Saturday, November 22, 2008


Here are some of the photos Victoria took while she was visiting.....
Marg on Manatee's jetty.
Idgi pleased with her visitors
AK & Marg pleased with their visitors
Vic was also able to download some pics off our ruined camera.....
Manatee & another Tas boat on the public moorings at Nelson Bay...yep that is the beach in the foreground

as the weeks roll by.......

So what have we been doing since our last update you may well ask........

Marg, AK and Pearl went to Southport (by car) with stuff for the storage area that we had left with Aunt Joan. We also did a re-arrange of Manatee's storage areas with a "do we really need this" question on most things. Stuff, like books that AK isn't ready to part with, also went to the storage area. We took the opportunity to inspect our unit at the same time.
On our way back we stopped at Yamba overnight to check out the town, river and marina for our expected stay there. The town is still relatively laid back, the river is clean with good anchoring spots and the marina is huge. It was bought by Kay Cottee (solo around the world) and Peter Sutton (her husband) a few years ago and they have added a art gallery which was closed when we visited. There is a great little cafe attached and the place feels secure and clean. There is a little chandlery and a good hard stand where Derek had silver cloud out for a soda blast. The local papers talked of a proposed marina at Grafton which appeared to have the support of locals as a way to garnish the tourist dollar.

Jacki and Ruby stayed with Jean and June, sisters who live at RossGlen on an acreage. June is a dog whisperer so the girls came home very content (and better behaved!) Idgi stayed on Manatee to keep things in order. While we were away a southerly blast came through overturning dinghy's and creating havoc. Luckily we had pulled Ini on to the deck before leaving!

a good spot to anchor at Yamba

The following weekend Victoria and Phil visited from Sydney. They stayed at Diamond Head caravan park which is across the river and down a bit from Manatee. Everyone was excited to see them, so we took them to our favourite spots.......

Dunbogan beach...

art by the river.....

the river walk to North Haven (and Sandbanks Cafe!)

We also drove through to the National Park camping area at Diamond Head as Victoria has fond memories of the area and is aways on the lookout for the perfect place for camping. This spot is a little disappointing as it has got very popular so looks like a caravan park at times.

After waving farewell on Sunday we took a day off before embarking on our next project.....

the bathroom (or head).

There has been a small leak as the area didn't appear to be properly sealed. Manatee's previous owner had re-designed the area, making it smaller to give the saloon and galley more room. It is still large enough for us, but the leak gave AK nightmares.

So for the rest of the week out came the toilet, part floor, wall linings, basin etc. It appeared that the leak had caused some rusting of the floor out came the saloon...table, couch and supports. Luckily the rust didn't extend far.

On Thursday Marg had her appointment with the specialist for her carpel tunnel. He warranted it important enough to operate on the following Monday...aargh! Marg hates hospitals but the pain was unbearable.

We then had a call from Lesley who wanted to visit with a friend...aargh....had to be this weekend...aaaargh. Thinking there was something important happening AK succumbed and spent Friday and Saturday morning putting the saloon back together while Marg assisted best she could and hurried around looking for a cottage to recuperate in for a few days. We realised she wouldn't be able to get off Manatee at low tide. Without a bathroom she would need to get off lots!

Monday came, the operation went well and we moved into a little holiday cottage at
the view from the lounge room...a great place to recuperate
Marg tolerated AK's cooking for a few days and spent time sleeping and recovering. The girls went to June's as it was too hard for them to keep quiet at the cottage that allowed no pets! Idgi stayed on Manatee to keep things in order. AK kept working on the bathroom.....sanding and treating the rust, rebuilding the floor, building a pedestal for the new electric toilet, to be upgraded from a manual.
We drove to Coffs Harbour for the day as it is the closest chandlery to pick up the new toilet and the bits and pieces needed to attach it to the holding tank. We also bought a new small sink to replace the largish one we had. We decided to reposition the toilet next to the sink to give more room for the shower and to take advantage of Manatee's sloping sides.
Marg was impressed by the marina at Coffs, the area is quite beautiful and we can't wait to get close to the Solitary Islands.
Idgi wanted to stay at the cottage as the bathroom project was taking longer than expected. We had a spell of wet weather and everything took longer so we extended our time at the cottage.
We have just moved back on to Manatee and what a relief it is to be home. Life on land doesn't seem to suit us anymore. We watched far too much TV! The bathroom, although not yet finished, is going well. The new floor and pedestal has been fibre glassed (what a yucky job that is) part way up the walls to ensure no leaks. The shower plumbing has been reconnected with no leaks..yeah.
Marg is having her other hand operated on 8th Dec so she will be mobile for the large Xmas AK's family is planning.
So even though it has been ages since the last update, there has been lots happening!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

