Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Sailing around Australia; Different but the same.

Cronulla Marina, Port Hacking,  Sydney NSW.

30/4/2015  Different, but the same

Our sailing around Australia adventures aboard Easy Tiger have reached a major milestone this week with our arrival in the Sydney Metro area, a place called Cronulla on the edge of Port Hacking.

Leanne and I both feel sort of amazed, sort of bemused and a bit surreal to think that in 17 months   together (530 Days) we have sailed 2,954nm from Mandurah WA to Sydney NSW.

In that time have become so used to bush covered cliff tops, deserted beaches, sleepy country towns with a few boats bobbing around the anchorage and friendly locals saying hello.

Rounding the headland into Port Hacking revealed a whole new world.

Every vantage point on the steep cliffs is taken by buildings, presumably homes and every square meter of waterway taken up with moored boats, leaving just a narrow transit channel up to the Cronulla Marina.

At the marina we were met with the now familiar warm welcome. A couple passing on their dinghy noticed us pushing against the wind to get on to the jetty. They gave Easy Tiger a helpful shove with their dinghy and then introduced themselves, followed by an invitation for dinner and use of their washing machine.

Once tied on and signed in at the marina office, we met Geoff and Marina. They are from Perth and have sailed their new catamaran from South Africa to Perth and now around to Sydney. They have two boys and two dogs on board, so certainly a full house.

Last week we walked the bush trails around Jervis Bay. If we saw anyone else there was time to stop for a g’dday. Our first morning in Sydney, we walked out of the marina gate, straight into the entrance of the Cronulla Train Station. Rush hour was on. I had forgotten how it was to be in a stampede of people all wanting to get to work on time.

We’ve also been used to strolling along country roads, alerted to oncoming traffic by the sound of approaching vehicles. During our stroll in Cronulla we had to wait, often for several minutes for a break in the traffic to cross the road.

So here we are, in suburbia. It is sort of nice being in amongst activity and life. Maybe there is only so much peaceful tranquility one can bare. Sydney is certainly different to that, but there are the same good natured friendly people here as well.

We will have a go at immersing ourselves into a bit of city culture. To start off we were supposed to be hosting my Aunt and Uncle today, but rain and bad weather has put that on hold.

Maybe it’s telling us that we are better off tapering in to the change in our environment rather than crashing in overnight.

We have become quite accustomed to deserted beaches and bush walks.
Only other occupants of the bay today. Wonder if they'd like to drop in for a sundowner.

Easy Tiger on the mooring at Jervis Bay

The opposite of Jervis Bay, Cronulla

The view from our Starboard hull at Cronulla Marina

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Sailing around Australia; Score Check on the Waiting Game

Hole in the wall, Jervis Bay, New South Wales

24/4/2015   Score check in the waiting game

I’d love to write this blog about the exciting sailing adventures we have had this week; but I can’t. For the past week we have made every attempt to amuse ourselves while locked inside the boat hiding from the weather.

According to which media report you take notice of, the past week has been the worst storm ever, or the worst storm in past hundred years, or a one in ten year event.

Either way, we have reports from other boaties, mainly in the Newcastle area just north of Sydney, of boats and lives lost among much devastation. We certainly offer our condolences to all those affected.

Our experience was very strong winds and rain, rain and more rain. After a couple of games of scrabble, 36 episodes of a TV series called “Homeland” and  using up our months worth of internet in a few days, I came up with a couple of interesting ideas.

The first was to try and harvest the rain water.  I rigged a large funnel into the inlet of our fresh water tank. I’m not sure how much it caught and funnelled into the tank but I am sure that a few litres were caught and as they say every little bit counts, especially when it is clean fresh rainwater.

I also had a bucket on the back deck under a well known “dribble point”. I bucketed at least 120 litres into the tank from this source. On the third day of rain the tank was totally full.

