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)....it 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.