Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Dark skies and big waves

We are now back in Sydney and are delighted that the water in Blackwattle Bay is flat; it was anything but as we sailed up the coast from Bermagui. We did two, long day-sails, stopping in Jervis Bay (arriving after dark) and then Cronulla, noticing, with some dismay, the difference that the south-going current made to our speed compared to the trip down the coast in January. The sea swell was also building this week so our dash northwards to get to Sydney before the southerlies switched to northerlies was enlivened by some pretty serious up and down motion, whilst the sky was full of some very foreboding clouds.

These clouds carried plenty of rain, which was preceded by a significant increase in wind. We were kept busy with reefing and un-reefing the sails

The wind was behind us but blew pretty consistently at between 20 and 25 knots, with gusts of around 30. With a steadily increasing SE swell, the waves were pretty impressive but, of course, always look smaller in photos!

As we moved closer up the coast towards Sydney on Thursday, we had a good view of the famous surf beach at Bondi and some valuable real estate that's probably not fully appreciated by its tenants:

The beach at Bondi on a windy and cloudy Thursday. It'll be packed at the weekend when the sun is forecast to return.
A few acres of otherwise prime development land just south of Bondi is the last resting place of early settlers
As we turned into Sydney Heads, the entrance of the huge harbour, we met one of the big Sydney to Manly ferries nosing out into the swell. We're not sure if they do this to avoid being side-on to the waves as they cross the entrance or whether it's the crew getting their kicks from showing nervous passengers how much the ferry can roll!

The ferry rolls as it turns back into the harbour
For the two of us on Maunie, we we were delighted to get into the sheltered waters and we had a brilliant sail up past the Opera House and under the Harbour Bridge, only starting the engine once we were in the lee of the tall buildings near Darling Harbour.

Our sailing under the Harbour Bridge was noticed -
more on another rather unbelievable coincidence that followed to come in the next update
 We'll be here in Sydney for a week or so to catch up on boat jobs and to see some more sights of this vibrant city. Today we combined the two and took the long fast cat ferry ride up river, as far as it's possible to navigate, to Parramatta to drop our SSB radio off for (we hope) a repair. It was a good day out and we were glad to leave the navigation to someone else, for once.

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