Four years ago this week Warwick and Ruth were bringing Ulysses home to Queensland. We started this blog at that time to enable friends and family to keep track of our trip, and to effectively become our web diary of that wonderful and memorable voyage. Since we arrived back home we have let this blog lay dormant, but as with everything posted on the web, it was still there, hiding in cyberspace and ready to be pick up where we left off. So our plan now is to not only use these pages as a record of that first delivery trip in 2010 but to continue as an on-going page, documenting our (eventual) cruising life.
So now is probably a good time for a brief update on where Ulysses is and what she has been up to for the past four years.
Ulysses’ home port now is Newport Waterways, located on the picturesque Redcliffe Peninsula, about a half hours drive north of Brisbane. She has mostly been enjoying the occasional day trip and overnighters on Moreton Bay, and her crew has recently joined the very friendly Moreton Bay Yacht Club, purely for the fun of social sailing (read racing…) That is, if we ever happen to get a Wednesday or Saturday when we’re both free from other things.
The current cruising plan is sometime SOON. Maybe. Just when we were ready to head north in June this year, Ruth happens to get offered a good paying job, without really looking too hard, so the cruise north was deferred, again, in preference to being able to eat once again. But we will eventually head out of that channel to north of Moreton Bay and start to enjoy what these comfortable cruising cats were actually designed to do – cruising!
So thanks for checking in on us, and as they say in the movies, stay tuned, and we’ll be on our way soon, when you can once again all start laughing at our attempts to look like two sailors who think they know what they are doing, while they have fun learning that they don’t.
Ciao for now. Warwick and Ruth (we did Italy in May this year, so the Italiano is still rolling off the tongue/keyboard)
Ulysses is now berthed at The Moreton Bay Boat Club at Scarborough and we’re home. We both felt a little lost as we drove out the gate, leaving her alone for the first time in 3 weeks. Not for long though as I’m heading back down today to do some more cleaning and some mods.
Last night was our first on land in 3 weeks and that too was a strange experience. Still felt the gentle rock and was awake at 0300hrs ready to check the mooring.
We miss this cruising life already.
After breakfast yesterday we up anchored and headed for Raby Bay, to drop off Chris and Brent. It was nice to have the wind behind us for a change. We dropped our friends off from the bow, over the wall on the boardwalk as the courtesy berth was full, with one of the commercial catamarans also lined up waiting. Luckily, it was a full high tide so we got away with it – another new maneuver for me. Ironically, the boat hogging the marina was Oceans, a Sydney 41 which both Ruth and I had learnt to sail on – they were setting up a reef to enable them to do a sail-off-the pontoon maneuver, something we had both tried when we trained with them on sailing school but something we both don’t want to try again.
We motored out to the green marker off Raby Bay, raised the sails again, turned off the motors and hardly touched the sail trim until we got home 5 hours later – we had a terrific 2 hour broad reach out to Tangalooma Point on Moreton Island then set course for Bribie, wing on wing, for the next 3 hours. We averaged 7 knots and clocked 8.4 knots entering The Bribie Passage We called our friends Steve and Judy, and found that they were just leaving Bribie, so they came out to escort us in (thanks for the photos Judy). We felt we were home.
Mooring though proved somewhat of a challenge. Our pick up line appeared to be missing, and as our mooring buoy has no handle on top, and with a five knot current running against the wind, we found it very difficult to get the buoy aboard. We broke the hook off the boat hook trying to snare it, but we were eventually able to back up to it, and from the transom platform Ruth was able to lasso it with a slip knot. We now had the buoy attached to the stern and with the wind-against-tide situation we battled for about an hour to get to a position where we felt secure. I had to go in the drink twice, once planned and once a whoops!, to get the mooring lasso rope off the rudder.
Finally, I was able to paddle home to fetch our tender. It had been deflated a month ago, when we tried, in vain, to get it into the van for the trip to Sydney. After dragging it through the house (its too heavy to lift) and knocking a bottle of wine out of the wine rack (I’m in bare feet, my shoes on the boat) I eventually got the boat inflated and rowed back to Ruth (I had emptied the fuel tank in preparation for Sydney). After a quick light dinner we both collapsed about 8 o’clock, battered and bruised, but back home.
