Cracking sail to Port Stephens
Sunday 15th May 2016
Distance run: 31 nmiles
Finally, finally, after more than three weeks at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, we slipped our lines and backed out of berth F12. Well, actually, Judy and Geoff threw off our lines - we popped over to Ka Mate to say goodbye and to wish them a happy trip in Europe next month, and they came back to untie the lines – we think to make sure we left!
A goodbye hug for Rosie the dog – unusual for me! Judy, Geoff and Rosie on board ‘Ka Mate’.
A last wave from Judy, and we were off. Past ‘Destiny’.
We waited while the tugs took a big ship out, giving us time to put away fenders and lines. Past Fort Scratchley.
Past Nobby’s Head. Another big ship, this one coming in. We must get out of the way.
Tug ‘Darling’ moves forward to meet the ship (and fortunately gets out of our way!) Another tug follows up the rear.
‘Darling’ leads the way in as a line is dropped from the stern to the tug behind. Very interesting to watch from close quarters.
By nine o’clock we had the sails up and were making excellent speed as we passed the sand dunes of Stockton Bight. The winds were 15-20 knots, more or less on the beam and we flew along on fairly flat seas. Around 1100 the wind started to ease and become more variable, and along with it so did our speed, so that we were doing anything between 4 and 7 knots for the second half of the trip.
As we rounded Point Stephens, the wind picked right up again, but eventually we had to drop the headsail as we turned pretty much head to wind to enter the huge bay of Port Stephens. Avoiding the shoals in the entrance we made our way into Shoal Bay and picked up a public mooring buoy. With the forecast as it stands, we will probably be here a few days until the wind comes round to the south west on Wednesday or Thursday, when we will do an overnighter to Coffs Harbour, 160 or so nautical miles up the coast.
The hills surrounding Port Stephens as we left the sand dunes of Stockton Bight behind us. Looking into Fingal Bay.
Point Stephens lighthouse in the distance... and as we round Point Stephens.
Safely round Point Stephens and heading into the bay.
As the sun began to go down, the wind died away, the sea became calm, and the lights came on in the town.
The sun setting beyond Nelson Head (to the right).
Black as Newgate’s knocker. Apart from the lights ashore of course.
Mars is just peeping out from behind a hill. Slightly late for sundowners, but just right for planetuppers. Cheers! It’s good to be out of the marina.