In addition to the vibration causing Glenn to have a very cold swim in Narooma, while doing a routine check, the engine suddenly overheated. Finding the problem proved elusive, resulting in Glenn having to disassemble and reassemble the entire cooling system. There was no apparent cause for the overheating but the problem disappeared.
The initial plan was to head for Sydney on Sunday morning and drop Glenn off in Sydney in the evening so that he could get a flight back to Airlie Beach. The weather turned a little nasty and made things a little uncomfortable on Cordalga. Rather than have a long uncomfortable trip, it was decided that we would head for Ulladulla. We arrived early in the evening and tied up to a wharf with Glenn deciding that he had had enough of Geoff’s cooking and heading off to ALDI to get some meat and fresh vegetable to cook dinner. We had travelled a distance of 57 miles in 8 hours.
No sooner had he left than the fishing boat whose spot we were in arrived and threw us out – we could tie up next to them. It was a baptism of fire for Geoff, the space within which to manoeuvre was very limited but, to his credit, Geoff nailed it like the professional that he is.
It was an early start on Monday – up at 03H30 for a 04H00 departure. It would be a long haul to Sydney with an estimated arrival time of somewhere between 20H00 and 21H00. The weather again had other plans. The wind and swell again picked up making things uncomfortable and it was decided that we would head for Huskisson in Jervis Bay. Glenn decided that he would leave us at Huskisson and make his way to Sydney to get a flight to Airlie Beach.
And so it was time to say farewell to Glenn. There is no wharf in Huskisson and we tied up to a mooring ball and launched the tender to get Glenn ashore.
With Glenn safely ashore, we decided that we would head to Wollongong and overnight there. We got as far as the entrance to Jervis Bay and it was clear the conditions out at sea had worsened and Geoff decided that we would head back to Huskisson, pick up the mooring ball and spend the night in Huskisson. We had covered 43 miles in 6 and a half hours.
It was another early start on Tuesday – up at 03H00 for a 03H30 departure. The weather forecast was good and we were going to try and make Nelson Bay in Port Stephens. It would be an overnight passage taking about 30 hours if all went well. With only two of us on board, we would have 4 hourly shifts and it would be important to get as much sleep as possible between shifts. The journey on Tuesday during the day was fairly uneventful with us making about 7 knots for most of the day.
During the early evening the wind and swell changed and we got knocked around for most of the night. Our speed decreased from 7 to 5 knots and, even with Cordalga’s high bow, we still had waves crashing over the bow and flooding the deck. To make matters even more interesting the bilge pump light stayed on which either meant that we were being flooded or the bilge pump was faulty. In between us being knocked around, Geoff descended into the engine bay to find out what the problem was. We fortunately weren’t being flooded and put it down to a fault on the bilge pump which we subsequently discovered was the cause.
It was a fairly tired crew once we arrived at D’Albora Marinas in Nelson Bay but before we could have much needed showers we would have to fill up with fuel. We put 1 153 litres of fuel in the two tanks. The trip from Huskisson in Jervis Bay to Nelson Bay in Port Stephens had taken 28 hours and we had covered 192 miles.
In numbers, the trip so far looks like this:
Days since departure : 8
Distance travelled : 495 miles
Hours at sea : 71 hours
Overnight passages : 2
“I’ll make it work”. This was the message from Glenn once he received the new alternator which, as promised, arrived promptly on Friday morning. And so between disappearing into the belly of Cordalga and running to and from the local chandler, Glenn set about making it work.
The rest of the crew were treated to the arrival of the MS Maasdam as she docked in Eden for the day. Maasdam is a Holland America cruise ship named after the Maas River in the Netherlands. She is, unfortunately, perhaps best known for the death of a 70 year lady who fell between the tender platform and one of the tenders off Rarotonga on 7 November 2018. She is certainly impressive at 220m and is capable 22 knots (41 km/h). She has a crew of 580 and can take 1 258 passengers although we heard that there were less than 300 on board when she docked.
While the crew were enjoying the scenery, Glenn was hard at work and fairly soon the engine roared to life and by 10H45 we were on our way again. The initial plan was to go straight to Sydney which would take about 35 hours but this changed for two reasons. Glenn was a little concerned about running the motor for such a long period, especially overnight. If there was a breakdown we would be out at sea at night making repairs very difficult. Secondly, there was a front moving in which was going to bring strong winds and choppy seas. It was decided that we would stop at Narooma for the evening. We would arrive in Narooma at about 19H30 and would have to cross a bar to get to the public wharf where we could tie up for the night. The Narooma bar is not overly difficult or hazardous but Glenn would be faced with two challenges which would make it an interesting crossing.
