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First Light adventures
still here
16/05/2009, Wollongong

Still in Wollongong but happy to be here, as the winds have really strengthened overnight, recorded 50 knots early this morning, so good to be tied up snuggly against something solid. Went for an early morning walk, picked up the NSW alternative to the Sat. AGE and had a leisurely read over breakfast. The esplanade and beachfront is a popular place for exercising with walking trails to Flagstaff Hill, running tracks and cycling paths. So it was a hive of activity around here this morning with many people out ...then the coffee shops and restaurants fill up a little later. This evening we plan to scale the big, fat, truck tyre that is our harbour fender at the moment and try one of the Thai rest. in town. The weather for tomorrow looks a little more promising with the winds going round to the SW, so we plan to head to the CYC in Sydney Harbour and catch up with our friends off Freycinet 11, who are already there.

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20/05/2009 | clive vernon
Hi you guys- 3 days and no comments- what's happening? Surely you're not still stuck in the beautiful gong are you?
Mixed bag of weather-unscheduled stopover
15/05/2009, Wollongong

After a first night motor sailing under a full moon we rounded Gabo Island early Wednesday morning on a strengthening breeze. The long range weather forecast sounded dire for Tas/ Vic waters, so we were keen to keep ahead of anything nasty. Zooming along at 8-9 knots we were confident of reaching Sydney in good time. However, we counted our chickens too early and the wind disappeared and it was back to motoring. The lighthouse at Green Cape took forever to disappear as we began to feel the effects of the famous east coast current so well depicted in 'Finding Nemo'!! Our speed across ground was TWO knots less than our boat speed. However late on Wednesday, that all began to change and with a strong southerly breeze we began to reach speeds of 9-10 knots. We surged ahead all night and by morning on Thurs we were off Jervis Bay, but with an early morning weather forecast of a strong wind warning! Reefed down with a small staysail, we were making forward progress, but getting tossed around by confused waves and swell and slowed down by THAT current, so thought we'd head for Sydney instead of Pittwater, our ETA being about 2300 hrs.

However, all those plans went ' out the window' when after a day of working really hard in the strong winds the autopilot blew a fuse! This either meant a further 8hrs hand steering if we pressed onto Sydney or a diversion into Wollongong. We were just 11 miles south when it gave up on us. So after a call to the coast guard to check on the depth of the harbour here, we decided to turn left and head in. It is a very pretty, well developed waterfront overlooking a harbour that's mainly used by the local fishing fleet. The friendly coastguard had a spot picked out for us and we are now tied up, where a large fishing vessel should be and have to scramble over a monster, black tyre (fishing boat size fender!) to get up on the jetty. However, just a short walk and there are coffee shops and restaurants.. a 10 minute walk and you are in a major shopping area. So a very convenient place to stop. There must be a high Asian population living here, as we found a great Asian supermarket, so topped up our provisions and noticed many Thai and Vietnamese restaurants in town. Bern has spent most of the afternoon establishing an easily accessible fuse, that can be readily changed on the go, as this is likely to happen again when the autopilot is overloaded in rough conditions. After two days of doing watches and interrupted sleep it was good to get a straight 6-8hrs last night in flat water!. This afternoon's forecast is for strengthening winds before a change to the SW, so we maybe here for another day ( a chance to try out one of those Thai restaurants) before heading to Pittwater.

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We're on the way north
12/05/2009, Paynesville

Crossed the bar at Lakes Entrance at 1300. Waves were breaking all the way across but every so often it would settle down. We waited just inside the entrance watching it for awhile them headed out. We copped two good size waves as they were about to break, but got out safely with only a bit of spray on the deck but very dry mouths!! Have been motoring for the last 5 hours due to no wind. A dolphin has been keeping us company, It's now dark and we are about to have a bite to eat...baked beans on toast...not our normal dinner but easy to prepare on the go. There's a fair bit of cloud cover, but still hoping the full moon shows its face..much more pleasant at night to have some light. We can see the flare from one of the oil rigs off to our starboard side and a fishing boat off to port. We have already started our watches and have each managed to get a few hours rest in preparation for going through the night with broken sleep. Apparently there is a 'strong wind' warning out for tomorrow, so we are hoping to be passed Gabo Island before it kicks in.

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14/05/2009 | Darren
Great to see you on the net. It will be a hoot tracking your progress. I plan to splash cold water on my face, squish myself into an uncomfortable position and look at this when I haven't slept for 12hrs. That way, I can get into the vibe of the whole thing ;)
Have a great and SAFE trip.
Looking forward to words and pics.
14/05/2009 | Dee
Hey Di and Bernie
this is fantastic - we'll be following you -
'safe travel" as the Zambians say!!
love Dee.
15/05/2009 | Hamster
Hi Bernie & Di
Hope the dolphins are making good conversation and the winds are fair.
take care.
15/05/2009 | Trevor & Susy
Hi Di & Bernie, this is cool...well done for setting it up. Somethings don't change...baked beans on toast, yum!
Looking forward to following your adventures. Don't forget to wake me when it's my shift.
Trev & Susy
Preparing for Pacific cruise
30/04/2009, Paynesville

Almost finished preparations, the boat is being stocked with food and spares, solar panels have been fitted. Planning to depart from Lakes Entrance about the 12th May and sail for Sydney where we will clear customs some time after the 23rd May.

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Saling to Hobart
29/01/2009, Paynesville

Finally on our way..Bern Jim & Di.. and great to be out on the water on such a blasting hot day of 42deg. Crossing a very calm bar at Lakes E was a great start to a perfect afternoon sail across northern Bass Strait with a cool easterly sea breeze. It was interesting to sail so close to the oil rigs and watch all the helicopters coming and going between platforms. The wind eventually went NE which suited us perfectly and we made good sea miles till later in the evening when the wind died out and we had to resort to motoring. Successfully topped up our water tanks courtesy of the watermaker and all enjoyed a hot shower before starting our watch rotations. We motored all through the night and continued to do so right through the next day. Huge NE swell and no wind made conditions on board very uncomfortable..just rolling around..thank goodness for the sea sickness tablets. It seemed to take forever to get past Flinders Island such a long piece of land. Just off Eddystone Point the wind did a complete change and Bern just had enough time to change the big jib for the staysail, before we were blasted with a 20-30 knot southerly change. The mainsail was also double reefed mainsail and with the smaller staysail the boat slowed and life on board was a little more comfortable again. Amid all the chaos of the wind and rising seas we were entertained by a huge group of dolphins enjoyable distraction from what was going on around us. Heard a lot of radio activity with fellow yachties taking refuge from the change in weather behind Eddystone Point. We decided to keep going as we weren't sure of the anchoring possibilities nor the protection offered by sheltering behind Eddystone. Our decision to keep going proved to be a good one as the wind eventually moderated as the evening wore. Once again we had to resort to motoring and finally arrived in beautiful Wineglass Bay the following morning. It was warm and sunny and we enjoyed a nice cold beer to celebrate having made landfall after two nights and two days sailing.

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First Light 111 Adventures
Who: Bernie
Port: Melbourne Australia
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