southerly arrives at Laurieton

A southerly was forecast for today (it's actually Wed!) so a few boats made plans to head north (SW 15-20kts with slight seas). So we were up at 0530 this morning to wave Derek and silver cloud off. He has been planning to head north for a few weeks, so we went to the North Haven side of the bar with the girls (Idgi stayed in bed).
silver cloud heading toward bar-note weather on mountain!
just off Pilot Beach
motoring through the very calm bar
Just the otherside of the bar, some dolphins appeared and swam under the boat. A few NM away some whales were breaching. Silver cloud then turned south, after a few "what the's"(it was early!) we realised he had turned into wind to get his main sail up without getting tangled in the lazyjack.
the main going up
first stop Yamba!
We started to make our way back until we saw two more boats coming up the river. We think they are from the coastal cruising club-salty lady & ??.
dolphins surfed the bow wave of the first boat-note the weather on mountain now
they too headed north-possibly Grafton for the sail-a-way
The dolphins then started surfing the breakers of North Haven beach, getting about 10m off the beach. The weather continued to surge east, bringing a blanket of rain, so we returned to Manatee dreaming of the day we too can head north.

Monday, October 13, 2008

socialising and messin' with boats

We have met a few great cruisers since we have been at Laurieton and we routinely pick their brains for tips. Just like flying, boating is very weather dependant-we were hoping to do a lot of sailing while we were here but the combination of the river entrance, tides and weather keep us, and a lot of other boaties, in the river. It is possible to do some ocean sailing, but overnighters as it is difficult to get out and in on the same day. Owen, an +80 year old who has been sailing single handed (on a Roberts 36- sand piper) for the past few years got sick of waiting for the winds to provide a good northerly passage, so turned and went south after waiting 1 month! For all those people tired and feeling old, we hope Owen can be an inspiration!

Another couple built their boat, Goanna, an Adams, 25 years ago and have been living on and cruising her ever since. They give us plenty of tips, and are very happy to share their experiences.

Derek from Silver Cloud, another steelie, has taught us to coil and throw ropes correctly and has given us many tips, including the art of slipping your own boat. AK, Marg and Derek with other boaties at various times, helped Trudi slip a Hartley(yacht), her ferro-cement home. Another inspiration-Trudi is a +60 year old who bought a neglected boat cheaply and has done some amazing work to turn it into her waterfront home and riverboat.

AK has done sail-making 101 with Mark, altering our mizzen sail by removing a panel which will allow us to move our boom higher, which will give us room for a solar panel rack. We spent the day and night on land at Mark and Marti's with the dogs who had an amazing country adventure-Ruby chased and then got chased by a goat, Jacki found herself grazing next to Sophie's pet duck, Duckell who is as big as Jacki and Pearl saw a really big lizard. Mark, yet again explained to us how electicity works in relation to solar panels.

Mark and the kids

The house that Mark built- note the solar panels, the battery bank (old Telstra batteries) is under the house. Spot the peacock!

Idgi stayed at home guarding Manatee!

time swims by.......

Looking at our 'ship's log' the other day it was surprising to see how long we have been in Laurieton!

So to all those people who ask "but what do you do on a boat all day?"
Well....besides AK searching for work and Marg visiting doctors (she has found out she has severe carpel tunnel-can't work/can't sail-until it's fixed) takes ages every morning to 'tidy' Manatee, living with all the girls is time consuming. It takes us about as much time to clean the boat as it did to clean our house! Floors to be swept, then washed, washing to be done, it goes on and on. Then walking with them. We are all enjoying our walks..AK, Marg, Jacki and Ruby walked a marathon 20kms the other day...we are all getting fitter. Pearl has a promenade at dusk as she is a bit beyond long walks.

