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.


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