What a change of weather over Easter after our two weeks of hiding from heavy rain! With beautiful conditions, we moved on from Jibbon Beach early last Friday and headed for Coasters Retreat, off the Pittwater, north of Sydney for Easter.
When we cruise north in autumn, we find we have great sails up the coast pushed along by cool southerlies, and when the breeze shifts to the northeast for a few days, we stop somewhere nice and can generally enjoy exploring ashore in warm sunny weather. That’s the theory anyway, and this time it worked beautifully.
We had a rather pleasant sail from Jibbon Beach to the Pittwater. Actually it was an epic 40nm sail: in a light land breeze less than 10 knots with Anui doing wind speed. With the breeze slightly forward of beam she just goes like the wind and we get very excited!
The coast on either side of the Sydney Harbour entrance is scenic, with tall cliffs and glimpses of the city skyline here and there.
We spent five days at Coasters Retreat, having a lovely time socialising and waiting for the southerlies to return.
Throughout the Pittwater and Broken Bay area, most coves are either too deep to anchor in or have sea grass bottoms which makes the holding tricky. Most coves are peppered with moorings: club moorings, private ones, a few public ones. The rule with using a mooring as a visitor is that you can pick up any that is available, but if the owner or a club member turns up and politely asks you to vacate, you move without fuss and go and find another one. Well, it might work at most times of the year, when there are not many boats around, but at Christmas and Easter, it is a different matter! It is a bit like “Finders Keepers”. We witnessed a few heated discussions and stand over tactics with boats that should have moved refusing to do so. Pretty poor form really!
Coasters Retreat is one of these bays with lots of moorings. We generally are able to pick up a public one and if not, our friends typically allow us stay on one of their club moorings. But being Easter, the cove was looking awfully busy. Not wanting the stress of having to squeeze our way in or argue with a bully, we opted to anchor out initially, then managed to pick up a public mooring as someone left a couple of days later. During Easter not a single mooring was free. We counted about 80 boats some of them rafted together.
Socials and maintenance
We came here specifically to catch up with several sets of friends and as always our get togethers were warm and fun. Barbecue on board Wahoo with Phil, Lindy and their friends Jim and Deb, morning coffee and Easter buns on Anui with the six of us, coffee and home made muffins at Palm Beach with ex work mate Matty and Virginia.
After the madness of Easter, the cove emptied out and it was back to the Coasters Retreat we know and love: a peaceful bay, with stunning sunrises and misty mornings.
Our friends on Wahoo left and we exchanged photos as they motored past us. Thanks Lindy, for the nice shots.
With glorious sunny weather, we also attended to our leaks, resealing surrounds on the small windows inset in the hulls, and for the large side windows, as we could not see where the water was seeping in, we decided to reset all the frame screws into silicon. Hopefully this will do the trick. The next downpour will tell! Wade also moved the pump in the port engine compartment to ensure we avoid a similar problem to what happened in the starboard side.
We dared to send the drone up briefly after Easter, when the cove was a little less busy. Here is what the birds see:
Onto Swansea and Broughton Island
And then on Wednesday, with a nice land breeze prior to the southerlies returning, we were off!
Destination: Swansea. It was an easy, enjoyable fast sail. We find Swansea a convenient spot to stop at, with public moorings before the bridge that gives access to Lake Macquarie, a jetty to leave the dinghy at, easy walking distance to everything you need. We rarely go inside the lake, finding the shores a little too built up for our liking, but often use Swansea as our reprovisioning stop.
At dawn the next morning, we continued onto Broughton Island just offshore of Port Stephens, a favourite anchorage where we are staying for a couple of days. We hope to take you on a tour of the island above and below the surface in our next post!