Monday, 1 July 2013

We've been everywhere man...

Okay maybe Slim Dusty has been more places than the Pod and crew recently...

Last post found us having recently entered Coffs Harbour.  We spent a few days washing and enjoying the sights of Coffs before making our first foray out of the harbour.  The plan was to leave Coffs early with a forecast for a 2m swell and a 15 knot south/south west breeze - this is the conditions the Pod loves.  Once we got outside, it was obvious the ground swell was much larger than forecasted, so the crew made the decision to come back in as we were concerned that a further building swell might present a challenge for entering Southport bar.

The NSW nasty weather did the crew no favours for the next few days, with a breaking entry to Coffs Harbour, even though the sun was shining and generally very nice. The Pod did however end up in the berth near our sister ship (so to speak) Aratika 2 - the crew of Aratika are Robb, Emma and their two lovely littlies.  They are on a year long, family sabbatical from Tassie - we hope to see more of them further up the Coast as it is nice to compare boats, however I suspect they may need to watch the Captain because he may unbolt their bow sprit if they arent careful and install it on the Pod.

Aratika 2 - our sister ship

Anyway, the crew settled in for another few days and between watching the weather forecast, the Coffs entry, the boats that dived in for shelter during the night after rough nights at sea (including the Young Endeavour), we finally set sail to the Gold Coast.  The sail North, was awesome!  The pod started in some really light breeze and an angle (to make it past the solitary Islands) that meant we motored, but a few hours before the sun set the forecasted Westerley came in (literally you could see the line of breeze in what was a becalmed sea) and the Pod shook herself off and we sailed for the next 20 hours between 6-8 knots in 15-20knots of breeze.  The swell was still up, but the Pod just gets into her groove and it makes for fantastic sailing.

Coffs Harbour - Breaking Entry to the Harbour!

We arrived into the Gold Coast seaway with only a slight swell on the entry and promptly set the anchor, in the lovely anchorage known as Bums Bay...this little anchorage has sandy beaches on all sides, massive boats entering and exiting the seaway, huge high rises and there in the midst of it all sits the boats heading mostly North and a few 'liveaboards' who transit out for a day or so every 30 days!

Young Endeavour - Seeking shelter

The crew were keen to move further North before the next weathern pattern arrived (due end of the week) so a few days later we set off for Double Island Point/Tin Can Bay - we started in a sloppy sea and very little wind but soon the breeze kicked in about midway along North Stradbroke, and we sailed with 18-20 knots from the south east - again the Pod loved it and we were sailing at 6.5-7.5 knots of speed.  The 4pm forecast by the BOM suddenly had a change of forecast, with a now forecasted 2.5m swell with 25-30 knots of breeze for the Double Island Point area, which resulted in a change of plans.

The Pod - Safe and Sound
  For those that do not know this bar, it is considered one of the worst entries in a number of conditions for the East Coast - mainly because it is fairly long entry and most yachts can expect to be in the bar area (particularly waypoint 2-3 which is called the mad mile) for about 40 minutes which means each boat will see a number of swell roll in.  Add shallow waters and this can mean breaking waves if the conditions are rough.  Tin Can Bay VMR do a fabulous job in monitoring the conditions and tracking each entry - they ask each boat to radio in twice to ensure you enter safely past each way point and are awesome if you call to get advice on the prevailing conditions.  Our first call to them had choppy seas with an occasional white water breaking, but a rating of 6/10 for conditions.  The second call had the VMR monitoring and hoping that a boat that had tried to enter and turned around due to breaking seas' would arrive into port safely...whilst the bar can be benign, this is a serious bar and not to be undertaken lightly if the conditions arent great.

Stewed Rhubarb with Porridge - The crew eat well!
  So, discretion being the better part of valour, the crew made the decision to come into Mooloolaba with the view that we might leave early the next day if things settled down...alas that is not to be, as the next day had wind observations at 30 knots or greater on Double Island Point, which has continued since then.  The crew arrived at Mooloolaba at 3am and successfully navigated the channel and marina berths in the dead of the night.  

To our great delight, the crew aboard Allusive arrived a few hours later and we have since caught up a few times.  We have learnt a number of new anchorages and options for future trips already from the Allusive crew, as well as scoring a cuddle from the pups Mac and Tillie.
  The crew plan to explore a little more around Mooloolaba (we really like it already), and head up to the mad mile possibly Thursday or Friday weather permitting.

Catch you at the next Port



  1. Wow Nic you certainly are having an adventure .... Sounds like heaven

  2. Glad to see you made it safely to Mooloolaba -should be easier trip from now. Enjoy the Mad Mile....

  3. Very exciting - you write very well Nic!!! Safe travels! xx