Sunday, July 31, 2011

Photo's from Mooloolaba to Tasmania

Beach Resort - Tangalooma - Moreton Island near Brisbane Queensland.

View of the beach/wrecks at Tangalooma on Moreton Island

Wendy & Richard (Charon) on Finesse at Tangalooma.

Finesse on the jetty at Dunwich.

"The Little Ships Club" at Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island.

Ron at the "Bali" style resort at Tipplers Passage

The floating liquor/supply "shop" at Tipplers Passage.

Wendy, Richard & Pete at Captain Cooks Monument at Point Lookout on Nth Stradbroke Island.

Finesse at Newport Marina - all rugged up for the cyclone season.

Departing Coffs Harbour NSW

Entering Sydney Heads - The race is on between Finesse, Ship "Claudia II" and the Manly Ferry.

The Cruising Yacht Club - Sydney (Home of the Sydney/Hobart Yacht Races)

Cooks Endeavour at anchor in Sydney Harbour

Bob & Pete at Lady Barron on Flinders Island

Ron and Pete - 2 days from Kettering Tasmania

Finesse at anchor in Fortesque Bay.

View from Fortesque Bay Tasmania

Early morning view of Tasman Island.

Kettering Marina, Finesse's new home port.

Our Journey over the past 2 years.


On the 18th October 2010 we motor sailed across Moreton Bay, up the coast past Calloundra and into the river at Mooloolaba. Used an anchorage area in the river for a few days before coming into the Mooloolaba Wharf Marina, where it was easier to get ashore. This also enabled us to enjoy a wonderful dinner for Ron’s birthday at “Fish on Parkin”

This was more or less an exploratory trip for the future slipping of “Finesse”. We returned to Tangalooma. On this return trip we found that our AIS (the device that can spot and track large commercial vessels on our chart plotter) began to malfunction. It showed large vessels to be a mere 5 seconds away from us when in reality they were at least 30 minutes away. We later had this looked at by a “Raymarine” agent but it was not rectified until months later when we left the Brisbane area and sailed south.

A number of other boaties told us of their own similar problem in the Moreton Bay area.

Whilst at Tangalooma we used the sea scooter to explore the submerged wrecks to help us see the beautiful fish life. Unfortunately one of the sea scooter nose cones fell overboard at night whilst the batteries were being recharged. A large ship passing close by caused a huge wash which rocked us quite violently causing the nose cone to fall overboard. A search proved fruitless.

How interesting that on the eve of our departure from Hillarys that one of the sea scooters was damaged when the nose cone exploded due to a build up of hydrogen gas which some how ignited. That unit was replaced and now here at Tangalooma we are back to one functional scooter. Some things are meant to be.

Whilst at Tangalooma this time we had some great weather and welcomed the arrival of Richard and Wendy on Charon (from Port Arthur Tasmania).

The boat numbers increased from 2 to 51 over the weekend then dropped back to a mere handful by Monday, clearly a popular spot for the locals.

Early November 2010 we again motor sailed to an anchorage at Peel Island known as Lazaret Gutter which gave good protection from SE-SW winds. A few days later we sailed into the “Little Ships Club” at Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island, a delightful grassy, tropical setting with very reasonably priced meals.

Dunwich originated as a mineral sand mining town and sand is still mined today although its future is uncertain due to Native Title claims. The area has also been a quarantine station with the local cemetery revealing many deaths at young ages of people arriving by sailing ships.

We cruised south along the Western shore of North Stradbroke to Blaksley anchorage, a very pretty spot. As the waterways are quite shallow, we waited for the high tide before heading further south via Canalpin, Macleay Island, Canaipa Pt, through Canaipa passage between North Stradbroke Island and Russel Island to Jumpinpin then inside South Stradbroke Island to an anchorage near a resort area at Tipplers Passage.

Although these inland waters were discoloured and could be used for swimming, it was great to walk across the island to the clean ocean for a swim. It was here that a large fish startled us by jumping out of the water right in front of us.

A few days later we pulled up anchor and cruised further south past the Aldershots to The Broadwater past the Sovereign Islands down North Channel to the Marine Stadium (known also as Bums Bay) near the Gold Coast Seaway.