Pearl on her promenade-the boats at anchor are members of the coastal cruising club on a sail-a-way

Then there are the hours of gazing....there is always an event happening when you live on a boat....a water bird catches a fish and another comes to steal it with the resultant squawking and squealing; dolphins glide through the water near the boat looking for a feed; hang gliders throw themselves off the mountain, a rainbow of colours floating down onto land; a school of bait fish swim just under the water's surface making the surface shimmer; we find the mouse that Idgi has caught on one of her on shore excursions and has left delicately balanced on a coil of rope on deck; a kookaburra perches itself on our main mast and cacks itself laughing; one of the numerous pelicans lands near Manatee looking for a treat, its pencil-like legs outstretched so its ungainly feet act as brakes, the wind whistles through the rigging, producing unusual music....see what I mean, the hours go by very quickly!
AK near the spot the hang gliders launch from. Spot the hang gliders!
The river is the Camden Haven, we are a few miles upstream.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

flapping 'round the fish co-op

Our first week at the co-op was very tense and challenging. We encountered an environment that is seldom mentioned in boating tomes. For whatever reason (fear, addiction, just run out of puff), there is a group of boaties (and I use that term very loosely!) that lead a life that revolves around alcohol-they sit on or around their boat and drink and drink and drink. Unfortunately a couple with this "lifestyle", who haven't left their co-op berth in 6 years decided that we were going to be their new best friends. We were woken each morning by the sound of this couple drinking, arguing with people and using language that made us cringe-at 7ish right next to our boat-yuk! Whenever we emerged we were given the third degree-what time did you go to bed, what are you doing, yahdah,yahdah,yahdah. We made it clear that their lifestyle was not ours-they continued to pursue. We ignored them hoping they would leave us alone-nah they peristed. He started telling people he now had 3 wives-oh god, wake in fright! We became very disheartened, our home was being invaded and it was not where we wanted to be. We searched the district looking for another berth-damn nothing available. Eventually AK got VERY firm-he had already started calling her bwana (boss woman) as she had directed him to leave us be-and they moved back to drinking near their boat-yah, we reclaimed our space.

Living on a boat in a marina environment is an interesting experience-you are constantly in the public eye and your space becomes very sacred. We are very careful who we invite on board and find that we have to be firm with people-some think it is OK to jump on deck for a chat.

We are in Laurieton as AK has family in the district-Aunt Joan the 84 year old matriarch from Lake Cathie, cousin Mark (and family)the boatie in Roland Plains, Aunt Gwen an 83 year old fisherwoman from Queens Lake and cousin Carmel (and family) an immigrant from Adelaide settling in Telegraph Point. We have been spending as much time as possible with them-bingo with Joan, lunch with Carmel, chats with Gwen and much laughter with Mark, Marti, Paddi and Sophie. Mark and Marti helped us reclaim our space at the co-op and Mark is altering our mizzen sail to allow us to move our boom upwards for more space.

We have been doing more work on Manatee- the carpets in the single and aft cabins have been removed and the floor stained-it's an unfortunate orange at the moment, we're still working on it. We have found a fantastic engineer who has made us a new bracket for an alternator and a new exhaust pipe for our generator- all great quality at an unbelievably cheap price.
We also hoped to pick up some work while we are in town-not much around though-the area is quite depressed, with a number of businesses laying staff off. We have managed to pick up some casual stocktaking, but not enough to make much difference to our bank balance!
Since we have been here we have been lucky enough to have jackik fly overhead our berth (in her piper warrior sewzy -great navigation) on her way back to Sydney from Kempsey. Our friend Les has also had sucessful treatment and is on her way to a new life- fantastic news and cousin Greg is also steadily improving after his medical challenges. Unfortunately we have had to miss a few important birthdays of friends- happy 50th to Tony and Jenny.

