After leaving the shelter of Bermagui on Saturday 16th of April the Freespirits headed North to a small protected bay called Broulee.
Well protected from Southerly winds this small bolthole proved a worthy choice as a thunderstorm arrived containing rain and strong winds shortly after dropping anchor and snugging down for the night. Our new friend David Halton on his boat Trufflehound at that point was a good 10nm offshore and in the thick of it. He wisely decided to alter course and joined us at Broulee a short time after.
Wind opposing swell is always uncomfortable and though we were happy to have the protection afforded Broulee’s small isthmus we did experience a rolly night at anchor there. Next morning it was still raining heavily as it had done all night, finally clearing as we got underway around 10am.
Our destination was a small bay within the greater area of Batemans Bay called Chain Bay. This proved to be a good choice as it remained well protected despite a reasonable swell building outside. David was there already anchored in perfect sunny calm as we rolled up and took our position close nearby.
Chain Bay is a very pretty place despite its proximity to the open ocean and we spent many happy hours there fishing, walking and one night we shared a beach barbecue together.
Friendly (well fed) locals
A perfect scene of calm sea, our campfire slow cooking the Wrass we had caught earlier that afternoon and of course long conversations suitably lubricated with fruit of the vine. For the first time since embarking on our journey from Hobart, Dini and I really felt like it we had found the life we aspired to.
There was however a small flaw in this perfect scene….. Bats.
Somehow we had strayed into a Bat flight path and under a darkening sky they began to arrive en masse. From the black cloud, individuals began dropping out and landing on our mastheads. This area of a sailboat being thick with sensitive equipment became a target for large, tired bats as they jockeyed for a claw hold; bending, breaking and generally wreaking havoc on both Trufflehound and Freespirit’s fragile wind gear.
This was most frustrating and upsetting as apart from vigorously shaking mast stays and ropes to deter the unwanted intruders there was nothing else that could be done. The noise of their scrabbling and fighting throughout the night whilst damaging the boats’ equipment was anything but restful.
The next concern was a large system low pressure travelling up from the South containing strong winds and large seas. This was a concern as our present anchorage was badly exposed to Southerly weather and if we were to stay in the Bay area a more suitable bolthole needed to be found. It was due to arrive late Friday night and this being Thursday we decided to cross the bar at high tide next morning and shortly after that pass beneath the lifting span bridge connecting the Princess Highway to Batemans Bay township proper.
All went well both in the bar crossing and under the bridge despite the heavens opening up and thoroughly drenching us all in the process. Happily both Trufflehound and Freespirit are now anchored in the lee of Budd island above the bridge in a safe and secure part of the Clyde river. Batemans Bay is indeed a wonderful place to visit, (apart from the BATS) and tomorrow we go ashore and explore the township whilst restocking some essentials.
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