We would be crossing the bar at night which always increases the risk but the approach and the channel are usually well marked so this in itself would not pose a problem. The biggest problem for Glenn would be visibility. Cordalga has a very high bow which makes it impossible to see what is dead ahead. This is exacerbated by the cover over the fo’c’sle. Glenn would be virtually blind to what was dead ahead, not an ideal situation when crossing a bar at night.
With Glenn at the helm and Geoff outside being his eyes and giving him directions we crossed the bar and moved through the channel. It was a very happy crew once we had tied up at the public wharf. To make things a little more interesting Geoff happened to fall into one of the openings into the engine area in the dark. The cover had been left off as there is a small exhaust leak and Glenn left the cover off to get rid of the exhaust fumes. In all the business of tying up, Geoff did not see the open hole and stepped into it. Fortunately he wasn’t hurt but the crew were in need of an alcoholic beverage or two after we had tied up. We had covered 58 miles in 9 hours.
With the change in weather we will spend Saturday in Narooma and set off for Sydney on Sunday morning. Narooma is a tourist destination with tours to Montague Island being a major attraction. We had thought of anchoring off Montague Island for the night but they would not allow us onto the island as this is by permit only.
Glenn has decided that, rather than spend the day lazing around in the sun like the rest of the crew, he will attend to some maintenance. There is a vibration of some kind on the boat and one of the possibilities is the propeller shaft. There are only two ways to check the shaft: either slip the boat, or get in the water. Glenn chose the latter. Fortunately all is well with the shaft and propeller but the cause of the vibration is still a mystery.
Glenn burnt the midnight oil for a few nights and on Tuesday Cordalga was ready to go back in the water. The plan was to splash her at about midday and take off immediately but boats have a mind of their own and she only went back in the water late afternoon which didn’t leave enough time to refuel before the fuel station closed for the day. They were happy to supply fuel after hours subject to a A$140 surcharge. We would wait until Wednesday morning.
After some last minute shopping and topping up the fuel tanks we left Lakes Entrance at 10H00 Sydney bound. Glenn was a bundle of energy for the first hour checking everything and going into his favourite place, the engine compartment, frequently to check that everything was working properly. No sooner had he settled down to relax on the deck when at about 11H30 we heard the engine alarm. There was an oil leak from the oil filter and there was oil everywhere.
The boat initially had been rolling quite a bit but this settled down once Glenn filled the forward fish tanks with water. With the engine off, the boat was rolling a lot and it certainly made life interesting for Glenn in the engine compartment. About 20 minutes later the problem was solved and we were off again making steady progress at about 7 knots.
Sometime in the afternoon the deck-wash hose clamp in the engine bay came loose and the engine bay took on quite a lot of water. The problem was quickly solved but the alternator would prove to be a casualty. In Glenn’s words ‘we drowned it’. Cordalga is a power hungry boat and with no way to charge the batteries it would quickly become a problem.
Instead of going straight to Sydney, a 3 day passage, we would call in at Eden to attend to the alternator. We arrived in Eden at 05H30 on Thursday morning and managed to tie up at Snug Cove. We had covered 145 miles in 19.5 hours.
Glenn disappeared into his favourite place and the offending item was removed and brought up to the deck. Finding a replacement proved to be difficult, they were only available in Canberra.
Glenn contacted the previous owner who was able to help with a replacement which will be here on Friday morning. The Skipper has kindly given us the day off.
Eden is a small coastal town almost midway between Sydney and Melbourne and was named after George Eden who was the Earl of Auckland. The Aussie Towns website notes “The town’s great appeal lies in its idyllic location on Twofold Bay which, historically, is romantically connected to the age of whaling.‘
The views from the look out point are spectacular.
It is a long way from Wyee in NSW to Lakes Entrance in Victoria and even with the good Australian public transport system it would still take 2 days to get from Wyee to Lakes Entrance. It would be a combination of train and bus trips of varying lengths with an overnight stop in Canberra. First was the train trip from Morisset to Sydney Central followed by a 3.5 hour bus trip from Sydney to Canberra with Greyhound. The early bird fare for the Greyhound bus trip was all of $5.
