Blue Moon visits Lake Macquarie 2011

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Blue Moon visits Lake Macquarie 2011

Postby Shaun » Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:40 am

Camden Haven to Lake Macquarie

Camden Haven to Port Stephans, 80nm

A sub-heading of “Amateur diesel mechanics 101” may have been more appropriate but I’ll get to that later….
There had been a lot of preparation for Blue Moon’s first coastal passage(with me as skipper anyway), works comprising of replacing various timber work, new nav lights, some running rigging etc, except for the last 2 or 3 weeks before departure due to family commitments & a heap of work that I was trying to complete before going sailing for up to 3 weeks.
Provisioning had been done bit by bit on each visit to the boat, which was better than doing one large shop.
After a last minute hull scrub(which is nearly impossible at half tide here on the Camden haven river, we got away at 1500 Wednesday 31st Aug on the ebb tide, logged on with Marine Rescue with an eta at Port Stephans of 1800 the next day.
The forecast was for light W winds swinging to N-NE overnight, it didn’t happen, it was a light SE, I wanted to be in PS before the weak Southerly that was predicted for Friday, (the same southerly that Dulcamara came Nth to the lake with).
As night fell the wind dropped off to a 2-3 kt SE, so on with the inboard diesel, 2 hrs later at 2000, there was a massive thrashing sound from the motor, I immediately thought fan belts & quickly shut the engine off, sure enough one of the v-belts was gone, & the engine bay was full of dis-integrated belt & black dust, more by good luck than good planning the previous owner had left some spare belts onboard. We were a few miles SE of Crowdy Hd, on a lee shore....but i had a bit of sea room.
I had to give myself a little talking to, just to calmly make the repair, as trying to tension the belts I found myself using a round bilge pump handle as a lever, metal round lever on metal is not good & after a couple of slips trying to get in a stubborn bolt back in, with fingers just millimetres away, (a badly cut or broken finger here could of turned the situation very ugly), I found a good piece of timber to use as a lever. It took 45 mins to change 2 belts(the second belt was about to fail also).
Once fixed we motored until I was tired of listening to the engine, so we sailed making just 1.5-2 kts getting some rest & gazing at the amazing night sky with no moon, the stars were reflecting off the sea, it seemed like there was more stars than blackness in the sky, simply incredible.
Before sunrise the wind picked up 10-15 SSE, at 0500 I reported my position to Marine Rescue Forster-Tuncurry, when finshing the radio session the VMR said I should get there by midday, I sceptically but politely replied “yeah”.
Morning brought pumping the bilge of 40lts, & adjustment of the stern gland.
Around midday I was starting to worry about not getting into PS in daylight so started motor-sailing hard.
When turning my phone back on at 1500 there was 4 messeges from VMR saying I was “over-due!”, by a mis-understanding I didn’t realise they had cancelled the 1800 ETA & made it 1200, a phone call to a friendly VMR person resolved the mis-understanding.

Arriving at PS via the route South of the Entrance shoal, into Shoal Bay & logging off at 1620, tied up to a courtesy mooring in Nelson Bay at 1700.

Distance travelled 90nm
Time elapsed 26hrs
Avg Speed 3.46 kts
Diesel fuel carried 30lts + full tank(approx. 15lts)
Diesel used 10lts.
Wildlife: Whales in the distance, dolphins many times, many different types of birds including some huge birds that looked like Albatross(so I called them “Poor man’s Albatross”, as I didn’t think you find Albatross in Australia, I later found out they were actually Albatross).

