Iluka & Yamba Sunday 6/5 to 7/5

We arrive into the entrance just before high tide at 1130hrs. A long morning after departing Coffs at 0200hrs.

A few hundred meters into the river is a walled mooring area alongside Iluka which we anchor in. Nice easy place. Now we sleep.

Monday morning we pack our bikes into the dinghy and see the sights. We are greeted by a beautiful new jetty for dinghys.

The walking tracks goes along the river up to the caravan park. From there we cycle a street or two inland and find the essential baker, butcher and IGA. Very friendly people. Peter and Catherine ( or was it Christine) have recently bought a home there after 3 years of sailing. They loved the town when they sailed there about 10 years ago and planned to return.

The fish coop and Sedgers Reef pub dominate behind the waterfront parkland. The pub looks more like a stage set. Rustic and still retains its corrugated fibro roof and a patchwork of wooden picnic tables.

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The fish coop has a chandlery attached. We buy a deeper meat tub to land the fish. Big enough to be retained in the winch area when the seas are rough.

Then we sample the fish and chips $5.50 meal. Amazing. Juicy tasty fish. It was Luderick or black bream. I’ll be back!

Coffs Harbour 1/5 to 5/5

We enjoy time waiting for a nice southerly. One night anchored and then on a mooring.

Beautiful morning swims and some Vinnies shopping too that included 4 pairs of waterproof pants!
I mean sailing over pants not incontinence pants!!!

Lots of walking and cycling. We discovered the Coffs creek walkway that was a beautiful secluded path that led to the main shopping area via the Botanic gardens and graveyard.

Werner and I celebrate our 4th anniversary with a superb meal at Taste of North India on the jetty strip, followed by the best musical in town. It was held in the renovated theatre. Seussical is a take on the Dr Seuss children’s books. So much fun!

Thé 11 pièce orchestre accompany the musical while the conductor keeps both the singers and musicians in time.

The ride home to Halcyon2 was in the dark so I’m sure no one noticed how high my skirt was hitched up!

Port Macquarie to Coffs 1/5

We finally leave Tuncurry on 29/4 and motorsail to Port Macquarie. The breeze came up and we later sailed at 6 knots with just the Yankee head sail up. With better than forecast wind we arrive early at low tide to Port Macquarie entrance so ‘heave to’ practice. A storm whips up the sea but settles in time to enter along the lead light. Here it is a single light with red, white and green sectors. Needed to rev out of a couple of slight stern slips while crossing the bar.

We stay on D finger and a marine engineer inspected our perforation. He was confident we could proceed.

David joined Halcyon2 for thé next leg to Coffs Harbour.

We depart at first light and motorsailed initially with the spinnaker. The wind was later directly behind so we goose winged the sails. This was a pill day as the rocking challenged the tummy.

The breeze under performed so our entrance to Coffs was in the dark. No big deal as the red port light and big blue leads welcome one in.

David will be a year younger soon so he models his new pants. Happy birthday David!

Tuncurry and Forster forever??? 24/4 to 29/4

We have been moored outside the fish coop since Tuesday. A day of rain and lots of rainbows.

Overnight we notice the bilge pump working so thought that was worth investigating…

Oh dear! A trickle from the drive shaft aluminium pipe in Halcyon’s rectum. After cleaning it up it is now a fine spray. Mmmm. It’s hard to reach and on a pipe that is mostly welded to the hull. Lucky the hole is adjacent to where the whole circumference of the pipe is accessible so the rubber splint is able to be attached with hose clamps.

No local expertise is available and Port Macquarie slip is booked out till December.

Werner has installed another bilge pump and serviced the others.

Days have passed and no leaks so we plan to sail on Sunday.

Did I say it’s a nice place? I had a cycle up over the bridge and along the water to the Stockton shops and today around Tuncurry. Nice dozy place.

We shared our patch with penguins. As the tide floods in they lost their exposed sandbar, so I sat waiting for them to take flight.

Albury & Frankston detour

1-9/4/18.

Family visits enjoyed while down south. Good to see mum in Albury and Sophie’s parents that were visiting from China.

On the train between Albury & Melbourne I use some idle time to listen to my voice recordings of my clarinet playing. It’s good to have some historical evidence in case I may be improving as sometimes one wonders.

