Cruising can be a waiting game. You wait for the heavy rain to stop, the dangerous weather systems to pass, the contrary breeze to turn. We spent two weeks in Jervis Bay, waiting for acceptable conditions to return. What do we do when we are boat bound to keep our sanity?
There is a big difference between waiting during contrary breezes when you can explore ashore and socialise, and hiding from a deluge or storm when you are boat bound. Foul weather for days on end is the pits! We keep ourselves occupied through reading, writing, staying in touch with friends. We try to exercise so we don’t seize up…We monitor our systems a little more closely as our solar panels are not as efficient at covering our electricity needs in those conditions. We watch our water consumption too since we don’t like using the desalinator to fill up our tanks when the sea water is full of sediment from the rain. Every bay and river entrance at the moment is brown with muck, debris and other horribleness! We are a little more conscious of sticking to menus so our food stocks last, as getting ashore for a shop is not a possibility. Those are some of the practicalities of our day to day life in inclement weather.
There are also the mental games. Our cruising plans are constantly re-arranged by the terrible weather. We have to deal with this lack of control, put up with the tedium of being stuck on board. Inevitably the accelerated changes in the climate lead us to question the long-term viability of this chosen lifestyle. We tell ourselves we will keep doing this until it is no longer fun… sometimes it is not much fun… we hope it will pass!
Out of the cocoon
Eventually the weather improved, the rain stopped, we averted cabin fever. We still could no sail off, but at least we went for a few walks. We even did a couple of trips back and forth to Vincentia as poor Wade had a tooth ache. Luckily a dentist was able to see him at short notice.
The map above gives a good overview of the bay. While at the Hole in the Wall anchorage, we walked towards Hyam’s Beach, Murray’s Beach, Governor Head and while at Vincentia we walked to Huskisson and Greenfield Beach. Here is some of the scenery we came across.
Of course we did a few jobs on the boat. Wade attended to leaks, Chris donned the wetsuit and scrubbed the grubby waterline. It would have been nice to go for a snorkel to see the weedy sea dragons the bay is known for, but it was still too murky.
It would also have been great to send the drone up, BUT, apart from the dreadful weather, Jervis Bay is almost entirely off limit to drone flyers. Navy bases, restricted airspace, nearby military airfield, helipads, the Commonwealth Reserve in the Booderee Park in the southern part of the bay… all this means the drone should stay in the bag if you abide by the rules, which we try and do.
Time to go
Finally, with a southeast on Monday afternoon, we breathed a sigh of relief and left Jervis Bay. Here are a few shots of the spectacular cliffs that run for some 12 nm – a veritable rampart, the highest at Point Perpendicular (91m). As you sail past these towering walls, you can get affected by the rebound from waves crashing at the bottom of them. So you are well advised to pass at a reasonable distance, and secure anything on board that might fly in the chaotic movement! It does not seem rough in the photos, but looks can be deceiving!
We headed for Greenwell Point on the Crookhaven River only about 25nm, to shorten our next leg to Sydney and get past the tall cliffs before the wind picked up too much.
The bar at Greenwell Point was impressive with waves feathering right next to us but this is one bar that is passable in nearly all weather conditions. We put the speed on to hold our line and in we went. Love our big engines!
Tuesday saw us continuing on to Jibbon Beach, Port Hacking, 55 nm further and just south of Sydney. We managed to make water underway and sailed reasonably well under the jib, although we missed our screecher!
Jibbon Beach is a favourite haunt, a protected anchorage in most conditions, with nice walks ashore, a chance to catch up with our dear friend Sue and pick up a few boat bits and food supplies.
Next hop as we post this: Barrenjoey and Pittwater, north of Sydney, where we have more friends to reconnect with and more northerlies forecast so we will be there for a few days.