Monday, April 30, 2007


Illuka Yamba and the Clarence River

We have a map showing our trip to date and includes where we are now. See the Links on the side of the log book. This map can be changed to satellite image and you can zoom in and out. We will be unpdating this as we continue our travels.

30 April

We shouted ourselves breakfast in Maclean while we read the newspaper. Paul then drove Angela and Robert's car to their boat on the otherside of the river (they had given it to us to use over the weekend with Sam being here, which was lovely of them). I then picked Paul up in the dingy. We topped up with water and headed back down river under the Harwood bridge and anchored at Illuka.

29 April
Indali woke us up leaving to go around the corner to complete their makeover, tsounding the fog horn near our window.

During the day Paul ran the cable for the internet up the mizzen and we have increased the signal strength significantly. We then took the yacht around the corner and had a cuppa and glass of wine with Indali, Sue and Gary.

We take Sam to the Grafton train station at 2am so she gets back to Brisbane before work at 6.30am. The train actually arrived one and half hours late so she arrived late anyway.

We also rang and organised the bridge opening for 3pm tomorrow.

28 April
Went ashore and walked the town of Maclean with Sam. Then drove the car to Yamba for morning tea showing Sam the ocean. Returning we had Robert and Angela over for a cuppa.

27 April
Sam coming from Brisbane, we are picking her up from the train at Grafton, Angela and Robert have kindly given us their car to pick her up. We left at 1pm, picked up some eyelets, cables and other bits and pieces before seeing a movie.

We picked Sam up at 8.25pm and headed back to the boat with a takeaway pizza.

25 April
Anzac Day
Hearing bagpipes we went ashore and saw the Anzac march, lead by a pipe band.

24 April
Brushgrove to Maclean
Waiting for the fog to lift we motored down stream. We wanted to tie up at the jetty but the tidal current was so strong we anchored to wait for the tide to slacken.

23 April
Brushgrove to the Cane Derrick
We waited for the heavy fog to lift before motoring down river. The bearing for anchoring is a cane derrick on the bank. Nearing it we saw Indali and anchored near them, going on board for a cuppa.

It is lovely and quiet, lots of birdlife and we decided to stay overnight and then return to Maclean tomorrow.

22 April
Col took us to the Palmer Island airfield. The plane was taken out of the hanger. While Col visited a sick friend we took Col's car and explored the Yamba Community markets for one hour. Returning we took off and were astounded by the size of the Clarence River, we also viewed the coastline and the bar entrance.

We saw Col's ultralight but it did not fly today.

Returning we had an avo rest before having a lovely dinner with Col and Jan (a huge fish) and had a lovely night watching the storm clouds and lightening in the background-keeping a close eye on Cockatoo II on the mooring.

21 April
Grafton to Brushgrove
Motored on high tide and took the mooring in the river. We went for a cuppa at Col and Jan's.

20 April
Ulmarra to Grafton
Motored and passed under powerlines which are 21 metres above HWS. We have anchored just before the Grafton Bridge. Prawn Trawlers pass up and down the river each day (weekends excepted).

19 April
Brushwood to Ulmarra
Motored to Ulmarra and explored this lovely town, old buildings, craft and art shops finishing off with lunch at the pub.

17 April
Maclean to Brushwood
Motored to Brushwood passing Esoteric on the way. We picked up a mooring. We wandered the little townsite of Brushwood and Cowper. Had a drink and read the paper at the pub. On the way back we were called over by a couple for a cuppa in thier home. Col and Jan had lived on a boat for five years and settled in Brushwood. Paul did some auto electrical work for them and Col will take Paul for a flight in a plane. We had a sundowner aboard.

16 April
Angela and Robert lent us thier car and we checked to see if our mail had arrived at Harwood, which it had not. We then drove to Yamba (to collect 20 liters of oil and Illuka to exchange books and explored the region a bit. We had a lovely day out.

