Zooming along

For the second week of our escape from lockdown we have made good progress. We took advantage of the conditions, catching up with friends when it was blowing northerly, and zooming along when the weather was favourable to cover distances. So let’s go on four hops!

Broulee Bay

A short 36 nm from Bermagui, Broulee is a handy spot to come to as an alternative to going a long way into Batemans Bay. It is suitable in stronger weather conditions: you can shelter from southerlies behind Broulee Island, and if you need to hide from northerlies as we did, you can cut across to the other side of the bay and drop the pick in front of Barlings Beach. Either side affords good shelter, albeit with some swell in fresher winds.

Anchored at Barlings Beach

We anchored at Barlings Beach for three nights. Although there are no facilities close by, with a provisioned boat it does not matter.

Australian Gannet

We caught up with friends on the weekend while the breeze was northerly. We met up with Hayden and Ann – Hayden helped Wade bring the boat down from Batemans Bay to Melbourne. And we spent time with Lyn and reminisced about her soulmate and our friend Baz who passed away two months ago. We felt sadness mixed with comfort to be able to hug one another, look back and look ahead.

Riding the Westerlies to Gerroa

With 20 to 30 knot blustery westerlies on Monday we had a few options up our sleeves for our next stopover, including Bendalong on the southern side of Jervis Bay, Boat Harbour, just inside the northern head of Jervis Bay and Crookhaven Bight, south of Greenwell Point. The coast is quite scenic. Here are a few photos:

The Tollgates – Batemans Bay
The distinctive landmark of Pigeon House
Point Perpendicular – Jervis Bay

Westerly winds are difficult, gusty, offshore winds in winter in NSW. They roll across from the Great Dividing Range and pack a punch. They are on the beam so you typically have the jib and main up. But you go from a 5 or 6 knot breeze, hardly enough to fill the sails, to 30 or 40 knot gusts a few minutes later when you need a double reefed main. You feel you never have the right amount of sails out: it’s either too much or not enough. Anui is a powerful vessel, so we reef for the gusts and put up with crawling in the lulls to minimise stress on us and the boat.

Time for another reef!

The conditions became ‘interesting’ as the day developed with strengthening WNW. With two reefs in the main and by mid afternoon feeling we could have put the third one on, we kept going. In the end we sailed past Jervis Bay, past Crookhaven Bight, past Greenwell Point and kept going to anchor at Gerroa, a 75nm passage. We felt a bit salt encrusted by the time we got there from all the spray and waves we took! The anchorage was passable only in these conditions, but we were safe. Top speed 12.5 knots, top gust 42 knots, a very choppy and wet ride! We’ll tell you a little secret: we don’t really like westerlies, especially when we are not able to hug the coast for some protection! Once past Jervis Bay we were in the open and the going was rough.

Wet and wild ride and this is the downwind side!
Leaving Gerroa at dawn

Port Hacking

Our next hop was a shorter 50 nm passage to Jibbon Beach in Port Hacking. It was also a fast passage along the Illawarra coast, but much more comfortable.

Zooming along the Illawarra coast
Three Humpback Whales travelling north
One cat, also travelling north and obviously stressed!

Jibbon Beach is a nice cove on the edge of the Royal National Park. There is one public mooring and a few club moorings, or you can anchor safely over sand. It can get busy on weekends but mid week you have it to yourself. We have often stayed there for a few days: there are lovely walks and it is handy for provisions at nearby Bundeena, just a dinghy ride away, but this time we decided we would only stay overnight and use the last day before a northerly change to keep going to Barrenjoey, 30nm further, past Sydney.

One fiery sunset at Port Hacking

Barrenjoey & Pittwater

With a sunset like that we should have suspected we would get challenging conditions the next day. We left on Wednesday under a patch of blue sky but as soon as we got out of Jibbon Beach we faced the music: swell and chop, 30 knot SSE, big rain clouds complete with water spouts, and whales in hot pursuit!

Waterspouts are forming – never a good sign!
Good waves for sled rides!
North Head, Sydney Harbour
Humpback whales in hot pursuit!

With a tiny bit of jib, it was not the most comfortable passage – and not pretty either as you can see from the next photo, but we managed to avoid the rain and the willy willies.