Dinghied across to Southport for shopping, took in the latest Harry Potter movie and moved Finesse to Wave Break Island as the Marine Stadium was to be closed off to anchoring vessels for an event.

Wave Break Island was a nightmare as schoolies week had just begun and drunken teenage houseboat operators with running tides and lack of anchoring expertise was a recipe for disaster.

We happily moved next morning back to Tipplers Passage only too pleased to find that Richard & Wendy on Charon arrived the next day. Had fun exploring the Bali Style Resort area and danced along with the day trippers.

Used the high tide to move north past the shoals just before Jacobs Well. Called into Streiglitz then continued to Krummell Passage between Karragarra Island and Russell Island. Anchored opposite the ferry jetty on Russell Island and went ashore for supplies.

It was here we mailed the Navman chart plotter back to Sydney for a replacement as the screen had blacked out.

We carried on to Deanbilla Bay only to again meet up with Charon. We unintentionally “gatecrashed” a wedding at the Little Ships Club along with Richard and Wendy when we decided to have our evening meal there.

As a consequence of the “gatecrash” and making new friends, we were loaned a 4WD Nissan Patrol to explore the towns of Amity and Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island.

Point Lookout was by far the larger town and catered for tourists, had lovely walks, good clean surfing beaches and laid claim to a visit over 200 years ago by Captain Cook.

Encountered more genset problems. The engine kept cutting out and with Richard’s help we found that the coolant reservoir on the motor was dry (causing the heat cut out switch to cut the motor) yet the overflow coolant expansion tank was full. A blocked elbow and a very slow leak from one of the hoses was found to be the fault.

We visited Peel Island (Horseshoe Bay) and then sailed north to Kounungai a 10-12 metre deep anchorage adjacent to large white sand hills at the southern end of Moreton Island. A walk ashore and up these gigantic sand hills revealed a fantastic view across the Pacific Ocean. Once again the sandflies attacked Peta quite viciously; even her prolonged use of Vitamin B1 seemed to have little to no effect.

We motored back across Moreton Bay to Newport Marina on 8th December, 2010 and readied the boat over the next few days for the impending tropical cyclone season whilst we returned to Perth.

Beres and Marg Coley picked us up at Perth Airport and we enjoyed their hospitality for a couple of days before moving to Colin Sharps house at Yokine (close to our factory unit) for a couple of weeks until Christmas was over).

Beres along with Peta’s brother Bob has been one of our EPIRB emergency contact people.

We spent a lovely Christmas with most of our immediate family at a picnic at Heathcote. (Shelley was in Darwin)

After Christmas we moved into the factory unit so that we could destroy most of Ron’s old practice archive records and prepare for shipment of our household gear for storage until freighting to Tasmania.

The weeks in the factory were hot and the days were long but finally the day came when our 20 feet long sea container arrived. It took us both 3 days to load using Ron’s’ daughter Keryn’s wise advice on “how to load a truck”. Her advice was invaluable. Ron’s son Blair took away trailer loads of plumbing, electrical, hardware and timber which Ron had taken many years to accumulate. Yes it was hard for Ron to give away his many years of collectables but the reality was that it could not all fit into the container.

With the container finally removed for storage we took a well deserved break and stayed a few days with Peta’s brother Bob and his wife Gerry at Binningup Beach before farewelling Charlie and Robin at Wandering. (Charlie left Hillarys with us and sailed our first legs to Esperance).

We put the JBA sports car on the train bound for Adelaide and stayed overnight with Norma Penning a long time friend. After a tearful farewell we drove the Jeep and off-road camper away from Perth on 1st February, 2011.

We visited Wave Rock at Hyden (Peta had never been there), then went to Lake Ballard (out the back of Menzies) to see sculptures set out on the lake. It was very slippery and muddy and we managed in knee deep mud to see only 3 out of some 50 odd statues.

Our trip across the Nullarbor was eventful with a seized wheel bearing some 50 kms east of the Nullarbor Roadhouse (who were particularly unhelpful) and 100 kms west from the nearest mechanic at Nandoo (who thankfully had a tilt-tray truck) as the trailer had to be piggy-backed there for repairs.

