Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hanging in Port Hacking

After leaving Kiama we motored up to Port Kembla, near Wollongong for a night on the Police emergency mooring.  Port Kembla is a working port and has shipping coming in and out regularly and doesn't provide any amenities for recreational boaties, but was a good stopping point for us especially as this was our first time ever spending a full trip motoring!
The next day we carried on up the coast and took 7.5 hours to get to Port Hacking, which was where we were heading the day the mast broke.  We stayed on a courtesy mooring off of Jibbons Beach and went to stretch our legs along the beach and around the rocks.  The rocks were amazing and provided enough entertainment to keep us all occupied with walking, photography and wildlife hunting the next morning when we went ashore to explore more.
Now that we had no rig we were confident we could get further up into the many bays and water ways under the overhead power lines and did just that. 
On the Wednesday, the tides and weather came together to allow us to dry out on a sandbank to check for any damage from the dismasting that may have been below waterline.  Thankfully we didn't find anything more, and it gave us a chance to also check the props and rudders and give her a bit of a polish and clean.
While we were there another boat approached us asking if we were a Schionning as they also had one on a mooring in the area.  Of course with a boat in common we soon struck up a connection which led to them helping us out with supermarket runs, water and laundry and taking Dan racing on the Saturday afternoon.  They also leant us their kayaks and we have been putting them to use daily to explore the waterways in solitude.

Boat Kids....enjoying the sand during drying out

A tape up repair of the hole left by the spreader tip

High and dry, until the tide turns anyway

So much fun finding secluded waterfalls where only kayaks and dingies dare to go

A tree trying to over come its rocky home

Such amazing colours in nature

 Port Hacking has The Royal National Park on its southern border and some places we have been you could believe you were the only people about, apart from the occasional jet plane flying over.  It has been so great to spend time here exploring the beauty of the area
The rocks in the National Park have been stunning

Slowly but surely the water is working its magic

Wild deer on the shore, so close to where we were on the boat.

Jervis Bay and Kiama

Just before our "hiccup" we had spent a lovely week in Jervis Bay exploring the local towns, beaches, and walk ways as well as having fun playing in the waves.  It was funny finding out we were anchored off of Collingwood Beach, as this is a place where I grew up so had to take a picture of the signs to prove it. 
A kayak trip up river prior to leaving Batemans Bay, Dan and Paige in the support craft
Rylee and Oliver enjoyed finding a tree with a knot hole so big they could both fit in it!


The signs to prove we were at Collingwood Beach

Oliver enjoying the waves
And Rylee's turn

Up close and personal with the local bird life in Huskisson....

And Kiama
 And while we were taking a breather, waiting for weather and getting used to a change in pace of life we took in some of the Kiama sights.  We had a good few days there, enjoying the local library, checking out the skate park and the views around the immediate coast.

We also have to acknowledge all the lovely people who were happy to give up there time to help us out, including the couple who dropped off a batch of date scones, the local boaties who organised for us to use moorings in the little harbour and the blokes who drove Dan around to chandleries and fuel stations to ensure we had what we needed to carry on safely.  Also to a lovely couple who welcomed us into their home for a roast meal with sticky date pudding for dessert.  Everyone's well  wishes were greatly appreciated and meant a lot, even though at the time we felt there wasn't much anyone could do. 

A bit cold for us to try out the sea side pool in Kiama


And the blow hole, but it wasn't at it's most impressive while we were there


And a pic for Pop from Oliver!

World Famous in Kiama

I little bit of excitement to come out of our mast mishap is we ended up on local TV news.
Follow the link below and hopefully you will see our moment of fame!
And sorry about all the extra coding but I couldn't get it to work any other way!  Click on the first section of underlined words and you should get there.  And you don't need a Facebook account for it to work.

<div id="fb-root"></div><script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/WINNewsIllawarra/videos/1113404975342911/" data-width="500"><div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/WINNewsIllawarra/videos/1113404975342911/"><p>An NZ family sailing the world has thanked the South Coast community for its assistance in getting them back on the water</p>Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/WINNewsIllawarra">WIN News Illawarra</a> on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/WINNewsIllawarra/videos/1113404975342911/">Monday, May 18, 2015</a></blockquote></div></div>

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Division II loses her mast

On Tuesday the 12th May our mast fell down.  For this blog entry I am going to let the pictures do the talking, as it is still hard at times to order all our thoughts and impressions about it clearly.