OMG a barrel’s got my boat!
Approaching Barrenjoey
Barrenjoey Lighthouse under a threatening sky

We ended up picking up a public mooring at Coasters Retreat. With another bout of northerlies forecast for several days, we are once again using the time to catch up with people we know before continuing our voyage north. Today as we post this we are meeting our dear friend Sue. And we have a few other mates we have not seen in a few years visiting us over the weekend.

Surprise Encounter

We love seeing wildlife during our passages: whales, dolphins, seabirds keep us entertained. Well, this week we spotted something different, a pod of what initially looked like dolphins, only bigger, blacker, really energetic and fast. On closer inspection, we found they were in fact False Killer Whales. These are typically found in tropical waters (we had seen them off Palm Island in North Queensland) and normally prefer the open ocean, however they have been known to venture to coastal waters, including up and down the NSW coast. So this was our lucky day! Because these sightings here are quite rare, we have a few images in a slide show, starting with a wide angle shot then moving in closer.

  • Pod of False Killer Whales
  • False Killer Whale

We are really invigorated by our migration north. It is such a brilliant mix of sailing Anui in interesting conditions, observing glorious wildlife and reconnecting with friends we have not seen in ages. We hope you enjoy accompanying us. Next instalment: Swansea, Port Stephens… getting warmer!

25 thoughts on “Zooming along

  1. Yay. We will see you soon. The irony is you will probably overtake us – we need new batteries and are in the middle of sorting that out before we head north – always something…. love the shot of the girl….. never thought of a tummy rub to ease the stress. xxx

    • Hi Trish! No good about the batteries! We still have a way to go before we catch up, not to mention needing the border to open. No stress whatsoever with Bengie! She was stretching in the sunshine and the belly rub made her stretch out even more… check out the paws!

  2. You’ve been busy, navigating to warmer areas. I’m glad that everything is going according to plan. Great photos, Chris. 🙂

  3. It’s not warm yet? The seas look pretty rough to me, but it sounds like you are making good progress and are readjusting well to life on the open waters. I laughed at the “barrel” photo and smile when I saw Bengie getting a belly rub. Stay safe, Chris.

    • Hi Mike – glad you had a few smiles. Yes the sea was rough particularly on the last leg. It is not as cold here as in Victoria, but still not shorts and t shirts weather. Another 1000nm yet before we reach the subtropics!

  4. Watch out for those floating containers off sydney.

    Kind Regards,

    Roger Farquhar

    >

    • We are, Roger, on permanent watch for them and whales. Hopefully the ones that haven’t been found have well and truly sunk after three weeks.

  5. Hi Chris and Wade,
    Great post as usual.
    I agree with you about westerlies- nasty winds. I got caught myself in my single scull on the Hastings last Sunday when a squall pretty came out of nowhere from the WNW within about 15 minutes (accompanied by heavy rain and a fearsome -looking cloud formation -sorry no photos) and overtook me just as I was abeam our rowing shed. I couldn’t turn around so shot into the canals for shelter. The Bom recorded 31knots at the airport . I think it may have been more on the river. Lasted 1/2 an hour and then died away to almost nothing.

    Enjoy Coaster’s Retreat (We got married there 37 years ago) and the rest of Broken Bay and hope to see you up here soon.

  6. Nice passages!! and lovely pics. Fancy seeing those Killer Whales.
    Sold all my cattle!! yay. So now I’m just a chicken farmer. Book book!

    • We are getting closer! Good move about selling the cattle… more freedom to explore with the van or come exploring with us! Fancy some whale watching when we get to Port?

  7. A fascinating learning curve, but . . . happy to see Pittwater and Barrenjoey when my feet hit the actual ground ! Thank you for the journey . . .

  8. Enjoyed your sailing descriptions …. challenging sailing eh! You look a bit beamy Wade …. too many croissants?

    • Wadie does not believe in Gortex, PVC does a much better job to keep him dry when buckets of water are being thrown at him incessantly. BUT he looks bloody awful! He got that from a fishing co-op! When he turns into barrel boy I want to divorce him but then my Musto is still waterproof!

  9. You can feel the energy in the writing. It sounds like it has been way too long since you guys just went. Love the image of Wade in wet weather gear, the look on his face says it all.

    • Hi Leanne. It feels really good to be in the move again. Six or seven months without sailing was way too long. Wade in the PVC … attractive, hey!

  10. Cant wait to see you guys! We’d love to do some whale watching with you! We’ll give you a call soon to find out whats happening. mwah

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