During weeks of freezing temperatures and demanding sailing weather, we felt that our life afloat was a series of battles with harsh conditions. Our first weeks on board were cold and uncomfortable, and the section from Bittaganbee to Broken Bay was particularly stressful. But springtime is here now, we have reached warmer climes and it makes such a difference to how we feel, to our health and well being.
In fact warm northerlies have stopped us in our tracks. But Port Stephens is a great spot to be stuck in. It is a very large bay; they call these waterways Port Stephens Great Lakes, such is their size.
The northern shores are less populated with bush and mangroves, whereas the southern shores are lined with little townships and marinas.
When we first arrived we stayed overnight at Shoal Bay, just inside the entrance on the southern side, and part way through our stay we reprovisioned at Nelson Bay, also on the southern side.But most of our time has been spent on the northern side of the bay. We stayed a few nights at Fame Cove, a gorgeous hideaway with a shallow creek which we explored in the kayaks. Another favourite was Jimmy’s Beach at the northeast end of the bay. It is an open anchorage just inside the Heads, great for beach walks with or without the pussycat, hard climbs up Yacaaba Head to get views and for picking oysters off the rocks. We have managed to spend the week at Port Stephens before school holidays, which means we are enjoying serene anchorages without the crowds. We even saw a whale cavorting near the entrance and a couple of dolphins visited us at Fame Cove as we were paddling. In the local papers we read that Migaloo, the only known white humpback whale in the world has been spotted making its way south and is expected to pass Port Stephens shortly. We are hoping we will see him as we head out again.
Although we are unlikely to get to the reef this season, we are not focusing on this and are now in relax mode. On Monday as the winds shift southerly for two days, we will sail to either Forster or Crowdy Head, and then to Laurieton the next day, where we are likely to pause again with contrary winds.
For now, here is a gallery to give you a tour of our surroundings. Small home, but a boat with views!