Dither In Sin City
17 February 2018
You'd think we had boats that don't go to windward.
We're sitting here, we being about six boats, watching the forecasts and the wind switch from north to south and back again every day. Sometimes, north in the morning, south in the arvo (apparently that's Australian for the afternoon).
We only need a 48 hour window and, if push comes to shove, we can go to windward. But, all the local advice, solicited and unsolicited (!) says, chill, relax, be patient. Not my strong point.
So, it's another run ashore this time to walk around the market, no doubt to look at endless amounts of white socks, trainers and over-sized brassieres.
The good news is we won't have to hide from the twenty six party animals, nine of whom were ejected from the Carnival cruise ship that made an unscheduled stop here yesterday to end the misery the other two thousand passengers had been putting up with. The culprits were resoundingly cheered off the boat, we heard it two miles downwind, as they were shepherded ashore by the police launch to the waiting terra cops.
Well, if you're going to sin somewhere, it might as well be Eden
Wot!!! No Skimpy Bikini??
14 February 2018
Still negotiating pay rates for the skimpy bikini role so meanwhile, this will have to do.
Living the Dream
10 February 2018
It's jolly nice down here in Eden. Tied up with the other cruisers at the jetty, tourists and fishing boats coming and going, long walks on golden beaches and stunning views from the headland.
Unfortunately, as the jetty is exposed to the south and twenty to thirty knots was forecast, like rats deserting the sinking ship, one by one, the cruisers headed off for safe anchorages. Which is what we did yesterday afternoon. Just around the bay. No big deal. Business as usual.
Yeah. As usual. WHY, oh why is it you can roll up into an anchorage, pick a spot, drop your hook, and then, for as many hours as there are daylight, it doesn't make a sound? It doesn't drag along the bottom and the chain doesn't magically wrap itself around submerged rocks, coral heads or dumped vehicles.
Oh no. It always waits until it's pitch black, blowing a hooly and then........in the dead of night, when you're warm under the duvet and enjoying a passionate embrace with a hot movie star and "CLUNK". Like you just been jabbed with a 10,000 volt cattle prod, you're wide awake, on deck on your Y's, nursing a strain from your athletic leap out of bed peering into the dark for whatever made that damn noise.
And if it's not the "CLUNK", it's worse. It's the self inflicted, screaming, ooooooo...aaaaaaah, ooooooo...aaaaaaah of the anchor alarm you set. Just in case.
The fact you've never dragged the anchor anytime in the last ten years is irrelevant and doesn't enter the equation.
Religiously, once the anchor is set, we dial in the bearing to the anchor and set the distance. This drops a lovely and reassuring tiny graphic of your anchor on the screen with you, the boat, as a homely, glowing light blue spot pulsating gently as you draw a tiny snails track around the ocean. All showing all is indeed well.
And then, in the wee small hours, ooooooo...aaaaaaah, ooooooo...aaaaaaah. Cattle prod again.
Why wouldn't the App designers give you a choice of alarm sounds. The ooooooo...aaaaaaah, ooooooo...aaaaaaah for extremely deep sleepers, and as an option, perhaps tinkling water, like you get in the massage shop, to rouse you and gently part you from your dreams and that passionate embrace.
And how come you don't read about these nights of stress and broken sleep in "Living the Dream"?
I'll tell you. The authors of these damn books are sitting, tucked up in one of these 5 Anchor, marble lavvie marinas, tapping away on their keyboards, selling books about cruising "dreams" which are as much based on reality as my deep sleep, nocturnal, romantic adventures.
Wouldn't It Be Nice.......
07 February 2018 | Chain Bay, Bateman's Bay
We're anchored in Bateman's Bay, half way to Eden. Is that like Nirvana?
We left Jervis Bay, the home of the Australian navy in flat calm in company with a frigate which i suspect was heading to once again lob shells at the big red triangle being towed 50 metres behind a navy RIB.
After an hour, the wind filled in and we had another jolly nice sail south in ever increasing wind finally screeching into Bateman's at 10 knots in 25-30. 47 miles today. 70 odd yesterday. and still a few hundred to go. East coast Australia, maybe all of it for all I know, is relatively devoid of nooks and crannies into which you can tuck yer wee boat if it gets a bit blowy. Most of the towns where you might fancy a stop are on rivers with sand bars and crashing surf waves at their entrances. Only for the experienced, brave or foolhardy. For the latter, search Australia Bar Entrance on YouTube.
For the scaredy-cats, that's us, it means long hauls between all-weather ports but in the sun and a good breeze, who cares.
I just have the nagging doubt we're sailing further and further down a dark alley.
Wouldn't it be nice if we had a wee campervan.
05 February 2018 | Port Hacking, Jibbon Beach
The wind has turned, the rain has cleared and with luck we can remember which strings to pull and which buttons to press to make the boat go.
