14 Apr 2011 – Lake Macquarie

We’ve spent just over a week in the Broken Bay area and I have to say it really is worth the visit. There’s plenty of waterways for yachts, fishermen, kayaks, dinghies, and all sorts of flash motor cruisers. We certainly had a leisurely stay; moving around from bay to bay to picking up courtesy moorings each night, and taking time out to have a few sails around as well. There’s even a guy that scoots around in a dinghy selling bait, fresh fish, bread, milk and ice-creams!

At the end of Cowan Creek we visited Bobbin Head where the new Empire Marina is located. While Wayne guarded Blue Heeler, I motored the dinghy across to Bobbin Head to drop off some rubbish and buy a couple of ice-creams. Dressed in my standard boating attire (black singlet, blue shorts, sandals and Cancer Council issued hat) I walked up to the marina to grab the ice-creams. As I approached the marina it was evident from the beautiful people sipping their chai-lattes that I was in territory where I was not appropriately dressed. I hadn’t thought to change from my clothes before I sped across the water in search of ice-creams. Not giving it too much thought though, I purchased two Magnum ice-creams, strolled back to the dinghy and with the apparent deftness of an old seadog, started the outboard and motored back to Blue Heeler to share the goodies with Wayne.

The town of Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury is easy to get to and there are courtesy moorings north of the marina. Unfortunately we can’t sail the boat further down the Hawkesbury due to the railway bridge, however we’d visited that area when we hired a car a few weeks ago.

A quick dinghy ride across to the Hawkesbury Marina, Wayne dropped me off so I could explore and he could go back to the boat for some peace and quiet. I walked a couple of kilometres down the main road that follows the railway line, then on my way back dropped in to the general store to buy some groceries and a special treat of fish and chips and Maxibon icecreams – an indulgence to take back to the boat. I called my chauffeur to pick me up at the public jetty then once back on Blue Heeler we scoffed our lunch, threw off the mooring line then headed east. The wind was 17 knots from behind so we managed to get the sails up efficiently and sailed out of the Hawkesbury River, into Broken Bay sailing by Patonga and around the west side of Lion Island. We sailed out beyond Box Head and turned south, sailed by Barrenjoey Head then into 25 knots where we soared along before rounding into Cowan Creek.

Before we left Broken Bay, we needed to fill up our water supply. We estimate we use approximately 20 litres a day which I think is pretty good and certainly better than what we’d use in a house. The Ku-ring-gai Yacht Club was close-by at Cottage Point and we could fill up water, albeit for a modest fee. The guy at the club was friendly and chatted with us after we’d filled our water tanks with the local rainwater. Although it was recommend the water be boiled, he told us that no-one has died from Giardia, as far as he knew!

We left Broken Bay this morning for Lake Macquarie. The weather was sunny and we had managed o sail all the way, first with our small spinny in light winds, then unfurled the genoa when it picked up to 18 knots. Blue Heeler loves wind on the beam – we were flying along at over 7 knots making good time sailing about three miles offshore. The wind was a little fickle and dropped to under 10 knots; a good time to try the new spinny! Our new spinny is blue and silver and encased in a douser to make hoisting it up and down a little easier. It was impressive as it ballooned out on the starboard side of Blue Heeler.

Yesterday HMAS Adelaide was scuttled off the central coast at Avoca Beach and although today we sailed by that area there was nothing to signify a boat had been blown up.

Sailing all the way we reached Swansea Bar by mid-afternoon only a couple of hours before high tide and Wayne logged off with Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie after establishing the condition of the bar entry. The entry today was lovely and calm and the lowest depth was approximately 1m under the keel. The bridge opening was due at 5pm but after we managed to grab one of the three moorings on the eastern side of the bridge, decided it would be best to go through in the morning rather than attempting to cross the lake during the dark. We plan to spend a few days here and will keep an eye on the weather so we can cross the bar when it’s calm.

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Sailing the world aboard Blue Heeler
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