12/21/2011, Broken Bay
After a comfy night in America Bay we moved over to a cove off a bigger bay called Pittwater. We picked up another private mooring in a cove called Coaster's Refuge and spent another comfy night.
Before we left in the morning we had a visit from an Aussie named Scott who stopped by to provide us with all sorts of useful information about Sydney harbour.
12/20/2011, Broken Bay
We did the distance from Camden Haven to Broken Bay at the mouth of the Hawksbury river in one overnight hop.
We had quite a bit of wind for most of the passage and averaged over 8 kts most of the way. We had a lot of help from the current than runs south along this coast of Australia.
For most of the night we carried our staysail and a double reefed main. At times we saw gusts to 40 kts. Fortunately the wind was behind us.
We ended up drifting into Broken Bay as the wind lightened but it was not very scary since the entrance is over a mile and a half wide and there is no bar at this river entrance to cause swells to break.
We were looking for some peaceful place to anchor and took the advice our our friend Chris Harmston and picked up a mooring in Ameria Bay just past the point where the Hawksbury empties into the bay.
It was a very comfy location but we had no cell phone coverage and and very marginal internet. I felt like Captain Cook except he did not know enough to miss his internet.
The Bays around this area are full of private moorings but its OK to pick one up as long as you keep someone on the boat to move it if the moorings owner shows up and wants to use it. Most of the moorings in the Bays were empty so we did not worry about being booted off our mooring as it would be less than 50 yards to the next one.
Shawn worked on sanding the bowsprit and I changed the oil on the diesel.
We both needed a good nights sleep after the bouncy ride the night before.
12/18/2011, Hunter Coast of Australia
We left Camden Haven around mid morning and motored for a while waiting for the wind to come up. We soon had lots of wind and current in our favor are were clipping along at better than 8 kts for most of the afternoon.
As the sun started down we sailed past Sugarloaf Point and were about ready to turn more easterly and head to our destination but the the AIS signals started popping up on our charting software and we decided to take our course a little farther offshore to avoid the waiting room for Newcastle harbor.
The screen shot at the top of this blog entry shows was we are seeing. Every green symbol is a ship where we have received complete AIS information including the name, course, speed, and destination for the vessel. The ones with long tails are going faster. Those are the ships that are departing and their destinations include South Korea, Japan, Brisbane, and Indonesia.
The ships showing short tails are the ones that are milling around waiting for their turn to go into Newcastle and unload. The ones with black dots on them are anchored.
The last time we saw this many ships on our AIS display was when we were in Panama on a mooring near the waiting area for the Panama canal,
The symbol that looks like a red target is us. The dashed red line is our actual course and the solid red line is what we had originally planned.
We are past all the ships that showed points of closest approach of less than 2 miles. We went behind a couple where we were half a mile behind them. Whenever the point of closest approach is less than a mile we adjust our course to go behind them.
We will be to Broken Bay (our destination) well in advance of our planned arrival time so the offshore diversion we took to avoid the congested shipping area will not be a problem.
Broken Bay is only 20 miles from Sydney. We plan to hang around Broken Bay and the Hawksbury river for a few days and head to Sydney when the mood strikes us. We can take a commuter train to Sydney from the Hawksbury river area so we may visit Sydney before we sail the boat down there.