10 January 2019
Our alarm was set for 0230 hrs, over our morning cuppa we did another weather check, with the weather window still looking good last minute preparations were done, breakfast prepared for on the way, sails prepared, electronics checked, lockers all locked, barrel of home brew secured and a final check that everything is stowed securely.
0330hrs the engine was started, released ourselves from our mooring and we were on our way. The waters were calm with SE winds only up to 10 knots, swells minimal. We were motor-sailing with the main, mizzen and one jib. We averaged about 4.5 - 5 knots the first 12 hours and we were having a comfortable passage at this stage.
Into the 13th hour, the winds increased up to 15 knots and were NE, our speed over ground (SOG) increased to 6-6.5 knots, still motor-sailing with main, mizzen & jib, we were happy with this. As dusk was starting to settle in we prepared Kestrel for her overnight passage. We decided to leave the main, with one reef up for the night. This is a decision not taken to lightly as the last thing we wanted was for her to become over powered while only one person was on their watch. To drop the main one needs to venture forward, we had jacklines in place which we could clip ourselves to if it needed to be dropped. However this was not to be done while only one person was on their watch in case any difficulties should happen, as the other person is below in the cabin asleep, oblivious to any dramas unfolding above on deck. With the predicted winds to be less than 15 knots we left the main reefed. When one of us were at the helm, life jacket and personal location device was always worn.
When doing an overnight passage our shifts are pretty informal. We know some couples who do 2,3,or 4 hours on/off. We pretty much give each other as much time asleep/resting as the other one can stay awake and alert for. I'm always popping motion sickness tablets pre and on passage which inclines to make my eyelids heavy and my mind a bit mushy.
We saw many pods of dolphins on our crossing of Bass Strait, with many choosing to swim at our bow, remaining with us for some time. No matter how often one sees dolphins they always bring great pleasure. Albatross were also plentiful. These birds are also majestic to watch.
We were planning our first anchorage to be Wine Glass Bay, however as I took a turn for the worst and had been struggling with motion sickness for 12hrs and trying to hold it together, well no, I was past holding it together, I was ready to curl up and die, we called for an early anchorage at Babel Island/Flinders Island, Tasmania. So having crossed the Bass Strait, 201nm/37hrs later, this became our first anchorage on Tassie coast. Yes, we made it across the Bass Strait. Worst of all I was in no condition to celebrate this crossing and my bottle of champagne remained unopened.
We spent one night here recovering. Then in the morning we lifted anchor and motor sailed onward 27nm/7 hrs to Lady Barron. Once underway it was evident we had an auto pilot issue and we were required to hand steer. We were so so so pleased this problem did not happen crossing the Bass Strait, hand steering was manageable for 7 hrs to Lady Barron.
Our entry into Lady Barron channel was interesting to say the least. We treated this like a bar entry and approached the breakers on a rising tide, 2 hrs before high tide, crossing the breakers our deep reader at its lowest read 2.5m, that's below the keel.
On arriving to Lady Barron we went onto a public mooring, unfortunately here we remained for 10 day, sitting out southerly winds and several strong wind warnings for the area. When weather prevailed we dinged ashore, had hot showers, and used the laundromat which just happened to be part of the Tavern. Having a beer at 1100am made the laundry run much more pleasurable. We bleed the auto pilot several times to remove any air present, then crossed our finger that the problem was fixed.
Our next passage was the Banks Strait which will then take us to Tassie mainland, this was going to be another overnight passage. We departed Lady Barron on 19th Dec. Our exit from here had to be 1 hr 30mins before high tide so that at high tide we would be at the shallowest point which happen to show 1.7m under the keel. Had we done this at low tide we would have had 30cm under the keel, not something one wants.
We motor sailed 163nm/30hrs with Easterly winds < 15 knots. All was going well........until we were 15nm off our destination, Triabunna. We were aware the winds were forecast to change to SE before then becoming Southerlies. We had predicted we should have arrived in Triabunna by the time the Southerlies arrive, however this was not to be the case.
The SE were short lived and the Southerlies arrived early hitting us head on, not making much head way we increased rpm (rev's) .........this is when it all turned to shit....... the motor stopped, and wouldn't start again. Gerd left me at the helm to monitor our drift while he went below to problem solve. Kestrel was placed into a "Heave-to" position, which is a way of slowing/stopping a yachts forward progress, in land terms it "parks the boat" while at sea to minimise SOG (speed over ground).
With no success to restart the motor and the head winds increasing 25+ knots, we decided we were in strife and in need of help. We placed a call over the VHF to Tasmania Marine Radio. We were very fortunate that a fishing vessel "Mighty Blue" was able to come and assist us, and within 40min we were under tow to Triabunna. After 2hr 30min towing, we were met by another smaller vessel, Adam and his crew who took over towing us and we were safety placed onto one of their moorings. The following day we were towed by Ben to Triabunna Marina and kindly offered the use of a berth belonging to Tassal. A big shout out to Might Blue crew, Adam and crew, Ben and Tassal who kindly offered their help in our time of need.
