Gold Coast to Lord Howe Island…… AND home safely

Gold Coast to Lord Howe

We enjoy good northerly winds of 18 to 35 knots. Following seas give a comfortable ride but the 2 to 4 meter swell rolls the boat so one feels like a theme park ride has bolted with us!

Our progress is better than expected doing 5 to 9 knots and winds stay favourable but after two days we realise we could arrive before dark the next day so we motor sail. Indeed we arrive just intime for the local police to guide us into our mooring. 2 days 6 hours.

Hooking up the mooring was unusually difficult so I’m glad I had Werner and David to manage that.

Halcyon2 was now safe while we took the dinghy ashore to explore the island. Initially on foot then graduating to bicycles. Local hires were very reasonable at $9 per day. No need to lock as it’s a trusting place. So nice.

Some days were so windy that we hesitated to go ashore. Waves in the lagoon washed into the dinghy most days. Lucky it was 24 to 26 degrees.

We find a good local store to have coffee. This became our regular drop in place.

Saturday 24/11

Dinghy near drowning. Strong winds bring strong waves. We were running out of beach to beach it. A stern chain and an anchor looked promising. 

Poor dinghy was tossed and swamped after just one coffee. 

Bale out and dry the motor. What’s missing???

Onto the next bay with less wind and more beach. 

Lucky I’m with resourceful people. 

We cycle the length and breadth of the islands roads. Watched planes land and birds play in the thermals near the dramatic southern peaks. 

We eventually find it safer to anchor the dinghy out rather than be tossed on the beach. 

The Island Trader spent a few days at the jetty attracting many fork lifters and items to deliver the supplies. 

Sunday 25/11

Halcyon is moored according to explicit local instructions. It was heavy work attaching two separate ropes to the eye under the buoy (and wondering how long before they would fatally chauffe). Wondering also if they had seen how user friendly other moorings were in Whitsundays or The Hawkesbury. 

Mooring ropes inspected just in time. Worn through in two days. Chain now attached in an authorative way, the details of which I spared myself. 

Then off to the island for a walk. Up to the northern hills from Old Settlement beach via a stepped path to Kim’s lookout and on to Mount Malabar then around to the ridge hovering over Ned’s beach then down a grassy hill back to the jetty. 

Spectacular views from many perches. 

Dear dinghy was floating patiently on its anchor when we returned. 

Monday 26/11/18

Lord Howe island has us captive. High winds are promised for the week until Friday. Day by day the predicted and the reality compare. Windy and windy. 

We meet the local meteorologist Amy and concur. 

We stay aboard and Werner gets the old Singer sewing and other shipshape chores done. David splices some rope and reads. I read and cook. 

The wind is unrelenting. 25-30 knots plus gusts. 

Wednesday evening. Dark and stormy. The staysail is flapping in 58knots!!! It has wine glasses and ropes were tangled. No time for waterproofs.…..,…..

The sail is saved! 

The lightening show is incredible. Fork lightening that spread across the sky and down like Xmas decorations in a jungle. 

The extreme wind persisted. 

Tuesday 27/11

We meet Peter and Ollie while having coffee. Later we drop in and enjoy a chat at their hotel while sharing lunch. Peter had sailed all over on boats with magnificent proportions and owners while his earlier career was in distilling and winemaking. Ollie stared in architecture and used it in clothing design. Earlier she enjoyed 4 years in png in 1980’s. They were also waiting for weather to sail home on a lovely 1950’s wooden boat with Phil. There is an annual gathering of wooden boats on Lord Howe. Wi fi was shared- hard to live without 

Wednesday 28/11

We wake to silence! 

Funny how that can be deafening. 

Werner up early. Sail is changed to Yankee then a snorkel after breakfast. Just near our mooring was a hole with fresh water spring. Beautiful corals. Different ones to the Whitsundays. 

‘SHARK’

A 6 foot reef shark spoils the moment. 

Guess he was friendly….as we are still intact. 

Over in the Coral Gardens near the outer edge of the lagoon we are impressed. Big purple coral, fine white flowing coral and tan tall mushroom like coral are among a few we saw. Sorry no photos atm of corals. 

David had a paddle and with the water so clear it was easy to see meters down. 

