Strong adverse current - SLOW trip to Coffs Harbour
17 January 2015 | Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
Coffs Harbour Marina
Position : 30 18.23'S:153 09.789'E
The morning we left Port Stephens was lovely. Blue skies and sailing along beautifully at 7-8 knots. Perhaps we shouldn't have been so smug because later that night the trip became agonizingly slow. Most of the night we did not exceed 3 knots. This is because the East Australian Current is very strong at the moment and we had 4 knots of current against us. Great for when we had the sleigh ride down to Sydney a few weeks ago but not good for going north. Not at all.
Due to the strong adverse current , and yes we were very close to shore where you are supposed to avoid it, we had to increase the motor speed and burn lots of diesel to get to Coffs. It was a tiring night also due to lots of fishing boats about and a few yachts to avoid. Coastal sailing is harder than ocean passages for this reason. Someone has to be constantly on watch. Instead of a morning arrival our ETA was then 7pm at night. I was concerned about a north easterly predicted for the afternoon at 20 knots. And it did come in after lunch disturbing my nap as suddenly we were heeled over sailing to windward. Now Valiam was powering along at 6.5 knots even against the current. Our new ETA was now around 3pm. Hooray!
The WWSA group followed our slow trip with me complaining about the current. Another member Anna on Zefr sent me a message saying she had champagne on ice and the berth next her at the marina was free. I wasted no time emailing the marina to book that berth. We hadn't used a marina all summer so we thought it would be a nice break.
The marina staff were helpful in assisting us tie up and I really notice the difference between Valiam and much smaller Lati in the Med. I need a stool on the pontoon to climb down from Valiam! After nice big long showers we were feeling much better. We like Coffs Harbour. It's small and friendly and feels like a real harbour with its fishing boats, beach nearby and breakwater rock and concrete walls. Anna invited us over to Zefr for the promised champagne for sundowners followed by a walk to the yacht club for dinner. All yummy and fun. We slept well last night.
Overlooking the harbour at Coffs is Mutton Bird Island. Mutton birds which are protected nest there and there are signs explaining the life cycle as well as Aboriginal stories about the area. Such a beautiful day today and fun being tourists on land. Another night here and then we will anchor in the bay tomorrow ready for an early departure for Southport on Monday.