The man sitting in front of me turns around to catch my eye 🧐‘Is that your music playing? ‘ I reply with some confusion ‘Can you hear it???’

I feel a few hot embarrassed flushes as I realise why my headphones needed maximum volume- they were not fully plugged in 🙄 so the whole carriage heard my Hey Jude attempt! It would have been more fun if they started singing along

In Frankston we share the local attractions with the Chinese visitors

After visitors return home Patrick and I take a Sunday drive and debrief.

Heading north 14/4/18

We drop our homely mooring in Balmain on Saturday. A few battery dramas sorted and we head north.

First stop was going to be Hardy’s Bay with plans to visit Martin and Yvonne, but the 42knot wind convinced us to wait and shelter in Mackeral Bay.

Early Sunday we move across to Hardy’s bay and have a lovely day with our friends. Werner buys a 60 year old Singer machine at the markets.

Monday we meet David and join other friends at The Basin and enjoy a swim in the lagoon. Later we raft up with Eldon111 in Refuge Bay and a merry night ends with cask wine!

On y va to Newcastle. One night at Honeysuckle Wharf that is no longer cheap and cheerful.

We are among the big boys that have tugs to help them.

Next day at the marina we have a day of washing and cycling the riverbank.
The showers are memorable; I was able to descale my teeth by lining up one of the water saver jets! One had a good shower once accustomed.

We anchor a couple of days down the Hunter river near a long bridge and the oil refinery.

Southerly winds have arrived as promised so we plan to sail to Port Stevens tomorrow.

Sydney

Friday 23/3

Opera house here we come! We enjoy a special evening with David. A tenor sings Schubert before Sydney symphony orchestra performed Gustav Mahler’s Symphony Number 10. Serene beginnings with drama by the third movement. C’est la vie!

Saturday 24/3

Walking in Newtown and Erskineville and are attracted to Bourke Street Bakery. Millie, our local hero, tells us that this bakery sponsors refugees to learn the baking trade and they use proceeds from their baking to extend their programme. This makes their bread taste even better.

Sunday 25/3

A preparation day for the coming week.

Enthusiastically ( spell check thought my spelling was closer to euthanasia !!!) we watch the new thermostats controlling the freezer temperature go south as we check the state of the ice cream. Minus 18 C does not allow an Everest like ice cream stack in the cone, so minus 20C is targeted.

Rowena, on the Explorer of the Seas, berths at Circular Quay on Wednesday so I’m booked to visit her. I have a short shopping list.

After doing my online research I source some Oasis double walled stainless steel water bottles that promise 12 hours hot or 24 hours cold and fit in a standard drink holder. Rowena requested that I find one as her boss has been eyeing off hers.

Spotlight near us at Birkenhead Point carry them but at twice the price listed at Myers, so price matching did the trick! This shopping centre is only a one minute dinghy ride from our mooring and it also has an Aldi store that we appreciate.

Back at Halcyon we find they are 2mm short of fitting in our teak drink holders so Werner spends a tedious time shaving the holes. C’est fait.

Monday 26/3

Werner has arranged for a new starting battery and we are about to motor over to the jetty when we see a boat alongside! Delivery included 👍

After installing the required wires we head off to Woy Woy to visit old friends, Martin and Yvonne. They happen to be visiting their house so good timing. They call Thailand home!

Gold Coast to Sydney

February 24th 2018

Back in the saddle we set sail at 0840hrs from the Gold Coast seaway bound for Sydney town. Three POB – Werner, Russell and myself, Liz.

Halcyon2 has a few additions since returning from the Whitsunday area.

A composting toilet in the aft head. Abetterwaytogo!!!

A Telstra aerial up the mast with an old iPhone as a wi-fi hotspot.

A sonar hull vibrator (to keep the hull clean)

Kayak racks with a 2 or 3 person kayak.

A forward facing booster seat for me over the starboard seat in the pilot house, so I can keep lookout when seated.

A skippers perch at the helm.

Vegetable stacked racks under the dining table.

A new toolbox that fits under the helm and doubles as a step for shorties.

A pocket spring mattress from Clarke Rubber for the aft cabin.