The JBA was retrieved from the depot in Adelaide and after a complimentary night at John Culshaw’s Majestic Hotel in the city we drove separate vehicles back to Port Vincent.

Here Cab and Jenny Butler put us up whilst their Alan Pape design 40 feet yacht “Hakuna Matata” was readied for our voyage with them to Kangaroo Island. We spent 5 days on KI, attending the yearly race meeting, caught up with Cab and Jenny’s son John and his partner Tara before sailing back via Adelaide and then to Port Vincent leaving our vehicles in storage at their farm. Cab and Jenny also joined us for a few days last June in Sydney whilst on their way up to Queensland. So another sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge was arranged, one of many whilst we were in Sydney. Whilst in Port Vincent we caught up again with Ted and Ela who sailed previously with us to Kangaroo Island.

We flew back to Perth for John and Cath’s wedding (Peta’s nephew). More farewells to children, family members and close friends then returned to Finesse on 6th March in Newport Qld.

Days later Finesse was back in Mooloolaba for her annual antifoul (now 2 years) and inspection. After the usual drama and stress of seeing your own vessel lifted out (hanging in slings for it’s transit to chocking and cradle) we found that the yard operators were excellent. We had to replace a cutlass bearing and we replaced the genset hoses (getting old and spongy). We did sanding and polishing whilst waiting for good weather (winds) to head north to the Whitsundays and up the Coral Coast.

On the afternoon of 1st April the very day before we were to head north, we received an e-mail from the lady renting our house in Tasmania advising us she was moving out 6 months earlier than planned. After nearly 2 years of cruising this was a dramatic turnabout realising that this particular voyage had almost reached its “use by” date.

So instead of heading north we headed south using the inland waterways we had become familiar with, to get to the Gold Coast Seaway.

After waiting a week for good weather we headed out at 2300 hours into a wet and bumpy sea until south of Point Danger near the NSW/QLD border after which the seas became smoother.

We reached Iluka at 1400 hrs (a 15hr/105 NM trip) averaging 7 knots.

Departed Iluka for Coffs Harbour to pick up Peta’s brother Bob who joined us for the sail back to Tasmania.

The journey down the coast was fast averaging 6-7 knots most of the way.

There were a number of overnighters and we rostered ourselves to a 2 hour watch with 4 hours off right through day and night. This worked well as you could take a decent break and rest or sleep.

Our trip saw us visit Camden Haven (Laurieton) (17 hrs), Port Stephens (12.5hrs), Broken Bay (13.5 hrs) then to Sydney to dodge “coming” weather and catch up with Ron’s sister Helen.

Stayed one night at the Royal Motor Yacht Club and saw John Culshaw’s new 55ft Beneteau, (we first met John in Port Lincoln and have crossed paths along the way many times), we spent the second night at anchor at Black Wattle Bay next to the Sydney Fish Markets, which we enjoyed.

We left Sydney mid afternoon and reached Botany Bay for an overnight anchorage and then on through to Ulladulla (15 hrs) then Bermagui (10.25 hrs at 8 knots). We then sailed for 2 nights to Lady Baron at Flinders Island (39.5 hours) reaching there just on dawn, another Bass Strait crossing behind us. Found the electronic chart lead line into Lady Barron did not agree with the visual lead lights and we bottomed 3 or 4 times – thankfully a flood tide pushed us over the sand bank and into deeper water. One of those cases where reality must take preference over “myth”, i.e. believe the lights.

We experienced the Three Peaks Yacht Race at Lady Barron, over the Easter weekend, staying on the local jetty for 3 days sitting out 40 knot winds and waiting for the seas to calm down. Departed Lady Baron past the “Pot Boil” at high tide via the Vansittart Shoals down the East Coast of Tasmania to Fortesque Bay (just north of Tasman Island). (29.5 hrs at 6 knots), this was our last overnight anchorage.

Departed Fortesque Bay for a fabulous run on a beautiful sunny day for the final run to Kettering in the D’Entrecasteau Channel, Finesse’s new home port and our last day of voyaging for the past 2 years.


