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…