Yep, interesting times indeed. Here in NSW we have had the lockdown due to the corona virus pandemic. Fortunately, due to the lockdown and social distancing etc they haven’t had the rates of infections and deaths that they have experienced in other parts of the world. But we aren’t out the woods yet. Recently, there has been a bit of a spike in NSW and a big spike in Victoria. At least we are allowed back on the water again.
I have only been up to see La Mouette once during the lockdown. All was good but it was pretty dirty and needed a good scrub.
Back in May, a slight easing meant that we could go sailing or fishing and even take the boat out. Accordingly, we booked a week’s holiday, loaded up the car, and headed down Mona Vale Road to the marina. The plan was to spend Saturday and Sunday, prepping the boat. Doing a few minor repairs and ensuring that the batteries were fully charged.
First cab off the rank was the starboard navigation light. When I was running the wiring through for the radios into the cavity where there is a door on the inner companionway bulkhead, I tidied up any existing wiring. There was a couple of old looking wires and so I went snip and removed them. It turned out to be the wires for the starboard green nav light. Old Keith, the previous owner, had decided that the two nav lights on the pulpit weren’t up to snuff and installed a couple of LED nav lights on either side of the doghouse. It later transpired that these weren’t all that visible, but at the moment, it’s all we have until I reinstate the original nav lights. As per usual, it took the best part of the day to run the wires from the distribution panel on the port side, down the hole, across the engine bay (where I put in a piece of conduit) and up into the cavity. Then I had to remove the light and somehow feed the wires through to the outside. This was duly managed but it took a lot of time and effort. Eventually, there was light.
I ended up going back home on the Saturday night and came back with a fully laden car on Sunday. Sunday’s to do list was pump up the dinghy, complete charging the batteries, get the fridge running, and all the gear stowed and then we could relax. The plan was to motor out first thing on Monday morning and head to Smith’s Creek – as it was during the week, we were reasonably confident of being able to pick up a public mooring.
Monday morning dawned nice and clear. Breakfast and the washing completed, engine check and started, we were ready. We slipped away about 10-ish and head up Coal and Candle and towards adventures, or more importantly, no adventures, just a relaxing week away from the world. The wind was very light and not favourable for sailing, so I didn’t bother rigging a headsail, but I did ready the main in case we needed it. The engine did need a good run so we just motored up the Cowan waterway and turned off into Smith’s Creek. As we went past the various bays, we could see that most of the public moorings were free. This was a good sign. So we kept going. As we hadn’t been this far up Smith’s Creek before it was quite interesting.
Eventually we got up to the head of the creek and picked up a free mooring ball in Pinta Bay. It was a lovely spot and quite peaceful. Being this far up the creek, so to speak, there was no traffic about, however, the other two moorings had been taken but all was good. There were even a couple of sea eagles in a tree. We were overdue for some R&R so we ended up spending two nights on the mooring. The next day we tried a bit of fishing but didn’t catch anything that was of legal size.
As lovely as this part of the world is, Smith’s Creek did have a bit of a dark reputation as the crime gangs in the Northern Beaches were supposed to have disposed of bodies in the creek. It’s, deep, very deep. All along the shore line there are steep cliffs with the resulting sheer drop into the water. The mooring we picked up showed 17.9 metres of water under the keel. Who knows what’s lying on the bottom!
After two nights we were ready to move on. Again the wind wasn’t favourable for sailing so we used the “iron genoa” and powered our way back up the Cowan and into Jerusalem Bay. The mooring balls were located in an inlet and again, out of the three available there was one spare. We were quite surprised as being mid week, we didn’t expect anyone to be out, but possibly due to the easing of the restrictions and possibly the last bit of nice weather before winter, everyone else was out as well.
We just spent another two nights there plus a couple of really lazy days. Just relaxing and reading books etc. The dinghy got a run as we explored the area, and wondered how a seaplane managed to crash here a year ago. Things got busy at night however. As the sun went down at night and the almost full moon came up, the fishing boats began to arrive. By the time it was dark there were 15 of them all up and down Jerusalem Bay. Obviously, this was a prime fishing spot.
It was the same the next night, fishing boats everywhere. This time a large super yacht/stink boat was moored out in the bay and they had a disco going at night.
Friday rolled around as it usually does and the big decision was whether to go to Refuge Bay for the weekend, or heed the weather predictions and head back to the marina. Strong winds were predicted, and in the end, this swayed our decision. The engine fired up and the mooring was dropped. We were away. It was a good run back to the marina with a fuss free docking. Just in time, as it turns out. The wind picked up ten minutes after we arrived. Then ensued the usual clearing out of all the stuff, plus cleaning. This time we flushed out the head with fresh water and the usual fresh water flush of the engine cooling system. The boat didn’t get a clean and polish, just a quick once over with the hose to get all the salt off.
The wash and polish would have to wait until next time.