HOME About Sapphire Sailing Notes Constellations Contact Us OUR VOYAGE British Isles Atlantic Islands Atlantic Crossing Brazil Argentina Falkland Islands Southern Chile Northern Chile Peru Ecuador Pacific Crossing French Polynesia SW Pacific Australia GALLERY Boats People Places Scenery Wildlife Videos
RSS Subscribe with Bloglines Creative Commons Licence


Table of Contents

Pelican Bay

Brisbane to Sydney

5 February 2007

Opera House, Sydney Newcastle Kev in Sydney Hawkesbury Today we arrived at our final destination for this journey, Sydney. Following a couple of days in Coffs Harbour we sailed to Port Macquarie. We headed off on a forecast of 10-15 kts from the north east and so were sorely disappointed to find Sapphire  beating into 25 kts from the south. The seas seemed particularly rough as this wind was blowing hard against the strong south going current prevalent off this part of Australia's east coast. We enjoyed a couple of days in Port Macquarie before continuing south with more favourable winds. We spent a couple of nights at anchor in Camden Haven where we met people who were friends with Ron - a man we met in Ushuaia, Argentina. We spent one night in Newcastle, an industrial city with a very busy port. There were over 100 huge container ships anchored off Newcastle, presumably waiting for their turn to deliver or collect cargo. Just before Sydney we anchored for the night in the magnificent Hawkesbury River. This pristine cruising ground is one we hope to explore more thoroughly in the future. As we entered the river we were greeted with a scene of sailing carnage - hundreds of sailing yachts and motor boats seemingly jostling for room in the Pittwater. However only a couple of miles further into the river and the area was almost secluded. The only noise around us once we anchored in America Bay was the crickets and birds. On the morning of the fifth we entered Sydney Harbour and before long were sailing past the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It is exactly one month shy of three years since we left our former home at Saint Katherine Haven in London for the start of our voyage.

27 January 2007

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast Coffs Harbour Kev at Coffs Southerly Buster After spending a day at Marine Stadium waiting for northerly winds our chance came on Australia Day (Jan 26). This was lucky as the anchorage had become a scene of chaos with dozens of jet skis and speed boats weaving between the anchored yachts. We were glad to leave. The weather was really benign and at one point we were delighted to find 4kts of current with us. This did not last for the entire leg though we did have some favourable current with us the whole way. We left the Gold Coast at midday and arrived at Coffs by 9a.m. this morning. This afternoon we took a stroll up the adjacent Mutton Bird Hill which is a sea bird rookery. Though we did not see any nesting birds we did see their burrows. The view over the coastline from the top was impressive and we were glad of the chance to stretch our legs after a few days on the boat. A southerly gale had been forecast for later on this evening though it arrived several hours earlier than forecast. The arrival of the gale was heralded by a strong cold front from the south known locally as a Southerly Buster. This brought 48kts of wind here inside the marina so I imagine stronger winds out at sea. We are extremely  glad that we are securely in harbour right now.

24 January 2007

Jacobs Well Marine Stadium We finally made the decision to push on down to Sydney. There were various factors at work here and although we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Brisbane we felt sure that this was the right move for us. Having been warned that the cost of repairs and services were significantly higher in Sydney than in Brisbane our last couple of weeks were spent frantically working on the baot and coordinating other repair and maintenance jobs. We slipped out of Scarborough at around 0530 this morning and set off across Moreton Bay. There was very little wind at that hour so motorsailing was the order of the day. We entered the main channel which took us to the Southport Seaway on the Gold Coast via an inland route. The navigation demanded attention as at times we had only centimetres to spare under our keel. We were pleased to find that we had a favourable current with us for the entire 60 miles of the trip so we were able to complete the entire trip within about 9 hours. We eventually dropped the anchor in Marine Stadium, in front of Seaworld on The Spit.