We are spending a lot of time at the beach, walking at least 5km a day and we have bought esky lids and have ventured into the surf. We also have a new camera!
An unusually overcast day at Dunbogan Beach
Pearl enjoying her "walk"
Ruby posing for the body shot
the only footprints are our own on Dunbogan

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

life at Laurieton

The following Wednesday we moved down the river to our organised pile berth (4 poles that you "park" your boat between) at the Laurieton Fish Co-Op. For $85 weekly you are left alone by the vigilant waterways staff who rigorously police a no liveaboards policy...and rent includes water , power and a finger wharf to the shore.

The trip down to our berth was interesting as the river runs at about 4 knots. Even though we moved between changing tides (you get about 30 mins grace from the current), it was difficult. We have since watched one of the fishing boats (wooden) and the skipper drives the boat in at a very fast speed. As Manatee is a very heavy steelie she takes a while to stop. Marg managed to get Manatee's bow sprit poked into our berth and with the assistance of others throwing ropes AK managed to pull her in.

After a welcoming party from a few of the permanents we took the girls for a walk to explore their new home.

As we are being a little slow (yes we know Jackik) in updating our blog, here are a few other blogs you might find interesting..............

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Crowdy Head to Laurieton

On Friday 29/8 we prepared for a 1000hrs departure.....then we had visitors -a local (elderly male) who had heard us on the radio the night before (how many on board, expected departure time etc)and decided he would visit for a chat and 2 tourists who saw the dogs on board from the beach and also wanted to chat. AK has a new mantra....don't be impatient, this is the country, don't be impatient, this is the country.
We left the harbour about 1150, churned through the alarmingly largish breakers and set for Laurieton. Viewing beautiful and sometimes majestic coastline, it was an uneventful trip. Marg navigated the Camden Haven bar beautifully (the worst we have experienced so far), surfing Manatee through the washing machine of an ebb tide...oops another rule broken. We were met on the river side of the bar by two enormous dolphins who swam on our bow wave and guided us safely through the first few navigation markers. We tied up to the jetty at the RSL, a free berth with free amenities...yippee! Really a great spot, parkland and bike/walking pathways radiate along the river, very quiet with the township 5 mins up the road. We spent 5 days at the jetty (max allowed) while we organised another berth or mooring.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Port Stephens to Crowdy Head

We spent 2 nights at Nelson Bay on a maritime mooring waiting for the sea to abate. "Imagine" from Hobart was on the other mooring. I have some great pics (but I have stuffed the camera...more later) of the two Tasmanian boats moored together. These 2 moorings aren't popular as they cause a boat to rock and roll and it is a little disconcerting to be soo close to the beach.

On Tuesday we explored the area in Ini the inflatable. Plenty of dolphins about but we realised if we said "look dolphin" they disappeared. We reckon they were "tourist dolphins" who appear for a quick happy snap. We landed Ini on a beautiful secluded beach at Shoal Bay, just under coastal patrol's hut. When we set off again AK got drenched by a did the camera. We are still trying to get it working after drying it out.

On Wednesday we left Port Stephens heading North for Forster at daybreak. "Imagine" headed South at the same time. Our estimated time at Forster-Tuncurry was 1330. The seas were kind and winds about 10-15knots from the North...yep motoring again!

Once we passed Seal Rock the seas were amazing, a colour that is hard to describe....almost like liquid glass. There was a distinct change in the air, it was warmer and the winds abated. There were whales and plenty of dolphins surfing our bow wave. Manatee, as the current was kind, made very good time so we decided to continue on to Crowdy Head.

The kind currents were somewhat misleading however and sucked us right in! Our calculations unfortunately we based on a good first leg. As the sun set we were still not at Crowdy Head....oops. Looks like AK and Marg have blown their agreement to NOT enter a strange port at night. But we forgive ourselves because with 2 Aries on board rules are made to be stretched.

