Brenda and Ashley, who have lived aboard their yacht Ashymakaihken for the past 35 years and have circumnavigated the world two and a half times. I am so envious and wish my sailing adventure had started earlier in life!
Yesterday my walk to the river entrance to check out the state of the bar (not that pretty) took me past an echidna busy looking for ants and grubs. He is also known as a spiny ant eater and has a long dainty snout and lots of serious looking spines. While he is shy you can get pretty close – not sure if this is because his hearing and eyesight are poor or not. However, the look of the spines kept me from being too keen to get a real close up!
May 19, 2010
The trip from Trial Bay to Yamba started off with a huge storm lurking in the distance and light rain. We left around 15.30 and the first eight hours were pretty straightforward. Supper, thanks to Pete, was leftover osso bucco potjiekos! However, on my midnight watch, by the time Ian had handed over to me, the wind was blowing over 30 knots, so we took down the main and reefed the genoa some more. Well, for the next two and a half hours I had 30-40 knots of wind, with a peak of 48 knots!! Thank goodness the wind was from behind and the swell fairly ‘smooth’. We were flying along at 5 knots and just because we did not want it, the current was adding another knot!
With only a tiny bit of sail up, this was way too fast as it meant we would arrive at the Yamba/Iluka bar too soon after low tide. While the wind did eventually calm down, it was still (and is still) blowing 30 knots sporadically. After slowing down as much as possible (a halyard had fouled the top of the roller furler preventing us from reducing the genoa further….), we arrived at Yamba way at 7.30am and were told by the coastguard that the bar was looking rather chopped up. So we made time for an hour and a half and were beginning to think that we would have to make for Southport – another overnight sail and another bar entrance requiring the ‘right’ time. However, around 9.30am the coastguard reported that the bar had calmed down and should be fine. With us here on anchor in Iluka Harbour, we obviously made it in without any drama. We would have been very sad to have had to bypass Iluka/Yamba, a favourite of ours. Now for some catchup sleep tho we are likely to be woken by the shallow water alarm as we are anchored in 2-3m of water…. never a dull moment!
May 18, 2010
Bright and early on Sunday morning we said goodbye to Port Stephens. There were still remnants of the strong swell that had kept us there longer than planned but our departure was without excitement (thank goodness). We had a terrific start with up to two knots of current in our favour as we headed north 6nm offshore. However, later in the day this turned to two knots of current against us and it was disheartening seeing boat speed of 5-6 knots reducing to 3-4 knots over the ground. This meant we only arrived in Trail Bay early afternoon instead breakfast time. Exhausted from a trying night of squalls we promptly went to sleep.
Tuesday we went ashore to look over the historic jail. Built to house prisoners, it’s development was fraught with delays, and its main claim to fame now is that it housed German interns in the war. Not a bad place to be interned, with daily swims, fish to eat and a lovely view. Thereafter it was closed down and now is a lovely peaceful historic monument. Back on Rebel we upped anchor and set off on an overnight sail to Yamba with a forecast of 15-20 knots of wind.
May 15, 2010
Colin and Cyndy took the good weather with them…. strong wind from the south west made the mooring outside Nelson Bay Harbour very uncomfortable, so we hotfooted back to Fame Cove. Even there the wind and a bit of the swell got to us.
We have been watching the weather like hawks as it is time for us to move on. However, once the winds abated a little, the swell got up to 3-4 metres, with seas of up to 2m on top of that, so we, and a lot of others, stayed put.
Today we caught the bus to Fingal Bay to look at the big waves and swell, and walked back from there, going up Tomaree Head en route. We poked our heads into the RSL to see what the food looked like and as the TV was full of Jessica Watson’s return, we lunched there to enable us to watch her reception in Sydney. An amazing teenager.
Hopefully by tomorrow morning the swells will have abated and we will head north, tho now the wind has also abated…. so it could be a slow trip.
May 08, 2010
Equipped with new batteries we headed off to Morning Bay for the day with Chris (ex-collegue of Ian’s) and Rosemary Holland on a glorious day. Back to the marina for a night and then once again dropped our anchor off Church Point. We went ashore on Saturday to catch up with Philippe and Sylvia Tison (I worked with Philippe 23 years ago), and then that afternoon Pete Piccione picked us up for a sleepover at their house and a lovely potkjie of osso buco for supper. We were very relieved to find the unattended Rebel waiting patiently for us to come home. On Thursday at 4.30am we left for Port Stephens, some 70nm away. Cold but lovely weather tho unfortunately we motorsailed most of the way as we were worried about our spinning shaft brake when the engine was off. On speaking to the previous owner there are grillions of different opinions on the necessity of even having a shaft break with a Warner hydraulic gearbox…. So we are not sure what to do about it now but are not so worried about it spinning away (making a very irritating noise) when we are sailing.
Colin and Cyndy drove up from Sydney on Friday to spend the weekend with us and once again we have been blessed with fabulous weather.
April 28, 2010
We have migrated north in stops and starts – spent a night in Spring Cove off Manly, then on Saturday set off zig-zagging our way along until the wind filled in from the south west. On entering Broken Bay we headed into the Ku-Ring-Gai National Park to Refuge Bay and managed to find a spare mooring despite the fact that it was a long weekend. Possibly predicted bad weather kept many boaties at home tho in the night there was a storm with a thunderclap that made us both sit bolt unright from deep sleep! On Sunday we moved to another unoccupied mooring in Morning Bay on the Pittwater side and on Monday dropped anchor off the Church Point ferry station. From here getting ashore is easy and one can get the bus to Mona Vale, and more importantly, receive visits from friends!
Today we booked into the Royal Motor Yacht Club so that our new batteries could be fitted…. Despite specifying the exact size necessary to fit into the snug compartment, they were a cm or so too wide. So Angus had to grind and saw to enlarge the compartment and has to come back tomorrow with a new bracket to hold them in place as the old one no longer fits. Ian is changing oil and filters so looks like a grease baby and I managed to use the free washing facilities here to do three loads. Luxury!