We spent just under a week in Yamba hanging with our lovely Belinda, Roxy and Eddie. Time was spent at the beach, money was spent at Caperberry Cafe, and we helped out on the Blissfully Belle food stall at the farmer’s market.
Yamba is the goods – one of our favourite places to hang out, with a variety of spots to anchor depending on the weather. We sat out a 43 knot southerly anchored in the channel near Whiting Beach – we’d picked that spot because it was largely sheltered by trees on shore, so there was minimal drama.
One of the only things we find lacking in Yamba are homeschoolers – there don’t seem to be any. There’s a large population of retirees, a constant stream of grey nomads and backpackers, and it always fills up during school holidays. But there seems to be zero homeschool community – although there are meet-ups in Grafton (which is how I met Belinda in the first place). It is a shame…
On Sunday August 25th we hopped on a northerly and headed south. The flights that we have booked from Sydney are looming and we still can’t tell if we are going to make it there in time – it’s all dependent upon the wind. It was a long day sail from Yamba to Coffs Harbour – probably the trickiest bit was heading out over the Clarence River bar. Yeah – we’d ghosted in during the night , but getting out was a little bit different – there was a bit of swell – big benign looking lumps of water that slid under our hulls broke into foam when they hit the breakwall.
We followed the right side out, keeping a careful distance from the action. It was a beautiful morning. We’d stashed everything away in the expectation of rolling seas throwing things around the interior; I even put the globe on to the couch. However, the bar was the only real issue – after that everything was doable. It was a long day, with fluctuating breezes and we had to motor occasionally – M did most of the work.
It was the Solitary Islands and then Coffs Habour – got in and were anchored by about 4.30pm. The passage took about ten hours. M was buggered – and there was a southerly coming – he didn’t want Bella Luna to deal with a 180degree spin on her own, so he didn’t come with the Smalls and I when we were whisked away up into the hills of Bellingen by our lovely friend Miles, co-captain of the good ship Pandion.
Oh my goodness, it was good to see our friends again. We had dinner and lots of chat, but the best bit was waking up in the morning and wandering out on to the verandah with a cup of tea and being surrounded by trees. There’s a view of the dam and Silsey was playing down on a rope swing hanging from a branch about 20 metres up in the air – it was a lovely change.
After some breakfast we walked to the Bellinger River, made a little campfire and Melissa graciously fried us all three or four johnny-cakes each, which we topped with sublime cumquat marmalade. TOO DELICIOUS. We all spent some time looking for gold – cracking open white quartz stones looking for god knows what – Small DB and I might have found some amber, but gold nuggets were thin on the ground.
I fell in the river by accident and got half wet, everyone else (except Small DB) fully submerged themselves voluntarily (although this took some much longer than others). The water was crystal clear. A 3km walk back to the house did nothing to curb the enthusiasm of the Smalls, who continued to kick their way through the day with vigour – box towers, treehouses and the flying fox.
Melissa made a stupendously successful dhal for dinner (we had eaten pretty much everything else in her house) and I drank my way through a reasonable amount of their red wine while we trialled the new Les Norton show on ABC iView and then the first ten minutes of Pulp Fiction just to remind ourselves of the awesomeness of 1994. In the morning, my Smalls were somewhat agog at what is involved in three children getting themselves organised to get off to school in time – the lunch making, homework, finding of hats and shoes – all the logistics of the school bus and various after-school plans. It was a good thing for the Smalls to witness.