I Woke up with a Start!! “Kelly the wind has changed!” exclaimed Evan. I leap up from bed half awake. I thought I had been awake the whole time but it is now twilight and the bell birds are no longer ringing in the background. I must have fallen asleep.
I looked at the clock quickly, its 6:15pm, good that means we’ve had a couple of hours sleep before the wind change.
Nashira has swung around facing the south and we are now closer to the beach and barely submerged rocks. About 1.5 boats lengths to be precise. The wind is really starting to howl, the anchor rhode is being tested and so far we are holding okay.
I grabbed the ignition key and sat upstairs near the helm, watching. I decided to start the engine just in case we have to make a quick getaway. Evan is quickly getting his leg on, turning on the necessary instruments, radio, nav lights and closing cupboards, hatches etc.
We knew the wind change was coming and decided to stay in Snug Cove, the north side of Eden’s Two Fold Bay. The plan was to wait out the blast of the initial front then take off for Jervis Bay. Weather predictors such as PredictWind and the BOM thought the wind change would occur closer to midnight. Its early!!
Worried that the anchor may not hold, or more to the point, if it did not hold we only had seconds before we would be on the rocks, we made an executive decision to pull up anchor and motor to the south side of Two Fold Bay and tuck in behind the naval wharf at East Boyd Bay. There we would wait for the front to pass and leave Eden.
Evan took the helm while I wrestled with the anchor, he has to drive forward so I can get the chain up with winds now reaching 30 to 35 knots, while not running over the chain. My communication could have been better. I did hand signals to GO GO GO without letting him know the anchor was up. My mistake as I usually do a thumbs up when the anchor is free. As such, he thought I needed him to move forward to take more pressure off the chain. So with a flurry of words we cleared that up and were on our way.
Pushing forward against the wind was really slow. I took over the helm while Evan went downstairs to check the updated weather and finish securing everything. He popped his head up and said while pointing “Aim for that beach and don’t go near the point as there are submerged rocks”. Okay I’m heading for that beach just west of the Naval wharf. I’m feeling awake and excited. We are really alive. I noticed that the wind is increasing with gusts to 40 knots now. I’m not making any forward progress which is a little scary as I have not yet gotten out of Snug Cove. Evan popped up from below and said “Its okay just give her some herbs, increase the throttle”. With that he’s gone again. I push on the throttle and slowly, slowly we move forward. I cannot even tell we are moving except to see the depth is increasing below us. phew…..
As we move out into the bay the wind waves are increasing and it is easy to be pushed off course with any lapses in concentration. I’m looking at the Navel wharf in the distance thinking it looks really far away. The green flashing lights indicate what we have to go around to find the shelter behind the wharf and they seem awfully close to the land. I have learned during this trip that perspective is everything and not to make any decisions or even bother to think until we get closer in.
Evan finally comes up and sits with me in the shed. We make our way to the wharf, the wind still very high but the waves are reducing in size as we get closer to the southern shore. Thank goodness. We passed one of the green markers on our starboard to manage the wind and waves and the other on our port side. The water was 10m deep and this seemed the safest option.
As soon as we rounded the second marker the water calmed and knew we were safe. That was an adrenaline ride! The holding in East Boyd Bay is excellent and with lots on chain out we felt quite secure. We are really pleased that the weather front came early enough that it was still daylight. This made the move much easier.
We put the kettle on for a cup of tea and something to eat in preparation for the passage to Jervis Bay. The radio crackled to life and we listened while Dorothee a Cavalier 28 was leaving Eden bound for Sydney. James who we met at the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart was onboard doing a delivery from Lakes Entrance to Sydney. Small world.
Reviewing the live weather at Gabo Island, south of us, we can see that the front has reduced in severity very quickly and the breeze has settled in to a 15 to 20 knots S. Perfect. It is now 8:30pm.
We radioed Marine Rescue Eden and advised of our plans to sail to Jervis Bay and with that we pulled up anchor and navigated the green markers around the naval wharf and we are on our way.
With following winds and seas below 1.5 metres it made the journey just beautiful. Stars are out, its warm and quiet. Nice! We watched dolphins playing in our wake with phosphorescence around their bodies making them look like torpedoes in the night. Amazing.
So excited we made a rookie mistake. John Eastway had warned us to diligently take shifts at the helm and have the other person lay down in their bunk and try to sleep or read or do something that at least allows you to rest. We didn’t do that.
We both stayed at the helm marvelling at how lovely the night was. We poled out the headsail and Evan got to play with the sheets, rigging a downhaul and front and back control lines to manage the spinnaker pole.
As hours passed the wind started to drop and the seas increased. We started the motor to keep our speed up, liking to keep a 5.5+ knot speed in the hope of getting to Jervis Bay before a predicted Northerly was due. The ride grew a bit uncomfortable but not too bad. We skirted outside (east) of Montague Island as this was close to a rhumb line to Jervis Bay. A little glimmer of dawn was just becoming visible. We were both tired now and getting a little short with each other. Evan finally looked at me and said “GO Downstairs and get some sleep!” I didn’t argue much and went downstairs.
I slept for 2 hours! Wow did I feel better. I realised I had gotten to the point of exhaustion whereby I was no longer capable of making good fast decisions or trusting myself physically to pull off tasks requiring strength. That was so stupid. I went upstairs and promptly relieved a very tired looking Evan.
Its mid morning now and the wind has died, I furled the headsail as it was no use and noisy with the sheets flapping. We kept the mainsail up for stability and upped the revs on the iron mainsail and motored our way at a steady 5.5 knots to Jervis Bay. The entire day was calm, no seas, no wind just motoring. We rested, slept, cranked up Queen on the stereo and danced and stretched on the transom. We yelled as loud as we could just for fun.
An interesting thing happened with our speed, as we neared the south headland to Jervis Bay our speed increased and kept increasing. In the end we were flying along at 7.5 knots! It must have been an eddy in the current pushing us north. Not complaining.
[Naval visitor near Jervis Bay]
[St Georges Head -South Headland: Can you see the head in the rocks?]
We rounded Bowen Island at the South entrance to Jervis Bay at approximately 6:15pm and headed for Hole-in-the-Wall. There was only one other yacht when we arrived so were able to grab one of the 5 curtesy moorings available.
What a relief to get here before dark and before the Northerly winds had started to build. Looking forward to the best night sleep we eat dinner and hit the sack.