The clear-up begins
Tuesday 7th June 2016
It was a calm night and we woke this morning to a bright, sunny day.
Breakfast as usual for this cormorant – though we think his eyes were bigger than his belly!
Yesterday seemed to have been a day for taking stock and head-scratching, but this morning there was some activity. The owner of the marina arrived with insurance assessors, and the staff held their breath while they waited to hear whether the marina was a write-off. Many of the local live-aboards were saying that they had weathered storms here before, but this time the damage was far greater, and they were concerned the marina would be closed down.
Clayton from the Yacht Club and a couple of live-aboards continued to ferry people back and forth to their boats, but the marina itself had no way of getting people there. Only ‘E’ Dock, nearest to the office, still had access from the boardwalk, but it had been closed off for safety reasons, the office itself half demolished and leaning sideways.
The marina office still standing – just.
We got a ride ashore to hit the heads and showers, then went for a stroll to stretch our legs and see how things were looking out at sea. We were ever mindful that the sooner we could leave, the better. There were still yachts alongside at the fishermen’s dock and the fishermen needed to get back to work, so all viable berths were needed for local boats and we definitely didn’t want to be here when the next bad weather came through.
We walked up onto the shore end of the breakwater and looked out to the north. There was clearly a lively swell out there, but it looked so much friendlier than on Sunday.
Looking north from the breakwater on Sunday morning. And again this morning – much improved but still lively.
Then we walked round to Jetty beach to look at the harbour entrance. We passed the Water Police station where we spent part of Saturday night, and went to say, “Thanks” to John, but nobody was around, presumably still busy with the aftermath of the flooding.
The NSW Coffs Water Police offices, manned by just four officers. There was quite a swell still running into the harbour entrance.
Having confirmed that the sea state was still too lively to set off in, particularly as the lack of wind meant that we would be motoring into the seas with no lift from the sails, we went back to the boat and spent the afternoon checking weather forecasts, tide tables and the coastal pilot book to work out when and where our next passage would take us.
Yamba was the next possible stop, 55 nmiles north, but this involved a bar entrance, with the chance that once there, conditions at the bar might keep us there longer than desired. It would also involve timing our exit from the Yamba bar with an entrance at the Gold Coast seaway bar. And it was now looking as if some strong southerly winds would arrive on Sunday, so we wanted to be somewhere sheltered before then. It was looking like a Friday departure, overnight to the Gold Coast where the seaway leads into an inland waterway called the Broadwater. At least we would be able to find somewhere out of the swell there when the southerlies came through. All being well until Friday, then, we had a plan.
Meanwhile, around us in the marina things were moving along. Pontoons which had broken loose had been towed to the island end, and a crane had gradually worked its way along the breakwater clearing concrete blocks out of its way as it went. When it arrived at the island end, it began hauling the pontoons out of the water where they were then loaded on the back of a truck. With no room to turn around, the truck then reversed the entire length of the breakwater to take the pontoons away.
Pontoons were lifted from the water by crane. Once loaded, the truck had to reverse along the breakwater.
Now that the weather had settled down and we had a plan in place for leaving, we began to relax a little. We just had to keep everything crossed that the weather forecast didn’t change before Saturday.