Coffs Harbour, another southerly change.

Sat 10 Oct 2009 06:01
Date: Saturday, 10th October
Location: Still in Coffs Harbour!
A mixed bag of news this week, lovely here at Coffs Harbour, but we would rather have been off sailing midweek. Unfortunately these southerly weather systems seem pretty incessant just now (and I am as ever pessimistic, and believe that just as soon as I turn round the weather systems will as well). Anyway this week we have been stuck in port with up to 40 knots of wind whistling through the rigging, and pressing our ship down against the mooring pontoon with considerable force. There has been 60 kts wind off Sydney, a real storm! We have been fortunate to have probably the most protected spot in the harbour, and as the rates for the mooring are half those of Gold Coast prices, it has not been so hard to count our blessings instead of getting fretful. The southerly wind is quite cool, and the crew have been cold at night in their sleeping bags, but hot in shorts and T shirts inland at midday. The water is much too cold for swimming, although many locals are surfing, nearly always with wetsuits.
The coast is interesting with quite high hills just inland, and many offshore Islands, which we dodged in the dark last week, but which provide an interesting backdrop. The Harbour is constructed from two small Islands and two breakwaters, and the outer Harbour has been exceedingly rough. One of the Islands, Muttonbird Island, is a breeding ground for shearwaters, and their 'nests' (shallow burrows actually) are just everywhere.The water in the inner harbour, the marina area, is exceptionally clean, and Charlie and Mark have been watching turtles, and flounders on the sand beneath. Just inland there is the Comunity of Coffs Jetty: the name taken from the first jetty built out into the outer harbour, and down which it was almost impossible to walk against the side wind three days ago. Lots of coffee shops for me, and a branch of the ice cream, crushed nuts and sweeties chain shop for the crew!!
Coffs Harbour, the Town, is a couple of miles inland, but there is an excellent walk up Coffs Creek, with the remarkably large and well maintained Botanical Gardens (plus coffee shop) at the halfway mark. Coffs Harbour Town is quite unremarkable, much like all other First World Towns the World over: a rather degenerate town centre, and two massive shopping malls arranged along The Pacific Highway selling stuff that no one really needs. Without our own transport we have missed out on the main attraction: The Big Banana. this is a banana shaped yellow lump of concrete someway out of town, and was the first of many such outsize objects that the Australians have chosen to scatter over their landscape.
Right on the harbour wall is the Fishermans Co-op: locally caught fish for sale, along with fish and chips for takeaway. Seems plenty of fresh fish for sale today, but I swear the trawler fleet has been in port all week! Anyway tonight we will be feasting on fish, squid, prawns and scallops, and tomorrow we will worry about our stomachs The chips are quite salty, so we may have to visit the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club, also on the waterfront, for a refreshing glass of the amber nectar. Weather is due to settle tomorrow, but we shall have to delay our departure until the early hours on Monday morning, and hope to arrive at the next River Bar on the late afternoon flood tide, and before the wind gets too strong again.