Monday, April 13, 2009

Tales from Yamba (2)

We've made the most of our Yamba stay, sightseeing and going to the beach.

Another day in paradise-Pippi Beach

Yamba across the river from Iluka

Iluka boat harbour-can you spot the sunken yacht?

No luck with work though, locals get the jobs which is fair enough. The girls have been having a great time, with lots of trips to the beach and the breakwater.
The weather has been really bad, can't remember so much rain for a long time. At times the bar is spectacular. A fishing boat got rolled last week and a catamaran got hit on it's stern by a freak wave which flooded into its saloon. The owner spent a week at the marina drying out. The fishing boat was wrecked.

We both celebrated birthdays at Yamba as did Ruby. Pearl is sure it's her birthday as well. We spent the day at Spooky Beach at Angourie, for a picnic, one of the few fine days we have had.

Spooky spooky Beach

Our day tent, gee it gets crowded

We also managed a few dinners at the Pacific Hotel at Yamba, which has amazing views as it's perched on a cliff. Great food too! The scene at dusk is great, as the fishing fleet leave the river, lights on. Highly recommended.

Yamba lighthouse from the Pacific

The beach below the Pacific

Skooter from Skooter Sails at Yamba is making us a boom tent which will double as a water catcher. We don't want to be reliant on marinas for our water any longer. Our stay at Yamba Marina has been a little strange. It's got great infrastructure, is in a beautiful spot and the folk with boats berthed are interesting and friendly. Pity about staff/management. Seems people are a bit of an inconvenience really (except front office staff who really know customer service). Never experienced such rudeness in our lives, an experience felt by all we talked with. After a wild storm we had, cruisers were adjusting ropes of the permanently berthed (vacant) boats so they weren't damaged as it didn't seem to be in the job description of staff. Strange! Recommended? Hell no!

The guy who was moored near us on Sydney Harbour and warned us about the sand banks, appeared one morning knocking on our hull. Mike on his 53' steelie (Bacchanalia) has been at Yamba preparing for his big trip. What a small sea!
Maclean which is about 1/2 inland from Yamba is Australia's "scottish town". The telegraph poles have tartan strips and on the Easter weekend it had it's "highland gathering". The sound of bagpipes could be heard for miles and kilts were the fashion of the day.
The Clarence at Maclean
There has been plenty of wild storms. The Clarence is a murky muddy slush, so Marg has given up on fishing, much to Idgi's disappointment. Canned fish is just not the same.
We've seen lots of films up here, even going to a short film festival which we loved. Yamba has 2 cinemas, one of which is in a converted Bunnings. The owner/staff are film buffs and it's a pleasure going to their cinema. Great fun when it rains on the tin roof. Well worth the experience if you're up this way.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

sea critters we have seen

Marg and AK treated themselves to 'Grants guide to fishes' for their birthdays. It is a fabulous book that was originally written by Ern Grant when he worked for Qld Fisheries. Ern, along with his wife and son spent their time "getting their feet wet" and photographing every form of sea life they came upon. Many editions later, this book is a great resource.

So.... here are some of the amazingly beautiful critters we have seen....
What AK thought were sea snakes, then sea horses, then longtoms were actually dragonfish. Also known as sea moths.

'This amazing little fish grows only to 3". The sandy body is covered with a fine network of dark brown lines. The large wing-like pectoral fins are white margined. It is attracted to ships' lights at night, swimming quite rapidly in the pool of illumination at the surface- and showing how it takes the name of sea moth from its broad expanded pectoral fins."
The flying fish that flew into our wheelhouse had "pectoral fins that have become lengthened to form transparent wings that can become extended...the ventral fins,too,are expanded and lengthened to form a second and shorter pair of wings; and the lower lobe of the tail is broadened into a great paddle. When startled, it makes a low leap that carries it clear of the surface. It extends its wings and makes a rapid side-to-side sculling motion which propels it into a glide."

flying fish

The sound it made was quite extraordinary, Grant likens it to "an outboard motor".

The mahi mahi is also known as a dolphin fish or a dorado. The pic doesn't really do it justice, it was an amazing greenish-blue with gold speckles. AK has read some 'lost at sea' type books, most notably 'survive the savage sea', the story of a family of 5, along with 1 crew member who spent weeks adrift in a life raft and then their dinghy after their yacht was hit by a whale and sunk near Galapados Islands. Also 'adrift', one guy at sea for 76 days in his rapidly disintegrating life raft. Both writers refer to dorados which were the staple diet in both stories. Grant says " mahi mahi will congregate beneath seemingly insignificant pieces of flotsam: small rafts of seaweed, short lengths of rope, even a ladder". Ahh, that explains it, they hang under life rafts too! Steve Callahan, the writer of 'adrift', called the dorados "his doggies" as they hung with him for the entire time and gave him succour, both physically and emotionally.

mahi mahi