We take this opportunity to give a big thankyou to brother Bob for his assistance on the journey back to our new home and for his ongoing support and advice. Bob managed to sail with us on 3 separate occasions, Bunbury to Mandurah, Robe SA to Devonport TAS, and the final journey Coffs Harbour NSW to Kettering TAS. We had a wonderful journey together.

A special thanks also to Beres and Marg for their many phone calls during our trip, keeping us in their radar and following our journey from their coffee table map. Thanks for your help and advice over the past 2 years. Beres and Marg were able also to join us in Brisbane, Tangalooma on Morton Island & Newport Marina.

Many thanks to Ron’s sister Helen and Frances and Colin who were our mail collectors, which made living aboard much easier, as we had no fixed address, where do you redirect your mail? Thank goodness for computers.

Also to Charlie Strickland who began our journey with us from Hillary’s to Esperance, getting Peta through her first ever night sail, Busselton to Albany, 55 hours with his humour and encouragement.

A special thanks to Alan Paul who joined us in Esperance to Streaky Bay, that horrific Bight Crossing 4 days of a living nightmare. Thank you.

We also wish to thank all the new friends we have made during this time, in the many different places we have visited who have made us so welcome. We know we will see you again.

To our close cruising in company friends, Rob & Lorraine (Songlines) from Geraldton, now relocated to Strahan Tasmania, first met in Streaky Bay then areas of SA. Anne and Cran (Letting go) from Newport Qld, first met in Adelaide, then in Tasmania & Queensland and finally Richard and Wendy (Charon), from Tasmania, first met in Bantry Bay Sydney, then Iluka, and various areas between Gold Coast Seaway and Morton Bay and finally Newport Marina Queensland. We had some great times and I know we will cruise together again someday.

To our family members Ben, Tarryn & Jordan, who visited in Melbourne, Shelley, Lillian and Keryn, Brad who visited in Sydney. To Jason who was our first visitor in Tassie since we moved in to our new home. Thank you.

Finally to all our family and friends who have supported our journey over the past 2 years.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Chinamans Creek at Lakes Entrance
Paynesville - Lakes Entrance

Dont use spit posts as a way point - taken near Paynesville Lake Entrance

Whales at play off Bermagui

Whales at play off Bermagui

Bantree Bay Middle Harbour - Sydney

Sydney from North Head

Sailing on Sydney Harbour

Jenny and Cab Butler from Pt Vincent SA.

Ron, Shelley and Lillian in Sydney

Finesse at anchor in Broken Bay

Sunset in Broken Bay
Ron with the Bonito he caught whilst sailing up the coast.

The pile system in the Brisbane River near the Botanical Gardens.

Tangalooma wrecks at Morton Island. 15 ships/barges making an artificial reef.


Monday 14th June departed Lakes Entrance at 4.30pm for our final voyage across Bass Strait and on to Eden in NSW. Sailed through the night past Gabo Island to Bittangabee Creek, a small but protected cove, where we stopped for lunch before sailing to Eden. Spent 5 days in Eden because we had a hydraulic pipe burst through corrosion causing a steering problem. This was a first time test of the emergency tiller which had to be fitted on top of the rudder stock inside the boat. So it was back out with the “marriage savers”, (our hands free walkie talkie radios) so that Ron as lookout and throttle operator could give steering instructions to Peta inside the downstairs rear cabin. We managed to have it fixed by the local shipwright after a successful trip to the wharf without mishap.

Set sail from Eden on Saturday 19th June heading to Bermagui, tied up at the local wharf for 2 days and after exploring the town departed for Broulee Island where we anchored the night before heading the next day to Ulladulla, another delightful fishing village. Along the way we were given an amazing display of whales playing off the coast.