Port Stephans
Friday was spent searching for spare v-belts, Nelson Bay has hundreds of shops but all are either café’s, restaurants, clothes shops or real estate agents, so I took a bus to Salamander then walked to Soldiers Pt looking for the only auto parts place around, who’s owner (I presume it was the owner) & shop assistant were worst than useless, anyway I don’t want to dwell on this as these were the only rude & unfriendly people I encountered on the whole trip.
While waiting 45mins at Soldiers Pt for the next bus directly back to Nelson Bay, I had the $10 lunch special at a Thai restaurant called “Smiley Thai”, the Mussaman Curry I had was easily the best Mussaman curry I have ever had, & after thanking the chef’s caught the bus back to Nelson Bay.
While rowing back to the boat, there was a fella in a dinghy with his dog, looking around the outside of his wooden 40 ft’er (a William Atkins design, from memory), anyway his dog looked identical to an old dog of mine so I rowed over to meet him & the dog, remarkably his dog was also named “Jessie” as was my old dog.
He was planning to leave about 0005 Saturday morning (he didn’t want to leave on a Friday for superstitious reasons), I was planning to leave about the same time….& thought it would be nice to travel in the same direction as another yacht….with preparing & stowing gear for the trip I didn’t get to sleep until 2245, an error in setting my alarm meant I didn’t wake up until 0130, the other yacht had gone.

Port Stephans to Lake Macquarie, 40nm
I quickly had breakfast & dropped the mooring at 0200.
Navigating out of Port Stephans at night with no moon was the hardest & most stressful part of the whole trip. I couldn’t pick up the lead lights & was literally continually plotting my position on the chart, from the Lat’ & Long’ from my basic GPS (reminder to self….to invest in a hand-held GPS that shows the position of your boat on a chart, as a confirmation of your plotting, so you don’t have to worry that you have made an error with plotting a wrong number on the chart).
We were creeping out at just 1.4kts, ticking over at idle in fwd gear.
I think I went over the edge of the Entrance Shoal, as the swell became very wild with everything down below getting thrown around.

Albatross in the face
(Well not quite)….Between Yaccaba Hd & Tomaree Hd, there was an ALMIGHTY THUD!!....
A Large Albatross had hit the boom gallows, fell onto the halyard cleats and then onto the cockpit floor!!, it was obviously dis-orientated and was now trying to get downstairs.
This was at a critical time in navigation, I had the chart & pencil in one hand, GPS in the other & was steering with one leg, this left the other foot to try & hook around its chest to stop it going into the cabin (the thought of an Albatross thrashing around in the cabin was not a pretty one), but its huge outspread wingspan(of at least 4 foot!) was making it difficult to achieve its goal, although it broke the canvas spray curtain that I have hanging down over the cabin entrance.
I put down the chart & GPS, & grabbed it around the neck & body (its body was the size of a large turkey), it turned around & I thought it was going to bit me & I might lose a finger, but it didn’t open its beak (I thought about getting the camera, but I wasn’t sure how I would be able to safely get it from the cabin, obviously wish I had tried now!) after looking at each other for a few seconds, I threw it overboard, I could see it (from the glow of the stern light) thrashing about then slowly taking off.

End of Part One.

sorry its long....I'll add to the story(& with photos/videos) as time permits
"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

Order of the Albatross - 2011
Order of the Tipping Dinghy

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Someone's random Youtube comment
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Re: Blue Moon visits Lake Macquarie 2011

Postby Shaun » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:39 pm

Youtube video taken east of Seal rocks here :arrow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17cxtWvJyFo




P10.jpg
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Sunset at Nelson Bay, Port Stephans
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"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

Order of the Albatross - 2011
Order of the Tipping Dinghy

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Someone's random Youtube comment
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Re: Blue Moon visits Lake Macquarie 2011

Postby storm petrel » Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:06 pm

Great yarn Shaun! Well at least you managed to attract a bird aboard.

I admire your courage in sailing alone. I enjoy sailing solo too but I have never made a serious passage without company. I must be bloody boring, because I tire of my own company pretty quickly and start looking for someone to talk to. I will be interested to hear how your return trip went with Greg.

