Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

 Superted V

Blog & Photos - October 2014

1- 6 October: Because of the time of year it was going to be difficult to sail from Nelson to Sydney, so we decided to head north to give us a better chance of getting suitable weather to get across the Tasman Sea to Australia - so we were watching for a suitable window to go up the east coast of the north island - although longer than the west coast route, this would allow us to complete our circumnavigation of New Zealand and also call in at Whangerai to quickly haul out and antifoul the bottom. We left Nelson and headed round to Queen Charlotte Sound, where we ended up spending a week on a mooring buoy waiting for the equinoxial gale and storm force winds to abate!

7 October - It was looking as if it would be better conditions to get up the west coast so we decided to head back west towards D'Urville island and set off north from there. Unfortunately (or not!) as we hoisted the main sail, it began to tear around the clew so we beat a hasty retreat into Picton and managed to get the sail repaired within a couple of hours by KL Sails. The delay meant we missed the short weather window to get up to D'Urville so we headed back to our buoy in Ruakaka Bay to study the gribs once again.

8 Oct - The weather gribs were now showing better winds to go up the east coast so back to plan A - we set off through the Tory Channel and into the Cook Straight on the outgoing tide from Queen Charlotte Sound in the early evening and headed up towards Gisborne.

10 Oct - We were going great guns and had decided to continue on past Gisborne but received a forecast of more gale force winds around east cape so decided to stick with the plan and head into Gisborne arriving there in the dark. The harbour master came to meet us and was a great help getting us settled at a pretty unearthly hour.

11 Oct - We were pleasantly surprised when we saw Gisborne in the daylight - a small marina with a promenade full of palm trees - the first for a long while AND we were out of the roaring fourties for the first time in a year! Spent a pleasant day around the town. One of the local yachtsmen owned a large fruit growing and packaging company and presented us with a nice selection of fresh fruit.

12 - 15 Oct - Gisborne to Bay of Islands - passing the Mercury Islands in the bay of Plenty early in the morning of the 14th we were well ahead of schedule but always mindful of the weather, we called Charlie at Docklands 4 to see if we cold haul out a day early but unfortunately (or not!) there had been a mix up and he hadn't booked us in at all. We spent the night at Urquart Bay and after studying the weather forecast again it looked as if we could possibly get a good window to head across the Tasman sea in a few days so the next day we set off north towards Opua. Had a great sail so kept going straight to the Bay of Islands and arrived in Manganui Bay late in the evening.

16 Oct - Matt had a chilly two hours diving under the boat to have a quick clean of the bottom and to change anodes. The antifouling was in good shape after 18 mths and would do for a while longer. What was impressive was the propeller. The "propspeed" coating seems to work really well. Clean as a whistle. Spent the night at Roberton island.

17 - 19 Oct - On to Opua with a quick stop at Russell to re-provision for the passage to Oz. Picked up some antifouling, as cheaper than OZ plus an Australian courtesy flag and new AIS i which Matt then fitted. Checked in with 'MetBob' to confirm the possible weather for the trip across - all looking good. Off loaded surplus booze to an astonished boat from Cardiff so as to not cross the Ozzie customs, then cleared out with NZ customs..

20 - 28 Oct - Left Opua 10am on passage from Opua to Sydney - see flotsam - 7 days, 22 hours; 1301 miles.

28 - 31 Oct - We had a great welcome to Sydney - Sydney VTS contacted customs for us and they advised us to anchor in Farm Cove (right next to the Opera house) until the customs office opened so we saw the sun come up over the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge - fantastic! It was a breeze through customs, immigration and quarantine - all very friendly and helpful. Once we had 'practique' they let us use the fresh water hose to clean the boat and fill the tanks, then headed out to a free anchorage at Balls Head - sailing under the iconic Harbour bridge. We had just sat down for lunch when we had a call from our friend Don who had driven up that morning from LilliPilli with a bottle of bubbly - he was about half an hour away! Spent a great couple of days with Don who drove us around so we could get organised with shopping, phones and internet etc and also have a look at the area north of Sydney around Pittwater and the Hawksberry River. Sailed to another free anchorage at Blackwattle Bay right in the center of the city but had to hold our breath as we squeezed under 'Madonna's bra' (aka the Anzac bridge) at 27 meters high with our mast height of around 25 meters! Based ourselves at nice location in Blackwattle Bay, overlooking a park, and with floating dinghy dock and nearby bike storage we were all set. Spent the last days of October cycling around the center of Sydney taking in the sights!

Position on 31 October: S33.52.34 E151.11.18