Tag Archives: cruising family

Heading Home

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Our last night in Coffs started with sundowners on Whimaway and then Kristi and Rick came around for a night of wine and cheese. Local cruisers we had met last time we were in Coffs when they had grabbed our lines back then and shown two very tired and stressed parents/newbie cruisers overwhelming hospitality, they are truly the kind of people that represent everything cruising should be about.

Sitting back with them in the saloon and talking about the passages and experiences we had been through seemed like a very fitting last night.

With the Pied Piper now knocking loudly on the side of the hull beckoning us, we decided to head from Coffs Harbour straight to Pittwater to get home as soon as possible. Slightly worse for wear (the second bottle of wine was probably not a good idea) we again left in company with Whimaway. It proved to be another magic overnighter, dolphins and whales close to the boat (a little too close!) and a fast sail with a near full moon.

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By sunrise we were past Port Stephens and spoke with Mix’d Nutz on the radio as they were leaving Shoal Bay. Almost 36 hours after leaving Coffs we were inside Pittwater. The sight of Lion island brought tears to both of our eyes, we were home, but also our time aboard our beautiful boat was, for the moment, nearly over.

We pulled into our old berth, not exactly gracefully, knocking the fire hydrant at the end of the berth, in our only berthing incident in months of cruising. Being very wide, easy to approach and very familiar, the irony was not exactly appreciated by all at the time. None the less, we were home, arriving in the middle of the “festival of sail” with boats and people everywhere, we were dismissed as been just another boat out for a day on Pittwater.

The band in the bar started playing “sitting on the dock of the bay” as we turned off the engine and opened a bottle of wine. The grandparents would be here shortly, eager to see Sophie after months away, then there were friends to see, errands to run and that piper character seemed to now be standing up at the bow shaking a finger at us and tut-tutting loudly. For the moment, however, we just sat and listened to the music and chatted, laughing as we watched our gorgeous daughter attempt, yet again, to dismantle the autopilot.

“Josie, You know if we headed up there and left from Coffs Harbour in April we could go across to Vanuatu and do the pacific thing…..”

“Yes honey, but maybe we should go and get some more corn chips and avocado first”…

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Hanging around in Bundy

Within a hour of being at the dock, with the latest weather forecast in one hand and a Gin and Tonic in the other( Storm Recovery) it became very apparent that we would be spending some quality time in Bundy. The forecast predicted various levels of doom and gloom for at least a week.

So we did what cruisers do in such situations. We took our cleverly devised, foolproof plan to have the boat back in Sydney at a certain time and ripped it up all over the cockpit floor, poured ourselves another G & T and launched into an extended period of eating, drinking and socializing. With 8 other boats from Alfreds tied up in the Marina in a similar situation, The Port to Port Rally in full swing, A friendly little Yacht Club, small town charm(and prices!) and a bunch of other cruisers we had met up and down the coast it was an easy enough accomplishment.

Our time passed relatively easily, a trip to the local markets, a BBQ with the Port 2 Port sailors, The Coral Coast Rendezvous dinner, 2 for 1 Steaks at the Lighthouse Tavern with the boys off Cloud Nine…..meeting sailors from all over the world, some who were circumnavigating others who were on their second/third circumnavigation…..sundowners every night with the Alfreds clan……..and talking all the time to everyone about the weather!

A Whirlwind Whitsunday weekend!

“Ummm Hi, excuse me I was just wondering if I could get some change for the laundry????”

“The blinds are down that means we are closed” snapped the Marina office lady barely looking over the the top of the desk as I entered the office.
“but umm I thought you guys are open to 5, and umm it’s four fourty…..”
“Well I’ve counted the money so I can’t help you, besides the laundry isn’t our problem” she barked back in front of the “Welcome to the Whitsundays” sign with the look of someone who was well tired of boats, boaties and their endless thirst for 1$ coins.
We had arrived in a tourist town. Gone was the small town Queensland friendliness that had shaped our last month and instead there were backpackers, charter boats, more backpackers and the long suffering locals of Airlie who after 2 cyclones, the GFC and now at the end of the current season had a right to perhaps feel a little miffed.

After a 30 hour delay due to the late arrival of our guests due to bad weather and airlines we took them off on our whirlwind Whitsunday’s tour.

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First stop was Whitehaven Beach with it’s world famous white sand, which is on the eastern side of Whitsunday Island. The weather was lovely, very little wind and swell and a great afternoon was had by all swimming and lounging on the beach followed by an italian style lunch (ciabatta, pesto, bocconcini, prosciutto, and tomatoes) aboard Iolanthe.

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We then tucked ourselves into Tongue bay, a little to the north for the night, to what was turning out to be a lovely peaceful anchorage, until a large boat full of party goers turned up and “entertained” the anchorage until the wee hours.

Day Two, we sailed north around the top end of hook island to try some snorkeling in Butterfly Bay, however it wasn’t meant to be, as all the moorings were taken and a charter boat had anchored itself in fairly deep water in the middle of any potential anchoring area and after 3 anchoring attempts with no success, the anchoring committee was revolting and so we continued around Hook Island to Stonehaven where we snavelled the last mooring buoy there and Warwick, Alix and Craig did some snorkelling, which wasn’t too bad, although no brilliant coral or fish were seen.

Early the next morning we moved the boat across to Langford Island to the sand spit where there was another attempt at some snorkelling. We then sailed back across the Whitsunday Passage to Abel Point marina in time for airport transfers the next morning.

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With the guests safely on the bus to the airport we are starting to think it might be time to move on from The Whitsundays. There is a lot to love about the place, and we do, but having now discovered so many other beautiful places we are again yearning for a quiet anchorage.