After snorkeling at Neds beach we went to find Arajilla www.arajilla.com.au, a boutique resort built and owned by the well known sailor and entrepreneur Bill Shead and his wife Janne. They created Arajilla over 30 years of hard work and when we finally found it tucked in bush on the North end of the island we were very impressed indeed. Beautiful would be understating its qualities. It has a tropical almost Balinese feel with indoor outdoor dining and seating areas with a beautifully crafted wooden walkways that lead to through the woods to separate accommodations and a Yurt set up as a spa retreat. Bill is a seasoned sailor and helped us by providing information and hints via phone before we left Sydney. He has amassed approx 80,000 nm’s over the years visiting Elizabeth and Middleton reefs, sailing back to the mainland for family, holidays and transporting his own supplies to and from the island.
We were fortunate enough to catch him and he spent a couple of hours going over the upcoming weather, showing us photos of reefs and where to anchor on the reefs. This was combined with some great stories of his and others adventures in and around Lord Howe Island. And as a highlight he walked us around the back ground of the resort. We got a chance to see the desalination units, ozone waste treatment systems and other green clean methods they are using to be more self sustainable. He and his team are using cutting edge technology to keep their guests catered for at a 5 start level no matter the weather.
I had my one cup of coffee for last year at Arajilla. I have decided I will have one cup of coffee a year. Its a challenge as I LOVE coffee but have given it up as I keep getting headaches so where to have this years cuppa? Hmmm…….
On the way back to Nashira we found our jerry cans full of diesel sitting at the wharf. We loaded them onto the dinghy and refilled the fuel tank with Mike McEvoys trick using two hoses coming out of the Jerry can, one into the fuel tank and another to blow on to get the fuel flowing. Worked a treat. Thanks Mike!!
Now for a swim and get our gear ready for an onshore BBQ with all of the MHYC Cruising Division team. Adams lovely wife Nicole and children Sydney and Hudson have flown in from Sydney. Brad the skipper on Arawai has flown back to Sydney and Arawai is awaiting another crew member to fly in to assist on the way home. So we thought lets all meet and have a Picnic BBQ!
We met by 5:30 at this little park complete with BBQ fire pit and wood provided as well as free electric BBQ’s. Playground for the kids little and big! and perfect weather.
This is what life is about right?
Then back to Nashira for another good night sleep.
WEDNESDAY 10th — Day 3 on the island–
Last night we had some fierce katabatic winds from the hills that were brutally swinging us around on the mooring. We came up to check the mooring lines were okay before hitting the sack. It was a little bit rough but sleep came finally.
Today we are heading out on Bikes to explore. We visited the museum and cafe and found out there is a BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) here next to the airport. We are riding out to visit and get their take on the upcoming weather. We have a worry as a strong low is forming and it sounds like it will be pretty miserable here from Sunday to Tuesday. Should we stay until Tuesday or head out soon?
Bundeena has decided to leave today and head to Elizabeth reef for the day then head to Port Stephens.
So off we go to see Amy at the BOM
We asked if we could watch her launch the balloon on Friday! she said definitely! woohoo Friday here we come.
Tootled post the airport then detour past the golf club and out as far South as we can by bikes, then a one kilometre walk to the bottom of Mt Gower. Today is the only day we didn’t bring water. Holy cow its hot!!! We dreamed of making it back to the golf club to get a drink on the way home.
Riding the up the golf club driveway it looks decidedly closed….NOOOOOOO We see one man working in the kitchen and asked (just short of pathetically begging) if it was possible to get a drink. He took kindly to our desperate plight and invited us in saying if we have exact change we can buy something as he has no till or change.
Scrounging through our wallets we came up with enough money to buy two beers each!
He was kind and trusting allowing us to stay there by ourselves, on the veranda, until we were cooled down and finished our drinks. Turns out he is the chef getting a head-start of tomorrows business. Bless you kind sir!
Evan established radio contact with Bundeena, as now we made it habit to carry around our handheld radio for easy communication. Frank and Peter were packed and ready to head out. We watched them depart the South end of the lagoon as we drank our cold beer. (Bundeena’s 3 meter draft meant they had to moor at the south passage end).
At this point we all made a wager that they wouldn’t make it to the reef but would head West instead directly for Port Stephens. Heh Heh Heh….. Lets see what they do.
We had a gentle easy ride back into town and ran into Debbie, Byron’s better half. Byron is one of Evans Partner at IBT. They flew in earlier today for a much needed holiday. We arranged to meet them tomorrow at noon for a snorkel adventure.
Back to Nashira, knackered and happy, we had dinner, looked at the weather reports and chilled for the rest of the evening.
Thursday the 11th — Day 4 on the Island —
Evan has been carrying out radio Skeds with Bundeena and Arawai twice daily and emailing the location and condition of all to David the sailing manager at MHYC. He is our ground contact and watching over us to make sure all are okay.
This morning Evan made his call to Frank, I could overhear the concern in his voice, he told Frank we may leave today too. I wonder what the weather report could contain that would cause this increased concern.
Call complete Evan brought me the weather report and said “Read This” hmmm…. Looks like the Southerly front is BIG and will start Sunday as before but last until next Wednesday here. This could be very uncomfortable staying on Nashira. Also we are meant to be back in Sydney by Friday the 19th and this is cutting it close if the weather does not improve.
So we decided as a team that we leave tonight at 5pm high tide.
Today is going to be busy. I took all the laundry ashore. While waiting for the washing machine to be free Bruce and I headed to Arajilla to visit Bill Shead one more time. He brought out his laptop and went over predict wind with us and suggested also that we leave as soon as possible. He disappeared for a few minutes and came out with the Lord Howe Island flag for Nashira to fly. That was such a thoughtful thing to do. I want to send him our MHYC flag once we return home.
Oh gosh have we just spent 2 hours with Bill? Yes, Yikes we have to find Evan. So off we ride after saying our goodbyes. We met Evan on the road, he had been looking for us and was heading to Arajilla.
I threw the laundry in the machine and we started looking for Byron, Debbie and Aaron as we were supposed to meet at noon and it was noon now!
Finally we found them and told them of our plans to leave later this afternoon. Instead of snorkelling at North beach we decided to lunch onboard Nashira. We all biked up to settlement beach while Debbie gave us a wonderful historical background of LHI as her family were closely involved with trading endeavours on the island. Debbie was almost born on the island but perhaps unfortunately she hung on till her parents returned to the mainland. If she had been born there she would be a local and have the privilege to build a home on the island.
I had the time to hang out our laundry before Bruce picked me up by dinghy. Aaron, Evan and Bruce snorkelled and paddle boarded around Nashira. Debbie gave me the best neck massage ever. then we sadly said our goodbyes.
They departed at 3pm giving us time to complete our tasks to ready for sailing.
Heading ashore we rode our bikes back to Wilsons and turned them in along with Bruce’s Snorkelling gear. I rang Amy at the BOM and told her we were leaving and would miss the balloon launch. She was really worried saying we would hit the front on the way home. Im thinking ‘we’ll beat the front and be home before it hits’ I took her email details and promised to email her when we got home so she would know we were okay.
We ran into the mob from Arawai and updated them on the weather and our plans. They unfortunately have to wait until tomorrow noon for their 5th crew member to arrive by plane. They have decided they will collect him from the airport and dinghy him to the boat and they would be off by 1pm.
Onto the local shop to purchase heavy duty fishing gear. Determined to land the next fish rather than lose it because our line was too light.
We collected our laundry and headed back to Nashira lifting the dinghy onto the fore-deck, readying everything and we departed just on 5pm.
See Part 3 – Heading Home