Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Next Chapter...

My last post had Escape Pod at Port Stephens and a lot has happened since then...
Last Sunday the crew headed to Broughton Island as the weather looked good to enjoy a few days at what is essentially an ocean anchorage.  We spent the first 2 nights at Coal Shaft Bay, which at low tide is a lovely protected anchorage.  At high tide however it can become a little rollie due to swell.  The captain of course did a spot of fishing and caught some nice small Snapper, another Benito and a couple of squid - the water is so clear at Broughton Island that when I went forward to drop the anchor I could actually see the line in the sand where the anchor dug in (this was at 12 feet), clear water like that is not normally conducive to large fish however!
The captain and one of his snapper

Our plan was to then spend a night in Providence Bay (when the wind turned lighter) and this anchorage proved to be an absolute delight - again the water is crystal clear and due to a very light northerly we were able to comfortably sit at anchor with almost no swell.  Just prior to sunset (with a glass of red in hand) the Captain did manage to hook up to a large eagle ray (did you know Eagle Rays are the only ray considered a game fish due to their fighting ability?) which created delight when it jumped clear out of the water a number of times.
The wind as expected started to pick up mid morning so we retreated back to Coal Shaft Bay with the plan to head to Esmeralda Cove when the forecasted 25 knot Westerly/North Westerly blew in - it came a little earlier than expected but dutifully the crew headed around to the new anchorage.  Unfortunately the anchorage proved to be very tight for more than 1 boat (with a rocky lee shore about 8 meters from our stern and bow), and a difficult holding, so at about 4.30pm we made the decision to do a night entry back to Port Stephens.  A challenge was set by the Captain for me to find the mooring buoy in the dark and to pick up the mooring buoy first go - which I managed with great finesse (okay it was maybe with a bit less finesse but I did all that was asked!)
Escape Pod - Providence Bay

Early the next morning we made the decision to do the overnighter to Coffs as the weather was looking quite good - knowing the forecast was for a decent blow in the Hunter waters late afternoon we didn't waste time.  The crew were absolutely honoured to be accompanied by a massive superpod of dolphins (and a number of whales at various times) which had great delight in jumping and skipping through the water of Escape Pods bow and stern - it was the best encounter with dolphins I have seen as the water was crystal clear.  The crew spent about 45 minutes up the bow (auto pilot was on) cheering and clapping at these beautiful creatures.  The Captain was able to take some amazing photographs below of these guys.
Photo taken from Escape Pods bow

Here's looking at you?
My turn, no it's my turn!
Our new AIS identified a yacht trucking up behind us for the entire trip and we became intrigued by the boat known as Allusive...
Escape Pod got our first look at Allusive just out of Coffs and upon arrival into Coffs Marina we were greeted by the lovely crew - what we didn't know until we arrived was that Allusive also carries the 2 cutest crew called Mac (Mr Mac) and Tillie (Miss Tillie).  After a clean up and some dinner we were kindly rewarded with a few reds with John, Di and Crew aboard Allusive which was a thoroughly enjoyable evening - I say enjoyable but I do have to mention our First mates foray into the water in the dead of the night. 
Who is a clever girl - Miss Tillie from Allusive!
As we were leaving the crew of Allusive in the pitch black dark, the first mate in her haste not be left behind, did not look before exiting onto the wharf and promptly fell into the water between the stern and the marina (our missy is use to jumping down onto the wharf from our boat and not across from a stern to wharf is our only excuse).  My first thoughts were OMG I am going in for a rescue, but the Captain has lightning fast reflexes and dropped down to his knees and dragged the first mate wringing wet onto the marina!  There was no harm done, as Charlotte then promptly tried to follow Mr Mac down the wharf with tail wagging - however there was a late night blow dry and wrestle with the captain and a towel.
The crew has spent the last 2 days doing odd jobs, reprovisioning at the local Sunday markets and getting some rest - all going well we will head to the Gold Coast on Tuesday morning which will again be an overnighter of about 24 hours.
The crew of Escape Pod hopes this finds everyone well - we will see you at the next port

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Have I Told You Lately...?

Have I told you lately...that we are going sailing again?

Yep we have set sail for a final destination unknown, so surely you jest that I haven't told you before now! Escape Pod and the crew have set sail on a heading North of Lake Macquarie, with a number of destinations planned on the way.

Where might we go you may ask? Definitely Broughton Island, Coffs Harbour is planned for our first overnighter, second overnighter to Gold Coast, take the inland seaway to Moreton Bay and then onto the Sandy Straights.  From there we will head out to the glorious Lady Musgrave, The Percy's, The Whitsundays and well who knows from there, it isn't like we are in a hurry!

After a slightly slow start on our planned departure date, due to the 'jobs list' (read: renting the house out, moving everything out of said house, moving a zillion things onto the boat and a list of boat jobs longer than Charlottes tail) we have arrived in Port Stephens and have been enjoying a lovely few days at Fame Cove.  As a sailing friend (Mr Matt) requested, we are singing along with the Eagles song ' taking it easy' and simply enjoying the ride - we have encountered 3 whales to date, numerous dolphins out to sea and enjoyed an hour of watching the dolphins in Fame Cove round up the bait fish (into the shallows).

So far on the trip the tally is 4 fish for the captain.  A good size bream, a Benito (which we had as sashimi for lunch today!) and a couple of tailor (negative points there for the tally)

I would hazard a guess that I have loaded dry provisions on to the Pod weighing 2 tonne - everything from powdered wasabi we made up today, to bread mixes,  to dried nuts and every Asian ingredient known to man!  We definitely wont starve...

Anyway we are off to Broughton tomorrow if this light southerly stays with us and then mid week to Coffs.  I will leave you with a photo of the Captains fish to enjoy - I know my tummy did!