Another month, another bout of severe weather with a trail of destruction turning thousands of people into climate change refugees. These are very worrying times. Is this our future?
It feels like we are on an unstoppable runaway train… no one in charge, all of us plunging headlong into our own demise. The cost of climate inaction is clear for us to see.
With an East Coast Low forecast, we had to hide. These are intense low pressure systems common during autumn and winter, one of the most dangerous weather systems to affect the Australian east coast. They bring destructive winds, torrential rain and rough seas. When one of these nasties is coming, you’d better find a good place to shelter, preferably not up a river!
With worsening conditions, we decided not to cut it too fine and aimed straight for Jervis Bay, the only decent shelter in the region. It was not a pleasant passage: rough seas, rain, and the Low was not even on top of us yet.
We can cope with strong winds from the stern, but it is the sea state that gets you, and the rain! We had the wind dead on our stern, which is awkward and slow, so did not muck about: both engines going as well as our jib to cover the 50nm from Bittangabee to Bermagui and the 85nm from Bermagui to the Hole in the Wall inside the southern end of Jervis Bay.
Ten days later, we are still in Jervis Bay and are unlikely to move until early next week. Hot on the trail of the East Coast Low came another trough and severe weather system!
Most of this period has been spent at the Hole in the Wall anchorage, marked in red on the map, with the exception of a few days at Vincentia during a short bout of north-westerlies.
With so much rain, we discovered a few leaks! The sort of deluge we had is not forgiving. Water will find the tiniest of hairline cracks in the hatches’ sealant and make its insidious way inside.
So while the downpour briefly stopped and the sun returned, off came two of the hatches for clean up and reseal. We have done this many times now, so are old hands at it.
We still have more leaks from one of the big windows on the side, but we have run out of the black goop (FixTech 200)! So we are on drip watch till we get to Sydney!
Wade also discovered a non functioning bilge pump in the starboard engine compartment. It was squashed under the muffler, deformed, unable to run and was heating up. It could have been disastrous. Fortunately Wade found this before it caught fire. Fortunately we had a spare and he was able to reposition the pump. Fortunately the other hull did not have the same problem. Captain Wadie spent another day fixing things and keeping us safe!
It goes without saying that our hope to be in Queensland by mid April and at the Reef by early May are drowned. With the adverse effects of La Niña predicted to continue well into June, who knows when we will get there! Our focus is to keep our home Anui and ourselves out of harm’s way. At this stage it means taking each day as it comes without projecting very far ahead.
In the midst of all this, we received the sad news that Wade’s uncle Rupert had passed away. We would have liked to attend his memorial service in Tasmania but the weather conditions won’t allow us to get to Sydney and fly to Hobart in time. We had a special connection with Rupert, a shared passion for the wilderness and photography. He will be sorely missed.
20 thoughts on “Hiding from severe weather”
I’m sorry for your loss, guys. 🙏🏻 I’m glad that you have a safe place to wait out the wild seas, could you rent a car somewhere and drive to Queensland if needed? Point Perpendicular is beautiful and very tall! Those waves and all of the rolling around would almost certainly make me sick, yuck! Be safe, guys!
Hi John – the idea of getting to Queensland is to sail and spend months exploring the reef, so driving there is not what we want to do. The boat is our house and transport.
Feeling for you across all your losses and frustrations. Leaky hatches are our bane as well so can empathise completely. We have a few weeks so maybe we will see you in SE QLD before mid May. Love to all of you. Trish
HeyTrish – it’s life as usual for live aboards isn’t it! Can’t do what you want when you want. But we are better off than many people rendered homeless by the floods. Stay well.
I hope you find an extra safe place in Jervis Bay so you can take shelter. It’s been rough times for many on land too. Please, take care.
Hi HJ – all safe in the bay. We are luckier than most!
. . . and to think I lost sleep over noisy rain, possible leaks and land slips and missed deliveries et al 40 kms in from the coast !!! Puts matters into perspective ! Glad you are safe in spite of wanting to be further north . . . methinks Bengie is well in charge of the infernal leaks . . . !!!
We lost sleep too but not because we were unsafe… just the racket from the pelting rain and roaring wind! All good Eha!
A bit of sun today but more rain predicted in pm
We must be desperate! Put the dinghy in the water and went for a long walk ashore… totally drenched and tired, but feeling better for it!
A lot of challenges for you guys …. well done Wade re that bilge pump, that was a good find! At least you are waiting it out in a good harbour, I used to sail a trailer sailer in Jervis Bay, a far cry from what you’re doing, but always enjoyed being there.
Jervis Bay is such a huge Bay…not a lot of places to hide but we have been alternating between the Hole in the Wall and Vincentia where at least we could replenish the supplies. The weather has been unbelievable and very limiting but we cope!
Hi Chris & Wade
It is pretty wet & windy here in Sydney
It was a wild old start for the Sydney to Coffs Race today with the start just of Barrenjoey Headland.
There are some impressive photos of the start on Royal Prince Alfred Facebook page.
Re climate change & an interesting but strange thing we have been told by a local shipwright a week ago.
He said Pittwater is presently more fresh rather than a salty water and therefore we have freshwater barnacles growing on our hulls & they grow rapidly. But the saltwater ones are struggling.
Hope the weather improves soon for you & you have a safe trip north.
Hi Lindy and Phil. How strange to hear about the fresh water content of Pittwater! We hope to get there soon and see you, but it is a slower trip north than expected. Had a look at the photos of the race start on FB… Impressive! Were you taking part?
Hope the weather gets better soon! You must be moored close to Murray’s beach? Used to be one of my favourite spots in the world before it was discovered by coach trips from Sydney… Jervis bay also has some excellent dive spots – weedy seadragons, grey nurse sharks and the wreck of a WWII plane although the vis might not be great if the swell has been up
Hi – yes we are at the Hole in the Wall. Walked to Murray’s Beach this morning actually. The water is brown and murky from all the rain and flooding inside the bay and really churned by the swell on the outside as well so no snorkeling or diving for us!
Hey guys, I’m sorry to hear about your uncle’s passing. We can certainly sympathise with you being stuck with weather. On our return from queensland in March we spent 16 days in Jervis Bay, mostly at Hole In The Wall. 2 back to back east coast lows .
Nothing to do but wait it out. Good luck, fair winds
Hi you two, yes it looks like it will be two weeks for us here too! Safer here than up a river somewhere but tedious.
Interested to hear from charliefarlie99 that there’s a Murray’s beach nearby!
How did Wade discover squished bilge pump?
Hi Murray, a beach with your name and a dive mooring! We thought of you. As for the squished pump, Wade does a regular engine and bilge check… this time the pump was not working and smelt hot.