Alchemy II

09 December 2015 | Kangaroo Bay, Bellerive (Tas)
08 December 2015
08 December 2015 | Maria Island (Tas)
05 December 2015 | Snug Cove, Eden (NSW)
05 December 2015 | Two Fold Bay, Eden (NSW)
29 November 2015 | Long Beach/Hole in the Wall, Jervis Bay (NSW)
27 November 2015 | Broken Bay/Cronulla (NSW)
26 November 2015 | Pittwater (NSW)
26 November 2015 | Smith Creek, Pittwater (NSW)
22 November 2015
22 November 2015 | Newcastle
21 November 2015 | Shoal Bay, Port Stephens (NSW)
21 November 2015 | Shoal Bay, Port Stephens (NSW)
17 November 2015 | Surfers Paradise
16 November 2015
16 November 2015 | Southport, Gold Coast
13 November 2015 | Tin Can Inlet & the Wide Bay Bar
10 November 2015 | Fraser Island, Queensland
10 November 2015 | Fraser Island, Queensland

Home Again - and a Selfie to Celebrate

09 December 2015 | Kangaroo Bay, Bellerive (Tas)
Thursday Dec 10th (Blog keeps saying it's the 9th)

A lovely lunch at the Dunalley Café yesterday gave us a chance to reflect on what a great adventure we've had. Five months after leaving Hobart, we've seen so many fantastic places, and encountered the most amazing people. How fortunate we've been to have such an opportunity.
Thanks to all those who've followed along on our blog and shared the adventure. And also to those who posted comments. It's back to the real world for us for now - but hopefully another adventure is not too far off...

Matt & Sally
Alchemy II

Bass Strait - nothing compared with the Mercury Passage!

09 December 2015 | Dunalley (Tas)
Yesterday as we sailed from Maria to Dunalley met with winds in excess of 40 knots. Luckily we'd only deployed the jib, as the wind was initially pretty light, and we'd decided to motor sail. Within half an hour of leaving, we had 30 to 40 knots. We didn't manage to capture the wind instrument registering 44 knots, but 42.8's not bad. Haven't seen winds like this since - well - since being in Tasmania!

The Sat Tracker

08 December 2015

Back in Tas

08 December 2015 | Maria Island (Tas)
A fast but bumpy trip across Bass Strait - Eden to Maria in just under 48 hours, dropped anchor early this morning (Tues). Bit zonked, taking it easy.
Amidst the drizzle Matt had a short lived attempt at flathead fishing - no bites within the first few minutes so it was decided that there were no fish (despite the fact that people on a boat about 50 metres caught three flathead within about five minutes - Matt suspects they pulled them out the freezer - not sure how he accounts for all that wriggling on the end of the line though). Looking forward to a celebratory lunch at the Dunalley Cafe tomorrow.

Don't you think pelicans are under-rated?

05 December 2015 | Snug Cove, Eden (NSW)
We've seen dozens and dozens of pelicans since returning to Australia, including these ones at Eden. What amazing looking birds (well, the rather fuzzy photo doesn't really show them looking incredibly amazing - but it was lovely to see them flying overhead in formation).

Eden - Last Stop Before Bass Strait

05 December 2015 | Two Fold Bay, Eden (NSW)
We did an overnighter Monday night to get from Jervis Bay to Eden, and this time had a really good sail with plenty of breeze from the right direction. Five days in Eden have disappeared in a flash. While waiting for the weather gods to get sorted, we've been on walks ashore, dinghied up the Towamba River, collected (free and very large) mussels from underneath the naval wharf, eaten fish and chips, and done lots of socialising. Nice way to start wrapping up our current adventure.
The photo is of the anchorage at East Boyd Bay - a really picturesque spot, oddly enough, with a wood chip mill right next to the national park.
We're planning to leave Eden tomorrow morning, hoping for a good Bass Strait crossing. Plan is to arrive at Maria Island early Tuesday morning - hopefully the flathead are still around.

