We have made it into NSW! But now we are stuck again, hiding from the mean southerly winds that are wiping out half of the Sydney to Hobart fleet!
Our last post told you we were underway at 2.00am on Boxing Day from Cape Moreton. We put in the big effort and did a 28 hour passage, going night and day to get to a safe anchorage before the big blow. We wanted to make some headway while the weather allowed.
We had a good trip, initially motor-sailing, but as the wind picked up, out came Big Red, the spinnaker, for a long downwind sled ride. It was fun seeing places we normally only get to see by land: Stradbroke Island, the Gold Coast high rises, past the Tweed River where we left Queensland and entered NSW, then Byron Bay, Ballina, which we reached by night fall.
Down came the spinnaker for a more sedate sail under the jib during the night. We even had to slow the boat down and wait outside the Clarence River entrance for a few hours to cross the bar at dawn, as this was our first time there and with a low ebbing tide, the worst time to cross a bar.
We got to Iluka a few hours before the strong southerly change descended on us. We are here for a few days while it blows hard and hope to up anchor at the end of the week to go and spend some time at the Solitary Islands, just north of Coffs Harbour. These are wild, beautiful islands surrounded by reef, so some snorkeling or diving is on our agenda. But as usual it all depends on what the weather lets us do!
Sailing is a game of patience: lots of stops and starts, but sometimes the stops allow us to catch up with people we haven’t seen in years. Thanks Elgar and Claire for visiting us. We enjoyed our day together. It was fun to reminisce about paragliding!
Here are a few photos taken during our passage.