Annecam

23 April 2017 | Clarence River, Maclean, NSW
22 April 2017 | Clarence River, Maclean, NSW
20 April 2017 | Clarence River, Maclean, NSW
17 April 2017 | Iluka Bay, NSW.
14 April 2017 | Port Macquarie, NSW
09 April 2017 | Port Macquarie, NSW
07 April 2017 | Port Macquarie, NSW
06 April 2017 | Cape Hawke Harbour, NSW
04 April 2017 | Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, NSW
01 April 2017 | Fame Cove, Port Stephens, NSW
29 March 2017 | Fame Cove, Port Stephens, NSW
27 March 2017 | Morning Bay, Pittwater, NSW
22 March 2017 | Sailors Bay, North Bridge, Middle Harbour, NSW
21 March 2017 | Sailors Bay, North Bridge, Middle Harbour, NSW
19 March 2017 | Sailors Bay, North Bridge, Middle Harbour, NSW
16 March 2017 | Sailors Bay, North Bridge, Middle Harbour, NSW
14 March 2017 | Sailors Bay, North Bridge, Middle Harbour, NSW
09 March 2017 | Sailors Bay, North Bridge, Middle Harbour, NSW
05 March 2017 | Sailors Bay, North Bridge, Middle Harbour, NSW
02 March 2017 | Sailors Bay, North Bridge, Middle Harbour, NSW

Looking back.

23 April 2017 | Clarence River, Maclean, NSW
Cam "H"
On this day in 2012, it was exciting times for us we had a set date to inspect a yacht in Croatia. We were getting ready to leave Australia, flights were all booked, accommodation was booked and we even had a hire car for the first week to get around Croatia.
On this day in 2013, We were tied up in the Marina Dalmatia, Sukosan, Croatia. Annie was sick, we decided that she had a good dose of the Man Flu. We did go into Zadar to purchase provisions.
On this day in 2014, we were in Licata, Sicily. We had just purchased a new TV and it is still working. We were getting ready for ANZAC day with our Kiwi friends Lica and Gavin off the catamaran Sol Mira, they were tied up to the marina wall and we were on the first pontoon, we used to call the water between us the Tasman.
On this day in 2015, my son Tom and his former partner had just left us after two weeks exploring the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Annie and I moved around to Tortola to purchase provisions for our passage to St Marten.
On this day in 2016, Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands. One of my old work colleges Emma and her partner Jarryd were on board along with Robyn the crew member who helped sail Annecam from Panama to the Galapagos, Robyn had just told me that she was not going to help cross the Pacific Ocean. At the time, I was considering doing the passage solo.
On this day in 2017, we are anchored in the Clarence River at Maclean, we are making plans to sail back down to Iluka. We have been told that the Harwood Bridge will be closed for maintenance commencing on the 28th of this month and will remain closed until June the 9th. As nice as it is anchored here we would not like to spend the winter here, we have family and friends to catch up with in Brisbane and beyond.
The photo is Annie and a lovely pair of Dolphin ridding on our bow wave as we sailed up to here from Port Stephens.
In life don’t follow your head, as it has no heart: don’t follow your heart for it has no logic; follow your soul it has both.

Beautiful town.