15 April - Ashby
Picked Peter and Mary from Tahaa up and headed to Ashby for the community Markets. This is a lovely townsite (no shops) lovely and green, quiet and peaceful and I felt like I was in a time warp. The markets had a variety of fresh vegetables, jams and secondhand goods situated in a lovely public gardened site. We purchased breakfast,some chutneys and jam, second hand books before returning back to the boat where we had a cuppa with Angela and Robert before having lunch and a quiet afternoon. Tomorrow we will take the dingy down to Harwood near the bridge and pick up our mail-if it has arrived.

14 April
Spending the morning exploring Maclean we returned with the newspaper and had lunch aboard and retired having a avo nap. We moved the boat across to the other side of the river and anchored. Later that evening we joined Tahaa for a sundowner and a game of 500's.

13 April
We borrowed Robert and Angela's car, filled to the brim with gas bottle and jerry cans and with Col and Di took off to Grafton to fill the jerry cans with diesel. We had a time looking around Grafton and a lovely drive back returning on the Lawrence side of the river and crossing the river by a (free) car ferry. It took us ages to put the fuel in the boat. Meanwhile Tahaa arrived and took the jetty where Esoteric had been (they went further up the river) and we went to a pub for a meal that evening finishing the evening off with a game of 500's.

12 April-Mclean
Getting up early we joined Indali in a trip further up the river where they removed the mast, an interesting procedure with a huge crane. After the mast was lifted Indali anchored just of Maclean and we returned back to our boat to find Esoteric moored in front of us.

That evening Robert and Angela, and Di and Col (Esoteric) came over for drinks with Robert and Angela staying for dinner.

11 April-Yamba to Maclean
When it was high tide we took off up the river negotiating the Hole in the Wall behind a ferry. We raised the A-symetric with a nice breeze before turning the bend up the Clarence and anchored just infront of the Harwood Bridge opposite the Sugar Mill. The bridge rang to tell us that they would be 30 minutes late.

The opening of the bridge was interesting as it took two people and they open the bridge to the high required to get us under waving us through. Just past the bridge we took the free jetty at Maclean "The scottish town in Australia". The jetty has power and water available. We are allowed to stay three days before having to move. Indali was also on the jetty so we called in for a cuppa.

10 April-Yamba
Went into the township of Yamba and met up with Angela and Robert (Indali) whom took us for a car ride around and lunch at the Tourist info centre on the river. Dropping us back in Yamba at our dingy. I wanted then to see the Gary Winter (Marine Artist) shop at the marina so we dingied up to the marina and Sherbro had just arrived so after checking the art out we had a sundowner on board Sherbro with Ron and Delores.

Paul booked the Harwood Bridge opening (24 hours required) for 3pm tomorrow.

9 April
North Solitary Island to Illuka Yamba-35 nm
The wind reducing we rose early at 6.00 putting the main up before dropping the mooring rope. The wind was still strong and again we sailed comfortably at an average of 6-7 knots with just the main up. The vang broke during our trip but we could still sail okay without it.

Coco is not impressed with the lumpy seas and tries to fit into the smallest spaces, under the washing machine, in our jackets. The minute we stop she is full of beans. At least she does not get sick. When we went to lunch she demolished a full toilet roll-paper everywhere (she got us back!!)

Crossing the bar was okay, the charts show the bar as shallow in parts but Paul negotiated it well and followed the leads in, we were so glad to be in the channel where it was calm and protected from the wind. We motored down the river and tied up at the Yamba Shores Tavern where we had a shower before having a huge burger and a couple of well deserved beers.

Moving on after lunch we took a mooring near the townsite of Yamba. We will sleep well tonight and then head off to explore the town tomorrow.