The next idea was sort of forced on me. I wondered how long I could turn our freezer ( and Engel portable) off before it would start thawing out. This had been forced on me as the second day of the bad weather our portable generator decided it would rest rather than work. All we could do was try and conserve power as we watched our batteries drain to the critical point.

At the critical point we had to start one of boat’s engines and run it for a few hours to charge the house batteries up again. I calculated that we could turn the Engel off for up to ten hours a day. It would still be -1degree C so that's useful information for the future.

Next morning during a lull in the bad weather, we met the guy on the next mooring over, a local to Jervis Bay called Rick. Rick was on his way to shore to empty his dinghy, which the rain had half filled. He mentioned he had a car parked nearby and would be happy to take us into town.

Leanne and I jumped at the chance to get off the boat for a few hours and to replenish a few dwindling supplies, such as fruit and veg.

Fortunately I was also able to buy a new spark plug for our generator.

We travelled into the towns of Vincentia and Huskisson. Both lovely seaside holiday type places.  The town of Huskisson has some moorings just off the main part of town that looks like a great place to hold up for a few days, albeit in better weather than we have had this week.

As we have crossed the total of two bars or river entrances, we thought we would check out the possibility of going up the creek at Huskisson where many boats are moored. The sight of a dozen surfers ably surfing the waves on the bar certainly turned us off that plan.

The weather abated enough last night (night 6) for the 6 or so boats to get together for a sundowner.  The main topic of conversation was of course how we had all kept ourselves amused for the past four days and nights.

Today is a such a lovely day, you would wonder how the weather could be so violent. The other boats that have sheltered here including San Souci and Phase 2 have taken the opportunity for another hop northwards.

But, with north in the weather forecast, we will continue playing the waiting game until Tuesday, when conditions will be far more favorable for us. 

First time off the boat in three days.
Jervis bay
View from the lawned public area at Huskisson. You can see Point Perpendicular and the entrance into Jervis Bay in the back ground.

Southwards view form Huskisson town, Jervis Bay

There are three public moorings just to the left of this photo.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Sailing Around Australia; Playing the waiting game

Jervis Bay, New South Wales

19/4/2015  Playing the Waiting Game

There have really only been a few times like the present, where we have had a significant hold on our sailing around Australia adventures, due to the weather conditions.

Having sailed Easy Tiger across the south coast of Australia we have found the mostly the weather patterns come in stages of four or five days. That means that the ideal weather to sail from one place to another, has been mostly four or five days apart.

Mind you, last winter we tied on in Port Lincoln, and left to travel back home to Western Australia. Then, we spent three months in Cairns, so we probably didn’t experience that much of the southern winter weather.
This week is going to be a real test for myself and Leanne. It is forecast to blow up to 50knots with combined seas and swell of over 8 metres! So that means we will batten down and stay right here in Jervis bay at the hole in the wall. The test will be with how we cope being locked in the boat on a mooring and not moving for a week. Sitting around not doing anything or going anywhere is not my or Leanne’s strong suit.

This is a beautiful bay with the huge trees of the Boogeree National park on the shore. A white sandy beach stretches along the shoreline, with greenish water that is so clear, you can count the fish swimming around underneath Easy Tiger.

We have already taken every opportunity in between rain and wind to get ashore in the dinghy and walk up and down the kilometer or so of the beach.

Leanne is contacting as many friends and rellies as possible for long chat’s on the phone.

We have several drama series that my sister very kindly put together and quite a few movies that we have been swapping and trading with other boaties.

But when you are used to being on an adventure and sailing to new destinations such as this one in Jervis Bay, it is a real challenge to be locked in one place, especially if patience is not one of your strong points.

Something tells me, it’s going to be a very long week.

View starboard side on our mooring at hole in the wall, Jervis Bay

View from port side of our  mooring at hole in the wall, Jervis  Bay

Point Perpendicular 

Enhanced pictures of the helicopter that circled us on our way in to Jervis Bay

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Sailing around Australia; Women who sail Australia network

Jervis bay, NSW.