22 April 2017 | Clarence River, Maclean, NSW
Cam "H"
We could get used to life on the river, it seems to be always nice and calm, it’s very quiet with very little traffic, there is the occasional mooing coming from the cattle that are grazing on the nearby farms but apart from that you can almost hear yourself think.
Yesterday we were picked up by Laura, we first met Laura and her husband Steve on their catamaran Eaglehawk in the Iluka Bay at Christmas last year. It was there that they said to us that if we were ever up this way to give them a call, we did and Laura came down in her car and took us up to their lovely home at Ashby Heights for coffee and muffins, Steve was in Yamba working on Eaglehawk, getting her ready for the sailing season. Here in Australia the sailing season for cruisers heading up north is the none cyclone season.
Today we took our dinghy over to Maclean, we took a stroll around this beautiful town. I’m sure that you understand the feeling one gets when you first stop at a new location, that feeling that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside, that feeling that you feel safe. That is exactly how we both felt the first time that we came ashore here and so far, that feeling has not changed one bit. The people we have met here are friendly and very helpful, there is a neatness to this town and the surrounding areas that definitely gives the impression that people care, the streets are clean, the lawns are neatly manicured, so far the only downside is the occasional mosquito that always seem to bite Annie, they never seem to annoy me hehe.
We did have a lovely lunch at the Services Club, purchasing ANZAC badges as we entered. From the club we had a good view of Annecam anchored across the river. We watched two catamarans Somewhere and Exhale with Tanya, Alan, Fiona and Trevor on board sailing back down the river from Grafton, anchor alongside Annecam.
The photo is Laura, Annie and myself in Laura’s car driving up to her home on the south side of the river.
As you go through life, you must do what is right for you, no one else walks in your shoes.
Maclean, NSW

River Pirates.

20 April 2017 | Clarence River, Maclean, NSW
Cam "H"
We spent two very peaceful nights anchored in Iluka Bay, we were planning to head further North to catch up with some of the Go West Rally participants up at the Gold Coast, the organizers John and Leanne Hembrow had invited us all to meet the Go East Rally participants but the conditions on the bar and the forecast conditions for the Gold Coast were for dangerous surf, so we decided to take a cruise up the Clarence River.
This River system is nothing short of amazing, there is plenty of depth under our keel so long as we pay attention to our charts and the many leads that have been placed along the way. We had the chance and took it to have the Harwood Bridge opened to allow us to pass through. The Harwood Bridge is part of the Pacific Highway and this now adds to the many bridges we have either sailed through or under over the last 5 years.
The traffic on the river consists of a few fishing trawlers, the odd hire house boat and an occasional cruising yacht like us. The interesting part of cruising up a tidal river like this one is the current we have to push into makes for a very slow trip, even though the tides are only around 0.75 metres, it creates a flow of 2 to 3 knots and when it is against you, it seems to take forever to get anywhere.
As I write this blog, we are anchored on the opposite side of the river to the town of Maclean, we still have about 0.5 to 1 meter of water under our keel and our Mantus is buried into the mud, we have heard that there is a very rocky bottom on the town side and there have been many an anchor left there as they become wedged between the rocks and no one swims or dives here as they say it is bull shark central, who wants to test the waters here to see of it is true, I don’t.
Maclean is a Scottish heritage town and most of the power poles have the tartan and the name of the different Scottish Clans on them. On the advice of Craig the Harwood Bridge contact we went to the Maclean Hotel for lunch as he recommended we try the rump steak and at $8.00 for steak, chips and salad we were that impressed, we went back for dinner with the crew off Seawindow, Sherill and Dave, we would be hard pressed to cook our own meals on board Annecam for that amount and we have no dishes to wash, that is a bonus.
The photo is our track heading up this amazing river.
In life instead of wishing that you were someone else, be proud who you are. You will never know who has been looking at you, wishing that they were you.

What a ride.