Did the belt look dodgy before you left or did it fail unexpectedly? I keep spare belts aboard but I would not to change one in a seaway. I think you may have graduated to 'Diesels 102'.
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Re: Blue Moon visits Lake Macquarie 2011

Postby Phillip » Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:49 pm

Greetings All,

I think we should award Shaun with the

"ORDER OF THE ALBATROSS"

Because surely no-one else will ever do that again! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Phillip.
Phillip.
SEAKA
A 1969 Mark 1
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka
http://skipr.net

Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
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Re: Blue Moon visits Lake Macquarie 2011

Postby storm petrel » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:59 pm

I second the motion for the 'Order of the Albatross!' to be awarded to Shaun, for services to our feathered friends.
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Re: Blue Moon visits Lake Macquarie 2011

Postby Shaun » Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:13 pm

:lol:
Thanks for the award, :D

I admit to not thoroughly checking the v-belts before departure, other than a look at & feel of their tension….they certainly had no frayed bits or splits that I noticed, they would have been many years old & under used. In hindsight I suspect they became brittle sitting idly in the engine bay for many years.

Port Stephans to Lake Macquarie 43nm (continued)

The winds for this section of the trip were predicted to go from SE to E on the Friday night, then ENE Saturday morning to NE Saturday afternoon, it sounded perfect….indeed at 2245 on Friday night when I turned in for an hours sleep before departure, it was a gentle NE. So I had gone to sleep thinking I would have some following winds. It wasn’t until I rounded the Port Stephans lighthouse that I discovered the wind was from the SE.
However once abeam of the PS lighthouse my course was approx’ 230 deg M to Swansea, so it wasn’t directly on the nose and we were now making good time, since I was sure we were clear of the outlying Islands off the entrance of PS.
Daylight saw further emptying of the bilge 120lts in total on this leg, (I know the amounts because my bilge pump failed on the first leg, suffering similarly from lack of use I suspect, so had to empty by hand into a 10lt bucket, I had tried unsuccessfully to get a spare parts kit for my bilge pump before departure, Having bought a hand-operated “Beckson” pump in Nelson Bay, the task was somewhat easier on this leg), between bilge bailings there was numerous adjustments of the stern gland, with over-tightening & under-tightening until I found the sweet-spot.

Abeam of Newcastle I was starting to think I wouldn’t make the Swansea bar by 1400(which was 2 hrs after H), so from 1100 we motor-sailed hard, I didn’t want to have to negotiate an unwelcoming bar. At 1300 I radioed Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie to book a bridge for 1500, as I didn’t think we would make the 1400 bridge.
However as we had been pushing 6kts for the last couple of hrs, we crossed the bar at 1320, the Marine rescue said they would watch my line over the bar & radio me if I was starting to get a bit out of shape, the bar was completely flat, no problems at all, marine rescue had me move a little more into the centre of the channel once, before the cross-over leads which are easily picked up, I had lowered the headsail prior to crossing the bar.
I had made the 1400 bridge, Marine Rescue asked if wanted to cancel the 1500 and go through on the 1400, which is what I did.
Marine Rescue asked if I would like an escort up the channel, I politely declined, not wanting to impose….they radioed back shortly saying they were heading up into the lake anyway, I couldn’t refuse that so I graciously accepted the offer.

While jilling around doing donuts on the seaward side of the bridge, I wondered why the traffic was not stopping, at 1410 I received a radio call saying I must lower my mainsail to go through, within seconds the mainsail was lowered & shortly after the traffic stopped & the bridge opened.
On the Green light I went through followed by a couple of large recreational fishing boats, to be greeted by a Marine Rescue vessel waiting on the other side. After pleasantries I notified them of my draft & off we set up the channel, I felt like a VIP, as they led the way along the channel, it would have been no problems, it is well sign-posted but I thought it was a nice touch & fun ending of the passage.
The current was still gently running in 2 & a half hrs after the H tide.
Nearing the “Drop-Over” I first noticed Dulcamara, then Felicite & Marinka, waiting in the lake for me….the welcoming from the other Top Hats (which I was not expecting at all) humbled me & once over the drop over, after thanking the Marine Rescue I felt an enormous sense of relief & self accomplishment.
To top it off, I had sailed into this sailing paradise….it was a perfect 15-18kts NE, that’s NE!!!
My memory is a little hazy as to what happened between the Drop-Over & Wangi, except to say it was a lovely downwind sail (for the first time).

