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Sailing around Australian East Coast  Sydney — Cairns — Sydney , July-December 2007

Forster to Yamba


Camden Haven


Got up at 8:30am and headed for Camden Haven. It is around 36 miles away, so no need to get up too early.  As the seas were calm, crossing Camden Haven river bar was easy. The hard part was to steer around green and red markers indicating the safe passage between the sandbanks. The markers are being moved around with the changing sandbanks and, as their location sometimes is not where it is on the chart and often goes from one bank of the river to the other, we had to be careful.

We anchored near Laurieton next to an oyster farm full of pelicans. This is the fist time we anchored and Gonzie is worried whether it holds. Allan Lucas’s book says the anchorage there is delightful, and so it was – very calm water sheltered by the river banks.


Port Macquarie


Port Macquarie is only 15 miles away from Camden, but we felt like making a stop there so we don’t have to travel much the day after. Wind was almost none existent today.

Gonzie bought new Daiwa fishing reel and a second rod – we want fish and the new reel holds 500m of strong line which is helpful when trawling from a sail boat.


Trial Bay


Today we made 35 miles and got to Trial Bay where we grabbed a courtesy mooring.

Getting into Trial Bay I saw this old historical jail on the shore that brought up memories from 4 years ago. During Easter trip to South West Rocks with UNSW Underwater Club we went to Trial Bay beach and went for a walk along the beach with a girl named Momo. At the end of the beach stood this half wrecked building which turned out to be a jail museum, and it costs a few dollars to get in. Convicts were brought here long time ago to build the breakwater, which was never finished and the convicts were moved away eventually. Currently only the walls are left.  We were curious and wanted to get in, but as we were only wearing bikini we had no money with us. By some reason we were keen to get in and did somehow manage to sneak in, however it wasn’t too exciting inside.


Coffs Harbour


Another 35 miles and we are in Coffs Harbour. At the marina I accidentally bumped into Brian, my instructor from “Eastsail”, RYA sailing school (I did a skipper course there). He was a skipper on the boat heading from Sydney to Southport (Gold Coast), some people from his crew were doing courses and the others just came along to refresh their sailing skills or just to enjoy the trip. I saw their boat coming in the morning and docking just opposite from ours and recognised a woman throwing the mooring lines from the bow. It was Libby, we did sea survival and radio course together.

Brian invited us to their boat for drinks and we spent the evening with them.


We stayed in Coffs for a couple of day as Gonzalo was fixing the toilet and preparing the pipes for the holding tank – we wanted to have it in place before we reach Queensland.




As it is rather long way from Coffs to Yamba for a day sail, we left Coffs in the afternoon planning to arrive to Yamba in the morning. We did the shifts again, this time with autopilot on.

Arriving to Yamba marina is only safe in high tide and the marina is a little way inland – we had to round a couple of islands before we could get in. We got the last berth available, anchoring was not an option and they don’t allow people to use their mooring and stay on their boat overnight; one would have to stay in a hotel.

As we didn’t sleep at night properly we rested the first day and the next day explored the area a bit and Gonzie installed a new throttle cable while I was restocking in the supermarket.


Yamba is a nice town, however it left an impression of an “old people village”. Arriving at the marina the first thing we saw was a huge advertisement offering retirement homes in Yamba –  as the larger amounts of baby boomers are starting to retire Yamba is currently experiencing growth.

Apart from retirement homes this place is a fishing town with a number of small fish markets, where I got prawns for dinner and fresh oysters.

Camden Haven river

Pelicans near Camden Haven river

Coffs Harbour at sunset

Remains of the convicts jail in Trial Bay

Coffs Harbour marina

Chilling out on the beach in Yamba after sailing all night from Coffs

Famous Big Banana in Coffs Harbour

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