17 April 2017 | Iluka Bay, NSW.
Cam "H"
The last few days we have been day hoping up the New South Wales coast. Port Macquarie was a nice place to wait for a suitable weather window, we waited for the right moment, the run-in tide and headed to Coffs Harbour, getting to Coffs was a bit of an effort as we were pushing against 3 to 4 knots of current and to make us go a bit slower the wind almost dropped out to zero, even with our cast iron top sail we were only managing around 3.5 knots of speed over the ground. We were just on half an hour late, we gave Marine Rescue an eta of 2130 and we entered the harbour at 2200. Once inside Coffs Harbour we were lucky enough to pick up one of the public moorings with the help of a lovely gentleman on his catamaran called Knee Deep, he shone his torch on the free mooring so we could find it. Early the next morning we left Coffs and headed to Iluka/Yamba.
This day on the water was a lovely sunny, warm and just a nice day to be out there kind of day, we had to close haul for the entire passage and were pushing hard to get to the entrance of the Clarence River at the start of the run-in tide. Just as the sun had set and the twilight was about to give way to the night sky, Annie spotted a flare between us and the shore line, I reported the sighting to New South Wales Marine Area Command, giving them our position and the direction and the path that the flare took, I completed several radar searches without result and there was absolutely no radio traffic on the VHF and there were no AIS targets on our system at all, I received two call backs from them just as we were approaching the bar, it was dark and we had to navigate across from a different direction than the leads as the bar had shifted because of the recent floods. Just as we made it right into the middle of the entrance we had a series of breaking waves crash just off our starboard beam, we did get pushed around a couple of times but we made it into the calm waters and proceeded to anchor in almost the exact same spot we had been anchored in over Christmas.
This morning I saw the online news and there had been a meteor sighting at about the same time as the flare sighting, we will never know for sure but that would most likely be what it was.
The photo shows our track as we head north from Sydney to where we are now.
Life is not about how you survived the storm, it’s about how you danced in the rain.

Crossing the bar.

14 April 2017 | Port Macquarie, NSW
Cam "H"
Crossing surf bars, the point where the river or estuarine system meets the ocean is a common but extremely dangerous part of boating in many parts of the world and the New South Wales, Australian coast happens to be right up there with the best of them. Every year boats are damaged and people are either killed or injured when attempted crossings go wrong.
It is mandatory for all persons in a recreational vessel to wear a PFD Type 1 when crossing a bar in this part of the world. There are some simple but important points to abide by;
1. Stop, look and think before proceeding. If you are not 100% certain of your safety, you should not go, there is nothing out there that is worth risking the boat or your life for.
2. If you get the chance, there are several online cameras here in Australia that enable you to observe the bar from land or your own navigation station if you have mobile wifi on board.
3. Talk with the local Marine Rescue or check with the nearest local authorities. We always log every passage with Marine Rescue and a call before crossing any bar is a sure way of finding out what the conditions are like.
4. If you have the opportunity, watch how other vessels cross the bar. Take note of the line they follow in and out, where they wait and watch and where they move off to cross the bar, sometimes they will show you where not to be but most times they show you the right place to be.
5. Take careful note of any navigation aids that may help, particularly leads that mark the channel.
6. An incoming tide is always safer. Along with current weather information the state of the tide is very important, we never try to cross on an outgoing tide, this is the time that the bar will be the most dangerous, if we can time our crossing for the top of the tide or slack water the easier the crossing is.
7. Check that your boat is operating correctly and make sure throttle and steering systems are perfect. Make sure that everything is secured, the last thing you want is to have something heavy flying around causing damage. Ensure your safety gear is in good shape and a PFD Type 1 is available and properly fitted to each person on board. We also tether ourselves so we cannot leave the boat.
The following information and points are from New South Wales Marine Rescue;
The movement of sand along the coast and sediment from catchments builds up bars at the entrances to estuary’s, rivers and lakes. The dynamic forces of wave action and water movement change the shape, depth and channels on the bar quite regularly.
A big storm may deepen it by a metre or more or a long season of on-shore breezes may build the bar by the same amount. A strong out flowing tide provides more drag on an incoming swell and forces it to be steeply faced, higher and more inclined to close out or dump.
The wind direction can also be a factor in setting up both waves on the bar and angling the swell at different directions onto the bar. The channels in the bar are cut by tidal movement and do change from time to time.
 Always check the weather before leaving port.
 Make sure you know of any alternative ports or safe anchorage areas before heading out. If the bar becomes impossible to cross make sure you are carrying enough fuel to reach that alternative location.
 Alcohol and boating are a dangerous combination at any time. The problems of crossing a bar demand a clear head from all on board.
 Most bars or bar areas have radio coverage available on the VHF (Ch 16). Marine Rescue Base stations can provide bar information, sea conditions, weather forecasts and tidal data. Using the radio base adds to your safety particularly as you can call before and after crossing to ensure that someone knows you are on the bar and organize assistance should it be needed.
 Make sure you understand the capacity of your boat to handle breaking seas. Some boats are not designed for the job.
 Most importantly, the skipper should have both the experience and temperament to handle the situation. If you are new to boating only cross bars in good conditions and gain experience gradually.
The photo is me replacing the tap in the forward head, this body was not meant to squeeze into tight places.
Some of the greatest pleasures in life is doing what others say cannot be done.