Distance of passage 43nm (after checking my log)
Distance travelled 52 nm
Elapsed time 11 & a half hrs
Avg Speed 4.5kts
Fuel used about 5 lts
"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

Order of the Albatross - 2011
Order of the Tipping Dinghy

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Someone's random Youtube comment
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Re: Blue Moon visits Lake Macquarie 2011

Postby Shaun » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:51 am

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"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

Order of the Albatross - 2011
Order of the Tipping Dinghy

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Someone's random Youtube comment
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Shaun
 
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Re: Blue Moon visits Lake Macquarie 2011

Postby Miker » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:14 pm

Nice write up Shaun. Great video too.

Note to self, keep a camera in a dry bag in the cockpit!

Planning the return for Dulcamara this Saturday. Looking good so far!

Michael
Michael
"Dulcamara" - MKIII
Careel Bay, Pittwater
"Order of the Tipping Dinghy" 2017
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Re: Blue Moon visits Lake Macquarie 2011

Postby Shaun » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:44 pm

Lake Macquarie, Saturday.
The NE’er was blowing directly onto the Wangi Workers Club wharf, & I was a little anxious about tieing up to the wharf (I usually prefer to anchor or hop on a mooring, also it’s a bit of a lucky dip if I can engage reverse on the inboard), but it wasn’t as bad close-up as it looked from a distance, & I slowly made my way around the back of the eastern finger, where Bear & his son Tom, & Greg & his son Adam caught my bow line & helped hold & fend me off the wharf, while we secured Blue Moon.
Michael & Gabi on Dulcamara joined us shortly after & tied up next to Blue Moon, It was a solid wind that made tieing up tricky, I was worried I was going to get my mini-bowsprit(which I had just replaced) caught under the wharf & after agonising for some time (because I had to row out the anchor) & receiving a bump on the bowsprit from the wharf, luckily no damage, I decided to set a stern anchor, this immediately solved the problem, Blue Moon relaxed & sat comfortably from then on.
Unfortuneatly Dulcamara received some damage to her toe rail from the wharf, just minutes after I had set my anchor.
Because I hadn’t set the length of the stern anchor rode at the right length required to just step onto the front of the boat, I had to hop into my dinghy for a couple of feet, then onto Blue Moon, just before we were about to go to dinner, I hoped onto the dinghy, didn’t sit down and hauled on a line that I thought was taught,…….it wasn’t….the next thing I know im up to my belly button holding onto Blue Moon’s pulpit rail, & trying to stand on the bottom of my now up-turned dinghy….thankfully I didn’t see any camera flashes & I eventually managed to straddle the bowsprit & get aboard, the fella’s recovered my dinghy & I went below to change again, dry out my wallet & phone(which has been fine since), then joined the others for dinner….who’s turn is it next time to fall in from their dinghy at a Top Hat get-together??
Dulcamara headed off to a mooring at the LMYC & I was considering dropping the pick away from the wharf, but the locals kept saying the wind would ease & the lake would be flat soon, I was sceptical, but sure enough by 2300 or so the lake was a millpond, & im sure I fell asleep before my head even touched the pillow.
The following day the plan was to head up to Croudace Bay, where Bear was putting on a BBQ on his boat, I had a shower at the club & was going to catch up with the others on the lake, however I had my head in the engine bay 5 times on the way (adjusting the stern gland twice(finally got it right this time & havn’t had to touch it since!), bailing the bilge twice & re-installing the water pump that fell off) over the next few hours & didn’t make it to Croudace (I was looking forward to that BBQ!).
On their way back, we meet with Greg on Felicite, & John on Oberon II, & sailed with them back to Belmont Bay.

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Felicite & Oberon II
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A youtube video: :arrow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLGqMs1_CXw


Felicite & Blue Moon tied up to the wharf at LMYC where Greg’s wife Ingrid joined Greg, Adam & myself later & she shouted us a lovely pizza for dinner that we ate aboard Felicite.
"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

Order of the Albatross - 2011
Order of the Tipping Dinghy

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Someone's random Youtube comment
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Re: Blue Moon visits Lake Macquarie 2011

Postby Shaun » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:26 pm

"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

Order of the Albatross - 2011
Order of the Tipping Dinghy

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Someone's random Youtube comment
User avatar
Shaun
 
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