Moving on up…

Since leaving Bermagui on 13 April, our progress has been as follows;

  • Hole in the Wall – Jervis Bay – 13 April @ midnight
  • Jibbons Bay – Port Hacking – 14 April @ 22.00
  • Newcastle – 15 April – 22.00
  • Nelson Bay – 17 April – 16.00
  • Forster/Tuncurry – 19 April – 14.00
  • Crowdy Head – 23 April – 12.00
  • Camden Haven – 24 April – 11.00
  • Coffs Harbour – 27 April – 15.00
  • Yamba – 29 April – 15.00
Awesome retro at Bermagui
Awesome retro at Bermagui.

The only reason, of course, that we are fanging up as we are, is because we have broken the second rule* of Bella Luna, being: NEVER SAIL TO DEADLINE. Why? It creates heaps of stress, the weather doesn’t observe deadlines, and you end up making stupid decisions that you would never make without one.

Here is a bird that hung out with us when we left Bermagui:

Bird on a solar panel.

101/365 • god-clouds and ships • @cloudappsoc
Sing it loud! It’s a GOD CLOUD!

Luckily we still have a bit of time to play with, but not enough that we can just hang about and wait for the ever elusive bloody southerly. There has been quite a bit of motoring over the last three little passages and it is kind of depressing. Noisy and depressing.

Chicken stock being made en route to Newcastle
Frozen organic or free range chicken frames are EXCELLENT for making stock for soups while out on the briny seas. So are ham hocks. Both are cheap. Thank god for the freezer.

Glerg. Anyway, I can’t even offer a photo of our time at Jibbons Bay because we arrived in the dark of the night, anchored, and took off in the morning. Newcastle, on the other hand, I have documented…

102/365 • with atrophied legs, we clamber back into civilisation after too many days at sea •
Made a beeline back to our favourite Newcastle cafe…

Wanted: Smalls. Newcastle Museum.
Wanted: The Smalls. Newcastle Museum

105/365 • I love this so hard - Z was inspired by DB to have a crack at an art journal, and also worried that she didn’t have much documentation of the places we’ve been. I’ve bought them journals for the past four years but they never stick to them, so t
Small Z’s journal entry.

103/365 • Nobby’s Lighthouse, under the moon 🌓 •
Nobby’s Lighthouse under the moon. Newcastle.

After Newcastle we went into Port Stephens – Nelson Bay. We really haven’t ever spent much time there – the only time we stopped by, we left our scooters outside the op-shop while we went inside, and when we came out… they were GONE!! Taken to the tip by some overly enthusiastic volunteers. We eventually had them delivered back to us.

Anyway, I am sidetracking. We got to Nelson Bay. The three available public moorings were taken. We entertained the locals by trying to anchor about 17 times and ploughing the seabed, until a guy on one of the moored boats told us to go into the marina and check out the public jetty… HALLELUJAH! It was a phenomenally good spot! We stayed for two nights…

104/365 • left Newcastle this morning and managed to sail 2/3 of the way to Port Stephens before turning on a motor - we’re chasing the wind. Tried about six times to anchor in Nelson Bay, but way too weedy. Finally stopped entertaining he locals and foun
Prime spot in Nelson Bay.

Port Stephens
Prime spot from different angle. Nelson Bay.

The travelling has been pretty epic. We were stuck in Tuncurry for four days because the wind was not going to take us anywhere we needed to go. I’d never been to that area before – it was like every classic seaside Aussie holiday you could imagine.

On a mooring at Foster/Tuncurry.
On the mooring at Tuncurry.

Kids playing the shallows, heaps of tinnies going everywhere – we were on a mooring near the bridge. The tide absolutely rips through there – the only equivalents I’ve seen are the Brisbane River and Port Macquarie. Small DB and I plopped into the life-ring roped to the boat and had a hysterical time fighting the current! The next day she and I went for a big wander with the kayak out over the sandbank in the middle of the harbour.

108/365 • I was trying to get a shot of Zoe as we motored back from a supermarket trip - just as I took it she saw a dolphin! I slammed into neutral and we bobbed about in the current for a little while before we got home. No dolphin sashimi tonight, than
Pointing at a Tuncurry dolphin as we motored back from the supermarket.

Our next stop was at Crowdy Head – it was a swell-laden motor-sail and both M and I voted to pull in, rather than continue the horror all the way to Camden River. We’ve been to Crowdy Head before and acting on our previous experience, we tied up to the newer jetty – thankful that one of the two spots there was empty.

I appear to have no photos of Crowdy Head. Probably because we tied up and then all went for a family swim – a very rare occurrence in recent months – however, we have come far enough up the coast that the water temperature is tolerable!

Here are some dolphins that accompanied us for some of the passage…

109/365 • short hop to Crowdy Head today - bloody motoring because there’s barely any wind and what there is, is all over the place. Dolphins rode with us for a little while when our journeys aligned... If you’re bored, have a look at Crowdy Head on googl

Camden Haven. Somewhere we’ve always been interested in going. We literally surfed over the bar into the Camden River and went and tied up outside the services club in Laurieton. A FIVE DAY AREA!! Unheard of. I was quite gobsmacked by the area – it is so beautiful – the hills, the river, the everything… I literally posted very few (if any) pictures on the ‘gram because I just could not do the place justice.

I always enjoy being tied to a jetty – it makes it so much easier to vacate the boat for a morning walk. Small DB and I are the early risers; we wandered through town and met a happy rabbit. Which made a very happy Small DB.

DB and the Nature Strip Bunny of Laurieton
DB and the Bun.

Our time largely consisted of heading to the surf beach, doing laundry and also ransacking through the excellent op-shop that seemed to go on forever… Here is M in his new t-shirt…

Trophy Husband, courtesy of Lauriton op-shop.
Trophy Husband.

Smalls. Whitewash. Camden Haven.

Laurieton/Camden Haven – whatever it was called, was idyllic. I’d go back in a heartbeat, especially to do more exploring and some walks. It was so hot while we were there, that walking up a mountain was not that enticing. Next time.

Coffs Harbour. Arrived 27th of April, and, as always both moorings were taken. It looks amazingly beautiful from the water – once we went ashore we saw that all the infrastructure near the park and the breakwater had been redone – So. Much. Better.

I did laps around the boat the first morning we were there – we all missed swimming a great deal during that time in Tasmania. It’s still a novelty being able to jump in and not get snap-frozen. Unbelievably, the good ship Pandion was in residence at the marina, but her occupants were not. All we could do is leave a note and tell them to look us up in Yamba.

110/365 • anchored in Coffs Harbour at about midday after an all night sail from Camden Haven. Pretty knackered. I neglected to post any pictures of Laurieton on the Camden River because, quite frankly, it was so beautiful that none of my shots did it jus
Over the breakwater. Coffs Harbour.

Finally, finally, finally – on 29 April (Happy Birthday to my Nana) we arrived in Yamba. It is so familiar here – and such a lovely feeling to know where the good spots to anchor are – to immediately catch up with Belinda, Roxy and Eddie.

It was a week before I had to leave for the USA and we squeezed in quite a few things. GonYonda arrived, and it felt like Bermagui was such a long time ago! We DID manage to catch up with the crew of Pandion – and helped them move out of their house in Iluka. It was a reunion of the Australian members of the 2018 New Caledonia and Vanuatu kidboat posse – something we celebrated by stuffing all the children on to GonYonda with instructions to play ‘sitting down games’ (instructions they blithely ignored) and drinking mojitos on Bella Luna.

All smooshed into the back of the car. Zoe, DB, Sylvie and Budi.

Boat kids.

Daisy and Sylvie like to hide in boxes.

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