Jervis Bay

29 November 2015 | Long Beach/Hole in the Wall, Jervis Bay (NSW)
We set off from Broken Bay on Saturday morning, with NE winds forecast. It was looking like being a pretty good day sail to Jervis Bay - or if things well, an overnighter to Eden. Somehow the north easterlies never materialised, and we were instead met with 15 knots from the south. For much of the day, we weren't even able to lay our course into Jervis Bay. A tad frustrating. Never mind - we resorted to sheer will power to mentally force those numbers on the wind instrument down so they were closer to an N - or even an E - than an S. It was a tough battle, but we eventually won. Then the wind dropped out completely, leaving us to motor for the last two or three hours. Not the most splendid day's sail ever.
On a positive note, we spotted plenty of marine life on the last part of the trip, including what we think were dolphins known as "false killer whales" - dark coloured, dome headed, and about 3m long. Unfortunately no decent photos to show.
From some distance away, we noticed a large plume of smoke coming from Beecroft Peninsula on the eastern side of Jervis Bay. It seemed like quite a sizeable fire, with a couple of choppers working flat out to drop water onto the blaze. We joked that the Navy had accidentally set fire to the bushland during their target practice (there's a big naval base at Jervis Bay) - according to the radio report we heard a little later, this was actually the case!
When we did reach Jervis Bay, there were at least half a dozen navy boats there, plus a couple of subs. Luckily we didn't run into any trouble as we headed for the eastern anchorage of Long Beach. A couple of people we subsequently met in Eden told us when they'd been there a day or so before, naval forces had commanded them to leave the area, as live firing was about to take place. The down side of all the naval goings on was that we weren't allowed to go ashore - and Jervis Bay has really beautiful beaches.
We spent the next day "taking it easy" (another break from the extremely tough life we lead at the moment), waiting for a southerly front to pass.

Twilight Entertainment at Broken Bay

27 November 2015 | Broken Bay/Cronulla (NSW)
As we sailed south from Pittwater, we resisted the temptation to go into Sydney Harbour. Instead we continued on to Broken Bay (Cronulla), about 15 n miles further south, just past Botany Bay. It was our first time there, and a friend had cautioned us to follow the leads closely as we went in. It was good advice, as the channel was really shallow, with barely enough room to pass an oncoming boat (although the small ferry that powered past with about an inch to spare didn't seem at all concerned). Aiming for a zero dollar day, we anchored in the Gunnamatta Bay mooring field. Our timing and placement were both good, as the local twilight race had just started, and we were anchored just below the bottom mark. We set ourselves up on deck, glass of wine in hand, all set for the free entertainment. We were duly treated to lots of interesting mark roundings, and one collision. The race boats tacked right through the mooring field (as per the J24 in the picture).

A rather nice looking lizard

26 November 2015 | Pittwater (NSW)
We spotted this little guy during a walk through Ku-Ring Gai Chase national park.

Pittwater - one of our favourite places

26 November 2015 | Smith Creek, Pittwater (NSW)
Ahhh... Pittwater.... We were so happy to be back in this beautiful, peaceful national park. It was as good as we remembered it from our trip last Christmas - but with about five hundred less boats.
We stayed for three days, two of which were spent taking cover from near 40 degree heat. Jumping into the river for a swim made life much more reasonable. It would have been nice to stay a little longer, but we needed to keep moving in order to get back to Hobart around mid-December.

Newcastle Port

22 November 2015
Picture taken on the way in to the marina.

Newcastle

22 November 2015 | Newcastle
A relatively unpleasant six hour sail with too little wind and too much swell from too many directions had us arriving in the port of Newcastle. There were a couple of huge ships to avoid as we arrived, but no dramas.
We had a very agreeable two night stay at the New Castle Cruising Yacht Club Marina. We both found Newcastle to be an interesting town, with plenty of character. There's been a lot of recent development, but many old historic buildings still around .
There's a great beach just next to the city. Matt was most impressed to see a group of school kids romping around in the surf, with the teachers sitting back relaxed in the shoreside pavilion, having transferred all duty of care to the local life guards. Try doing that in a Tasmanian school.

Another photo from Tomaree Head

21 November 2015 | Shoal Bay, Port Stephens (NSW)
This time looking east back towards the town of Shoal Bay.

Into NSW

21 November 2015 | Shoal Bay, Port Stephens (NSW)
A two day sail from the Gold Coast had us at Port Stephens, about 90 n miles north of Sydney. We only spent two days here, so not much time to explore the expansive waterways - another tripure for s. There was some wonderful scenery around. We walked up a track to Tomaree Head, and were rewarded with a fantastic view over the whole area. This picture is looking east out to sea.
The second day was spent hiding in the boat, avoiding the 40 degree heat. Way too much for Tasmanians...

Sand Relocation

17 November 2015 | Surfers Paradise
There was a huge pump set up on this jetty at the northern end of Surfers Paradise for pumping sand north across the Southport Seaway (barway) to keep it from silting up.
Nice beach.