Making landfall

09 April 2017 | Port Macquarie, NSW
Annie and Cam "H"
This is just a snapshot of what happened to us many times over, 52 times, in 52 different countries over the last 5 years. Sailing on Annecam we experienced the exhilaration, the shear adrenalin rush of opening a new door to completely new experiences of different cultures, different customs, beautiful people, different tastes and smells but by far the most excitement, sometimes the most apprehension and sometimes just sheer terror was just as we were arriving at new location.
We are very aware of the moment. Our senses are heightened by the dangers that we are facing Annecam is balanced between wind, water and the surge of the ocean swell. We are arriving at a new destination, a new country and a port or bay we have never seen before. This is all new territory for us. We can smell the earthy pungent perfume that is land, forest and flowers. We have spent many days and nights on passage, we are on constant watch for dangerous reef systems, fishing nets and other vessels, the closer we get to our planned destination, the more vigilant we must be. We keep asking the same questions, are our charts accurate, are the channel markers in the right place, are they there at all or were they blown away by the last big storm. We call the harbour mast on the radio, sometimes we receive an answer, most time we do not. We look for other cruisers who are already anchored and ask for directions, sometimes we have met before.
We seek out the Customs, Immigration and Bio-Security to gain entry to the new country, sometimes they stamp our passports and sometimes they do not. Sometimes they ask us to berth Annecam on the Customs and Quarantine Dock, most time they do not. By and large, most times the officials we must deal with are pleasant, efficient and are extremely helpful, sometimes they are not. Some countries have a small fee to complete the entry and sometimes they require large sums of money from us just to cross their border. There are still a few countries that require us to have a cruising permit, most do not. There have been a few countries that the Bio-Security will board us and spray insecticide, to eliminate any insects that we might be carrying and the fee that they charge is sometimes frightening. We must go through the same process every time that we depart a country to obtain the clearance documents that will be required to gain entry into the next country.
We have been asked if we would do the same passage again. our answer is we would not. We loved what we did, the places we managed to get to, the people we met but to do the same journey again would be like going to the same holiday location every year, the same supermarket each week, it would become so mundane, the same old experience, over and over again. We love opening new doors to new adventures, we have a rough plan for the rest of this year, we still love the thrill of going somewhere we have never been to before, this is where the excitement is for us and who knows what tomorrow has in store for any of us. We all know that tomorrow is never promised, yesterday is only a memory and what we do today is where we are.
Keep following us on this blog and our facebook page Sailing on Annecam, we just might surprise you as we sometimes surprise ourselves with the places we visit on this journey.
The photo is us out and exploring a new location, new shops and this is definitely somewhere we have never been to before.
What is life without new experiences to mark your passage through time?

Vessel Name: Annecam
Vessel Make/Model: Bavaria 46
Hailing Port: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Crew: Campbell & Annette Hair
About: Cam has had a long love for the ocean, over 40 years on and off various boats. Annie would love smooth seas and to never to see another winter.
Extra: Rig heavy, reef early, and pray often; for God does not promise us an easy passage, but He does promise a safe anchorage.
Home Page: http://my.yb.tl/annecam/quicklink/1183/4050
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Annecam's Photos - Main
7 Photos
Created 15 November 2014
Up on the rock
17 Photos
Created 29 October 2014
The last few days cruising 2014
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Created 29 October 2014
Greece, Italy & Sicily
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Greece
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