Thursday, 4 June 2015

Coffs Harbour to Iluka/Yamba. But wait, there's more..

We left Coffs in the (very) early morning aiming to be in Yamba/Iluka late that afternoon to coincide with a flood tide.

Sunrise heading out from Coffs Harbour for Yamba/lluka

Coffs was getting to us a bit. The anchorage was pretty exposed to swells and the wind conspired to keep us broadside to them setting up a wicked roll most of the time so we were eager to move on.  We were also looking forward to our first visit to Yamba/Iluka at the mouth of the Clarence River.

We had a weather window starting Tuesday going through to Thursday with some big winds forecast for Friday.  Tuesday was out because the bar at Yamba was likely to be closed.  Thursday looked the best for getting into Yamba but Wednesday also seemed like it would work given the following cautionary text in the forecast captured on Tuesday morning:

          Large and powerful surf conditions are expected to be hazardous
          for coastal activities such as crossing bars by boat and rock
          fishing, easing in the afternoon.
The "... easing in the afternoon" made sense as the wind was also easing on Wednesday.  Our "Plan B" if we couldn't get into Yamba was to keep going overnight to the Gold Coast.  The other option (leaving on Thursday morning) would be safer for getting into Yamba but meant much less wind and a risky  "Plan B" (if the Yamba bar didn't co-operate) due to the strong winds due Friday arvo.

So we got to Yamba/Iluka at about 13:00 and as we crossed the leads (checking conditions as we always do) we could see surf breaking in the channel.  Bugger..  I later found out that I should have read Tuesday nights forecast a bit more carefully as they had removed the "...easing in the afternoon" bit.
 We hung around for a couple of hours (hove-to with the full main only) hoping conditions would ease but it wasn't to be.  I phoned the Yamba marina to cancel the berth we had arranged and the owner said that there was no activity down at the trawler berths so no-one was going out over the bar to go fishing either.  That confirmed our decision and we headed off to the Gold Coast.

It wasn't an easy decision to make because Terry (as those who have been reading this blog already know) has trouble with night sailing needing serious and consistent use of a bucket but the alternative was to try surfing in 10 tonnes of full keel cruiser which seems like a "bad idea" :-)

In the end, it was a lovely night!  The moon was nearly full and we had a Westerly breeze of around 10 knots pushing us along in a glorious beam reach at over 6 knots (probably assisted by a smidgeon of northbound current..) all night long.  To top it off, Terry did two long bucket-free night watches!

We were both up to see the sunrise and toasted our transit from NSW to QLD with Baileys.  We are now we're anchored for at least one night in Bums Bay (yes that really is an anchorage on the Gold Coast) and we'll be moving on up through the Broadwater to Brisbane over the next week or so.

The bar at the Gold Coast Seaway.  Nice and flat with no surprises.


Location: Philip Park, Seaworld Drive, Main Beach QLD 4217, Australia
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