Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sydney to Lake Macquarie via Broken Bay

Monday - 24/03/2014

(As we leave Middle Harbour we pass HMAS Penguin, I was stationed there in late 60's)
(Out of Sydney Heads heading north)
As we headed north a strong wind warning was issued but at this time there is but a breeze, I had the headsail out which gave the one engine that was running a bit of assistance but very little, the stronger winds are predicted for around late afternoon and it was our plan to be inside Broken Bay by then. Another yacht came out behind us and tried to tack trying to use sails only but gave up after a while as the wind decreased even more. We reach Barrenjoey  Head at the entrance of Broken Bay and as we turned in we saw the storm heading towards us, we quickly put the clears up and rolled one of the side covers down. We were about 300 metres inside Broken Bay when it hit around 30 knot winds and white out rain, I turned the navigation lights on and slowed down a little and headed for Hallets Beach in Cowan Creek where there are a number of National Park's public mooring buoys are located. There were quite a number of yachts and motor boats on the water they were all heading the opposite direction to us so I kept well to the right side of the creek taking the longer route.
(Going into Broken Bay storm clouds to port)
(The wind and rain starts)
(Start of a white out where visibility very poor)
(Sheltered behind the clears but visibility is worse)
The storm eased a bit by the time we got to the moorings and there was only one of the five being used, Nancy had to go out and get wet when picking up the mooring once secured the rain stopped and it was a pleasant night.
In this area there are two types of public moorings, there are the usual pink coloured marine parks moorings and then there is the yellow national parks moorings, all these you can stay on for 24 hours so many people move from one to the other every 24 hours if they are staying for a while. It is alright to anchor in most places with water depths not too great.
Tuesday - 25/03/2014

Lake Macquarie

We headed out of Cowan Creek at 0600 hours and it was still dark, we logged on with VMR on the way out of Broken Bay and requested a bridge opening at Swansea for 1400 hours our planned time as this was near high tide. There was little wind again, I used the headsail to start off with but that proved pointless in the end. There were two other yachts behind us they also tried sails but to little effect. We arrived at the Swansea Bar and it was quite calm, we headed in towards the bridge and picked up a mooring whilst waiting the 15 minutes for the opening. Our friends Colleen and Brian were on the shore to welcome us with a wave and waited for us to go through the bridge.
We was ready at 1400 hours, we had slipped the mooring and was drifting near the bridge, we noticed another catamaran similar to ours coming across the bar and steadily negotiating the channel to the bridge, it was 'San Sousi' with Juliana and Hugh aboard they are fellow shaggers, yes Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club members.
(We have slipped the mooring and the bridge is starting to open.)
(It looks narrow)
(We are right at high tide so the water is still, when the tide flows it rushes through here)
(We are through 'San Sousi' is following)
The VMR tried to contact them but they did not answer, then the VMR called us to see if we could contact them to get a wriggle on as the bridge operator was waiting for them to catch up to us to go through. We contacted them and they caught up to us and followed us through the shallow channel to the lake. After we were in the lake Nancy called them up to say hello, they said it was their first time in the lake and they like us was staying a couple of weeks and we may catch up.
(As we go through the narrow channel to the lake we pass two fishermen with many friends)

They were heading to a different part of the lake to us so we parted and we headed for Summerland Point, after anchoring we got the boat tidied up and had showers and then headed ashore to Colleen's and Brian's house where we stayed for dinner, Colleen and Brian are long time friends and good people. They had a great thing for me the new electric motor for the anchor winch, which will wait for tomorrow.
We had a good night catching up with them and their daughters and grand children. After we headed back to the boat for a good night sleep.
Wednesday - 26/03/2014
Went to the House house, (Colleen's and Brian's) to pick up the electric motor for the winch  then returned to pull the winch out, the amount of times I have had that winch out I should be able to whistle and it should do it itself. So out with the winch and remove the electric motor and fit the new motor and then put all back together and do the test, all fingers crossed and all went well.
The rest of the day was fairly quiet.
Thursday - 27/03/2014
Lots of rain all day so not much activity outside. At 1630 hours with a break in the weather we headed ashore to meet with Margy  Ferrington  who was picking us up to take us to her and Randall's home for dinner, Randall is an ex-work colleague we both worked for the NSWRFS. We had a very pleasant night catching up and lots of talking regarding our circumnavigation as Randall and Margy are also sailors having their own yacht on the lake.
Saturday - 29/03/2014
We went to Colleen and Brian's place for a farewell to Alison and the children who are off to Perth to join Michael who has been transferred with his work a nice night was had as usual with this bunch of nice people.
Monday - 31/03/2014
Our main fridge went on the blink, looking at the sight glass on the drier it is showing a lot of bubbles blowing through it which means it has lost a lot of refrigerant  gas. Got onto the internet looking for a refrigeration mechanic and came up with a group called New Age Air-conditioning, I phoned them and they asked if I could meet their mechanic at Belmont at the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club and we organised it for lunch time.
We had a motor sail up the lake to Belmont and went alongside the dock. Clay the mechanic arrived at 1215 hours and set to work, a very efficient and polite young man. He nailed the problem very quickly and found that the valves were leaking, to replace them he had to evacuate the gas, fit the new valves and recharge the system, this takes time and time as we all know is not cheap.
(We noticed this boat for sale that has a resident pelican, looks like he has been there a while)