I normally have no objection to spending the night in YHA hostels, they are on the whole well run and offer good value for money. The YHA hostel in Canberra proved to be an exception. I was in a 4 bed male dorm room and as soon as I walked in the smell was overpowering. Someone had clearly overindulged and thrown up in the room not long before and they couldn’t get rid of the smell. That’s the risk one takes when staying in a hostel I guess. It was my first visit to Canberra and I did get to see some of the city even though I was only there for a few hours.
It was an early start on Friday morning to get a bus from the YHA hostel to the train station and another 6.5 hour bus trip to Lakes Entrance where Geoff would pick me up from the bus stop.
Cordalga is on the hard with Glenn and Pera, the owners, working furiously to get the boat ready for the trip. There is a fair bit of work to do before the boat can go back in the water and the plan is to splash the boat on Tuesday 24 September although the weather may delay that.
Geoff has shown that he is not just a competent delivery skipper but a competent tradesman too.
With Cordalga being on the hard we are not allowed to stay on the boat and Geoff had arranged for us to spend a few nights on MV Pride, a boat belonging to the owner of the catamaran he delivered a few weeks ago. MV Pride, previously MV Selena, was built at Williamstown in 1942 and served as an Army work boat for most of her early life. The current owner bought her in a dilapidated state 30 years ago and has restored her. Pride is 40’ long and in mint condition and an absolute pleasure to spend time on.
Geoff and I had arranged to meet Glenn at Cordalga on Saturday morning but Glenn was still working on the repairs and there was nothing we could do to help him. Instead Geoff gave me a tour of the Lakes Entrance area with a side trip to Metung. It was while driving into Metung that Geoff happened to see SV Metung.
Metung is a 47 foot ketch that was built in Gippsland Lakes at Bulls Shipyard in 1956 for Dr Toby Beatty, the town’s doctor. She circumnavigated the world in the 1970’s and competed in Sydney to Hobart races when in March 1974 in 40-knot winds the propeller got caught in the sea anchor resulting in the boat tipping 80 degrees and taking on water. The crew set off a distress signal and were picked up by a naval helicopter. Metung was abandoned at sea but eventually found her way to Sydney where she was left to rot.
Metung was offered for sale on eBay and a not-for-profit community group was set up to try and buy the boat. They managed to purchase her for $4 128 with six seconds remaining on the auction. The boat was returned to the town of Metung by truck where she will be restored to her former glory using traditional boatbuilding techniques.
On Sunday 22 September Judy Blion, a professional photographer, took this photo of Metung at Chinamans Creek in Metung. The colours are simply amazing.
The Cordalga delivery crew.
With all that has been going on over the past months we haven’t been able to spend any time at sea – something we need badly right now. It has been well over a year since our trip from Adelaide to Wyee and Great Escape has been on a swing mooring at Wyee Point Marina since our arrival. With a little bit of luck we will have the outstanding maintenance items finished soon and as soon as we have a suitable weather window we will head north. The plan is to initially head to Queensland and then further north. Down Under Rally have a rally from Australia to Indonesia scheduled for 2020 and we may well join that rally.
We have become good friends with Geoffrey Tapper, the skipper who helped us sail Great Escape from Adelaide to Wyee Point and since helping us Geoffrey has gone on to become a certified delivery skipper and has delivered a number of boats around Australia.
We met up with Geoffrey at the Sydney Boat Show while he was delivering a catamaran and he mentioned that he was going to deliver a trawler from Lakes Entrance to Airlie Beach. Peter offered to crew for him. It would give him much needed time out at sea and would also be covering some of the area we would be sailing later this year.
We called in at Lakes Entrance while sailing from Refuge Cove to Bermagui.
Airlie Beach is a lovely town in Queensland and a gateway to the Whitsundays and The Great Barrier Reef. In our previous lives we both visited Airlie Beach with Peter’s last visit being on his bike trip around Australia. We certainly plan to spend some time exploring the Whitsundays and The Great Barrier Reef once we get Great Escape there.
Crewing on the delivery should be an interesting trip. MV Cordalga is a 1958 51’ cruiser sterned ex cray fishing boat and it will take approximately 3 weeks for the trip from Lakes Entrance to Airlie Beach. Scheduled departure date 22 September.