After the rain, did I mention the RAIN, that continued to dump on us In Camden River, we took a punt and left. I was dubious about the forecast for the day, but M was pretty spot on. Big rolling swell behind us, light winds. I stayed prone for most of the passage, except during my steering shift. The Smalls are taking on more of the sailing tasks than they used to a few years back, which takes the pressure off a bit.

We wisped along using the spinnaker most of the time. A whale did a big flip about 500m from us out at sea. The second of our journey. By that point the actual sun had actually come out and we were all slothing around in it on the front deck. Miso too.

Made it to Hat Head, where M had been very keen to go. The swell was still big, but he threaded us through the waves and into the creek. I was SO thankful I had gone ashore. It was sublimely beautiful. Big fat silver mullet jumping out of the water and schooling along near the bank. Stingrays… a few people fishing, a little footbridge and that kind of aerated sand that feels as if you’re somehow walking through soapsuds.

Hat Head

We investigated the campground doing sailorish things like shrieking, “Oh my GOD! There’s FRONT LOADING WASHING MACHINES and they are only FIVE DOLLARS.” The second scream was when M reported that the dryers were ONE DOLLAR for THIRTEEN MINUTES. Back in Camden Fucking Haven it was a dollar for FOUR MINUTES with extra fighting bogans for entertainment while you waited.

On to the beach – dudes with their 4WD’s fishing off the beach for mullet (not sure why they didn’t just cast into the creek) and speculating on whether we were doing a drug drop off because three border force cops had been sitting up on the point with binoculars for the past few hours. We were thoughtful – a border force RIB had come up fairly close to us not long before we dropped anchor, but headed away again. Maybe we are drug smugglers? The idea exhausts me.

Miso had a wonderful time racing along the beach like a small black fur blur. I continued to be conscious of Small DB (who had elected to stay aboard) out there on Bella in the swell. We checked in with her on the radio and all was well, but… We motored slowly back down the creek and bided our time, waiting for the gap in the waves when we could shoot through on Foamy.

The swell continued and was generally intolerable. Small DB and I were flat out and sleeping by 7.30pm because it felt impossible to do anything else.

That’s the thing – you have blithe thoughts about all the reading and crocheting and art you’re going to do while aboard, but a lot of the time the only things to do in order to function are; lying flat pondering the stupidity of sailing, lying flat listening to an audiobook or a podcast… or steering. Unless you’re like Small Z and can just watch shows on your iPad as if your reality wasn’t sloshing around messing with your inner ear.

Flat out. Can’t go ashore.

The following morning it was even worse and we couldn’t take Foamy to shore, which was a BIG FAT SHAME because it was so lovely. However, staying at anchor there was insupportable – we left, and it took us about three hours to make 12 nautical miles. Slow going… just before we reached Trial Bay, M landed a Very Big Fish. We still don’t know what it was, but it was big and it was (and continues to be) very tasty.

Last night was a wonderland of sashimi (me – no one else likes it, which is excellent) and then more cooked up fish with rice. When we do get a good fish, my first thought is that I love knowing exactly where my fish has come from, and my immediate feeling after that is one of a kind of exhale, because dinner won’t have to be thought of in an inventive manner for at least a night or two.