Crowdy Head is a very small boat harbour on the southern end of the beautiful surfing beach. Really shouldn't be entered with a northern swell. Yep we had a northern swell. On hindsight we would stay at sea, although alls well that ends well (providing the lesson is learnt). We managed to find the very narrow opening and entered the harbour to find the expected empty jetty had a large catamaran berthed alongside! We had booked the jetty with the fish co-op as required and were told the jetty was "all yours". Later we find out - boaties don't book, arrive after the co-op has closed and leave before it has opened....all to avoid the fee!

A stressful 30 minutes followed, we managed to berth without damage to us or the catamaran and spent a very "surgy" night at the jetty. Later we also find out that you can request a berth at the fishing boat jetty which doesn't suffer from surges...oh well!

Many lessons learnt this leg.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Manatee fangs it to Fame Bay

At the recommendation of Peter and Malcolm we decided to opt for the seclusion of Fame Bay (Port Stephens) to wait for reasonable weather before heading further north. One of the many great things about boating is that you get to experience places inaccessible to most
people. Fame Bay was one such place.....
We had the bay to ourselves for most of the time
Boaties site out of the picture
Ruby & Idge share a moment
AK must practice her wildlife the dolphins..not

eagles soared overhead
we watched the moon rise
and the sun set (Idge on the main boom)
we explored
and walked (view of Ini from a midden)
and did what we all do best
We were out of (reception) range so we are behind on our calls, emails and blog. We spent 6 nights at Fame Bay and had our first saltwater dunking....brisk and refreshing! We met Mary and her "cabin boy Christian" who were from Sydney and members of the cruising yacht club. Mary gave Marg some great advice regarding seas. On Monday we returned to Nelson Bay to await decent weather to continue our journey north.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Marina Daze

So....we ordered a patch kit and arranged overnight post. We berthed at D'Albora Marina as we had no way of getting ashore and waited...and waited....and waited. The kit arrived on Thursday. In the meantime Ruby posed for photos for the tourists on the bowsprit as we were berthed next to the whale and dolphin watching boats. The bowsprit was at head height so she will appear in many Korean happy snaps.

Manatee tucked next to the massive tourist boats

We got to know some of the staff, Peter and his dog Malcolm were regular visitors and helped with the repair job when the kit arrived. Most of the deckhands were women and one boat had an all female crew...really nice to see in a still male dominated profession. One of the deckies related stories of whales playing with the boats, apparently they are renowned for it. This area up to Forster is a marine sanctuary so plenty of marine creatures about. Dolphins come into the marina in summer and the boom nets on the back of the tourist boats (you can see one on the big boat nearest to Manatee's bow) are referred to as 'human tea-bag apparatus' due to the plentiful sharks!

Marg and AK took advantage of the marinas 'personal care facilities'-individual bathrooms with unlimited hot water (we really limit our water consumption on Manatee as one should anyway) and a TV room where we could watch some Olympic events.

The rest of the time we took advantage of the pleasant surroundings.

Lots of boats ( heading north from the Sydney Boat Show and heading south from the Hamilton Island Race) pulled into the area seeking refuge as the weather turned nasty so we had a pretty social week. We are both very relaxed, AK has stopped wearing a watch and when asked the time Marg often replies "a quarter past thingy".

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Nelson Bay antics

So....our first night at Nelson Bay....headed to the local wharf and met two live aboard boaties who had been tied to the wharf for ages-despite the 3 day limit. Guess it is winter. The first was very excited to meet us and called out "joe, quick 2 girls with a boat". Joe emerged from his yacht, drink in hand, and the (elderly) lads attempted to entice us to tie Manatee up to the wharf where we could "get to know each other". We bowed out graciously (for us) and took the girls for a lovely walk along the beach where we were moored (only about 50m off!) and enjoyed the sunset.

After having such a lovely evening we decided to continue the bliss and have dinner at "The Wharf" restaurant. We dressed up in our bestest clothes and headed to the marina in our dinghy (inflatable). Thinking it was safer to tie up to the rocks rather than getting locked out of a marina arm we headed off to a remarkably fine dinner. Highly recommend the seafood spaghetti, chowder and the view over the wharf.