8 April
Coffs Harbour to North Solitary Island-27 nm
With the sun out we decided to head off from Coffs Harbour at 9.30am making our way to North Solitary Island which is half way to Illuka Yamba. The wind was Southerly 15-25 knots gusting to 30 Knots. The swell was 2-3 metres. It was a reasonable comfortable trip with the swell behind us. With such a good wiind we had our main up and sailed at an average of 5-6 knots. Arriving at 2.30 we picked up a mooring off the north side in Inner Bay on North Solitary Island. The anchorage was very rolly and we went to bed early not sleep very well due to the conditions. Paul getting up during the evening to check that the mooring rope was not chaffing through.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Tuncurry-Forster to-Coffs Harbour

7 April
Still strong wind warning current. Went ashore for breakfast and visited the Coastal Patrol, where we discovered that the Solitary Islands have moorings available. This means that we cand stay over night and head off the next morning breaking the trip to Illuka. We need to wait for the swell to abate as the bar into Illuka can be tricky.
6 April
Walked into the townsite and had a coffee. Strong wind warning due this afternoon, it is a ten hour trip to Illuka and we need to catch the tide. Decided not to go due to the bar we have to cross. Paul worked on the computer on the French boat and I cleaned our boat.
5 April
Trial Bay to Coffs Harbour 36 nm
Leaving early morning (5.30am) we motor sailed as the wind was SW 0-5 knots and the swell was 0.5m. We kept close to the shore to avoid the current. The wind picked up later in the morning to a NE 10-15 Knots. We anchored in the main harbour near the wharf. We called into Tahaa and had a coffee with them before returning to our boat where we had a sundowner with French couple who have sailed here from France.
4 April
Port Macquarie to Trial Bay 38.6 nm
Left at 5.30am, hearing on the radio that Sherbro had gone aground on a sand bar in the channel. Paul assisted, Cockatoo II pulled them off fine so well that they came back and hit a channel bouy. No damage. We then continued on our way with Sherbro behind us heading for Trial Bay as well.
The current down the coast is very strong and we find we are travelling close to the shore so as to miss losing speed. The water temperature is a balmy 24 degrees.

Crossing the bar was fine as it was calm and there was very little wind. We motor sailed with the main and the genoa up. Looming ahead was a huge rain squall line, lowering the mast and preparing for big winds we discovered winds of no more than 20 knots and calm condition although very wet.

The swell was only 0.5 and the wind on average southerly 5-15. We have anchored in Trial Bay at Front Beach. Beautiful clear blue water, I saw the anchor hit the bottom, when wso well when we pulled back on the anchor it grabbed well.

Going ashore in the dingy we explored the huge old prison there and took a dingy ride around the shoreline. It is quite rolly but not uncomfortable here. We will be heading off tomorrow for Coffs Harbour.

3 April
Camden Haven to Port Macquarie-16 nm
Left at 7am on low tide. The rising sun made it difficult to see the channel markers, we hit bottom once as we went out the channel missing one of the markers. Thankfully it was a soft sand bottom. The bar was calm and we had a running Westerly wind at 5-10 knots and a 0.6 NE swell.

We put the genoa and storm gib up which gave us an extra 1knot with the motor running. It was a lovely day the sun was out and the seas calm. The coastline approaching Port Macquarie was stunning. We picked up a marina mooring and went into town to explore visiting a tall ship being restored.

We had a sundowner with Sherbro and Kookaroo II aboard. We did an oil change on the engine and generator, and it is so hot we are running the aircon to cool the boat down for a bit before we hit the sack.

2 April
We went for a wander through town and bought some vegetables and fruit. On return I did some washing, refilled the boat with water while Paul helped Ben with his alternator. Maritesst , Quinn and I went for a walk with their dog Lucy. We had Col and Di from Esocteric over for a sundowner. Alfter they left we went to Ben and Maritesst boat for a cuppa.

1 April
The mountains here are stunning we have decided to walk up Big Brother today with Mary and Peter from Tahaa. But as a boat has left the jetty we decided to take the space on the jetty, depth at the southern end is 2.2m and is free for a week (5 days). There is fresh water available and normally showers and toilets at the RSL Club, which are currently being rennovated and thus are not available at this stage.