Thursday 24th June headed off at 6.30am to Jervis Bay, arriving mid morning. We found a courtesy mooring at the “Hole in the Wall” near the entrance to the bay, had lunch and then motored across the bay to Hare Bay. We encountered a naval vessel doing exercises in the bay and had the distinct feeling that we were being used as a target as this destroyer sized vessel would head almost directly towards us then veer off and approach us from a different direction. Needless to say we maintained a deliberately straight and consistent course keeping our ear out for any radio contact. We spent 4 days in and around Jervis Bay, coming ashore at Huskinsson where we met a couple who lent us a vehicle. This enabled us to drive to HMAS Albatross. This is where Ron’s ex business partner Mike Spahn was based during his time in the navy. Mike was a Search and Rescue Diver (SAR Diver) and spent some of his time jumping out of helicopters into the sea to rescue people from sinking vessels. He also has the wonderful achievement of being towed underneath a helicopter dressed as a witch, smoke flares strapped to his boots and flying over the Sydney Opera House at its opening by the Queen. Mike also has his name proudly displayed for his past services on the Wall of Honour at the HMAS Albatross at Nowra. Well done Mike we are proud of you.
Sailed further north to the Crookhaven River, spent two nights there before departing for Port Hacking. This was our first glimpse of the Sydney skyline and a high concentration of aeroplanes heading to and away from Sydney. After spending 3 days exploring the area and taking the dinghy to Cronulla Sailing Club, to check out the town we then sailed into Botony Bay. We were not able to reach Captain Cook’s Landing place as we were directed to stay away from cable laying boats. We managed to pick up a public mooring in Frenchman’s Bay within Botany Bay.

Monday 5th July at 07.45 hrs set sail for Sydney. We were able to come quite close to the shore at Clovelly (between Coogee Beach and Bondi Beach) to be able to wave to Ron’s sister Helen who had come down to the beach from her new house to see us sail past.

Entered Port Jackson Heads at 10.00am and motored up to Middle Harbour. We had to wait for the Split Bridge to open at 11.15 having rung ahead to inform them that we were coming through. Explored the various bays in the area before making our way up to Bantry Bay (most northern arm) where we were surrounded by national park bushland. It was exciting to have finally reached Sydney. Spent two lovely nights there before venturing out again into the very busy main harbour.

As we sailed towards the Opera House and iconic Harbour Bridge we were amazed at the amount of sea traffic on the harbour including the 6 ferries that seem to be heading towards us as we went under the bridge. Quite an emotional morning as this was Ron’s dream to sail into Sydney Harbour and under the bridge. We headed to Blackwattle Bay under the Anzac Bridge where the Sydney Fish Markets are located, quite an amazing place, had a few fish meals there whilst in Sydney. Here we dropped anchor and went ashore to meet Helen, Ron’s sister. Our first day in this location saw us drag anchor and be towed back to the anchorage area by NSW Maritime (the local maritime safety authority). We had walked over to nearby Darling Harbour only to come back a few hours later to discover our boat had been shifted slightly from where we left it. A telephone call to the number shown on the calling card from NSW Maritime revealed that whilst we had anchored correctly and with plenty of chain out, we had the misfortune to have the anchor drop directly onto a huge piece of plastic which acted as a sled when the wind changed. Spent 2 nights at anchor before heading to the Gladesville Bridge Marina where we had booked in for a month.

Whilst in Sydney we had many friends and family visit us and stay on board. First Roger and Julie from Perth, then Shelley Ron’s daughter and our granddaughter Lillian came to stay for 5 days. We also had good friends Jenny and Cab Butler from Port Vincent South Australia call in and stay for 2 days as they were on their way further north. On our last weekend in Sydney Ron’s daughter Keryn and her partner Brad did a flying visit from Perth.

Also whilst in Sydney we caught up with Steve and Julie Ann who live in Sydney and are long time friends of Peta’s, Ron’s sister Helen, her son Clinton and his wife Sarah and Amos their son. We also flew to Singapore for 4 days to attend Narelle and Dean’s wedding. (Ron’s niece) and we flew back to Tasmania for 2 days to research properties south of Hobart. Many thanks to Lew and Liz in Hobart for putting us up and lending us a vehicle whilst we were there and the chance to sleep overnight on their beautifully maintained Nauticat called Minerva. So all in all Sydney was very busy and we had lots of fun taking family and friends sailing “Under the Bridge” and over to the Opera House and Zoo area. We also did the Bridge Climb which was awesome.

So finally on Friday 6th August we set sail for Broken Bay (Pittwater). We booked for two nights at the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Newport as our friend Alan Paul who crossed the Bight with us was in Sydney and arranged to drive up with his son Stephen to join us for dinner.