We always say it is a small world and after talking with Clay found that he was originally from Cobar and actually used to play football with Corey, Nancy's daughters husband. Clay finished the work and said to check the fridge overnight and if I have any problems to give him a ring tomorrow and he will come back and add more gas but he thought all would be well and it was. I expected a high account and was not surprised when it was emailed to me, refrigerant gas is not cheap and that alone was $150, labour at $93 per hour so $524 went quickly, joys of owning a boat.
After the repairs we headed over to Wangi Wangi and picked up a public mooring for the night, tomorrow we meet one of Nancy's FB Women Who Sail Australia site friends. We had a quiet night aboard in beautiful surroundings.

(Summerland Point jetty 'Alana Rose' out anchored in the middle and a pelican takes off to the left)
(Sunset on the lake)
Tuesday - 01/04/2014
Shelly and Steve on 'Orak' came over and anchored close to us, Shelly is a friend on the website for women sailors, they came over in their dinghy and came aboard for coffee. and a chat. A lovely couple talking to Steve we found we had a lot in common and knew mutual friends in the rural fire service and national parks industries. They took us ashore at Wangi Wangi to do a little shopping  then we went aboard their boat for a chat.  We then left and went back to Summerland Point.
('Alana Rose' on the public mooring at Wangi Wangi)
(Nancy and friend Shelly)
(the dock at Wangi Wangi)

(Yachts on the lake)

Wednesday - 02/04/2014
Got going early this morning doing a water run and then the washing.
(A red morning at Summerland Point)
Today was an outing day Brian was taking us for a drive. We are starting to research our proposed next life after sailing which we are not sure when it will be but we will move on one day off the water. Health permitting we are looking at land travel so we are researching motor homes and since there is the state of NSW largest motor home outlet at Bennets Green not that far away Brian took us there for a look. I have always been a planner at heart I started researching catamarans and sailing 8 years before we purchased Alana Rose. One has to plan as we are not getting younger.
We had a good day and we have identified what we are actually looking for as far as size and style so we will be looking at other makes and models in the future. We had a massive lunch at one of the hotels before heading to do some shopping and heading back to the House house and then the boat.
(Another lovely sunset)
Thursday - 03/04/2014
We have other friends arriving today, more ex-navy friends Carol and Mal who live at Victor Harbour SA, they are arriving at Colleen's this afternoon so we are heading up there for the evening and catch up. It will also be our farewell as we will head to Swansea Bridge tomorrow at high tide and go through the bridge and pick up a mooring for the night.
It was a good night catching up and having a nice dinner with good friends and then it was time to say goodbye again.
Friday - 04/04/2014
We got ready to leave although no hurry, we have booked the bridge opening for midday, we thought we might get a sail but it was short lived as a light rain moved in killing any wind, we arrived at the bridge at 1125 hours picked up a mooring and waited for the bridge opening. Once through the bridge we picked up another mooring on the outside and just spent a quiet time for the day and night.
(Leaving the lake)

We like Lake Macquarie it is well organised with many public docks (2 hour limit) that has pump out stations for the black water (toilet holding tanks water) and fresh water supplies, a local chart can be purchased from boating places and some newsagents around the lake. All these services are supplied by the local councils and there is no charge for their use. There are a number of public moorings around the lake that have a 24 hour limit these are pink in colour and are usually found where they are trying to protect sea grasses. You are not allowed to anchor in some shallow waters where there is seagrass.


Monday, April 14, 2014


Thursday - 20/03/2014

As we neared Long Bay the wind vanished and the sea glassed out, we entered Sydney Heads and into the harbour, Nancy contacted Janet at RANSA (Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association) to see if we could pop in and say hello, Janet said we could come alongside the dock. RANSA is in Rushcutters Bay , we arrived there and Janet was there to help us tie up, we went inside and had a chat and bought a new burgee. We also dropped some books into their library before leaving.
(One of the outstanding lights on the harbour)
(Passing 'Young Endeavour'  as we enter the harbour)
(Inside RANSA, in my early days in the Navy this used to be HMAS Rushcutter and was used by the clearance divers, still the old shed it used to be makes it unique, Nancy at the exchange book library)
(The 'Coat Hanger', the Sydney Harbour Bridge, one of the many sea planes in top left there are a number of them around the harbour)

