Manning up to Port Stephens.


Snug in Manly Marina

After a two day break at Manly Marina, Robin and I set off to tackle the main channel from Southern Moreton Bay through to Surfers Paradise.

As it happened we aced the tidal change and passed over the shallowest point just as it turned to run the other way. Thus we made the short trip to the Broadwater from there in good time and speed.
After considering the conditions I made a captains decision to head out through the Gold Coast Seaway and begin the 310 nm passage to Port Stephens.
This was to take us two nights and three days and if the 10 – 15 knot North East breeze held up, we would see our destination around midday on day three.

Leaving the Gold Coast Seaway

The forecasts were pretty accurate ( and the seas kind to us throughout the journey. We took alternate watch times and kept fresh through frequent 2-3 hour sleeps.

Container ship passes 1.2 nm away

There were many freighters about and a constant watch needed to avoid them. Was happy to pass within a few nautical miles of each during the day however preferring to make the margin much larger during the night hours.
Happy to say all went well and we rolled into beautiful Port Stephens around midday to take up a berth at the ‘Anchorage Marina’.
Version 2

This freighter was bathed in morning sunshine

A big sleep and a good feed are the rewards of making port and this time was no exception.
The weekend was soon upon us and as luck would have it the Australian leg of MotoGP Motorcycle Championship was due to be run at Phillip Island then.
For those that know me well, I am a big fan of this sport and particularly when it’s held on Australian soil; I ‘vegged out’ in front of the telly for most of the weekend watching !8^|
Have been without a good bike fix for almost 6 months now whilst my own Black Brutey sits patiently in a mates garage awaiting my return.

After a week in Port Stephens I’m ready and rested to roll again. Unfortunately my (temporary) crew got bored with marina life and has moved on to other pursuits. It was good that he joined me and sailed when he did though as it now means most of the good sheltered anchorages and marinas are within easy day sailing distance as I head further South. Something that is not the case in the places North that we just jumped over.
Its possible now to visit and stay temporarily in deep water sheltered places without crossing bars. We did plenty of bar crossings on the way up and although we were careful to cross at the best times, the shallow water and steep seas sometimes encountered during the transition can be a little worrisome. One door closes and another opens…. my good mate Scott will be available to join me for the Bass Strait crossing sometime after the 7th November so that is fantastic. As we all are aware this stretch of water can be unpredictable at the best of times and Springtime even more so. He used to own this boat and so is very familiar with her character, he is also a very good sailor so a great BIG thanks Scotty…..
Next up is a shortish passage to Port Hacking, probably done in one overnight hop from here. It is only 100 nm however it does pass through some pretty busy seaways so I’ll need to keep my eyes peeled for sure.
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