There were 880 steps up the moun tain and it was a step include. Paul vertually ran up-he is very fit while I turned very red, sweated and gasped for breath most of the way. Once on top the view was stunning, we could see right down the coast to Port Macquarie and the bar entrance of Camden Haven. The walk down was much easier and we shouted ourselves a beer at the RSL Club.

This evening we met Mutineer, Footloose II, and Tahaa at the RSL Club for dinner ($7 roast). The meal was delicious and it was good to talk to everyone.

31 March
Tunncurry-Forster to Camden Haven-41.2 nm
Pulled anchor and headed out on high tide over the bar, which was very calm and smooth. The swell was about 2 meters coming southerly and the wind was also southerly which made the trip very comfortable.

Arriving at Camden Haven on low tide, the swell and the outgoing tide made the entrance interesting with us riding the swell in with every four wave breaking. Paul handled the boat well and got us in safely. We wear our life jackets over the bar (mandatory in NSW) and put the companion way boards in - just in case.

Once we were in the channel it was calm and smooth. The area is very beautiful, the channel had some shallow areas but managed to negotiate them (we will have no problems at high tide). We anchored in the river near the Laurieton RSL Club. The tise here is very strong too and with the strong 30knots this evening made us hit the anchor chain a few times.

30 March
Had a rest day, Paul did work on Tahaa-fixing their fridge and doing something with their computer.

29 March
Picking Mary and Peter up in the dingy and heading over to explore Forster. I am having problems with asthma and sinus at the moment so do not feel on top of the world.

Beautiful sunny day, the water a beautiful blue and so clear. Took the dingy and tied it up at the Forster marina and walked in to town. Forster is a bigger centre, very clean and a tourist spot. The beach is lovely too.

We also called into the Coastal Patrol Centre and talked to Norm who was on duty. The centre is new and looks rather like a air control tower. It has clear view of the bar and up and down the coast.

The day finished off with a yachties BBQ on shore with Footloose II, Sherbro, Tahaa . It was a lovely evening, with great company. We finished up on Footloose II for a game of 500's.

28 March
Explored Tuncurry purchasing a paper and Tracy had her hair cut very short ($18). Paul has the latest Microsoft Vista program and is installing it onto my laptop. We had Mary and Peter from Tahaa over for a sundowner.

The tide is very strong and the anchor is holding well.

27 March
Port Stephens to Tuncurry-Forster 39 nm
Left early morning 6.30 am, Sassoon and Footloose are behind us. Getting out of Port Stephens was interesting as the seas were very confused, rolly and uncomfortable, there was very little wind making it worse. We were heading to Broughton Island hoping to say overnight but the anchorage was very rolly and uncomfortable. It was interesting trying to pick the mooring up, I got the bouy rope but a wave pushed us forward and I dropped the lot, rope and boat hook into the water. Thankfully the boat hook floated and I was able to retrieve it and we were successful the next time. As the anchorage was too rolly we tried the next bay but that was worse and so we decided to head onto Tuncurry Forster. There was an amazing rain front over the island as we approached but it moved on before we arrived.

I turned the bilge blowers on only to discover that I has turned the bilge pump on instead-oops ($100 pump-we are hoping it still works okay).

The trip was very rolly and uncomfortable, I felt very ill. We had the main sail up and the genoa, there was not much wind and the sails kept flapping. Paul put a boom brake on the boom to stop that noise which was good. We had the motor on all the way.

Entring the bar at Tuncurry Forster the coastal patrol was great giving us a GPS point to begin our entry and we had no problems. This is a well protected harbour, the tide current very strong there is a very narrow channel into the harbour due to sandbanks. There were jetties available for $22 per night but we decided to anchor near the bridge. The anchor took a while to settle as the sand is very hard here. Once anchor alarm was on and all looking good we went for a walk ashore. The town of Tuncurry is very clean, well maintained and very much a holiday place. The water very clear blue and white sand and it is very green as well.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Trip So Far

Just a snap shot of where we have been so Far