Has anybody had mould in their boats, if so how do they fix it?

I see you are in Jervis bay at the hole in the wall, are their any moorings free?

These questions and many more are asked and answered on the women who sail network via their Facebook site.

 Last Friday, we left Lakes Entrance and endured what we hope will be one of the last overnight passages during our sailing adventures. While anchored at Broulee Island sitting out a southerly blow, Leanne was making contact with people in Batemans bay to find out about moorings.

We booked a mooring in the Batemans bay channel but not long after ataching Easy Tiger, Leanne became sea sick from the buffeting created by the very strong tidal movement. When we couldn't bare it any longer we bravely rode the wild bucking dingy to dry, still land.

Eva, from Zofia had mentioned that Debbie Cockle might be a useful contact. So Leanne rang her and was very glad she did. Debbie turned out to be  a wealth of information, not only on Batemans bay, but over coffee in the mall, introduced Leanne to the women who sail Australia network.

Without further ado Debbie got Leanne connected on to this network. While they waited for the joining request to be approved, Debbie also offered to take us shopping to her favourite store, Aldi, which was another new experience for us country bumpkins from WA. Leanne was surprised at how much cheaper everything seemed. She bought  6 bottles of cab Merlot for 4.49 per bottle and found
them very nice. After our first Aldi experience it was off to Debbie and Greg's for dinner.

While at dinner we found out that there are a few moorings at Square Head, that had been put down by the Batemans Bay yacht club. These were for yachts that went out for racing or whatever in the bay and then could not get over the bar due to the tidal conditions.

Next morning we were up early, as we hadn't slept while on the mooring in the rough channel. We motored out over the bar at half an hour after high tide without any issues and attached to a mooring at Square Head. It was beautifully calm in the light southerly  (that was forecast to be a medium northerly). The rest of the morning was spent trying to catch up on lost sleep.

In the afternoon, Leanne was able to spend some time researching the women who sail Australia group.  Sailing around Australia can feel a little lonely at times. You are constantly dealing with unknowns, such as where the better anchorages are, where facilities like shopping is easiest.

"It's very exciting to be connected to a network where any questions will be answered by people that have been there  or done that, and I can look forward to meeting many of the members as we go along our sailing around Australia adventures" she said.

Leanne had no sooner uploaded her first post to the women in sailing Facebook page when a response came from someone else from Perth on a catamaran, currently in our next proposed port of call. These people had knowledge of moorings, access and even a hire car that we could share.

We found that an immediate benefit.

Debbie and Greg also had lots of information about the shag island yacht club. Stephen and Sharon Bone on Shiraz had told us they were members of this group. It  also sounds like a worthwhile group to belong to.

It seems to me that sailing long distances is a fairly solitary pastime, but by participating in groups or communities you can make up for the lonely times when you arrive.

Leanne  "suited up" on passage
Batemans Bay walkway along the waterfront

Tied the dinghy on to this jetty. Very strong tidal currents made the dinghy ride perilous.

Many cafe's along the waterfront, sadly most were deserted even though it is school holidays.

At the end of the mall waiting to meet up with Debbie Cockle.

Chatting with the fishers who smothered the jetties. No fish is safe in Batemens Bay!
The rugged and steep cliffs on the ocean side of Jervis Bay. They look almost like they have been laid by Bricklayers.

OK, you know there steep cliffs when it's name point Perpendicular.

Escorted into Jervis Bay.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Sailing Around Australia; Fifteen Fabulous Photo's (Gippsland Lakes)

1. On arrival, this jetty was a very welcome first contact point.

2. Our First bar crossing, far more exciting on the way out.

3. First Bar Crossing was here!
4. Another first... the beaching.

5. Beached as bro!
6. Nothing else to do but hang out!
7. Pelican on guard
8.Duck arm

The peace
9. The serenity

10. The beauty of Duck Arm

11. The "Zofians" arrived. Brian's Birthday.

12 Sunday Lunch on ET 

12 Metung Pub with new mates Phil (Sarge)  And Leanne (L2)

Nice to meet the locals of Raymond Island... Phil and Leanne I mean.

