Departed Sydney

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 10 Aug 2013 03:34
Position: 33 44.8 S  151 21.8 E
Course: North nor’east  Speed: 4 knots
Wind: light and fickle
Sea: slight Swell: south 1 meters
Weather: sunny, mild
Once again we are sailing.  Hooray!
We were in Sydney for just over two months but it seems like it was forever.  I am afraid big cities can be very lonely places for a single hander like me.  But we have achieved a few chores, including replacing the furler and painting the coach house sides, and I have managed to spend far too much money with very little to show for it.  I think the ghost of an old sailor must have possessed my soul while I have been here.  Oh well, hopefully I have exorcised the old bugger and now we are free..
Last night I spent an enjoyable evening with some old friends in the way of a farewell, returning on board at a respectable ten o’clock for a good night’s sleep before sailing.  Thank you Helen and Frank for your hospitality. 
This morning I awoke at about four to the sound of a breeze in the rigging and not feeling inclined to go back to sleep and wishing to make the most of the wind for the day I decided to get underway.  First I had to stow the dinghy on deck.  Looking about I saw that an old Navy shipmate of mine, Rim Diciunas of HMAS BRISBANE fame, was aboard his boat next door.  So first of all I rowed over to say farewell, then, cordialities complete, I rowed back to Sylph, stowed the dinghy, finished the final securing for sea, started the engine, hoisted the mainsail, let go the mooring, and we proceeded to sea.  (Thank you Doug for the loan of the mooring.)
Conditions have been light and fickle all morning.  We have managed to make it a little way north of Sydney Heads, and now, after drifting around becalmed for an hour or so, we have a little breeze again and are making good about . . .  no wait, the wind has just swung through 180 degrees and dropped down to a light air.  So I have just come back from on deck, having completed a gybe, furled the headsail, and set the drifter.  Oh well, as long as we have enough breeze to keep the mainsail from slatting and the wind vane steering, I am happy.  But no . . . the wind has swung through 180 degrees again – back on deck, gybe, and as I do so, WHOOOSH . . . what was that?  A huge humpback whale just surfaced about ten metres away, took a couple of breaths, in the process took my breath away, then sounded.    Now I am definitely happy.
All is well.
Passing North Head:
A minor drama unfolds as we depart:
– presumably an engine breakdown:
The tips of the humpback’s flukes as he disappears into the depths: