2017 September – Narooma to Ulladulla

2017-09 - MONTHLY LOG STATISTICS

Total Sailing time : 13h21m (801 minutes)
Travelled distance : 147.17 km (79.46 nm)
Average Speed : 11.02 km/h (5.95 knots)
Peak Speed : 23.40 km/h (12.63 knots) on 2017/09/06

Our movements this month were severely restricted thanks to the theft of our tender while we were in Moruya, which we hope to replace next month as we get closer to Sydney.

Before we departed Narooma, we did the mandatory walk along the foreshore. We walked out to the end of the southern arm of the breakwater past the famed Australia Rock. For those that haven’t visited, there is a hole through a rock which some people think looks like a map of Australia. If you get your head in just the right position – about 20cm off the ground – and squint really hard, you might think there is a small resemblance.

There was a pod of seals on the breakwater, and we spent a while watching a couple of youngsters amusing themselves by fighting for possession of what they felt was the best spot to lie in the sun. They were obviously just arguing for the sake of arguing, as when one seemed to give up, the other gave up the good spot so he could be the one fighting from below.

A couple of young seals having a playful argument over who got the top rock. Very funny.

2017-09-06 - FROM Narooma TO Moruya

Trip start : 2017/09/06 09:12:22 (Adjusted Local) (2017-09-05T23:12:22Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/09/06 17:20:00
Travelling Time : 3h56m (236 minutes)
Trip Duration : 8h07m (487 minutes)
Start Point : 150.129241,-36.212020
End Point : 150.083709,-35.907009
Travelled distance : 46.09 km (24.89 nm)
Average Speed : 11.71 km/h (6.32 knots)
Peak Speed : 23.40 km/h (12.63 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 34.161 km (18.445 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 8.68 km/h (4.68 knots)

Time to move north. After contacting the local Volunteer Marine Rescue to ask how conditions looked at the bar, we were told conditions were benign, so off we went. After a nice sail we got to the bar at the Moruya River, and although there was a half a metre of swell breaking on the shoals, the channel next to the breakwater was clear. We anchored in the river to wait for the incoming tide to make our way to the town proper.

We anchored in the middle of the river less than a hundred metres from the bridge. Unfortunately there was some roadworks happening on the bridge, and the temporary cover tended to make a bit of noise as the trucks went over it. There was a hulk sitting at the public jetty so we were unable to tie-up and fill the water tanks like we wanted. We still had a couple of jerries full which went into the tanks to tide us over.

Moruya was a lovely little town, with a Woolworths and a Super-IGA both within walking distance… and not up a bloody hill!

A ten minute un-advertised firework display on the bank of the Moruya River. No-one seemed to know what it was about and cars poured in to watch once it was underway.

Every Saturday they have a pretty big market on the riverside just near where we anchored. Colleen was keen to check it out, and we scored two dozen unshucked oysters for $15. They went down well!

Seaplane taking off near us on the Moruya River.
The Saturday morning market on the riverbank.

Something a bit out-of-the-ordinary in Moruya is the dirt-karts. The track was out past the airfield so we took the tender for a hoon all the way down the river and walked the 2 kilometers to the track to have a go. They had 25hp four-stroke motors, but were built like tanks so the power-to-weight ratio was not huge. Lots of fun though.. Colleen’s idea of a racing line was completely different to David’s so passing maneuvers were always a challenge. We took a break after fifteen minutes and then swapped cars, with Colleen in the faster car able to keep David at bay a little easier. The track was dirt on the straights and concrete on the two 180 degree turns, and a very different experience to go-karts. They run in the rain as well, which must be amazing.

Not your usual go-kart!! 25hp Dirt-Karts at Moruya were a hoot.

There was a dragon-boat club just next to the boat ramp, and Colleen expressed an interest in having a go. Without much fuss she was soon handed an oar and was off on their weekly training run. It is quite a skill to row as a tight-knit unit, as any miss-timing or fault in your action usually means you bash oars with the person in front or behind you. The squad returned after an hour and a half and well after dark, and Colleen felt that she had picked up the basics. She was sore for a week though.

Colleen enjoying a paddle on Dragon-Boat in the Moruya River. Sore arms for a week.

We had done some washing in the coin laundry the night before and planned to head off at first light. After turning on the instruments David started tidying the boat to start downriver when he noticed the tender was gone! As near as we could work out, someone had crept aboard during the night, cut the ropes that secured the tender from moving side-to-side, lowered it down on the davits, and made off with it. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RIVER!!

Cops were called, and we took the boat across to raft up against the hulk on the jetty so the cops could get aboard. We supplied all the details, and gave photos and serial numbers on a USB stick. Forensics came aboard and went all CSI on us dusting for prints but no joy. The police checked out a couple of likely suspects, but didn’t have any luck.

The tender was a 3.5m Barefoot Inflatable, about eight years old, and the Yamaha 15Hp 2-stroke we purchased just before we left Airlie three years back. Both had seen better days, with the tender boasting patches from an oyster-bed as well as a crocodile attack.

In a slow news week, we became a bit of an item. We were reported on local radio, had a Facebook post on the local community page that went viral, and appeared in the local newspaper. When we eventually got into Batemans Bay, people there were coming up to us on the jetty asking about the tender.

Local media keen to help after our tender was nicked. Radio and local Facebook groups also on board.

2017-09-16 - FROM Moruya TO Batemans Bay

Trip start : 2017/09/16 07:38:33 (Adjusted Local) (2017-09-15T21:38:33Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/09/16 11:13:53
Trip Duration : 3h35m (215 minutes)
Start Point : 150.084030,-35.907279
End Point : 150.180892,-35.704128
Travelled distance : 36.07 km (19.47 nm)
Average Speed : 10.06 km/h (5.43 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.33 km/h (7.19 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 24.219 km (13.077 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 6.75 km/h (3.64 knots)

After waiting a few days in case the tender showed up, we departed for Batemans Bay. The crossing of the bar was uneventful again. Another day of strong southerlies was just how we liked it, and as we heard all the fisho’s logging off on the VHF we happily made our way past the Tollgate Islands and up the bay. The swell was getting a bit lumpy and as we turned for the dredged bar we had a big one wash over the foredeck and knock a few things over. Plenty of water under us even though the leads were a bit hard to see. We anchored just off the beach on the northern side, just opposite the public jetty.

David posted a couple of messages on local boating Facebook pages, and was rewarded with an offer of a small fibreglass tender. It’s tiny compared to our 3.5m inflatable and has limited buoyancy, but the price was right and it’s better than swimming.

David using our borrowed tender. Thanks Harry!!

We haven’t listed all the trips we made in XTsea this month which normally would have been in the tender, but we made a few visits across to the public jetty for rubbish disposal, shopping, and the odd bike ride. Woolies, Coles, and Aldi are all within walking distance, and there is water at the jetty but David needed to cycle up to Bunnings to buy a security tap fitting to turn on the tap.

2017-09-22 - FROM Batemans Bay TO Batmans Bay VIA Colleen tender rescue

Trip start : 2017/09/22 14:06:18 (Adjusted Local) (2017-09-22T04:06:18Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/09/22 14:18:38
Trip Duration : 0h12m (12 minutes)
Start Point : 150.180755,-35.704189
End Point : 150.180694,-35.704158
Travelled distance : 1.21 km (0.65 nm)
Average Speed : 6.07 km/h (3.28 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.46 km/h (7.27 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 0.006 km (0.003 nm)

One small trip we will record is the journey XTsea had to make to rescue Colleen. Wanting to try her rowing skills, she jumped into our new bath toy for a try. The tide was running out and she was unable to make any headway, and was going backwards at a rate of knots. At the limit of vision, David felt that she was probably needing assistance so pulled up the anchor and gave chase.

2017-09-27 - FROM Batemans Bay TO Clyde River

Trip start : 2017/09/27 11:33:54 (Adjusted Local) (2017-09-27T01:33:54Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/09/27 12:11:21
Trip Duration : 0h37m (37 minutes)
Start Point : 150.177932,-35.703460
End Point : 150.165695,-35.696319
Travelled distance : 2.56 km (1.38 nm)
Average Speed : 4.15 km/h (2.24 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.92 km/h (6.43 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 1.360 km (0.734 nm)

Wanting some practice at going under a bridge, we booked a slot behind the daily river-cruise boat to enter the Clyde River. We knew that we wouldn’t get far thanks to the 132,000 volt lines at 15m height a short way up-river, but it would give us a chance to get on the other side of the Princes Highway.

The bridge normally just goes just high enough to let the river-cruise boat through, but we needed a fair bit more than that, so traffic was held up a bit longer. Eventually the dude waved us through and we were under!

There were oyster leases at the banks as far as the eye could see, so we anchored in the middle of the river with 5m under us. The wind really picked up overnight, and as slipping our anchor and running into the power-lines would result in death, there was some nervousness.

2017-09-28 - FROM Clyde River TO Batemans Bay VIA Public Jetty

Trip start : 2017/09/28 11:35:34 (Adjusted Local) (2017-09-28T01:35:34Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/09/28 13:11:49
Travelling Time : 0h25m (25 minutes)
Trip Duration : 1h36m (96 minutes)
Start Point : 150.165710,-35.696491
End Point : 150.180114,-35.703430
Travelled distance : 2.15 km (1.16 nm)
Average Speed : 5.16 km/h (2.78 knots)
Peak Speed : 9.71 km/h (5.24 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 1.512 km (0.816 nm)

As we couldn’t explore the river system further, there was no point to hanging around in the river so we returned to the other side of the bridge next day.

Squeezing under the Batemans Bay bridge on our way back out. Bit close.

2017-09-30 - FROM Batemans Bay TO Ulladulla

Trip start : 2017/09/30 06:03:10 (Adjusted Local) (2017-09-29T20:03:10Z UTC)
Trip end : 2017/09/30 10:39:28
Trip Duration : 4h36m (276 minutes)
Start Point : 150.180557,-35.703861
End Point : 150.475997,-35.355819
Travelled distance : 59.07 km (31.89 nm)
Average Speed : 12.84 km/h (6.93 knots)
Peak Speed : 20.20 km/h (10.91 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 47.036 km (25.397 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 10.22 km/h (5.52 knots)

Dropping off our borrowed mooring at first light, we were soon heading out of Batemans Bay. Crossing the bar in the calm conditions at dawn was a doddle, with easily a metre of water under the keels.

We started off with a reef in the main, but as the wind built that was too much sail and after rounding up we dropped sail to our second reef. Once again our retro method of reefing resulted in a safe and quick drop, but David did observe that the bigger stainless ring at the outhaul was deformed, so it looks like we’ll need to replace that with a stronger shackle.

The wind continued to increase and we soon had sustained 30-35 knots with gusts over 40. That’s a lot of wind, and the autopilot was struggling to keep a course so David took the helm.

David at the helm heading to Ulladulla. 35 knots sustained with 40 knot gusts!

Turning the corner, we dropped sail and motored into Ulladulla harbur. It’s a little more crowded than you might expect from reading the Lucas guide, but we eventually anchored close to the beach and were quite secure.

Heading into the Ulladulla harbour. Looks calm enough in this picture but very strong headwinds going in.

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