By Friday night the Skipper was ‘at 95%’ and we were back in business. We had planned another early start on Saturday, up at 03H30 for a 04H00 departure. When the alarm went off at 03H30 the wind was howling and Geoff couldn’t get a clear picture of the bar conditions from the Bar Cam. We decided to wait until we were sure we could cross the bar safely and so it was back to bed for a couple of hours. When the alarm went off at 05H30 the wind had dropped and Geoff was happy with conditions over the bar. These Bar Cams are remarkable! The conditions at sea were fairly good despite it being overcast and drizzly and we made good time to Coffs Harbour arriving at 17H30. We had covered 78 miles in 12 hours.
We tied up at the fuel wharf and then went off to the local fisherman’s co-op to get dinner. Did I just say we tied up at the fuel wharf? We would never do that if there are clear signs saying we aren’t allowed to! Even if we were just going to be there for a few hours before another early departure. Besides, the ‘fine’ for tying up at the fuel wharf overnight was $110, we could stay at a luxury marina for that price. We’re not bad boys, well not entirely.
Geoff has now affectionately termed the engine compartment ‘the black hole’ and he descended into the black hole to check the oil levels.
It was another early start on Sunday – this time the alarm went off at 01H30. At this rate, we’re not even sure why we go to bed at all. We were all set to leave at 02H00 when all of a sudden it was 03H00. It took a few minutes for us to figure out that daylight saving had started and that accounted for the lost hour. So much for the really early start. It would be a relatively easy run to Yamba, 68 miles in 10 hours. We arrived in Yamba just after 13H00 and the Skipper gave us the afternoon off.
Geoff has his boat at Yamba. It is waiting for him to finish with the deliveries so that it too can get some attention.
I think someone needs to arrange a sausage sizzle or two for these chaps, they’re not going to be doing much rescuing in this boat.
There is an old adage among sailors which I think applies equally to those who have power driven vessels – or ‘stinkies’ as Geoff affectionately refers to them. There are two kinds of sailors – those who have run aground and those who lie.
We left Yamba early on Monday morning – up at 01H00 for a 02H00 departure. To get from the marina to open sea would require us navigating a fairly large stretch of inland water which is in places very shallow and not well lit at night. How do I know it is shallow and not well lit at night? Funny you should ask that, I know because we got stuck, not once, but twice. Fortunately on both occasions we were moving very slowly but even so we still got stuck. Our timing was pretty good though, the tide was coming in and within about 15 minutes on each occasion there was enough water to get us floating again. It took us two hours to navigate the passage to open sea. The Skipper’s sense of humour was starting to fail towards the end.
For the first 4 hours conditions were good and we were making just under 7 knots. Conditions changed fairly rapidly mid-morning and suddenly we were down to just over 4 knots in a bumpy sea. Geoff arranged a conference call with Glenn and it was decided that, rather than push ahead and put an unnecessary strain on the engine, we would head for Ballina. There was also a wind warning for Tuesday and we could wait in Ballina until the weather improved. We arrived in Ballina at 12H00 and tied up at the public boardwalk just outside the local RSL.
It was a stunning day and also happened to be a public holiday and the river was teeming with locals who were enjoying the river on their day off. Another great place to be stuck waiting for the weather to improve. The plan is to spend Tuesday in Ballina and head for the Gold Coast on Wednesday.