We then spent the next 12 days in and around the Broken Bay area, visiting all the various bays, heading up to Jerusalem Bay for an overnight anchorage before taking the dinghy further up the creek. We then explored Cowan Creek, to the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park area where the NSW Maritime has numerous public moorings. It was so peaceful in the area. We then headed to the Hawkesbury River off Cowan Creek to the little marina just before the rail bridge. This was as far up the river we could go due to height restriction as we need around 20 metres clearance. Here again we caught up with Alan and his friend Paul and had a delightful day sailing down the Cowan Creek to Cottage point where we stopped for an extremely expensive lunch. This was the first time Alan had seen the Pittwater/Broken Bay area. We also met up with Denis Crowdy, Janet and Peter’s son. Janet was a neighbour and employee of Ron’s back in Darlington days and when Ron first went into practice..

On Sunday 22nd August set sail for Port Stephens, a 12 hour sail. We had good seas but fluky winds between 3-10 kts, so motor sailed all the way. We decided against going into Newcastle which would have broken our journey as there were just so many ships in and coming and going from the commercial harbour. We came into Nelsons Bay (Port Stephens) in the dark but felt pretty confident as we had been in contact the Volunteer Marine Radio (VMR) radio guys who gave us some directions and the navigation lights were fairly straight forward. The VMR people on duty also switched on special orange lights to assist.

The next day we moved into the safety of the harbour/marina area and tied up to the public jetty. We ended up staying for a week there as the winds were up to 35kts even in the bay causing quite a surf to develop. Whilst in Port Stevens we caught up with David and Di Baulch from Tasmania who were on their way back down south from a motoring holiday. We spent a night over at Fame Cove before heading out to sea again and to Cape Hawke Harbour (Tuncurry/Forster).
We tied up to one of the fishing co-op jetties right next to the road bridge between Forster and Tuncurry. We were there for 2 weeks as Peta had to fly to Melbourne to be with Jason who was in intensive care in hospital after being attacked whilst on his way home one evening. It was a most stressful time. Ron spent his time as caretaker and doing maintenance work on Finesse.

Saturday 11th Sept departed Tuncurry for Laurieton on the Camden Haven River. This was a 6.5 hr sail, anchored in the river opposite the town a delightful spot. The next day we headed to Port Macquarie again only a short run up the coast, 3 hrs. Met the marine pilot book writer Alan Lucas and thanked him for his great publications which give tremendous help to non local boaties. We used a marina mooring and explored the town the next few days.

Wednesday 15th Sept we sailed for 35nm to Trial Bay for an overnight anchorage and then sailed to Coff’s Harbour. A very “surgy” harbour, so after one night at anchorage we came into the marina, as the winds and sea were increasing in strength. A good safe harbour. After 3 nights at the marina the seas seemed to settle down so we set sail at 6.30am for Iluka on the Clarence River arriving there at 3.30pm. Here we came across Richard and Wendy on the yacht Charon, who are from Tasmania and we first met in Middle Harbour. We only did an overnighter there as had a good wind forecast so we sent sail initially for Ballina. We hope to get back to the Clarence River as it seemed a delightfully sheltered and interesting area and can be sailed up river to Grafton. The sea conditions were not right to enter the bar at Ballina so we sailed further north to Byron Bay for an overnight sea anchorage.

We spent a most uncomfortable night there so were very pleased to up anchor and head to the Gold Coast Sea Way and Queensland this was a 9 hour trip.

Upon entering the sea way and half surfing in, we headed to a small lagoon just near Sea World. Good to be in calm waters again. We spent two nights there before departing at 6.30am for the Brisbane River following the “Main Channel” inside South Stradbroke Island. We passed many delightful spots that we wish to return to and finally entered the Brisbane River about 3.30pm. For the next 2.5 hours against the tide we slowly moved towards the city of Brisbane. Again another long day and we finally tied up to a pile system in front of the Botanical Gardens.

We explored Brisbane for a few days catching up with Shaun and Johan from Wood & Grieve and also Eric and Sue Muir, a CPA ex board member before our friends Marg and Beres Coley joined us for a week. We spent a few more days in the river in the heart of the city before departing and heading over to Tangalooma Point on Morton Island where we anchored overnight. Beres was in his element taking the wheel and sailing across the bay without motor. The next day it was rain, rain and more rain so we decided to motor across the bay to the Newport Marina.