We spent the night surrounded by turtles, something we have missed over the past weeks, and under the lights of the Bribie Bridge comforted by the familiar sights and sounds.
This morning I’m doing some repairs to our mooring setup, prior to heading down to Scarborough to find somewhere for Ulysses to live. Our planning for a berth at the Moreton Bay Boat Club is still awaiting final arrangements between the Boat club and the marina developers. In the meantime, a temporary berth is to be arranged.
It’s now 0730hrs on Sunday and despite the uncomfortable night last night we don’t want this trip to end. We’ve just had a great serving of bacon, eggs and tomatoes cooked on the bbq and while Chris and Brent do the dishes Ruth is trying one last attempt at fishing.
The anchor held firm last night, but we can see one trimaran sitting up on the beach. The local VMR has paid a visit and I’m guessing they couldn’t get a line out to them – they’ll just have to await the high tide to float off.
We’ll leave in an hour or so for Raby Bay, to drop off Chris and Brent, and then we have about a five hour trip accross the bay to home. We still have our southerly so it should be a reasonably quick ride.
Five days ago, out there in the dark, pushing strong headwinds and getting nowhere, we both wanted this to be over but now, with about 30 miles to go it all seems to have gone too quickly.
We left Bums Bay at 0700hrs to motor up to Runaway Bay, to refuel and pick up our friends Brent and Chris Martz While we were refueling another Seawind pulls up beside us and it turns out to be Royce, Seawinds delivery skipper, bringing an 1160 south. How is it that both boats, one north bound and one south bound can both be copping head winds? Anyway, it was great to get hold of Royce, to look at a few of the issues that we’re having with Ulysses. And it turns out that it’s not these new owners being picky, we do have a few legitimate gripes. Royce is on to it and Seawind will shortly be doing something about them.
We spent the morning motoring up to Moreton Bay, where we anchored at Blakesleys Anchorage for the evening. But the forecast had changed to expect northerlies again overnight so we up anchored and headed for one of our favorite anchorages, Horseshoe Bay on Peel Island. As I type the wind hasn’t yet turned so it’s a little rolly, but still quite pleasant. We arrived right on sunset and took some hopefully great publicity shots for the website, with full sails up and our logo looking great in the setting sun I’ll try to get them up on the blog tomorrow while we do our final leg home, but for now its time for a few card games and an early night.
Post script, 1230am So much for the northerlies, it is now blowing 25kts from the SE and its uncomfortable. Have just checked the weather as I’m considering moving but it shows it is abating from the south, so we’ll stick it out for another hour and see how it goes. Bloody weather forecasters – we moved around to Horseshoe Bay because it is good in northerlies, but exposed to the south, o what to we get? Southerlies. We’ve been wanting southerlies for the past two weeks and they have to arrive now. Aargh….
Thursday saw us depart Yamba in company with Y Knot at 0800hrs. The bar crossing was quite good, with no breaking waves. We took yesterday’s ugly north-east exit, while Y Knot powered past us on the path that we had both come in on the previous day. Watching them up on the plane, powering through the swells I have to admit to a little “horse-power envy”. With Ulysses total of 20hp, compared to Y Knot’s 600hp a side, we took 5 minutes to get through the swells, while they were through in under one!
As we passed Ballina we took a good look at that bar, for future reference, as it too has a bit of a reputation. It was right on low tide so it was a no brainer – we were not going in there. The forecast did bode well for an overnight stay in Byron Bay, with our arrival planned for around 1700hrs. However the SE’ly once again didn’t appear, whilst our now all too common NE’ly started to pick up, making it a little uncomfortable after lunch.
