Easter Retreat

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.

Mooring Etiquette

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.

Coasters Retreat – busy place at Easter!

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.

Sunrise over Barrenjoey and Palm Beach
Misty morning at Coasters Retreat

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:

Looking towards Barrenjoey

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.

Soft evening light on the moorings
Anui on one of the moorings before the bridge

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!

17 thoughts on “Easter Retreat

  1. Was good to catch up with you guys at Bundeena, thanks for your hospitality. I am glad you enjoyed the Hawkesbury, it is such a beautiful place, for fun, friends and refreshment. My greetings to the sharks at Broughton.

    • Hi Sue – always special to meet up and plot our next adventure together. Don’t think we will see a great deal underwater at Broughton, the weather has turned: rain and strong wind!

  2. We enjoyed very much catching up with you again. You & Wade & Bengie have made Anui a very special nautical home. Safe trip north & thank you Chris for the photos of Wahoo.

  3. It was lovely to meet you both and to have the guided tour of Anui.
    Catamarans are so practical for cruising.
    Glad you enjoyed your stay in Coaster’s and have a safe onward voyage.
    Regards, Jim & Debbie (“Addiction”)

  4. Great that you got some idyllic sailing! Pittwater sounds manic … I used to go fishing there in a tinny in the 70’s. Best thing ever, was seeing a truly giant turtle near Lion Island. It was as big as a VW beetle and it frightened the life out of me when it surfaced right by the boat and took a deep roaring breath …. still a vivid memory.
    Here’s hoping for more balmy southerlies as you head to your playground!

    • Actually Elgar we saw a big loggerhead turtle off Barrenjoey, not as big as a VW but still the biggest we had ever spotted! The balmy weather has already disappeared but we have had some good sails.

  5. Just googled to see about the giant turtles of Broken Bay. …. here’s the sad tale…
    Strong protests have been entered by residents of the Palm Beach district, yachtsmen, fishermen, and naturalists against the action of a party of fishermen in catching a big black-turtle off Lion Island, Broken Bay, this week.
    The turtle, which weighed about a ton, was of a great age, and had frequented the waters of Broken Bay as far back as the memory of some of the oldest residents of the district. It was a familiar object to yachts-men and fishermen visiting the locality over many years.
    A resident of Palm Beach stated last night that people living in the district had regarded the turtle as an old friend, and they were incensed when they learned that it had been caught with a rope, hauled ashore, and shot.
    A veteran yachtsman said he had been visiting Broken Bay for more than 50 years, and during that period he had often seen the turtle. It was almost tame, and never did any harm. Sometimes it was mistaken for an overturned skiff. He was particularly sorry to learn that it had been caught.
    The honorary secretary of the Palm Beach Surf Life-saving Club, Mr. J. G. Rohr, said he had been directed by his club to express in the strongest terms disapproval of the action of the fishing party which caught the turtle. In doing so, he thought he was voicing a feeling of resentment which much be very general among those who were acquainted with the waters of Broken Bay. The old turtle was, as far as was known, the only specimen of its kind in the area, and possibly it was one of the few survivors on this section of the Australian coast. It was a familiar and welcome sight to members of the club and to yachtsmen and boating people who visited Pittwater. “So frequently had our members met with the old warrior when bringing the surf boat around Barrenjoey, that most of us felt that we were almost on speaking terms with him,” he added.

    • I hope the people who killed the turtle get into serious trouble. They deserve a similar treatment to what they dished out. I can’t understand why you would rope up a protected specie take it ashore and shoot it! Some people have shit from brains.

      • It is simply unbelievable. Evil, stupidity ….. too much of it around.

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