We arrived into a berth at the Marina on December 21st, the day before all local business were about to close their doors for Christmas and New Year, this was not a good time to break down. We were hoping to have celebrated Christmas and New Year in Hobart, this was not to be the case, much to our disappointment. We made all the possible phone calls before business doors shut, and made arrangements for Gary, diesel mechanic and made a booking for the slip for the New Year.
So there was not much more we could do, so we embraced the little fishing village of Triabunna over Christmas and New Year period. Gerd spent numerous hours problem solving as to why the motor stopped on us. Turns out we had a problem with the lift pump so this was replaced. We also replaced the starter battery and replaced 2 fuel filters. We got Chris to give the motor a tune up, then she was humming like a humming bird. Next problem to be addressed was the shaft in which we had to wait for Jamie at the slip to reopen after New Year's. During our tow we had major vibration issues happening so we needed to slip her and investigate this problem.
January 7th, Jamie was open for business, we were on the slip and work began. The shaft was removed, a job that sounds easy to write, however to remove the shaft the rudder had to be removed first. Once removed it was evident the bearings needed replacing, we were pleased that this was the problem and not something worst that required a new shaft. The parts were ordered and arrived lunchtime the next day, then the work began, putting it all back together. This was a job lead by Gerd and myself as his little flunky, the go fetch, do this, do that person, a very important role that required hundreds of trips up and down the ladder.
We were ready and were returned back into the water 9th Jan. First stop the fuel station, where we filled up with 434L diesel @ $1.49L = $651.45. Then we were on our way. We decided to only do a short run today to make sure everything was working as it should be. So we motored onto Shelly Beach 4nm out of Triabunna. As all was working well, we stayed one night here and in the morning motored onto Chinaman Bay at Maria Island. We will stay here for several nights to explore the Island and wait for the weather window to continue on through Denison Canal to Hobart.
14 December 2018
We motored sailed from Bermagui Marina to Eden on 27.11.2018, covering 45nm/9hrs. We didn’t have much wind, < 10 knots, hence needing to motor sail giving us average SOG 5 knots/hr. On arriving we anchored at East Boyd Bay. We remained anchored here for 7 days, watching and waiting for the weather window to cross the Bass Strait.
Yes, sailing across the Bass Strait all seemed a bit surreal to me. Having only heard and read about this piece of water that separates Tasmania from the Australian mainland, all of which make references to the strong currents between the Indian Ocean and Tasman Sea’s Pacific Ocean waters providing a strait of powerful, wild storm waves and notorious for its unruly weather. Yet here we were about to take on this enormous physical and emotion challenge.
We were one of 5 boats anchored in East Boyd Bay waiting to depart and cross Bass Strait, this was reassuring as many discussions took place between all parties, discussing weather patterns, different routes and anchorages after crossing, also giving moral support to each other.
While waiting for departure we were able to fine tune preparation for the passage, making sure everything was stowed securely, goulash soup and bolognaise cooked and placed in freezer ready to be pulled out just prior to departure. Snacks were prepared, packaged and ready for quick easy access. Foul weather gear, warm clothing all prepared and accessible. Jacklines and our safety harness’s prepared, and the list goes on and on.
I was feeling confident we had taken good measures to ensure our safety and comforts were well prepared for. As I still struggle with motion sickness, good preparation is essential as I move about below deck as less as possible.
We also used this time anchored in Eden to explore the area and made ourselves familiar with the Whaler’s history, visiting Eden’s Killer Whale Museum, sighting Old Tom’s skeleton and took two walks visiting Davidson Whaling Station and The Historical Boyds Tower. All of which was very interesting to learn about. Our walks were finished with lunch’s comprising of steamed black mussels as these were plentiful in the bay and easy to gather off the pylons.
We had an onshore excursion and had a much enjoyed lunch with friends, Greg, Karen and Kohle. We were rather spoilt and were given homemade mango & chilli sauce, beetroot chutney along with garlic and fresh herbs out of the vegetable garden. Not to mention the oysters, these were delicious, thanks once again guys.
Well the day has arrived, December 5th. We had a weather window that looked suitable to begin our crossing of the Bass Strait………..
Sydney to Eden
08 December 2018 | Eden
Sydney to Eden
As I start this blog we are on a swing mooring at Quarantine Beach/ Sydney harbour. The sun is shining, the wind vane is spinning charging our batteries, I have clean hair and I'm having a vino....... All is well in Julie's world. One might laugh about the clean hair comment, but I now no longer take this for granted. Living on-board washing hair is a timely matter, especially in winter time. I use salt water for washing and conditioning with the finial rise being fresh water. This regime works well and appears to be good for my hair as my hairdressers confirm the good health of my hair.