Upon checking in with Cape Byron VMR we were asked to be on the look out for a windsurfer, reportedly seen by a member of the public heading out to sea, somewhere between Evans Head and Cape Byron. He’s probably in New Zealand by now. We were hugging the coast, to try and pick up any counter current, plus to enjoy the view. At 1700hrs it was getting dark so we checked the conditions at Byron Bay, to be told the NE’er was still there and that the bay was quite “rolly”. With that, and now white caps being whipped up by an approaching squall, the decision was made to head out to sea, reef the main and prepare for another night sail. It didn’t seem quite so bad as our last “forced” night sail, as we had prepared for one this time, so we just pushed on. Also, we received a strong wind warning for our exact location, between Cape Byron and Yamba, for midday the next day, so we thought lets just keep heading north.
The AIS proved its worth a number of times, with quite a lot of traffic appearing on our screen, well before we had them visual. We motor-sailed for the first half of the night, until we finally picked up some southerly wind component, and then had a very pleasant (read quiet) sail, until we lowered the sails for our arrival across the Southport Bar. It was mostly dry until then, with the occasional flash of lightning in the distance, however the skys decided to open up just as we lowered the sails. The bar crossing was smooth but it was difficult picking up the correct leads initially. Once inside we motored around to Marine Basin, commonly known as Bums Bay, where we dropped the pick at 0430 AEST (yeah, back on real time!) and hit the pillows at 0435. The rest of the day was spent drying out, cleaning and catching up on more sleep.
Its good to be back in Queensland.
As a post script, while I was typing the blog and Ruth was out looking for suicidal fish again (just one tiny flathead Judy!) she yells to me to come look at this. It was a large flock of ducks, plus two confused seagulls, moving in one mass together. The dropped in at the back of the boat, then floated for a bit, then on cue they all ducked under the water together, then they all just left together. I’m still wondering about those seagulls though…
Position 2nm east of Ballina.
We departed Yamba at 0800 this morning, just after the high tide. We had considered spending the day there and departing in the evening for a night run up to The Gold Coast, based on yesterdays forecast being similar to what we had experienced yesterday, but when we got up this morning we were back to light NE’ly winds again, and now an overcast sky, so the appeal of a night run had waned somewhat. We are just passing a fleet of Riviera power-boats, 9 that we can count, on their way to Yamba. The marina isn’t looking forward to refueling 9 of them, but I suppose it will be a nice little earner for them.
Yesterdays bar crossing into Yamba was another one for the book of experience. Our Lucas guide advised that on occasions following the leads in will take you through white water and in those circumstances it is better to duck around, either north or south and cross inside the white water. We saw a large stink boat (it was a 57’ Princess) holding off, then heading to the south, then back to the north, so we figured we’d watch them and then follow. But where they were heading was definite white water so we called them up and they said they weren’t going in. We told them that our course from the south was clear of white water and that they may want to consider our course. It turned into a textbook entry, with white water abeam us but none on our path, just a few swells to surf once inside the heads, so they followed us and afterwards invited us over for a beer for thanks. It worked out well but we both don’t really enjoy bar crossings. We ended up going out for dinner with the crew of Y Knot, to the Yamba Hotel, perched on the headland overlooking the bar entrance. It certainly looked smoother from up there.
Ruth just reported another 6 Riviera’s passing, and their wakes are certainly playing havoc with our not-so comfortable ride.
Position Latitude S30.05.0 Longitude E153.15.8 (Solitary Islands) Almost becalmed, speed 6 knots, motor-sailing on one motor
An early departure from Coffs saw us out of the harbour at 0600 into the sunrise. We turned left and moved into light variable winds with a slow rolling Westerly swell of about 1 meter. We raised the sails and motored sailed north. Finally, a beautiful clear day with gentle sailing. An hour after we set out we were joined by a pod of 6 dolphins who stayed playing with us at our bow for half an hour. Then we saw a couple of flying fish , the first for this trip, and Rick decided they were flying away from prey which then prompted him to decide that it was a good time to fish. Note to self; check line before throwing into the deep blue! The swivel had rusted out and the line along with his big fish hook drifted off behind us. No fishing for big fish today!
At the time of writing we are experiencing glassy seas with a minimal swell – such a dramatic change from our last outing. We are getting some house keeping done ; Rick is sorting through his tool box and we have rigged a tweaker for the jib sail to help move it into position on the traveller without having to go up front.