Gold Coast Parklands

16 November 2015
We were really impressed by the Gold Coast parklands, and took advantage of the free BBQ facilities (good to avoid cooking in the boat when it's hot outside).

Urban entertainment

16 November 2015 | Southport, Gold Coast
We had a good sail from Fraser Island down to the Gold Coast, with plenty of current assist. To arrive in daylight, we again found ourselves trying to slow our boat down (boat doesn't seem keen on this). Passing through the Southport Seaway turned out to be pretty straightforward.
We anchored in the Broadwater, right next to the city. This was a really fun place to spend a few days. We were variously entertained and annoyed by numerous jet skis, jet boats, power boats and helicopters that passed in very close proximity to our anchoring spot. We did plenty of city things, like going to the cinema (saw a good Australian film called The Dressmaker), and eating out at an African restaurant.
The picture shows where we dinghied ashore, just a couple of hundred metres from where we were anchored.

South of Fraser Island, and the Wide Bay Bar (sand, not drinking)

13 November 2015 | Tin Can Inlet & the Wide Bay Bar
A one day stop at Tin Can Bay Marina allowed us to check out the local sailing club, do some washing, stock up on essentials, and fire up the coffee machine. Aiming for a couple of (much needed) zero dollar days, we then anchored two nights near Pelican Point, waiting for the right weather to get through (well, actually, over) the Wide Bay Bar, and start heading south down the Queensland coast.
There were literally dozens of other boats anchored at Pelican Point, all waiting to head south. We'd planned our departure for 9am on Friday 13th (good thing we're not superstitious), which as far as we could see was the best time for the given conditions. Matt woke early around 5am, and went into slight panic mode when he looked out the window and saw a very long line of boats all heading out towards the bar way. We were one of only three boats left in the entire anchorage! We wondered if we'd miscalculated - not a good thing to do when crossing a barway. We ended up leaving around 7 or so, and all went well, although it wasn't the most comfortable stretch of water to negotiate. In hindsight, we think the rest of the "fleet" headed off early so as to arrive at Mooloolaba before dark. We had a different plan - to do an overnighter, and get ourselves further south down to the Gold Coast. So our 9am departure plan had probably been a good one.
The picture is of a Pelican Point pelican - there were plenty of these around.

Kingfisher Resort (coffee/dingo land)

10 November 2015 | Fraser Island, Queensland
While at Fraser Island, we checked out the Kingfisher Resort (coffee fix), and spent a few days at Garry's Anchorage, hiding from some rather unpleasant weather. We did a couple of walks on the island, which were lovely - good to be back in the Australian bush. Signs advised us be careful of dingoes, and to carry a stick and defend ourselves "vigorously" if required. This had Sally feeling a little ill at ease, even more so after reading a sign at Garry's Anchorage warning of estuarine crocodile sightings in the area, and to take care! (We'd recently reassured overseas cruising friends visiting Australia that the hype about dangerous animals/critters in Australia was highly overrated). Matt, as usual, was unphased.
The photo is of the jetty in front of the resort.

Fraser Island & the Great Sandy Strait

10 November 2015 | Fraser Island, Queensland
After a few days hanging out at the Bundaberg Port Marina, we sailed 40 miles west across Hervey Bay to the north end of Fraser Island. A pretty rolly sail had Sally wishing she'd downed a Paihia Bomb before heading off. Things picked up with Matt catching a spotted mackerel, which turned out to be pretty tasty (similar to a Spanish mackerel, or Wahoo).
We dropped anchored at Platypus Bay, and went ashore for a walk in the sinkiest sand we'd ever come across. Seemed like quick sand, except our feet stopped sinking about six inches down. Low tide didn't help the situation. The walk was pretty challenging, but we were definitely in need of a decent work out.
Not a platypus in sight, but quite a few turtles bobbing around.
The next day we headed south, spending a few days making our way through the Great Sandy Strait, which separates Fraser Island from the mainland. No time for slacking, as plenty of concentration was required to follow all the navigation leads, as the Strait is extremely shallow in places - so shallow we could only get through certain sections at high tide.
Vessel Name: Alchemy II
Vessel Make/Model: Duncanson IMS Offshore 40 (with a bit tacked on the back)
Hailing Port: Hobart, Australia
Crew: Matt & Sally
Alchemy II's Photos - Main
No items in this gallery.

Who: Matt & Sally
Port: Hobart, Australia