Lake Macquarie is an interesting stretch of protected water. The lake is a coastal lagoon of 110km2, with numerous bays, twists and turns, thus offering varied anchorages, and sailing conditions. The depth varies from a couple of meters up to 12m in the deepest part. Anchorages are on a muddy or sandy bottom, so the holding is good. Unlike the Gippsland Lakes some of the shoreline is built up, but there are areas where you are surrounded with bushland, particularly at the Southern end of the lake, where we are spending our time. You don’t get the same feeling of isolation you get in Gippsland, particularly at this time of year, but it is still a nice spot to float about.
Just before Christmas, we entertain special guests on board: the Dangers. Trevor and his son Liam and nephew Tom drive up from Gosford to spend a couple of days on board. It is a first for them and everyone is excited.
We pick up the crew at Wyee Bay at the Southern end of Lake Macquarie and make our way to the sheltered side of Wolstoncroft Point. No sooner are we anchored that out come all the toys; it’s Take It Easy the play pen. There is kayaking, paddling on the boogie boards, dives off the bows, tag races around the deck – no running on the wet deck, you hear! – snorkelling, swimming, water fights… It is lively, noisy and a lot of fun. The water is so warm at 270!
There are lots of “firsts” for the Dangers: being on a catamaran for a start, sitting in the nets while underway, steering Take It Easy, barbecue on board, sleeping on board, learning to drive the dinghy, doing doughnuts with it, then sailing gently downwind. It is lovely to share those special moments. The big kids have just as much fun as the youngsters. Bengie is a bit overwhelmed at times, but gets lots of pats from Liam who has a knack with her. She seems to really like him!
It is an enjoyable time and just the right duration. We drop the crew back at Wyee Bay late on Tuesday afternoon. Peace is restored and we go and anchor overnight in a serene little cove called Bird Cage. It is a lovely evening of soft pink skies and gentle ripples.
This morning, on Christmas Eve, we go for a long paddle up Pourmalong Creek, at the end of Bird Cage Bay, before the wind picks up. It is a gorgeous creek with mangrove on the edges, fish jumping out of the water, and nice reflections. All you hear is the breeze in the trees, the sound of cicadas and bird songs. It is a hard return paddle by the time we turn tail and are back in the bay, with 15 to 20kn breeze on our nose, but good exercise!
The outlook for Lord Howe is grim. Only one day of Southerlies on Boxing Day, returning to Northerlies till the end of the month. So we have pretty much abandoned our plans to sail there. Instead, we are going to use that one day of Southerly to sail up to Port Stephens . We have invited friends Lisa and Warwick for a little joint around there; we will see if they can make it. From there, we will start our descent southward. It is a little disappointing after all the planning and struggles to make it this far, but that’s cruising… totally weather dependent! We will still have fun exploring the East Coast, so all is fine.
Merry Christmas everybody! Hope Santa is good to you all :))
As usual, here are a few photos. Click on the first image to display the gallery in a full screen slideshow.