Back on track, having sailed into Sydney Harbour 27/11/2017 we saw New Years in anchored in the Harbour then enjoyed exploring the harbour. With winter then approaching we decided to have a working stint to top up the travel kitty. I escaped Sydney's cold wet winter and went to Derby/WA then Tennant Creek/NT where I worked in the Dialysis units. Gerd worked for a Chef agency and worked some local contracts in Sydney while still living on-board. As it was not much fun living on-board in winter he took a 2 month contract in Jindabyne/NSW where accommodation was provided.
After our working stints we reunited in Darwin where we spent 3 weeks with family, Daniel, Tuuli and Jasper. It was lovely catching up with family and to embrace the Darwin culture once again after having sailed out of Darwin Harbour 13 Sept 2015. While away working and in Darwin Kestrel II was placed on a swing mooring up the Parramatta River at Abbotsford Point Boatshed under the watchful eye of Roger. On returning to Kestrel after our Darwin trip we were pleased to find her still afloat and not covered in bird shit. Boats don't like to be unused and closed up for too long, on leaving Kestrel Gerd placed moisture absorbers throughout, made and placed Teatree vaporizers throughout to discourage mould growth. This works well, however she still required a good wiped down inside as mould was on its return. Mould cleaning is an ongoing regime we need to do.
As always when returning home after having had some time away on land I have a settling in period to living back on-board, getting used to the confined space again, adjusting to going without the luxuries such as pressurized hot water, washing machine, hair dryer, electric toaster, iron. Adjusting to sharing a double size bed again, shops, café just down the road, and socialization opportunities at your fingertips. Once a land lover these were all taken for granted. Once my sea legs are gained and I have Kestrel in an orderly manner and I switch the land time mind set off, I start to embrace my choice of life style once again.
Having now earnt some money, it had to be spent. We purchased a new mattress for our aft cabin, yay . Our Rainman water maker needed the gear drive rebuilt, fortunately the dealers are in Sydney, and Kestrel was due her bi yearly haul out, in which we check her for electrolysis, replace anodes and waterblast below the waterline and apply 2-3 coats of antifoul paint. We decided to do this in Sydney before we leave. Having spent two days hauled out and a lot of hard work and sweat we are now back in the water watching the weather daily for a weather window to sail to Jervis Bay.
We set sail from Manly/ Sydney Harbour on 12 November and motored sailed 16hrs/88nm to Jervis bay. This was an enjoyable trip, all but the last 2 hrs when the weather took a change for the worst with wind and swells increasing, the weather report had been updated and now included a strong wind warning this present area. We spent 4 days in Jervis bay before sailing 8hrs/38nm onto Bermagui where we docked in the Marina, sitting out the low that is at present causing gale/strong wind warnings for this area. We are one of 4 other sailing vessels in the marina waiting for the weather window to continue further south. It's been most enjoyable once again socializing with fellow sailors.
With a one day weather window available we set sail from Bermagui to Eden on 27th Nov, 8 hrs/45nm, where we will sit out this next low that is approaching this region, however there is a high in the horizon following this next low giving us time to explore Eden before taking on the Bass Strait crossing to Tasmania, if all goes well we plan to be in Tassie for Christmas and the Wooden Boat festival.
Port Jackson/Sydney Harbour
22 January 2018
Port Jackson/Sydney Harbour 23/01/2018
We sailed into Port Jackson/Sydney harbour on 22/11/2017 after a nice 3.5hr motor sail from Broken Bay. Rather pleased with ourselves for having made it here after commencing our voyage from Darwin on July 2015, and Oh what a journey it has been. Many stories we have shared with you on the Blog other memories are with Gerd and I forever. From never being on a yacht before to taking on this adventure, it has been one hell of an amazing experience. Would I repeat it, Hell yeh, it’s been great, well most of the time. As I have shared on several occasion with you my struggle with motion sickness, to this day I still suffer from this. It is one of the most horrible symptoms to suffer from, honestly one just wants to curl up and die when taken down by this. However the good times have outweighed the not so good time, hence our journey to Sydney was completed.
At present we are exploring Sydney harbour, taking on the challenges of a very busy waterway with Ferries, Cruise ships, water planes, super yachts and motor boats, companion sailors and kayakers all making good use of the harbour. The on-would flow of this being continuous water movement until about 10pm when it all calms down for the night, restarting about 6am. As time has gone on we have become accustomed to the continuous motion.
The harbour itself offers several courtesy moorings which we make good use of, along with good holding ground for anchoring. However dinghy access to shore is very limited, for us coming from Darwin we have a 3m aluminium dinghy with a 9.8hp outboard, together being a considerable weight to drag up the shoreline on soft sand, and we aren’t getting any younger. When going ashore for the day we like to be able to lock it to a structure knowing when we return it’s more likely to still be there. This option is rarely available with very limited public piers to leave ones dinghy to.
