We had not intended to move inside Lake Macquarie after our provisioning in Swansea, but the change of forecast meant we had time to kill before heading out again. Local catamaran sailors Phil and Deb Thompson came on board to pick our brains about Tasmania. It was nice meeting them; they have been following us for a while and encouraged us to go in. “Pleasant and easy cruising with no tide”, as they said, so a sedate, restful spot to come to.
Southern part of Lake Macquarie
So we went through Swansea’s opening bascule bridge. We always feel oversized when we pass through the narrow gap with the tide running fast, but all went well and we turned south at the end of the Swansea channel to find one of the rare quiet spots.
The lake is large, 110km2, but the shores are populated, particularly in the northern part. With an enticing balmy water temperature of 240 we thought “warm, flat, safe waters, we will be able to finish what we started at Broughton Island and wipe the hulls clean.”
That is until we saw the rather large shark swimming around just past Wangi Wangi Point, on our way to Myuna Bay! A bit of a check of the sea fish book and local news confirmed a Great White lurks around! So much for sedate Lake Macquarie! Scaredy pants Wadie is no longer jumping in the water to scrub the hulls! I went for a paddle, keeping an eye out for a dorsal fin, but only found a turtle sticking its head out to check me out – a much safer encounter.
As if this was not enough unexpected happenings, the wind shifted in the middle of the night, making our anchorage bouncy and noisy in the short chop and we decided to move to Pulbah Island at midnight, and grab one of the two courtesy moorings. We don’t like moving at night, but it was straight forward. As you can see from the map, that anchorage is on the opposite side of the bay from Wangi Wangi Point, close to the big shark! The balmy water did not beckon, but the sound of forest birds was rather lovely.
There is always something to fix on board, so we did a few chores. A long self-taper had snapped on one of the fixing points for the bracket that supports the wind generator, solar panels and barbecue… just a minor inconvenience! We managed to get the broken bit off and Wade replaced it with a much heavier coach screw. A good job done!
I then winched Wade up the mast, well I belayed him and he climbed, to straighten our data aerial that was sitting at a funny angle, probably hit by a shearwater! The view from the top of the mast is always impressive!
After a few days of heat and no sign of sharks, I could not convince Wade to scrub the hulls but was desperate for something to do, so decided to be brave and get on with the job. Afterwards, I came out covered with tiny little wiggly worms, requiring a scrubbing of my own body at the back of the sugar scoops. Oh yuk! I used a whole camp shower bag and plenty of paranoid scrubbing to get rid of those wigglies!
Thunder and lightning, very very frightening!
And then the weather went from balmy to nasty, with severe thunderstorms in the middle of the night. We were ready for them with clears over the cockpit, rain collection system plugged in, sitting snug on a big fat courtesy mooring, and Wade hoping his bit of copper in the water at the back and the dunny brush at the top of the mast would do their magic and we would dodge the lightning bolts! Have we ever told you we don’t like thunderstorms?
Well this one was serious, one of the most frightening we have ever been through. For several hours, fork lightning as thick as tree trunks, and sheet lightning criss crossing like nets lit up the sky, accompanied by deafening thunder and heavy rain. We were counting the seconds between lightning bolt and thunder clap, and it got down to one second a few times, coming right on top of us then moving away, only to return again. Nothing we could do except hope. The following images are not ours, but show you exactly what we saw.
Sedate Lake Macquarie – not quite! But as we left Pulbah Island, our last two images from the Lake are a beautiful White-bellied Sea Eagle and sunset at the Swansea bridge.
With the return of the northerlies, we are now heading off to Broken Bay to meet up with our friend Sue again!