Socializing with Fellow Sailors

While we were in Coff's Harbour, we met Dale and Nanette on SV Laissez Faire and Duncan and Christine on SV One Mo Time. We were all heading south towards Sydney and we got together a few times to discuss weather and plans. It looked like we were going to have a nice sail south, so all three boats left Coff’s Harbour at about the same time...and motored! The wind that had been predicted didn’t appear! After 16 hours of motoring, we hoisted sail at about 3 AM for a broad reach. The winds were okay, but the large swells made it uncomfortable. The good news was there were a lot of dolphins! After about 6 hours of sailing, the wind died and the motor was back on! 

A few hours later, we anchored in Shoal Bay, in Nelson Bay, in Port Stephens (we still are not sure about place names here in Australia!). That night, while anchored, there was a brief thunder and lightning storm with a small amount of rain. In the morning we found a layer of black grime all over the boat. The rain had brought all the bush fire ash from the clouds to the boat.

Ash on the boat

Smoke from bushfires

The rain did, however, create a break in the smoke haze and we saw blue sky! The water in the bay was clear and we could see the bottom in 5 metres. We used our watermaker for the first time and were thrilled when it worked perfectly! No leaks, twists or quick fixes! We then motored further into Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, and took a mooring ball in the quiet and lovely, Fame Cove. Alison and Randall on SV Tregoning were there and we had a lovely dinner together catching up since we had not seen each other since Bundaberg.

Both boats moved to mooring balls near Nelson Marina and enjoyed lunch in town and provisioning. Instead of staying to explore the bay more, we left be in Sydney for the arrival of our next set of guests. With the wind funneling into the bay entrance, creating strong winds and big swells, we see-sawed out to the ocean, burying the bow a couple of times. Once out of the bay, the greater depth allowed the ocean swell to settled and we headed south for a lovely overnight sail to Broken Bay, Pittwater, just north of Sydney.

We arrived in the early morning, took what we thought was a pink (general public) mooring ball in Careel Bay and went to sleep. A few hours later, the owner of the mooring ball arrived! It was actually a faded red, private mooring. In our pajamas we hastily untied, motored across the bay to Coasters Retreat, a deep cove surrounded by national park, and tied to a yellow mooring ball. Our New South Wales cruising book confirmed that yellow moorings are national parks and are public. 

As we were finishing our coffee, a couple motored over. Paul and Lucie said, “Hello. Just so you know, you are on our mooring ball.”  Before we could apologize, they said that it was fine as their boat was currently in Hobart and they were fine with us staying there. Phew! Later, Paul came over for coffee and he and Lucie invited us for dinner at their home hidden in the national park along the shore of Coasters Retreat. We were really lucky, to have found a mooring and met some very kind cruisers! On top of that, we saw several wallabies when we went ashore!

View of Coasters Retreat

Wallaby at Coasters Retreat