We returned to the dinghy to find her wedged under a gangway- perhaps someone had tried to nick her. Unfortunately she suffered a nasty gash...not good for an inflatable. Marg bravely held up her bow so we wouldn't sink as we hurriedly made our way back to Manatee. We left her on the dinghy davitts overnight and sunk gratefully into bed.

Our morning inspection showed a very nasty gash that would need repairing. Now where is that repair kit? We spent hours turning Manatee inside kit. Damn. Reassessing our situation...only 50m to shore, can the girls swim for their walk? Nup. Phoned every possible retailer in the Port Stephens area. Nup no repair kits. Finally sourced one at.....Lake Macquarie....AAGH.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Manatee surfs to Port Stephens

After checking the weather (seas 1.5-2,wind 15-20, swell 1.5-2) we decided it was all systems go at 0530. The bridge opening was booked for 0700 so at dawn we departed "our" jetty.

Pearl on "our"jetty watching the clothes washing process

The bridge was cleared without any problems or "discussions"

Threading Manatee through the narrow Swansea Bridge

After a quick brekkie east of the bridge we logged us all on with Swansea Coast Guard who
requested that we report to Port Stephens Coast Guard half way along Stockton far, so good. Seas were a little choppy at first but we always remain confident in Manatee's seagoing abilities.

Stockton Bight prior to the swell increasing

Toward Stockton Bight the seas became more than choppy, with the swell at times nearing 5metres. It looked like we were perched on top of a two storey building at times. Marg started singing Beach Boys tunes and Jacki started puking. Related....who knows?? We had decided to tether Jacki and Ruby in the wheel house to let them be near us and the breeze rather than downstairs with Pearl and Idge. Our only real concern was the dinghy swinging off the davitts, it showed how unprepared we were to not have Ini the inflatable lashed to the deck. She survived the journey but not her first night at Nelson Bay!
Along the way we heard the coast guard operators talking on a back station which amused us
operator in cultured voice: "did you get the details on Manatee?"
broad Aussie operator: "yeh how many dogs were there?"
Mr culture: "yes, well they are from Tasmania"
Mr Aussie: "yeh I'll get Immigration to clear them in Port, chuckle chuckle"

We are very proud that Manatee hails from Tasmania!

We arrived at Port Stephens heads at 1438 and did a quick survey before mooring on a freebie at Nelson Bay Beach.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lake Macquarie refuses to let go!

Unlike most weather predictions, the low showing on the synoptic chart arrived on Friday. Gale force winds, choppy seas...yuk! Even the eagle that hovered over the boat wasn't going far. It was fun watching it glide in the air currents. Two days at Styles Point, tied up to a jetty meant that Marg could get 3 ducks to come to the boat when she called out "quack quack", she does have a way with animals.

At least we got all of our washing done.

All of the girls enjoy being tied up to a jetty, it means they have some independance, being able to take themselves to the "park".

Saturday night, boat preparations complete, we hope to head to Port Stephens early Sunday, fingers crossed!

Manatee curses coast guard

Weather was just right for our foray to Port Stephens...the boat was ready, engine smooth, decks clear, all preparation complete. We knew it was the only day available in the near future to head north safely. After a very early night on Wednesday, the alarm was set for 5am on Thursday. This meant we would depart with a tide that was coming into the lake, just what a boat don't want a outgoing tide mixing with waves coming over the bar (from the ocean). As required locally, Marg rang coast guard at 6am (they then contact Swansea Bridge to get it opened) to book a 7am opening. No answer. She kept ringing and finally reached an elderly gentleman who said "oh well, I told the bridge there were no bookings at 5.30am". When reminded that a 1hr only notice was required, he unsuccessfully attempted to contact Swansea Bridge to arrange a opening. No go. Bridge staff weren't answering. Bugger. The tide turned just after 7am, the next incoming tide was after 1300hrs, which meant a arrival at Port Stephens at night... AK and Marg have agreed not to arrive in an unfamiliar port at dark.....and the synoptic chart showed a low over the coast on Friday. Low = bad weather.