Whilst at Tangalooma we discovered a new noise coming from the rudder and upon further investigation discovered that the keys in the keyway on the top of the rudder were worn. So whilst here at Newport we had a shipwright look at and fix the problem.

Beres and Marg left us in Newport to return first to Wollongong then Sydney and finally flying home to Perth.

We have caught up with Ann and Cran from Letting Go a “cat” in this marina whom we first met in Adelaide and then twice in Tasmania. They were kind enough to take us food shopping so we have been able to reprovision whilst here and have offered to keep an eye on Finesse for us when we are away. We have been boat bound for most of this week due to the extreme weather with winds and rains Brisbane and South Queensland have been experiencing.

We plan to hopefully set sail again soon and head to Mooloolaba for a couple of weeks before returning to the Brisbane/Morton Bay/Gold Coast area till mid December when we will be returning to Perth for 3 months. We will leave Finesse here at the Newport Marina for the cyclone season then returning to sail Queensland for 4-5 months next year before returning to Tasmania where we have now purchased a property.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Photo's Williamstown/Melbourne/Geelong/Queenscliff/Refuge Cove

View across to Melbourne from Williamstown.
Peta & Jordan first morning they arrived on board Finesse.

Ben & Tarryn - They managed to see 3 football matches whilst in Melbourne for 10 days.

Ben & Jordan at the Zoo in Melbourne.

The Famous Flinders Street Railway Station.

View of Docklands waterfront area.

Wooden supture's in Geelong on the waterfront - a few of the hundred plus scattered around the foreshore.

Bathing beauties also on the foreshore.

The Geelong foreshore.

View of Queenscliff coming through the notorious "Rip".

Refuge Cove at Wilson's Promontory.

Finesse at anchor in Refuge Cove.

Wall of boat names - where people leave their mark when they visit Refuge Cove.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


We have been landlocked for the past 5 ½ weeks, exploring around the Melbourne area.
Two weeks were spent in Williamstown at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, where we caught up with our friend Beres who was over from Perth visiting his son Michael and his wife Christie whom we first met in Hobart.

Peta caught up with Colleen with whom she previously worked at Wood & Grieve Engineers, also long time friends John and Radka who live in Melbourne and Tom and his wife Michelle and their two children. So the first week at Williamstown was generally socialising with old friends.

Arrangements were made to have flyscreens fitted on Finesse by Lorraine and Tony whom we met whilst on a mooring at Woodbridge (Peppermint Bay) bay in Tasmania. So whilst we were away at Docklands for 2 weeks these were made and were fitted when we revisited Williamstown on our way to Geelong. We also caught up with their friends Sue and Gary and also Frank who they were travelling with in convoy in Tasmania for dinner at the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Williamstown. Frank delivers vessels up and down the coast and was most helpful with advices of ports and safe anchorages on the way to Sydney. (The importance of local knowledge)

Then we moved further up the Yarra River to Docklands for 2 weeks. Docklands is right in the centre of Melbourne and we stayed at the Waterfront City Marina run by the City of Melbourne which is very reasonable at $210.00 per week, this includes use of their shore facilities including a visitor lounge with TV, internet, BBQ, kitchen, showers plus towels and laundry all included in the price.

Ron and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary, mother’s day plus Peta’s birthday whilst at Docklands.

Ben, Tarryn and our grandson Jordan arrived from Perth to join us for 10 days at Docklands. Peta got her “Nanna fix” whilst we had Jordan on board and it was good to see Ben and Tarryn go off exploring Melbourne whilst Ron and I babysat Jordan.
We explored many things in Melbourne with them including the zoo and the aquarium which were just great. As the local free city circle tram left from the Waterfront City stop it was easy to get on and off as you pleased thus making exploring Melbourne with a baby so much easier.. Whilst we were planning to sail to Geelong, we all took the country train to Geelong so that Ben and Tarryn could go to a Sydney Swans football match one Saturday. Nana & Granddad brought Jordan home on the train that afternoon.