Mast base seen through a saloon hatch - not quite right!

First break - we assume it broke on impact with the deck

Dan working on getting the boom away from the mast.

The boom with the sail under it - not the way around it should be!

The saloon hatch closest to the mast stbd side, dented on the outside and the kids found this crack on the inside

Paige did a great first aid job on the hole in the bathroom.  Stuffed it with a towel and plastic bags to stop water coming in.

We had several of these little birds come and land on the boat during all of the drama, think they may have been blown out to us

End of Day 0, tied to the dock at Kiama Harbour, two sections of the mast still hanging off of the side.

Start of Day 1, Rylee using spanner and allen keys to get the track cars of the main sail

End of Day 1, boom stowed along the side deck

Top two mast sections on the dock waiting to get back on board

Rigging lines and halyards all piled up together

End of Day 1, all three mast sections back on board, and sails (main in two pieces!)

Things we are thankful for.
No one was injured at the time, (but 24 hours later we were finding bruises, scraped knuckles, sore muscles and broken nails!)
Division II was still right way up and we still had a place to live and sleep
That we were close to land and that we were able to get assistance and the readiness of people for wanting to help

That the kids were ready and able to help and that they did so well.  They were able to tidy away lines, get tools when asked, Paige packed a bag of food! Oliver started taking photos and movies. And they all seem to have taken it in their stride as another day on Division II.
The lower part of the mast landed on the deck where there was a bulk head under it, which we believe stopped it from caving in it deck.
We have managed to recover all of the rig, very battered and not  all of it will be able to used it gives us more options than if we had had to dump it.
Hole in bathroom from spreader tip well above water line
Genoa seems to only have small rips, which we think will be repairable
We were able to keep all the hardware from mainsail
The Mast Coming Down, By Paige (written as we were being towed into Kiama Harbour)
It started at around 11.50am. Mum, Dad, Oliver and I were having something to eat.
Suddenly there was a gust of wind and Dad went to put in third reef.
Then everything went in slow motion and I saw the mast fall down.
Later they told me I screamed.
We tried to get out a VHF call but the antenna was on the top of the mast and without it we couldn’t get a signal out, so we called 000.
We got the right info to the right people and got to work on the mast.
I took charge of the phone.
I went to check that no water was getting into the bathroom and found a big hole that the spreader made so I stuffed a tea towel and some plastic bags in it to prevent splashes coming in.
A nice man (called Josh) came out on a jet ski from Surf Rescue whose friend had called him because he had seen our mast disappear and thought we had capsized.  He had a hand held VHF and talked to the rescue Westpac Helicopter for us.
Then the Police tow boat came and Josh had to go so they could tow us into Kiama Harbour where they allowed us to tie up to a dock.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Bats of Batemans Bay

We were first alerted to the flying foxes on our first evening at Batemans Bay when the boys were out playing on a rope swing as we were cooking tea.  They called out that they could see a bat and then quickly realised there were literally thousands flying across the sky heading inland.
The following day the kids and I were exploring the town and went to check out the museum and neighbouring water garden.  As we were coming up to the garden we could smell a distinct smell and Paige said it smelled like a zoo.  As we neared we could here the chattering of all of the flying foxes and realised they were hanging in the trees and the more we looked the more we saw, till we estimated there must be around 10000!
We found a pamphlet near by which explained they were a native flying fox to Australia and how to live with them in urban areas.
We went home and didn't tell Dan but took him back to the garden later that day and the kids were really excited to wait until he realised what was going around him.
The following evening we organised ourselves to go up about 5.30pm close to take off time.  We could hear the chatter and then all of a sudden realised many more were flying around, without a noticeable change in the volume of their noise.  They continued to take off and fly in circles around the roosting trees for over 15 minutes before starting to take off over the skyline.
At one stage Rylee thought we saw a moth or little bird flying around but then realised it was a baby bat.  It was flitting around so much quicker than the adults and even though we couldn't get a good look at it in the fading light it still seemed very cute like all baby animals.
To top it all off last night while watching a movie, we heard a loud twanging noise like metal wire being plucked.  We went outside to find a bat trying to land in the rigging!  Dan kindly persuaded it not to by shaking the rigging so it couldn't land and it flew off.

