The good and the bad.
The last few days we have spent entertaining some legends from back home who made the journey across the country for a visit. The couple only had a limited amount of time to spend with us, with the weather forecast looking quite gloomy and challenging we kept the adventure to coastal waters and set off to an anchorage up the coast. A light northerly wind was blowing and forecasted to pick up throughout the day. The 12nm sail north was going to get rougher as the day went on.
Our lazy heads rose from bed at 7am, but by the time we had finished talking about everything and nothing, we didn’t set sail until 9:30am. A little silly knowing the wind was picking up but we were enjoying the well over due catch up. Setting sails we headed out to sea on our first tack. These land loving dwellers begun to feel a little nauseous and soon we had our first victim, releasing what was left of breakfast into the choppy sea. The wind continued to rise and we tacked back towards land, trying to hug the coast a bit closer hoping for calmer waters. Mean while, Bonita being the little trooper was down stairs cooking Vegemite on toast for everyone, trying to un green the gills of our guests.
Five hours into the sail and just shy of our destination, I heard something banging and slapping into fibreglass. A quick look around Nandji and I discovered that one of the bottom starboard stays that connect to the mast below the first spreader had decided to now be two pieces instead of one. At first I did not realise it was the lower stay and thought a shroud holding the mast in place had broken, this giving me that initial feeling of “Oh O.” After closer inspection I realised we were not in imminent danger of losing our mast, but we turned into wind and Bonita dropped the main sail any ways. Playing it all cool as we had guests on board, this being a new experience for them. Neither had sailed and they were trusting us to look after them. Not worrying too much about this minor mishap, we turned the engine on and with the headsail flying we motored across the choppy sea for the last mile to our anchorage.
Once safely inside the creek anchorage and out of the wind, we all settled into the joys of nature and continued our over due shit dribbling session. Waking up the following morning a bit dusty from the previous nights escapades, the wind had swung to the south and the sun was trying to peek through the cloudy morning sky. We were keen to get busy and do some activities. After letting Marley run around on the opposite sand bar for a while, we loaded up ‘la diva’ the tender with everything needed to go diving. We all piled in and set off to the mouth of the creek to hopefully teach these south Aussies how to spear a fish.
Three hours later after enduring Murky water, no sunshine, a cool breeze and no fish. We shivered our way back to Nandji in high spirits to cook up the biggest hottest spaghetti bolognaise. After regaining the feeling in our finger tips, it was discovered that the new salt water pump that I had installed a couple of days earlier had decided not to play. All warm and cozy again, we settled into a few rums and the boys got to work rectifying this pump situation. The boat divided into the most typical stereotype of men and women. The lads pulling apart the pump and pretending to know what they were talking about whilst attempting to fix it and the girls painting each other’s nails. After a few hours the pump had somehow been put back together with no missing parts and was running as good as new and the girls were looking extremely dolled up considering we were at anchor in a creek.
Our guests wanted to eat some fresh fish for lunch, so what they want they get. We all jumped in for a dive and swam around for a bit. But after two big bull sharks cruised underneath me, I casually told the girls to get back in the tender and pointed out these beasts to my mate as they disappeared out of visibility. Having a little giggle and realising everyone was un phased by these creatures cruising past, we moved a bit closer to shore and had another dive as we still had no fish to serve for lunch. Ten minutes later a nice cod was on the end of my spear and ten minutes after that was cooking away in the fry pan.
Tanning ourselves on the bow and inhaling this fresh lunch, it was time to head back to the protection of 1770 and say goodbye to our guests. Timing it reasonably well with the high tide to cross the bar entrance, the sun was beginning to get low in the sky and the sunset was preparing to be one to remember. Dropping the legends off on shore, we hugged under the red and purple sky and said our goodbyes. Still not a breathe of wind and the most beautiful sunset we had witnessed for some time, we headed back to Nandji and prepared for the onslaught.
Heaving the anchor up by hand as our windlass has been threatening to die, we raised anchor and dropped again towards the middle of the channel between two other vessels. The strong current and breeze meant we drifted quickly. Paying out 35m of scope in the 4m deep water was still not enough for the anchor to grab and we had to try again before we drifted into the half million dollar catamaran vessel close by. Successfully getting the anchor to hold the second time round, I set the anchor alarm once more, this time with a shorter swing radius as we were closer to other vessels.
Repeating exactly the same as I just explained at 6am, it is proving to be an eventful 24 hours. We now seem to have a strong anchor hold, but with the wind howling at 25 knots I look forward to the change of tide. It is nearly dead low but the sand bar we moved away from early in the morning is now saying hello just 6m off the stern. Still with plenty of scope out and the water underneath us dropped to 3m deep, it is an exciting and nervous wait.
We have had some amazing times in the past few days and some challenging times as well. With this wind forecasted for another day, it appears we will have some more nervous times ahead. But hey, this is what it is all about. The highs and the lows, the good and the bad. We broke stuff, we fixed stuff. We laughed and we endured on with next to no sleep. We shared memories with good friends that will last for ever and swore at the anchor a thousand times over. Who wants a house and a nine to five, not me. I am loving every minute and having the time of my life.