Saturday, 7 May 2011

Port Stephens

This evening we're moored at Nelson Bay in Port Stephens. We had a quicker than expected overnight passage from Broken Bay, aided by a northerly current of about 1 knot. Normally the currents are southerly on the east coast so this was a pleasant surprise, although perhaps to be expected after several days of strong south winds. (NB - winds are "from", while currents are "to").

We departed Broken Bay at about 1700 yesterday in quite light winds. We motor-sailed for an hour or so after clearing the Bay, and then were able to kill the donk and sail. We had a 10-15 knot southerly wind with a 2 to 3 metre left-over swell. As the night wore on the wind gradually increased to 20+ knots, so we reduced first from full main and No 3 to a single reef, and then eventually to No 3 jib alone. We handed the main since we could see we were going to arrive well before dawn so decided to slow down. Good idea but resulted in a very rolly ride which we didn't enjoy at all. Next time I think we'll keep our speed up and heave-to on arrival and wait for the light.

As we approached Port Stephens the wind turned westerly, leaving us beating into the breeze. Poor navigation on my part since the westerly had been mentioned as a possibility. Motoring into Port Stephens was quite wet and slow into the face of a 20 knot breeze, with sea from the west and swell from the east! That wind was cold, cold, cold! It was great to pick up a mooring off Nelson Bay marina, clean up the boat and then crash!

The westerly gradually blew itself out by noon and the sun was wonderfully warm. We had a very pleasant afternoon on the mooring relaxing. Tomorrow we'll go ashore and explore. We expect to remain here until Monday when the next southerly is expected.
Hope all's well where you are!

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