Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tin boat race

A rainy day in Iluka was enlivened by a colourful spectacle. A club of dotty enthusiasts racing boats built of corrugated iron and cast-off sails.

Run down the beach and they're off!

The winner is the first to hug the tree!

From Iluka a long days sail to Tweed Heads, where we crossed the bar in style, surfing on a wave at 18 knots, trying to look as if we were under control. Yeehar!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Into the Mystic

I've been using quiet times on the boat to practice video editing and incorporate clips into the blog.

Here is one, from the voyage south.

Did you know that Van Morrison's 'Into the Mystic' was rated top song to operate by in a survey of surgeons?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Navigating north by temp

One of the curious things about navigating in this part of the world is the use of different instruments. After four nights in Port Stephens, which is a lovely bay, we are heading home now, trying to avoid the southerly set of the East Australian Current.

This involves getting a recent infra-red satellite picture of the EAC, and using the thermometer attached to the log paddle-wheel to try and stay in the cold north-bound eddies, (blue and green) and avoid the warm current itself (red).
23rd Feb 2011
17th March 2011
By sneaking in along the coast and watching the thermometer and drift rate, we can make a lot more progress. Its also interesting to watch the coastline.

We hit quite a squall when approaching Port MacQuarie, with lightning and wind hitting 57 knots. The Hastings River was peaceful, and we had company from a number of swallows.

Coffs Harbour tonight.

Monday, March 14, 2011

On the way to Port Stephens

Plenty socializing in Camden Haven, with various lovely people.

Then on south to Port Stephens, after a 4 am start to cross the bar as safely as possible. Initially quiet, but the northerly built gradually until we had a spanking kite run with an escorting troupe of dolphin acrobats.

Deco and Conor

Deco on deck

Friday, March 11, 2011

Camden Haven

Leaving Coffs Harbour in the early morning.

A kite run down the coast to Camden Haven, which is a lovely spot just south of Port Macquarie, and not far from George's old stamping grounds at Taree and Lansdowne, so easy for socializing with old friends.

Camden Haven entrance

Camden Haven entrance from North Brother

Point Perpendicular


Ketches in the rain
Melissa and Anthony

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Meandering down the NSW coast

The wind and rain kept us in the area of Yamba, Angourie, Iluka and the Clarence River for six nights. A lovely place to hang out, with walks, shopping, and plenty of delicious seafood. $8 for a kilo of whiting filleted in front of your eyes by the fisherman. We love hanging round the fishing harbours, buying from the boats whenever possible. A particularly good deal is 'headless green prawns', which are the ones with soft shells that don't stand up to distribution to retailers. The fishermen chop their heads off and sell them for around $25 per kg, which, since the heads are about half the weight, gives you as much meat as normal prawns at $12/kg! Big juicy fresh ones for the BBQ.

Our friends Fitch and Sue are setting off for a photo trip round Lake Eyre, and they swung by with their camping 4WD rig. We took them on a river cruise up the Clarence to where the Pacific Highway bridge blocks sailing boats.

Then a night in Iluka, waiting for the weather to clear, before an early start for Coffs Harbour.

Coffs Harbour

Quite a lumpy sea, and George looked a bit green for a while. But the afternoon turned into a lovely sail, and twelve hours later we arrived in Coffs, to a 'Cooee' from the jetty from my old mate Rog. He is one of my oldest friends, going back 42 years to Bristol University where he was a dental student. He actually introduced me to Liz.

We had a relaxing time in Coffs, re-provisioning, and hanging out with Rog and his partner Wendy.


And now we are traveling again, gently running down the coast with only the kite up, and the
EAC under our keels, trying not to arrive too soon to cross the bar into Camden Haven tonight.

Friday, March 4, 2011

March 2011

Hi readers,

The good ship Nimrod is off cruising again, after the summer of floods and cyclones was spent safely tucked up in Southport.

We had a refit done at the Gold Coast City Marina, a very impressive place indeed, with lots of different subbies on tap. There was a lift-out and anti-fouling as well as service of the diesels, and various repairs and improvements. Nimrod has a nice new Rocna anchor system, and fresh, longer chain. There are few things more scary than dragging anchor in a squall in the middle of the night.

So Monday Feb 28th we set off with a brilliant sunny day and 20 knot NE wind for a vigorous broad reach to Tweed Heads in time to cross the bar.

Surfers Paradise

Burleigh Heads

The next morning, there was another fair wind for making some southerly miles, so we made a dawn start and sailed fast for 12 hours south to Yamba. A beautiful day.

Leaving Tweed River at dawn

We are now hanging out in the Yamba and Angourie areas, making use of a rental car to explore, while some wet weather passes through.

Yamba trawler fleet

Angourie beach

Wallaby on Angourie cliff walk

Pandanus palm roots

Flannel flowers

Angourie headland 2011

Angourie headland 2001

Brooms Head