The Bats of Batemans Bay
We sit and wait for the bats to take flight
When they do it is a wonderful sight
A hundred or more arise from the trees
Swooping, circling and flying with ease
Amongst them flies an iddy biddy one
Patiently waiting for Mother to come
Until finally it is time to leave
What amazing things nature can achieve


Flying high in the sky
Aren’t they afraid they’ll fall and die
They’re sly as a cat
They’re smelly as a rat
Eating fruit to get fat
Wings wrapped as if a shroud
Softly, softly, don’t be loud
If you’re not quiet
They’ll cause a riot


Batemans Bays Bats

Hanging hanging from the tree
I wonder how on earth they pee
Dribble dribble towards their face
In their mouth what a disgrace
Flapping flapping then they fly
I wonder where they go to die


Heading North Part 2 – Eden to Batemans Bay

As mentioned at the end of the last travel log we spent the first four nights in Twofold Bay anchored at Eastern Bay, beside the woodchip wharf and Navy and Customs wharf.  Once the weather cleared we headed out for some exploring/exercise, which as the photos show ended up a naturalist walk also.

We walked out to Boyds Tower and enjoyed the vistas from a land perspective and watched the dolphins playing in the surf crashing around the rocks.


On the Friday morning we slowly motored around the bay dipping in as close as possible to shore to see the sights including the impressive Seahorse Inn from the water. The afternoon was spent scouting out Eden including the Laundromat, I-centre and other services available.

Saturday morning saw us up at 5am for the ANZAC Day dawn service, and then we made the most of our early start and took in the Whale Museum, as well as more washing and a top up shop before the weather closed in. We enjoyed the experience of a thunder storm, including hail, passing right over top of us.

Rylee checking out the rigging and view

Old Tom, the local Orca from Twofold Bay
A rain day on Sunday saw us catching up on school,  filling up the water tank with our new cover and planning the next part of our journey, which meant another 5am alarm on the Monday morning to get away early to head to Broulee Island.  This was supposed to be an easy day sail from Eden of 70nm with good SW winds. But as always seems to be our luck the wind died away by the middle of the day and we ended up with the kite up and anchoring in the dark.  One plus was a double hook up of tuna about 8am.  Oliver managed to bring his in but mine was a bit bigger and I lost it and the hook on the end of the lure.  Oliver then cleaned up the fish and it went in to the oven and we had a Hobbit like second breakfast of fresh caught tuna with lemon juice and salt and pepper.

The next morning after a leisurely start we set up for the kite again and had an easy sail the next 10nm to Batemans Bay.  Once there we phoned up the bridge operators and found out they have a scheduled opening of 1420, so we anchored off of Snapper Island for lunch then crossed the bar with the in-coming tide and up  under the bridge to anchor in the Clyde River. It was quite funny to think that all of the traffic on the A1 road is held up at least twice a day for the bridge to open up for water traffic.

The centre of the bridge on the rise for us to travel under with about a metre clearance!
We haven’t spent any time in rivers before.  Unfortunately we can’t get Division II much past the bridge due to overhead wires, but we have enjoyed the flat water, no winds, and the novelty of swinging to the tidal flow.  We are surrounded by oyster farms and moored river boats for hire.

Rylee enjoying the rope swing at twilight on the river, photo courtesy of Oliver
We have done a small amount of exploring as far as our feet can take us, including the local museum and library as well as discovering the local water gardens where we discovered the local flying fox population spends their days.

Bats hanging in the trees at the Batemans Bay Water Garden

We have also been catching up on a few more jobs, including having Dan cut a couple of holes in the boat to put in new hatches for the forward berths.  This has made a huge difference in lighting and will also assist in ventilation in warmer weather.  He is also working on re-stitching part of the tramps which has deteriorated due to UVs.

We have been looking at weather for a few days now to see when we can get further north, but light winds mixed with a big swell mean that we will be here for another couple of days at least before we can co-ordinate getting back under the bridge with the right tide for crossing the bar, but we will keep you posted as we carry on.