See ya Lakes Entrance. Great place...shame about the bar.

Sailing around Australia; Many hats

12/4/2013 Many Hats

No matter where we are, whenever we are together with the “Zofian’s” (aka Brian and Eva of SV Zofia) we have quite a few laughs.

On Brian’s birthday he received a gift of a replica police cap. As they were on board Easy Tiger for lunch at the time, I raced inside and got my fire service hat. We also found a customs officer hat in our collection. That hat we sat on our table and toasted the third member of our sailing trio who was absent, but would have worn the customs hat with pride.

We laughed at Brian with his hat on as he tried to be authoritarian in a cockney accent attached to a red when slur.  I was putting my head up to the horizon in search of any sign of smoke, while advising everyone that I was a “coiled spring”, ready for action with hose at the ready.

It was decided that what was needed next was an Indian head-dress and a construction workers helmet so that we would have the entire village people collection!

The topic of hats, reminded me of a book that I read by Edward de bono, called 6 thinking hats. That book explains that there are 6 ways of looking at a problem or even 6 ways to answer a question.

I started thinking of the many hats that people on a sailing adventure must wear and how important it is to share these hats around.

1.  The Captains Hat; On Easy Tiger, I wear the captains hat. The buck has to stop somewhere. It doesn’t mean that I make all the decisions, as anyone who knows Leanne will attest. I tend to do the passage planning, setting the waypoints etc...

2. The First Mate /Communications Hat; Leanne is the first mate on Easy Tiger. She does most of the vhf radio work, contacting VMR’s and logging on to marine safety networks. Plus Leanne makes many suggestions on passage planning etc…

3.The Weather Hat; We made a decision recently that we will both look at the weather forecasts every day at breakfast. The weather forecasts dictate what we do every day.

4. The Catering / Providors hat; Leanne wears this one on Easy Tiger. We try to do major provisioning whenever and wherever facilities are easy to access. 

5.The Engineers Hat, Its my brief to keep everything working, maintained and serviced on Easy Tiger. Fuel and water come under this hat. 

6.Sail masters Hat; I do most of the sail set up and trim on Easy Tiger, although Leanne does the trim when she is on watch.

7. Ropes and storage hat; I will be the first to admit that when it comes to rolling ropes up neatly and packing away I am unco, and dyslexic. I tie the knots, Leanne tidies and wrangles the ropes, fenders etc…

8. Fishing hat; Leanne is undoubtedly the master of fishing on Easy Tiger. My inability with ropes is only surpassed with my inability with fishing line.

9.Deckhand Hat; Outside the boat is my brief. The dew must be mopped off each morning and we like to keep the decks free of bird messages and dust. Inside is Leanne’s domain. 

10. Anchoring / Mooring crew hat; When we are going to anchor I am on the front deck with Leanne on the helm, when we approach a mooring Leanne is on deck and I run the helm. 

11. Socialiser’s Hat; I think it’s fair to say that Leanne specializes in keeping in touch with family and friends, face booking and organizing social events. My bit is to write the blog.

12.Watch keeper’s hat; Leanne and I share this hat when on passages. We normally run around three hour watches but this is a nominal figure that is often varied as to how we are feeling at the time.

With at least twelve different hats worn by cruising sailors, it is easy to see why things on board can get a bit heated and one or the other can feel a bit miffed.

We find that a fair distribution of hats is what works best for us. The real trick to teamwork on board comes in assisting the other with their current hat, not trying to wear it for them.

Who's hat is that?

Riding in the dinghy hat

Working hat

Off to the races Hat.

The best hat... a free one.

Desert Hats

Safety hats...thank goodness!

Watch keepers Hat.