We left there and headed further up the harbour under the coat hanger, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and went on to White Bay where No. ^ dock is where there is a fuel base to top up with fuel.  It is a 24 hour self service, however, although the machine accepts all banking cards if you are not registered with Baileys you have to get the attendant to authorise the sale, we just phoned the number on the machine and he came straight away.
(North side of Garden Island Dockyard and No 1 & 2 mooring buoys, this place used to be packed with naval ships now many of them are stationed around Australia and at the other Garden Island in Western Australia)
(Garden Island Dockyard the new commissioned HMAS Canberra is in the background)
(Fort Dennison  in the middle of the harbour convicts were put on this island in the early days for solitary confinement)
(The Sydney Opera House)
(Circular Quay where the Sydney Ferries operate from and the city behind, in the 1960's the AMP building third from left was the tallest building in Sydney)

We left there and headed to Athol Bay near Taronga Park Zoo and picked up a mooring, they are supposed to be a 4 hour limit but by the time the 4 hours is up it will be near sunset so we will stay overnight.
We watched a lovely sunset and the night lights of Sydney .
(Sydney sunset from Athol Bay)

(Night lights of Sydney)

Friday - 21/03/2014
A beautiful morning on the harbour the ferries starting their runs and other ship movement, earlier before light we awoke to a noise which was a passenger liner arriving with all its bright lights shining across the water.
After breakfast we slipped the mooring and headed for the Spit Bridge with its first opening being 1015 hours.
(Passenger ship arrives early in the morning)

The sun had gone behind the clouds and the wind picked up a little. We were lucky enough to pick up one of the moorings at the bridge to wait out the opening once through the bridge we headed to Sugarloaf Bay and hoped one of the moorings were free. As we went along looking at some of the waterfront homes, they must be worth a fortune. Houses on the lower levers have stairs from the road at the top some have a spiral staircase. They  would have to be very fit people climbing those steps every day.
(The Spit Bridge in Middle Harbour)
(A yacht ahead of use making the approach to the bridge waiting for the green light)
(Our mast as we go through the bridge opening)

We arrived at Sugarloaf Bay and fortunately there was one mooring available the other three were taken. These moorings are 24 hour use times. The bay is very nice, quiet with some homes but mainly National Park Lands. Being Friday a few other boats arrived and anchored overnight. We had a quiet time aboard.
Saturday - 22/03/2014
We headed for the d'Abora Marina by the Spit Bridge, the only marina that had space for us and a very expensive marina at $175 per night. We needed to go into a marina to give the boat a good clean and so that Nancy's sister could visit us. They do provide a good service at the marina there were two young men waiting to help dock us and the person in charge was very helpful.
As soon as we settled I started scrubbing the boat and Nancy headed for the laundry, we had just both finished as Nancy's sister Marge arrived and we had lunch at the cafe at the marina. Marge left after a couple of hours and I went for a Nanna nap.
Later we went for a walk and called into Plonk Beach Cafe, (don't know what attracted me to the place), we sat and had a refreshing drink a nibble of sour dough bread and balsamic and olive oil before heading back to the boat for dinner.
Sunday - 23/03/2014
We had breakfast whilst listening to Macca on Australia All Over had showers and got ready to be picked up by two lovely friends, John and Kim Chong at 0900 hours. They had offered to pick us up and take us shopping and then we were going for lunch.
They arrived and after hellos as we have not seen them for 4 years we headed for Chatswood shopping centre, we got the shopping done and went back and unloaded it on the boat then we set off for lunch, Kim had picked out a Tai Restaurant for lunch which was very nice, we chatted and caught up with the times. After lunch we went to John and Kim's home, they have this large unit on the edge of The Rocks area and from their 23 floor you can see the harbour up towards Cockatoo Island, the bridge and the Luna Park and where the passenger liners berth at Circular Quay. The units have their own gym and swimming pool on the second floor, very nice.
(Lovely couple John and Kim where we had lunch at a Thai Restaurant) 
(Pictures of The Rocks area as we walked to the Orient Hotel for dinner)
(Eating again with John and Kim they organised dinner at the Orient Hotel)
(The old and the new in The Rocks, John and Kim's unit is on the 23rd floor)
(The night view from John and Kim's unit)

Kim and John had also organised to go out to dinner and took us along to The Orient Hotel in The Rocks which is a splendid old hotel. We had a great dinner and after went back to John and Kim's for coffee before returning on board. Thank you John and Kim for a wonderful day and spoiling us.
(Nancy and I having our photo taken by John on the north shore)
(HMAS Sydney WW1 Memorial)
(The old dock areas being converted to units)
(Another view of Sydney)
(Sydney Opera House from the north shore)
Monday  - 24/03/2014
We had some time before we could go as the bridge opening is at 1015 hours during the week that is the earliest time, so we filled the water tanks rinsed the boat off and did last minute things and had a shower before leaving. At 1015 hours  we went through the bridge and headed out to Sydney Harbour Heads and turned north.