Pittwater to Port Stephens
By midday all the things found their places and we are ready
Our fist destination is Port Stephens. We left Pittwater and
passed Barrenjoy Head at around 3:30 pm. Port Stephens is around 80 miles away
from here and this distance is too much to cover in one day Ė itís better to go
overnight and arrive in the morning.
Wind is blowing 15-20 knots NE, but thatís exactly where we
need to go! We have been waiting for too long to start our trip and didnít want
to wait any longer just because the wind is wrong. So we are heading slightly
more east, close to the wind. We put the main and genoa up and left the
engine running - shutting it down means loosing a couple of knots. Eastern
Australian current sets south at up to 3 knots along this part of the coast, and
this doesnít help going north.
Leaving Pittwater, we registered with Coastal Patrol and
were supposed to let them know when passing Terrigal. Unfortunately we were very
slow fighting with that wind and making on average 2.5 knots. CP started looking
for us before we even managed to reach Terrigal. They rang Gonzieís dad and he
rang us Ė such an efficient service, we sought, they actually worried about us.
From now on we will need to log with CP every 2-3 hours, not just when we pass
After 8pm started watch rotations: Iím doing 8pm to 12am
shift and then Gonzie takes 12am to 4 am, and then me again until we arrive to
Iím steering only half awake, thinking about how cold it is,
listening to the waves splashing over the deck. Also Iím starting to wonder
whether it was worth leaving work and going sailing at all. Here Iím standing in
the cockpit in the middle of the night tired and cold, but breathing fresh sea
air, not the pollution of the city.
Iíll at least give it a try, I thought, and suddenly was
woken up by the lights of the huge cruising ship passing by a bit far away, but
seems closer due to its enormous size. The cruise ship was a lot faster then us
and soon disappeared to the east Ė probably going to New Caledonia or Fiji. We are a bit
further away from the main shipping channel, so didnít see any other boats the
Iím standing in the cockpit half asleep, steering almost
automatically. We have electronic autopilot, but it doesnít work with the big
waves like today and when the angle between the course and the wind is too
small. Itís very dark and I canít see anything apart from the white sails and
screens of the chart plotter and wind instrument. With the engine on it feels
like Iím a pilot of some spaceship in a science fiction cartoon.
At 12 am Gonzie woke up and I went to sleep. In the morning he woke me up at 5:30 am instead of 4 am - I
got 1.5 hours extra sleep.
Coming out of my warm bunk into the cold winter morning was
a bit of a mission, but when I saw how beautiful it is outside I was happy. The
seas are almost flat, the waves striking the boat at night calmed down. A seal
is sleeping on the surface, looking like a dry tree from far away and freaking
out when we got closer.
Since the waves are no longer big and we are going 90
degrees to the wind, the autopilot is working. Thatís easy, I can go inside to
make some tea and have breakfast.
That moment I thought that I havenít been actually seasick
the whole night as I was on Lord Howe trip last December.
Having arrived to Port Stephens we grabbed a courtesy
mooring opposite the beach and went to sleep.