Later on the island….A little walk in the rainforest then up to the liquor shop then drop in to Peter and Ollie (Olwyn). More enjoyable time with fellow captives. 

Thursday 29/11

Continued strong wind. I’m learning to estimate force by the amount Halcyon heels over at the mooring. 30 knots needed for starters then up to 58 or 60 knots and we are spinning on the chain. The Predict Wind programme had grey gust areas of 50 knots nearby so they got it right. 

Friday 30/11

Still only 0200, 0300, 0330 and still being rocked by wind. 

Saturday 1/12

Day onboard Halcyon2. 

David ventures to coffee shop and Joys for apples and yummy sourdough bread. 

Sunday 2/12

A calm morning!!! On y va or snorkel. 

We snorkel this time in the northern bay and the deep hole off Settlement beach. See a stingray and a doubleheader fish. No lacy coral around the yellow marker as hoped. Apparently springs bring fresh water here. 

David paddles the kayak for the morning via Tomo’s coffee of course.

1500hrs Simon clears us to depart. We are on our way by 1530hrs. 

We sail west to utilise the breeze. There are two fronts with a mixed zone in between. Amy, from thé LH I weather station said one should expect some storms along this line so last nights storm was expected. 

The westerly arrives later and we adjust course more northerly then again when the south easterly blows in tomorrow evening. Predict wind has been pleasantly accurate. 

Now in a blue, near doldrums space for at least 24 to 30 hours so motoring. Rolling action sometimes eased by a sail but not enough wind. 

Sunset. Last chance to personify waves on the horizon. Is that a whale or a boat? Life of Pi could have a sequel. In the dark thé chart plotters miss all the flying fish and dissolve the ocean into numbers. 4000m deep and 201 nm to go. 

Venus and the moon shine through some light cloud. 

Diesel fumes linger in the pilot house so I open the side windows. Such a mild night. 

Still no ships seen on AIS. 

One evening on the return passage it is calm enough to put the table out the back and have cheese and beer. Such a changing place. 

If the sea was a person it would have a diagnoses like multipolar! 

We arrive at Southport at 0200hrs. 2 days and 10 hours. 

Anchor. Sleep. 

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Take two

1200hrs we lift anchor again. I’m We had a big lunch; last supper style.

Kwells x2 taken at 1030 hrs and more in the helm pocket along with phenergan.

Wind still from the east but should turn soon to northerly.

Boys relax and do fine sail adjustments while I’m at the helm first. We are definitely going somewhere!

Take two

Yes we were on the road to Lord Howe yesterday but after my persistent seasickness despite a maximum dose of Kwells the boys thought I’d not be fit for duty. I had Injected myself with phenergan and it was starting to work but they turned back. Actually they were nauseated too …….

Tuesday is a new day and the northerly breeze should arrive at lunchtime, so we plan to depart then. Following winds are much easier on the body. Meanwhile we are in the doldrums.

Tides at Chinchilla

Life away from sailing still goes on. I’m at Chinchilla doing another contract with the local 18 bed hospital  Nice friendly place that is known for its petrified wood. Indeed if one stayed long enough it could happen to you too! One floats from a cloud of jacaranda perfume to being drunk on cattle dung as a herd stampede past,  confined in a road train. My bicycle rocks as if a ferry has just passed.

Halcyon2 has been well exercised, as Werner, Sam and Nick sailed to Cato reef and back.  Lots of big fish!  Now to Boatworks at the Goldcoast for front and back stays.

The Lord Howe island adventure is coming soon  Watch this space

 

Iluka to Goldcoast 7 & 8/5. Monday overnight

We depart Iluka just before high tide with 96nmile to go. A bit daunting but the forecast was tame.

Winds were kind and we sailed and motor sailed into the stormy sky.
About 2300 the winds came to play.
Gusts up to 30 knots with north easterly then easterly seas about 2 meters. It felt rough and I’m pleased it was too dark to see. Just keep going. We did rolling shifts of 1.5-2 hours and surprisingly that gave us each some rest.

The sweeping light from the Cape Byron lighthouse followed us for a long way. Good company I guess. Good to see something instead of a black world. Reliant on instruments.
About 0500 I see the glow of the Goldcoast! A big sigh.
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On the lead light and white marker we turn in
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We enter the GC Seaway Tower at 0815hrs. Well done skipper!
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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!