We have based ourselves in Rose Bay as we can lock the dinghy up while going ashore and one has good access to public transport, bus and ferry services, along with good holding ground for anchoring. Other anchorages we have explored and enjoyed and often return to are Manly and Quarantine Bay. We have made good use of the shore line coastal walks to stretch the legs when and where ever possible.
We saw the New Year in while anchored among the hundreds of other boaties in the harbour. We arrived and anchored 2 days early so to secure a good spot by Taranga Zoo. This paid off as it was rather entertaining watching other boaties arrive over the next couple of days and try to squeeze in anchoring between boats. Overall we were happy with our anchor spot and our neighbours. We also had the lovely pleasure of having friends Narissa and Tina on board for the night to share the fantastic fireworks display from the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the New Year came about.
So with 2018 here, our plan is to stay a year in Sydney Harbour, get some work to top up our travel kitty and make plans for the future. These plans change on a monthly basis at present as my love hate relationship with cruising tries to rationalize itself.
04 December 2017
Broken Bay 5/12/2017
“Broken Bay gives access to four major waterways, those being Brisbane Waters, Pittwater, Cowan Creek and Hawkesbury River. We explored two of these waterways, Pittwater & Cowan Creek. Both of which have courtesy moorings which we made good use of.
Pittwater is a five mile long bay inlet, pockets of civilization exist with some bays full of moored boats making anchoring within them impossible. While we much prefer the quieter, less civilized bays when provision were required, these busier bay’s required visiting. Morning Bay and Coasters Retreat were the two bays we enjoyed while in Pittwater, both with courtesy moorings.
The weather was starting to warm up so swimming was enjoyed while in Broken Bay. Along with making good use of our kayak.
While in Nelson Bay/ Port Stephens we met a lovely couple Marc & Sharon who had sailed up from Pittwater. So when we were in Pittwater it was great to catch up with them again, with a lovely shore excursion to their place and a scrumptious dinner and overnight stay experienced. Thank you to you both for your hospitality.
After exploring Pittwater we moved onto Cowan Creek which is 7 miles long and runs through the beautiful Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. This National Park has Angophoras trees which show a great sense of survival by growing out of the soil, onto rocks, then straight up in search of sunlight. I find them just amazing. Cowan Creek was a beautiful place to explore with many serene nooks to tuck away on a public moorings and chill out. While moored in American Bay we caught up with friends Paul & Liz, great to catch up guys.
We spent 2.5 weeks exploring Broken Bay, could have spent longer there, however we were keen to get to Sydney, knowing if we stay in Sydney as planned for a year or so we can always revisit. So come 22 Nov we headed to Sydney Harbour.
Clarence River to Broken Bay
25 November 2017
Clarence River to Broken Bay
1/10/2017 Iluka Bay/Clarence River to Coffs Harbour, 60nm
(nautical miles)/16.5hrs - Julie Motion Sickness
8/10/2017 Coffs Harbour to Nelson Bay/Port Stephens,
154nm/27.5hrs - Julie Motion Sickness
24/10/2017 Port Stephens to New Castle, 37nm/10hrs
25/10/2017 New Castle to Eraring Bay/Lake Macquarie,
3/11/2017 Lake Macquarie to Broken Bay, 9hrs/40nm
Well, after spending days on the rather calm Clarence River my body didn't like being back on the ocean waters, I had 2 further repeated episodes of motion sickness, despite taking stugeron. Once again we had the talk about looking at different options and changing our adventures. Further talk to be had on this. Our goal is to reach Sydney and see this New Year in on the Harbour.
Our 5 Bar crossings all went to plan, with no issues crossing them. There was a lot of apprehension about our up and coming Bar crossing. As one always hears the daunting stories not to mention some picture we have seen. We always did our homework about the Bar, chose the right weather and tidal time for the crossing.
Cruising this time of year is not quite as enjoyable as summer time or in the Tropics. This is our first winter on-board as we have previously been further north in tropical climates. Wet, cold weather, confined space dampness, too cold for swimming, unable to dinghy ashore due to weather, Storms, strong winds, lightening, not to mention the hail storm we experienced, give me summer any day. Our winter clothing we brought in NZ has become our best friend over the winter months, with the NZ black woollen shearer's singlet ranking number one. We lived most winter days in our woollen singlets. At present we are in Broken Bay, the spring weather still bringing cold southerly winds.
This is where I apologise to my readers, as I'm experiencing writers block while writing this piece, so I'm going to end it here. I started this piece ages ago and kept thinking someday I'll be able to improve greatly on it, however it hasn't happened, so this is all you get. With the promise of improvement with my next write up. At present we are anchored in Blackwattle Bay/Sydney Harbour.