After almost exactly three months away, we arrived back on X-Pat on 30th November ready to finally bring her home to Pittwater, NSW. During our time away we spent six weeks in the UK and sold our house in Pymble!
After a day of preparations and getting our heads back into sailing mode, we were ready to depart, but the weather had other ideas. With strong winds forecasted for the Monday we decided to stay put and wait for things to calm down.
After arriving back in Australia from Vanuatu we decided that is was high time for Debi to skipper the boat. So on Tuesday (3rd December) with Debi on the helm, we reversed out of our berth at Newport Marina at around 0900. Our first port of call was Scarborough marina to fill up with diesel and then out across Moreton Bay to Cape Moreton. The winds were light and on the nose, so we chose to just motor this part of the trip. We hoisted our sails once clear of the channels and sand banks of Moreton Bay and off we went.
The weather was reasonably kind with variable winds but mostly behind the beam. Debi had researched the location of the southerly going East Australian Current (EAC), which we found fairly quickly, despite our water temperature sensor failing, and so we made good progress down the coast. As we passed the Gold Coast and into NSW the smoke haze from the huge bushfires became more and more evident. Even when we were 30 nm offshore the haze was still present. By the time we got to Port Stephens we realized that the visibility was reduced to less than 3 nm in places. Light-houses would have been little use had we been using traditional methods of navigation.
On the final night of the trip we were visited by a Brown Booby, who seemed intent on perching on the boat and proceeding to crap all over it. We are not sure what he had been eating but the result wasn’t good.
|The Brown Booby - such a messy bird|
The forecasted winds of 15 knots from behind failed to materialize on our final afternoon and so we had a frustratingly slow last 40 nm. We had been looking forward to the sight of Barrenjoey Lighthouse at the entrance to Pittwater, but had to wait a long time as the smoke haze worsened. It was then that we realized that the boat was not only covered in Brown Booby crap but also in a fine layer of ash.
|White boats and bushfire ash are not very compatible|
We only just got into Pittwater before dark and so decided to pick up a mooring at the Basin rather than trying to get all the way to The Quays marina, which would have meant arriving in the dark. Once tied up it was time to crack open the champagne and get a solid nights sleep. We covered 494 nm in 3.5 days.
|Arriving in Pittwater to bushfire skies|
|Our skipper all tied up on the mooring at the Basin|
|It's that time again|
This morning we headed across to the Quays marina and our old mooring (No. 27). We left here on 31st July 2016 (see blog entry https://xpatcruises.blogspot.com/2016/07/and-we-off-sort-of.html) and it was a strange but nice feeling to be back on familiar territory.
|Getting tied up back at our old mooring at The Quays|
We spent a few hours cleaning up the boat and in particular the deck, before calling up the tender to come and collect us. The end of quite a series of adventures.
To be continued ….