Thursday, 14 August 2014

A little luxury in the Port of Stephens.

Still trying to catch up.... please be patient with me. :)

The slow trip north continued as we made the short hop from Newcastle to Port Stephens. With virtually no wind we had to motor sail the entire way once again. This was getting to be a habit.

Do you suppose there's fish on that boat? Could be!
We arrived at Shoal Bay, just inside the heads, and picked up a mooring for the night then sat back with a cuppa to watch a battle royal going on between a sea eagle and a hawk. It was claw to claw for almost twenty minutes before the sea eagle went pfffft and flew off to hassle someone else. I'm pretty sure the hawk felt totally chuffed that he'd seen off the big bully as it victory swooped for a couple of minutes.

The battle's on shrimpy!!
The following morning we dropped the mooring and moved further into the bay towards Soldier's Point. Our plan was to book in to the quite expensive Soldier's Point Marina for just one night before moving on and exploring the area but alas, it was not to be. Nasty weather arrived the next morning and the waters sent swells that pitched the boat like a rocking horse. Every vessel around us was in a similar predicament to the point where walking on the dock became a hazard just in case a bucking boat came down on your head unexpectedly. We were stuck until the weather cleared... 4 days later!

 Here's the link to the rock-n-roll fun.....

It wasn't all bad though. In fact it was extremely nice. With beautiful sculptures adorning the dock and the grounds, a fountain, restaurants, a bar on the marina and a floating coffee shop especially for the boaties, not to mention the most luxurious bathrooms (complete with flannels and towels), laundry facilities and even a sauna and a masseuse if you so desired, it was completely awesome.

Chess anybody??
I absolutely want this sculpture!!

A little bit of luxury.... mmmmmmmm.

Massage? Next time :)

On top of all of this, the marina provided free vehicle use if it was needed. Not just any vehicle but a choice of 3 (depending on what was available when it was required) and we didn't even need to top up the petrol! The first one we used was a new Lexus, (I immediately loved and wanted a Lexus when we become landlubbers again. What a car!!) of which we availed ourselves to go shopping and drive into Port Stephens to check out their public dock (which unfortunately was filled with boats that looked as though they'd been there for months despite the fact that it was meant to be an overnight jetty). The next car we used was a new Holden Ute, which was used to do a little sight seeing. The third, a 4 wheel drive, we didn't use.

Unfortunately, due to the weird weather, we didn't sightsee anywhere near as much as we'd hoped but did take advantage of a one day break and go up to the Gan Gan Lookout which affords magnificent views over the land and towards the ocean. It was an easy car ride and even easier stroll to the top of the hill and the view was breathtaking. Add to this the wonderful red Gymea lilies that tower up to 6 metres high, and the abundant bird life that enjoys feeding from these giant beauties, plus one very friendly little kookaburra and you have one very enjoyable afternoon. It was well worth seeing.

Enjoy the following photos.... awesome!!

After 4 days at the marina, the weather finally calmed and we were able to leave. My brother Michael was in NSW for work and just happened to be coming to Port Stephens when we were there so I arranged a long overdue family reunion. We had hoped to meet up at the aforementioned Port Stephen public dock but there was absolutely no chance of getting in while it was filled with selfish idiots who overstayed their time so, pulling up a mooring instead, Dave lowered the 'family car' and collected Michael from the foreshore. It was a lovely afternoon filled with chat, cups of tea and lemon myrtle and macadamia muffins.
My big brother Michael, who I don't see anywhere near enough.
Unfortunately we couldn't hang around much longer in Port Stephens as Dave had a month's work coming up back in good old Adelaide and so at 4pm, after my brother had been dropped ashore, we headed out into the ocean for the non-stop trip back to Sydney. As with Newcastle, we'll be back for sure the second time up the coast.

Location: Port Stephens, New South Wales 2324, Australia
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