It's about 550 miles to Tasmania and that gets us down, or indeed, up into the Roaring Forties. Jings, crivvens, help ma boab!!!! (for Gunter, that's Oor Wullie for "ogottogott". For Oor Wullie, see Eric)
We can almost do it just day hopping. Which is appropriate given we're in the land of bunnies and kangaroos. Port Hacking is first up tonight. However, the winds here are a bit like Scotland, low pressure follows high, follows low in a regular cycle. The key apparently is to ride the northerlies and hide out when the southerlies blow. Pretty straightforward but there's not that many places to hide and the weather changes real fast. Forecasts I suspect are part science, part crystal ball.
However, it's very pleasant to be underway again, cruising gently south along the coast past such iconic places as Bondi Beach and Botany Bay, all in 10-12 knots, sun blazing and a peaceful sea....... but mostly pleasant because I can leave behind Sydney's Fine Dining as if we'd stayed much longer we'd be skint. $22 for pudding!!!!! Are they nuts?!!
Tasmania is much talked about. Much recommend. And mucho scary. Try this from the Tasmania Cruising Guide,
"Caution in Murray Pass.....Strong winds against tide can produce standing waves of up to 6 metres". Aargh. Maybe we should have gone on the Constellation of the Seas after all.
30 January 2018
By chance my brother and his missus are holidaying in Sydney just now so we took some time off from slaving on the boat, under the relentless, scorching sun......but with a light cooling breeze, to meet them in town.
Later, heading for the bus stops I spotted the Westfield Tower, Sydney's largest spire and highest restaurant. Pretty much the same as the tower in Auckland. It was there, when we were in the lobby, dithering over whether it was worth $40 to get an aerial view of the city that we heard a, "Psssstt". After assuring ourselves this wasn't the kind of involuntary passing of wind older folks apparently suffer from, but instead was coming from the Concierge who was beckoning us over with his index finger.
"Take my advice" he says, "if you want to go up the tower, pay an extra $10 and not only do you get to see the views but you get a Fine Dining experience at the same time. And it really only costs $10!!!!"
Anne immediately thought about how much money we'd save. I immediately thought, "that's us up to a round hundred.....brilliant". End result was we did get a great view while having a leisurely Fine Dining experience. So, as we spotted the Westfield Tower, I passed on this tip to Eric, knowing he likes to treat Polly and that it was also their wedding anniversary.
The problem is it backfired as Eric asked us to join him. So, last night, we headed into town to enact our cunning plan. We'd arrive about an hour early, kid on we didn't know what time Eric had booked and enjoy an hour in the bar spinning around above Sydney.
Backfire #2 was when reception said, yes we could go up but our "dining time" would start the minute we got on the elevator. Plan blown we waited with the dossers on the shopping mall seats until the allotted hour. Our dining time arrived and we were ushered into the lift and whisked up to the 47th floor. Eric was in loud checked shorts and in cunning plan #1 we had only just been turfed out Sydney's other elevated revolving restaurant for not being smart / casual enough. "What!" Blusters Anne. This is the best gear we've got."
"I'm afraid no running shoes says she" pointing to my well worn trainers. You know, the Ines where the wee rubber bit at the front has come loose and looks like the lower lip of an Amazonian guppy. "They've never run an inch" says I but to no avail. Turfed out.
So, as the sliding doors opened I was a bit worried we'd face the embarrassment of being turned away again. You know, guys in dirty trainers and garish, checked shorts, last seen on a golf course in Florida don't really sit well with starched white linen, softly lit surrounds and Fine Dining.
It was therefore something of a shock to be ushered into an aerial version of a school dinner hall.....at lunch time.
For at least five minutes I walked around in a daze saying, "This isn't right, this isn't right". "There must be a mistake" And there was. Fine Dining was another floor up and another $10. (Although you always need to allow a further $10 for the fish supper you have to buy on the way home cause you're starving). Anyway, it was what we booked so we joined the hordes clattering about and, once over the shock, enjoyed the Sydney views, the company and the eat as much as you like buffet was very good.
And, bonus.........I could see my boat from there.
(PS: for followers patiently awaiting tales of derring-do on the high seas, sailing will recommence shortly.)
Up and Over
27 January 2018
One minute you're there. Next you're somewhere else.
Before I left Australia I thought I'd follow my cousin Graham's advice for long haul flights and get some sleeping pills. So, off to the chemist, a wee white lie and bingo, a packet of prescription only whack pills.
Back at the boat I bumped in Plastik Plankton and Kathi, a GP was horror struck when I told her of my cunning travel plan. "Ever heard of thrombosis? Sleep for 6 hours without moving on a plane and you'll wake up in theatre with just the one leg."
Grand plan consigned to the bin.......until we joined the screaming weans and their mums on the midnight, fifteen hour drag to China.
Two of the magic pills each, ear plugs in, eye mask on and......hello China.
What a great way to fly. Comatose.
And I've still got two legs.
26 January 2018 | The Flagship???
Yesterday was Australia Day. I'm thinking today is Hangover Day. Boy, do the Australians know how the party.
The whole of Sydney was out on the skite yesterday. From the navy to the airforce to en masse Bruce and Sheila, all having a jolly old time throwing shrimps on barbies, choking down a stubby, diggeriedoo playing and tossing boomerangs about willy nilly in celebration of the arrival of First Fleet on 26th January 1788 and the birth of Australia.
It's so nice to see the colony doing so well.
(More pics on Facebook)