We concluded our longer than expected visit to Sydney by spending a few days sailing around and mooring in different bays. Our first night from the marina saw us once again moored at one of the five courtesy moorings at Athol Bay where we listened to the seal show at Taronga Zoo and the monkeys screeching at sunset. The following day we motored under the bridge then beyond the Pyrmont Bridge to check out the anchorages at Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays. There were a few yachts already there but with plenty of alternatives, we continued on to Balls Head Bay where we anchored just off the lovely park. There was one other vessel anchored near us – a spooky and dilapidated vessel named Black Pearl. I expected Cap’n Jack Sparrow to be spying on us through his eye-glass!
For our final night in Sydney we anchored with the best view in town – right next to the Sydney Opera House at Farm Cove – we could even see ourselves anchored in the background vision of Sydney’s 6pm news – cool! After a heavy downpour that evening, we awoke to find a congregation of sparrows chatting as they sat on our life-lines. We decided to leave today to enjoy a south-easterly of 15/20 knots with 1.5m seas and 2m southerly swell.
We fitted our jackstays, pumped up the dinghy, had a quick breakfast and raised our anchor from Farm Cove as the rain drizzled over Sydney. The harbour was absent of boat traffic allowing us to enjoy an easy departure from Sydney logging on with Marine Rescue Sydney as we passed through the heads at 1020.
With a steady 2m southerly swell and wind from the same direction, we settled into a pleasant trip arriving at Broken Bay’s, Barrenjoey Head by 1400 where we logged off with Marine Rescue. It’s been five weeks since we’ve sailed so sailing around the bay and today’s short trip was ideal to get the old sea-legs working again.
Only a few hours before sunset, we sailed south once around Barrenjoey Head and into Pittwater. I’d visited here by bus only the other day so I had seen Pittwater from the Barrenjoey lighthouse however this was Wayne’s first glimpse of Pittwater. The number of boats here is staggering. Must be in the hundreds with all shapes and sizes, generally yachts though. I imagine this place in summer would be very busy and perhaps not as attractive as it is this time of year. We rounded Scotland Island at the south end of Pittwater and sailed north before turning west towards the mouth of the Hawksbury River. Our wind died off so we furled the sails and motored down the very scenic Cowan Creek on to America Bay and Refuge Bay. Arriving at 1700 we selected America Bay as our home for the night and picked up one of the many private moorings as we couldn’t find any public moorings.
With plenty of time on our hands nowadays and armed with a cordless drill, I made a cribbage board on the back of an old wooden chopping board that we use for cutting ropes with our hot knife. After reading our Hoyles book of games a few times, we slowly picked up on the rules and after a few more games began devising our evil strategies – bahaha!
Up early and after breakfast we took a spin in the dinghy to check out America and Refuge Bays. Two motor cruisers were moored closer in the bay and the occupants were having a quiet breakfast on the deck as we motored by and gave them a friendly wave. Around the corner to Refuge Bay was a yacht, a motor cruiser and the Pittwater mooring service boat. Between the two bays would have to be easily 100 or so private moorings. With only a few visiting boats, there were more than enough to go around.
Sticking to the 4 knot limit, we reached the picturesque waterfall in Refuge Bay before making our way back to Blue Heeler. Once back on board it wasn’t long before the rain came so we sat and had morning tea after which we motored out of the bay and across to the Hawkesbury River towards Brooklyn and around Dangar Island.
With a head-on 18 knot wind as we left the Hawkesbury into Cowan Creek, we travelled the short distance to Jerusalem Bay, where we would eventually grab one of the three public moorings in Pinta Bay. In our home for the night I read a little on my Kindle while Wayne scrolled the news on the internet. We played a game of cribbage then watched a movie in the evening. Pinta Bay was eerily quiet last night as we popped our heads into the darkness. Except for the splash of a large fish, the night was void of all sound.
This morning was bright and sunny so after breaky I wrung and rinsed the clothes I’d had soaking for the past day and hung them out in the sunshine. One of the other boats on a mooring – Cera – was from Sydney and the couple on board pulled up alongside and told us about their eight years sailing around the world. I wonder if we’ll sail that long…
Sitting with my Kindle in my lap and sun on my legs I sat in the cockpit to continue reading a book with a very long title: Wolves of the Sea Being a Tale of the Colonies from the Manuscript of One Geoffry Carlyle, Seaman, Narrating Certain Strange Adventures Which Befell Him Aboard the Pirate Craft “Namur” by Randall Parish, written in 1918 it’s a pretty good read so far. We motored around to Castle Lagoon after lunch and hooked one of the four moorings available. We’re in no rush so we’ll stay here tonight and motor somewhere else tomorrow, or maybe the next day…