We also explored St Kilda catching the tram out there on Peta’s birthday, had lunch at a local pub and bought cakes from the famous Acland Street cake shops. Unfortunately for Ben and Tarryn Luna Park at St Kilda wasn’t open that day.
All too quickly the 10 days passed and it was time to see them off at the local city “Airport Shuttle” bus depot at Southern Cross Station (formally Spencer Street Station). It was quite sad to see them go, however we do have many photos of them to look back on.

Whilst at docklands we met a previous owner of Finesse who sold her 14 years ago but had owned her for 4 years. It was good to hear some stories about her and where she had been. We stayed a further 3 days before departing and heading back to Williamstown to have the flyscreens fitted. We refuelled Finesse at a 24 hr fuelling station in the Yarra in preparation for our onward journey to Sydney.

The motor from Williamstown to Geelong took us about 5 hours, it was a calm sunny day and we arrived at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club about 3pm. The club made us very welcome and Ron has been given some good sailing advice about getting out of “the rip”.

Whilst in Geelong we explored the town, walked along many walk trails and even caught up on a couple of movies. We took the local bus to Queenscliff and then the local ferry across the bay to Sorrento. We wanted to check out Queenscliff and the entrance known as “the cut” in preparation for entering the channel which can have a 6-7 knot tidal flow if you do not pick slack water.

We departed Geelong on Saturday 29th May and headed out and past the many spit posts that mark the entrance up the channel to Geelong before going out the Western Channel and around to Queenscliff. Our entry into the cut left us with an adrenalin rush as the water flow into the channel we estimated to be running at 5 knots. This meant we had to go a little faster to have steerage. At the end of the channel near the yacht club wharf it shallowed up very quickly which meant we had to do a hard starboard turn to avoid running aground. Given we were doing around 8 knots , Finesse obeyed the helm instantly causing us to do close to a 180 degree turn, turning in her own boat length. This left us facing back towards rocks near where we had just come in. Full reverse throttle saved the day. A couple of locals awaiting our arrival to assist in our berthing were very impressed?

We stayed at the Cruising Yacht Club of Queenscliff for 3 nights before departing early on Tuesday 1st June to go out through the “Rip” (Port Phillip Bay Heads). The “Rip” is a notoriously dangerous channel of water and today was reasonably smooth. We had studied the weather and the web cams especially placed to view the sea conditions before departing. Once through we started our journey towards San Remo, located at the eastern end of Phillip Island where after a 7 hour sail we picked up a courtesy mooring just off the beach. Early next morning at 1:30 am we set off for a 12 hour sail around Wilson’s Promontory to Refuge Cove where we stayed a couple of days in this delightful bush setting where access is limited to walkers or boats. There were two campsites on shore , one for bushwalkers and one for boaties. The boaties campsite contained a wooden wall displaying the names of visiting vessels and the date(s) visited. Around 5:00pm on the second day we sailed out for our trip up to Lakes Entrance arriving around 8.00 am next day on a calm sea entering the bar around 9:00am again after studying live web cam views and the height and rates of water flow on a Gippsland Lakes sand management website.
We were close to the end of an ebb tide but still could have waited another hour or so as we still found ourselves partially surfing into the narrow channel of still outward flowing water. This took quite a deal of helming before we were safely into protected waters.

Now that we better understand the enormity of the lakes system here (using the benefit of an exploration trip on a local ferry) we have decided to stay for about a week to explore the beauty and wildlife of this area before waiting for the “right” weather to head finally across the remainder of “the paddock” (Bass Strait) around Gabo Island and up to Eden in NSW.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Photo's our our Tasmanian 3 month adventure

One of the many friendly dolphins we seem to attract. Seals on Ninth Island
The candle stick formations at Tasman Island

Church at Port Arthur

Finesse at Port Arthur on the jetty

Sister Helen & Peta at Hobart after arriving by water taxi

In Port Davey

Swans at Port Davey

Bathurst Channel at Port Davey

Train trip from Strahan to Queenstown

Huon Pine Log - 695 years old.

Waterskiers record breaking attempt - broke the record with 114 skiers.

Sunrise at Maria Island

Dunalley channel bridge - note the man with bucket - entry cost is 2 beers.

Deal Island Rock Formations

Homestead on Deal Island