Twenty four hours in Port Stevens

Thu 22 Oct 2009 21:32
19th October
Position 35:43.5S 152:08.75E
An enjoyable sail into Port Stevens after a trying beat on the previous day. We had left Port Macquarie with the morning tide expecting a headwind, but hoping for some help from the current. Either there was none, or this poor boat of ours needs a new keel/sails/helmsman. Anyway we tacked to and fro all day in up to 20kts of wind, making about 20 miles towards our destination by nightfall. As ever the wind then died away, leaving us with a motoring session, some favourable current, and good speed. By dawn a light NW wind had set in, and I was lucky to be up and enjoy a wonderful dawn and early morning sail in the sunshine, and a calm sea, from sugarloaf point to Broughton Islands. Lots of dolphins, and a single humpback which came up just once, but very close to the boat. From the Islands we passed Providence Bay, and the smaller Cabbage Tree Island, Little Island, and Boondelbah Islands, thence to the entrance beneath Toomeree Point. By now the wind was up to 20kts, and we ran in against a strong ebb tide, successfully dodging a partial bar, the Entrance Shoal, en route, and tying up in the very upmarket Nelson Bay Marina at about three o'clock. This cost us $60 for the night, but worth it for the 'Personal Care Services Facility' alone. Wonderous big bathrooms with shower, loo, and washbasin all combined behind your own lockable door. Plus free shower gel. Between us we had eight showers in the 24 hours!!
That evening we took a walk in the Tomaree Nature reserve, I saw my first kangaroo, plus a lizardy thing on a tree trunk, and lots of lorikeets. Beers by the harbourside (Mark insists that all beer opportunities are my idea), and supper at a cheap Asian eatery, as all meals were on affer at $10, about £6.25, very cheap by Australian standards. I was greedy and had soup as well, but not a patch on the Thai cafe in Bromsgrove!! Next morning was fine and sunny again so I fudged my tide calculations a bit to allow a walk up to Toomeree Point, a long way, a steep climb at the end, but well worth the spectacular views. We deserved our various indulgences at an excellent coffee shop in Shoal Bay on the walk back, and after a final shower we were off at 15.00 hours.