Pushing on North and some more work done. 27:11.52S, 153:6.28E

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Sun 7 May 2023 02:06

On our return from Perth to Sydney we had a few more days use of the mooring before moving on north. We first had to check out the new rigging which entailed a trip back to the riggers for some adjustment and some gentle sailing to check the tensions. Then we were ready to go.

Overnight to Port Stephens where we had stopped on our way south, one night there and then we carried on to Coffs Harbour. This was another overnight trip with the seas increasing to a 2 metre swell, not bad but when the swell comes in from the east over 1.5 metres harbours on this coast which have bars at the entrance can become dangerous to enter. Coffs has an easy open entrance and no dangers so it was a good place to stop and wait for a good forecast to continue.

We had two outstanding jobs to do on Serenity. Sarah had made most of the new sail cover while we waited for the rigging to be fitted but she still had work to do on this and Phil had ordered vinyl for the headlinings in the saloon. Coffs marina was the obvious place to get on with this work so Phil arranged for delivery of the vinyl and Sarah started sewing. It was over a week before the seas were going down and we made good progress, Sarah finished the sail cover and together we worked on the vinyl, stripping out the old, cleaning the surfaces and gluing the vinyl. A very smelly job working with thinners and contact adhesive.

Sewing machine is out for making the sail cover

Marking out headlining pieces on the vinyl, all to a carefully crafted plan.

All masked up to spray the glue

To blow away the glue fumes we walked up Muttonbird Island on a couple of occasions. The young Muttonbirds are practicing their flying skills at night but they normally use the moon for navigation but get distracted by the town lights and are often found in town. People are encouraged to put them in a box and leave them for collection. They are weighed, fed, and when ready returned to Muttonbird Island.

10 days in the marina and we had done all we could, we needed more glue and some marine plywood, not easily available here but we can get it in Brisbane, the weather was good so we moved on.

Our next stop would be The Clarence River, the entrance has a bar but you can watch the condition on a webcam, see where the waves are breaking and what is the best route in. It is necessary to enter with a rising tide so this was a day sail, leaving in the early hours and arriving late afternoon, in daylight. We were rolled around a bit at the entrance but at least there were no breakers on our chosen route.

The view from the webcam of Clarence River entrance on a good day with no breakers

We anchored off Iluka on the south side of the river in a very quiet sheltered harbour the first quiet and calm anchorage we had been in, probably since Christmas.

The peaceful anchorage at Iluka

The small town of Iluka has a few shops, campsites and a fishing harbour. The local campsite was able to refill gas cylinders, offered showers and a laundry. There was a ferry to Yamba on the northside of the river, a larger town and very touristy. Three nights here gave us time to visit both towns and do a good walk through the rain forest and back along the beach.

Rain Forest Walk, Strangler fig, these grow around trees and eventually kill the tree. The beach  walk back to Iluka. Hundreds of small crabs on the beach, they were about 2cm across with blue shells and burrowed into the wet sand as soon as you got close. Yellow Robin.

Leaving Thursday on the morning high tide we expected to motor a lot of the way to the Gold Coast but we had a good overnight sail arriving at the Gold Coast Seaway in time for highwater and an easy entry to the system of inland waterways which go north behind North and South Stradbroke Islands to Moreton Bay and Brisbane, very shallow in places but an easy 20 mile passage.

We spent last night anchored in Horseshoe Bay with Saga and today are making our way across Moreton Bay to Scarborough Marina, Brisbane.

Gold Coast Seaway to Horseshoe Bay, the orange bits are where you have to take care due to shallows and overhead powerlines.