There has been considerable controversy regarding the duplication of "volunteer services".....coast guard, coastal patrol etc. AK and Marg have always said "if you're unhappy with the system don't use 'em" .These services take up the slack from the under-funded and under-resourced water police, both don't have Gov't funding and rely on volunteers. If you want to log your journey when on the water, you have these services as an option, unless you have a friend hold your "search and rescue time"- arrival time at next port. We have experienced both the fantastic and the dreadful volunteer. Unfortunately we copped the latter on Thursday morning. More unfortunate was the reality that only coast guard could except a booking for a bridge opening.

So we went sailing on the lake!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Manatee trots to Toronto (Tronto)

Monday brought ferocious weather. AK & Margot felt a dinghy ride to shore would be hairy so decided to berth at the marina at Lake Macquarie Yacht Club. For the second time in our Lake Macquarie visit another yacht sped in front of us to take the last possible spot! Maybe Manatee doesn't like the marina life. We turned her toward Toronto hoping to find shelter from the wind and waves. Half way across the lake the water became calm so we stopped at the public jetty and filled our water tanks. We then moved to the pool which has cleats around its edges for boats to tie up to (Denise says as the result of a wooden boat show held at Toronto every year).

Manatee tied up at Tronto pool - the Norfolk Pine in the foreground was planted in memory of Marg's brother Warren who died in 1989.

Marg spent her early years at Tronto, learnt to swim in this pool and her father Harry taught local kids to swim in this pool. We spent a few days and nights here and had a great time. Idge went exploring at night (too old and slow to hunt these days but she does like to gaze at the night sky) and came back very frisky in the early hours. Ruby thought our many visitors were coming to see her and would run out and greet everyone who came onto the jetty.

It was a very busy few days.....every retired Tronto man came to visit us and chat, the TV show that features Matt Moran was filming in the park and in a restaurant opposite ( a camera operator stripped off and filmed waist deep in the lake-maybe to make MM look like he walks on water??) and most kids that walked past wanted to see the doggies on the boat. A pelican stopped off in the pool for a day and a duck duo waddled around the waterfront.
Once the weather looked like clearing we hightailed it back to Belmont to use the yacht club facilities to do an engine oil change and give the engine a look over. We hoped to leave the lake and head to Port Stephens on Thursday.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Manatee continues her circumnavigation of the lake

We stayed two nights at Murray's Beach and managed to have a coffee at the nice cafe. Marg continued to fish and we had yummy baked snapper for dinner.

Marg on Murray's Beach jetty modeling her lovely new red crocs

The rain continued to fall so on Friday we decided to continue heading south exploring the lake.

Jack cruises the lake in her lovely purple coat.................and a pelican comes to say hi

Rathmines had a free maritime mooring (there are a number throughout the lake, rated to 20tonne and pink!) as well as a jetty which boats can tie up to-it has a 2hr limit but during winter most don't worry about this limit with many overnighting. We went for the mooring as we feel safer being that little bit more inaccessible. Saved us fiddling with the anchor which was a bonus.

Manatee on the mooring at Rathmines Look! It's Barry's catamaran at the jetty

Rathmines is a lovely part of the lake, the council has done a fantastic job keeping large parcels of the waterfront accesible to the public. Rathmines was a war time aviation facility and has been kept as open space with miles of walking tracks.

AK and the girls walk up the old runway

The mangroves were filled with ducks and pelicans and finches were frequent visitors. Our possie meant it felt we were the only people around this peaceful spot.

Preparing to bake a huge whiting for dinner we managed to strip our kero stove fitting, so ended up using our deck bar-b-que for the first time.

Saturday was a perfect sunny day so after a relaxing morning strolling through the bush we returned to Belmont to seek the assistance of Bruce in fixing the stove. Bruce is a fix-it type who can repair anything with a bit of wire, a rusty nail and a bobbypin! It gave him the opportunity to try out his brand new drill anyway.

On Sunday AK and Margot went to the movies with Denise to see Mamma Mia. Funny film, worth seeing on a rainy Sunday-the fabulous Meryl Streep singing ABBA songs. She sings in tune...Pierce Brosnan struggles! We finished up at Beryl's for afternoon tea before returning to Manatee(urgently as we realised we had left hatches open and it was raining....bugger!)