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.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Yamba to the Gold Coast - and another daring rescue

The unplanned break in Yamba gave us the chance to walk out to the headland to look down on the impressive man-made sea walls at the entrance to the Clarence River before we motored out on Sunday afternoon.

Looking south-east from the Yamba headland....

... and looking north, with the surf beach in the foreground and the long sea walls of the river entrance behind.
The exit between those sea walls has to be approached with considerable care because the 'bar' (shallows) just beyond them kicks up some horrible and dangerous waves at times. The trick is to cross the bar when the tide is flooding in, up the river; if it's ebbing, the flow of millions of litres of water running at up to 4 knots creates huge standing waves. We left in very light winds at the time when the flood should have been well and truly developed but found ourselves being flushed out in a 2 knot ebb, caused by all the rain that's fallen in the Clarence River's vast catchment over the past week. It was only when  we were about a mile out to see that we crossed a very definite line in the water, leaving the brown, silty fresh river water and crossing into the blue ocean.

After that, the 100nm passage was very easy. The winds were light so we had to run the engine the whole way but we once again hugged to coast to avoid the current and had some nigh-time entertainment using the radar to help us dodge several fishing boats in our path. However, there's no such thing as an incident-free voyage on Maunie and we had our autopilot suddenly sound alarms and switch itself off three times, with the boat suddenly veering off course as a result.

So where has it gone, then?
 Thankfully, this problem seemed to fix itself so we didn't have to hand-steer for hours and we could concentrate on some interesting pilotage.

A slalom between the Danger Reefs off Tweed Heads. They were so named by Captain Cook who saw breaking waves and took Endeavor off shore and hove-to overnight. As a result he was the first navigator to discover the south-going East Coast Current as the ship was 20 miles further south by daybreak
 As dawn arrived we could see the delightful skyline of Surfers Paradise which meant our passage was nearly complete.

We are now anchored at Paradise Point, only a mile or so from where we'll leave Maunie in two weeks' time. Emails to the technical support team of Raymarine Australia have yielded very quick responses so we'll hope to get a local technician aboard in the next few days to find out why the autopilot's playing up. Meanwhile Maunie's reputation as the boat that tows others was further confirmed when we spotted a motorboat drifting past us on the fairly swift tide. Their engine had overheated and cut out so, once Graham had introduced them to the safety concept of throwing the anchor over before they hit something, he got in the dinghy and towed them back to their pontoon.

Clueless motorboat owners - all the gear and no idea
Having got the engine on the dinghy we then took the opportunity to go round to recce the mooring for the nest 6 months, which looks as though it'll be great.

The day ended with a really lovely bbg on the shore - the Australians provide these fantastic outdoor hotplate bbq's (which are free) and we ended up chatting to a couple of other yacht crews doing the same thing.

Di stirring the Royale sauce for the fillet steaks, with sweet potatoes and carrots. Yum-oh! Maunie's visible in the background.

No comments:

Post a Comment