Bundaberg to Brisbane

23 November 2006

Jellies Glasshouse Mountains Mooloolaba We arrived in Scarborough Marina today. Yesterday we enjoyed a long but relaxing motor-sail from Rainbow Beach to Mooloolaba. On the Sunshine Coast, Mooloolaba has always been, and still is one of our favourite places in the world. We only spent the one night there as we have tickets to the third day of the Ashes Test in Brisbane on 25th November. We left Mooloolaba to catch the favourable tide early on Thursday morning and motor sailed again as there was very little wind and the seas were glassy calm. As we motored past the Glasshouse Mountains (named by Capt James Cook) we noticed thousands of jellyfish in the water. We felt confident enough to tackle the shallow water short cut just south of Bribie Island and we were tied up at Scarborough by 11.00 a.m. After securing the boat we were thrilled to realise that we are moored just opposite Morgan's Seafood Restaurant which is again one of our very favourite places. Within minutes we were invited to attend a Thanksgiving Day lunch hosted by the British guests at the Marina in honour of the many American visitors to Scarborough. Scarborough is a beautiful part of the Brisbane area situated on Deception Bay. We are both excited and delighted to have arrived.

21 November 2006

Pelican Bay 2 Pelican Bay 1 Fraser Wreck Kev's birthday! We returned to Urangan on the 19th with Myles and Marilyn. We went out for a delicious meal before spending a quiet night on board. Kev's parents returned to Brisbane yesterday and flew back to the UK today. Yesterday we set off to cover the northern half of the Great Sandy Straits which lie between magnificent Fraser Island and the mainland. We had the wind in our faces and a foul tide pretty much all of the time so it took us over six hours to cover 20 miles. The navigation required attention as the depths throughout the straights can be extremely shallow and the channels very narrow. We anchored off Fraser Island for the night at South White Cliffs. That anchorage was one of the most tranquil anchorages we have visited since leaving England. There were large sting rays launching themselves out of the water beside the boat. Today we were off early to catch the tide to bring us through the second half of the straights. With a spring tide at high water in places we only had about a metre under our keel at times. We covered the last 20 miles in no time at all thanks to the tide and anchored off Pelican Bay at Rainbow Beach.

13 November 2006

Kev and Marilyn Marilyn on the winch margaret We arrived in Urangan yesterday. The past few days since our arrival have been hectic. We spent the first couple of days with Myles and Marilyn as well as Ian and Margaret. I met with my cousin John for lunch on our second day in Bundaberg which was great. We had dinner at John's on Friday and Mum, Kate, Mark and Ethan arrived.I had not seen Ethan my nephew before and had not seen Kate in over four years. It was lovely to have our families there with us. We were both feeling really tired as we had not had much sleep since our arrival. It is such a great feeling to be home - reality is only slowly sinking in. We sailed across Hervey Bay yesterday with Marilyn and Margaret and it was very calm with little wind. We did see turtles and dolphins as well as lots of fish jumping around the boat. We now are looking for a weather window to make it to Mooloolaba but as the wind is picking up from the south over the next few days we will leave the boat here and spend a few days in Brisbane with our families while it settles.

Noumea to Bundaberg

8 November 2006

Kev and Myles, Noumea Waterspout Bundaberg Sunset Champagne We arrived in Bundaberg last night after an extremely relaxed passage from Noumea. Within moments of dropping the anchor we were down to the serious business of cracking open the champagne. Having Myles on board made a huge difference as with Myles taking a third of the watch keeping duties we all managed to get plenty of sleep! A real luxury. The trades were gentle for nearly all of the passage though with two days to go, we found ourselves close hauled. We were very surprised at how benign the seas were and even beating hard into the wind was comfortable in the slight swell. On our first evening out I was below deck with Myles and Kevin watching the sun set. With the fantastically clear sky they both saw the elusive green flash as the sun dipped below the horizon. I still have never seen this but am reliably informed that for the briefest of moments the setting sun changed colour to a brilliant lime green. Every day Myles looked for dolphins and was rewarded by a few private performances by these delightful creatures as we drew closer to the Queensland Coast. We even think he saw a pilot whale. We saw only two other yachts en route to Australia though the stream of chatter on the vhf suggested that we were one of many making this passage. (Over the first three days of this week, thirty yachts arrived from overseas to Bundaberg.) On the morning of our arrival we were all having breakfast in the cockpit when to our astonishment we saw a large waterspout form some miles astern of us. It seemed to form immediately by a large squall cloud. We were very pleased to be able to watch this from a distance. Our approach to Bundaberg was by night. The leading lights to the river looked like those marking an airstrip. With only a few miles to go our mobile phone received a signal and the phone calls began. I phoned home and spoke to Mum, Steven and Kate. We also phoned Marilyn (Kevin's mum) who was on her way down from Townsville to meet us. I even received a phonecall from my friend Jackie in Dubai! (I still don't know how she knew we had arrived!!).