Saturday, February 28, 2009

Manatee coasts to Coffs

The weather was kind, seas to 1M, swell 1.5 from SW, wind 10-15 from SW. Dolphins escorted us to the bar.

Manatee sprinted along making fast progress under motor. After settling in and having a coffee or two we decided to hoist sails. OOps are we out of practice or what...we spent a few hours playing and going around in circles before deciding to take them down as the winds were increasing. That's when Marg got hit by the main boom after an accidental gybe. Stoic woman that she is we continued on after ascertaining that there was no internal damage (we hoped). Trial Bay was about the only possible place to get in to the coast, after running through possible scenarios, Marg went downstairs to nap.

Marg emerged near Trail Bay and announced herself fit to continue. Waypoints set on the GPS, course mapped and VMR Trial Bay given our tracking details, we continued merrily to Coffs. Bugger, darkness fell a few NM short of the harbour...if only we hadn't fiddled with the sails!!

OK do we continue on to Brisbane or stand outside the harbour?

Drifting outside the harbour won so we went in circles or just drifted about 15nm offshore. AK kept getting the heebie jeebies as it was her first overnighter and she was stressing about Marg's injury. Marg was stoic.

Dolphins kept visiting, which was very calming, in fact we've never seen so many! One huge school of smallish blackish dolphins put on a show just off our beam, leaping and cavorting through the water. Various groups of large grey dolphins announced their presence by a loud snort before they dived under Manatee and played in her bow wave. We got out our spotlight as the night became very dark (no moon) and we looked out into the vastness of the ocean. We came across a patch of what looked like sea snakes on our first circle, sea dragons on our second circle. We are still unsure of what they were, possibly a long thin fish with a snout...longtoms??

We spent most of the night avoiding thunderstorms, with severe weather lashing the land between Armidale and Coffs. Spectacular but frightening.

Dawn broke, we contacted Coffs VMR who allocated us a berth at the marina...we were in no condition to anchor. Berth number allocated with a port tie up...OK run through how we are going to do this...get the ropes ready. Contacted by VMR, sorry we have to give you a different berth with a starboard tie up...OK change the ropes and fenders to the other side. Enter the marina...oh shit our allocated berth has a very large yacht already in it...quickly find an empty berth before we get into the very narrow confines of the marina. Yep you guessed right....quick, change for a port tie up. With very little sleep AK jogged "nicely" around Manatee without much swearing.

We crashed for a few hours until the marina office opened...when we were allocated a berth with a starboard tie up! Rob the marina manager was great...assisting us to move and giving directions to a medical centre. Marg ended up at the local hospital where she was diagnosed with cracked ribs.

Manatee hails from the land of the gay

First thing on Thursday morning, AK was heading across LUSC carpark when a young male jumped out of a car and called out (officious deep tone) "I want to have a word with you". AK spun around as he came running over "I'm from Newcastle Customs" said he "We saw your flag and need to investigate". He waved his ID under her nose. "Our flag?" said AK stunned. We were joined by another male from the car. "Yes what country are you from?" asked officious one. AK said incredulously "It's a rainbow flag, what country flies a rainbow flag?" Second male(presumably from customs also, but no ID produced) smirked saying "It looks like red, white and blue from a distance". "Oh but from here" said AK politely (ever mindful of the alleged recent trashing of possessions during a search of a yacht by Bundaberg Customs) "it clearly is a rainbow flag!" Ignoring the fact that there was no reason to "investigate" further, officious one decided a few questions were in order! "Where were we going, where was our last port" etc etc. AK answered "nicely" while chiding herself for not being up to date with customs legislation.

Anyway we finished packing Manatee, visited Gwen and Joan and got an early night for our 6am departure.

Gwen and Joan came to wave of us LUSC wharf and then raced to the bar for a final farewell. We departed Camden Haven bar around 0645, rainbow flag waving a fond farewell to the town of Laurieton.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Manatee sings "we're moving on up" North

Since our last post, we've had a busy time preparing to move on up North.

Chris (Wright Engineering) the find of the year completed some work on our dinghy davitts-raising and strengthening.

Chris attaching our amended davitts

Phil and Victoria visited and Phil helped raise our mizzen boom (so many rivet choices-monel being our pick) so that we no longer have a possible deck sweep problem.

Phil & Victoria under our newly raised boom

We met a couple of great gals-hi Rosie and Jan- who were holidaying in the area with their little powerboat and dream of a yacht....well Rosie anyway, come on Jan you can do it!

Over the January long weekend the river was very busy with boats of all types and another Spray pulled in for a few days. Liz and Keith on Najac were inspirational, they have taken Najac to Antartica and have been around Cape Horn 5!

the busy Camden Haven on Australia day

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence gave us this blessing "Bless AK, Margot, their critters and Manatee. May they all follow their bliss and revel in the freedom of the open seas.” during the blessing of the fleet of the Australian Sailing & Cruising Club over the long weekend. We were there in spirit and Manatee took to the water as a paper mache model.

We've slowly been pulling up our Laurieton roots....

the last dog get together on WashHouse Beach

the early morning get together

the last family barbie at the park and saying goodbye to some of the amazing people who have
befriended us (minus Charles, Linda, Gill & Astrid)
get together of friends
We have been waiting on the LUSC wharf, ready to go as a severe low with accompaning gale warnings hovered over the coast. We have good company on the wharf, with David on his little steelie heading back to Palm Island via Brisbane. We have daily discussions on the weather and Idgi joins him some evenings.
Any day now we will be heading on up!