Friday, 4 July 2014

Eden to Bermagui arriving after dark.

We left Eden about 8:00 am the next day mainly because we really wanted to get further north and there was a weather window of sorts but also because the weather seemed to be turning nasty and we didn't want to risk getting stuck there for a week or so.  Next time we are down this way we'll definitely spend some more time in Eden.  It looks like a lovely town and well worth exploring.

After we left, I started ringing around looking for a berth in Barmagui and initially had a bit of a shock when told that there was no chance of getting a berth or anchoring in the harbour but I later contacted the fish co-op there who said they could put us up on a floating berth.  We had some other options like an overnight sail further up the coast or anchoring at Merimbulla or Tathra but none of those seemed like much fun so we were pretty relived.  Another lesson learnt..  Arrange the next berth before leaving the current one :-)

About midday, I saw some water spouts about 2 or 3 miles away off our starboard bow and called Terry up into the cockpit.  While she was still trying to orient herself, I saw a tail silhouetted against the horizon lift up and go slowly down and what looked like a breach.  Unfortunately, Terry didn't see it and I didn't get any pics.  We did get some pics of another blow a few minutes later and around 3:30pm we saw some more blows a long way off and I got a very blurry photo of a tail!  I'm sure we'll see them a lot closer as we keep moving north.  We also saw some seals and dolphins of course :-)
Our first photo of a whale!  But so far away.

The trip was around 45 miles (about 9 hours) and so we expected to be in Bermagui just before dark.  The weather was quite nice with the wind expected to be West to Southwest and 10 to 15 knots which would be just perfect weather for a sail up the coast.  However, the wind turned North early and so we were fighting a headwind most of the day.  We tried to move off the coast a bit thinking the wind would be different with no luck and we did catch a bit of a sea breeze (turning the wind more easterly later in the afternoon which helped a bit, but the headwinds slowed us down significantly so we ended up arriving after dark.

This was the first time we'd entered a strange harbour after dark so we were both very apprehensive.  We prepared as best we could and headed in.  The harbour does not have a significant bar but we did have to give the headland a wide berth and then turn south to enter the harbour between the breakwaters.

The leads were easy to spot (big florescent blue vertical bars) so we followed them in.  I was a bit anxious as we headed down the channel as it was pitch black except for the lead lights high up ahead of us and I knew we had the breakwater rocks about 10 meters away on the port side and the other breakwater about 20 meters away on the starboard side.  And I knew that the channel turned to the right just by the entrance to the actual harbour so we had to leave the leads and turn right at some point or we would run into the breakwater on the bend.

It was easy in the end.  We saw the harbour off to the right as we came down the channel so we headed in and found the berth on the T-head of the floating pontoons just inside the harbour mouth and tied up at the second attempt.  I didn't get quite close enough for Terry to step off the first time so I had to back away and push the stern around some more for the second attempt.

We were both relieved and quite proud of ourselves that night so we celebrated a bit before crashing early

Location: Bermagui NSW 2546, Australia
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