A clarinet to complement the tenor saxophone.

The forecast was OK on paper but the sea is very confused and the rain 100% chance of 30-90mm. The sky did fall!

This was our first overnight sail and we had the theory and the roster sorted but the pot still erupted. Seasickness to a new height or low, I thought.

Russell suffered in sympathy but was able to report for duty but Werner won the long service medal.

Sunrise! Ahhhhhh

Soon we were on the lead lights at Coffs Harbour. We picked up a courtesy mooring at 0640 or 0740 NSW time. A 22 hour endurance passage.

Sleep….

Flapping from the bimini was a bad sign. We rang around and found a willing repairer, then played cycle tourist in the rain. Nice place with a hilly backdrop.

We stayed 2 nights on the mooring and one in the marina.

Full moon was timely for a walk up Muttonbird Island. We hesitated to go as the sun had set. We see nests of the wedge tailed shearwater birds that nest in burrows on this island.

We were bathed in moonlight and it felt magical. We had a following wind up the hill and the heat of the day dissolved.

The breaking waves out to sea and pounding onto the breakwater were sparkling. Turning back to the mainland the lights on the jetty and marina and beyond to the town welcomed us back.

After 3 nights the wind and rain had settled, so on y va!

Coffs to Port Macquarie Wednesday 28/2

Good motor sail with a crescendo breeze.

Came in the narrow entrance and thought we might anchor in the pond before the marina, but the wind blew Halcyon onto the mud flats. Stuck…

Some brain waves from Werner and Russell eventually towed us out. They winched a rope from the bow to a vacant windward mooring and after much grinding we had water under us again and happily berthed at the marina in fading light.

The evening flowed nicely with our new neighbour, also named Russell who sailed a cat with one motor.

He was a convert of female crew from findacrew.net but learnt it was highly desirable if they understood English.

We rode up all the hills in search of hot chips. For these chips we certainly out cycled the fork. We settled for Shelley’s beach takeaway as their reviews exceeded expectations. The bottom line was the chips rated 4/10 on our scale.

Port Macquarie to Forster/Tuncurry Friday 2/3

Crossed the bar out of Port about 0800hrs. Very calm compared to the incoming crossing.

VMR commented that it was forecast to be very calm and suggested we delay our journey. Willy suggested a calm day with 15kn max breeze but the day revealed much more. Seas up to 2-4 meters and breeze 15-20kn. Sailed most of the day. Motor was only on for tacks. Max speed with moi at the helm was 9.1kn. All sail!

My excitement was short lived. Head back in the bucket for 3-4 hours.

Without warning, the motor overheated. Too rough to look at so turned it off. Turned out to be an airlock.

Easy though tight courtesy mooring to starboard up near the bridge.

Tuncurry to Port Stephens Saturday 3/3

Port Stephens to Broken Bay and America Bay 4/3

Eldon 111 with Captain David and Millie onboard raft up with us on 8/3

We enjoy a couple of lovely days socialising, hiking, swimming and showering under the Recluse bay waterfall.

We drop anchor near Brooklyn for Russell to catch the train home early Saturday morning. Thank you Russell, for sailing with us.

Marco and Nichola join us on Saturday and the tales get taller.

Saturday evening we are back to just Skipper Werner and me the cook. We enjoy five very relaxing days exploring the Hawkesbury area. Chips at Patonga pub rated 9/10. (The fish shop is closed until May)

Hiking at Bobbin Head and icecream making featured.

After failing to find a gelato shop I created a mixture of cream cheese, ginger, honey, milk infused with lemon myrtle leaves, cardamom and chilli drops and a little cream. Whipped into shape we waited three days for it to freeze. Mmmm

Broken Bay to Sydney Harbour and to mooring at Balmain on Thursday 15/3

Halcyon. A bird fabled by the ancients to breed in a floating nest on the sea at winter solstice and to charm the wind and waves into calm for the purpose.

We made it! I’m still here to tell the tale.
I like to write each day so it is a reflection of our day, blow by blow!
Seasickness and tiredness are my excuses,so retrospective it is.
Maybe there will be some post truths now the dust has settled so I’ll ensure the skipper has proofread or proof heard the script!