Bermagui and Batemans Bay

more tastes of the cruising life - we were enjoying it enormously . . .

We left Eden at 3:30 in the morning for our next leg of our journey - to Bermagui. We had to make sure we arrived at Bergamui at the right time to cross the bar and into the channel . Because we had not been there before we wanted to make sure we arrived in daylight. The day started cold and very dark as we motored out of Eden. There was little wind so we continued to motor until it was nearly light when we unfurled the headsail. Later, when there was more wind, we added the main and we began to  frolick along at about 6 knots. As the morning wore on the wind gradually eased, and the ocean became glassy smooth. We were travelling very slowly and were in danger of not making the tide deadline so, about 8 miles from Bergamui we furled the sails and started the motor and motored into harbour.

Our morning's sail was beautiful. Dolphins entertained us and there were some big shapes in the water that we think might have been whales – but we weren't sure. We had a little passenger too. a hooded tern we christened Audrey,, perched on the dinghy taking advantage of the free ride. She stayed with us for several hours until just outside Bermagui  she flew off to find others of her kind.

The entry to Bermagui was untroubled as there was very little swell and no wind. We lined up the leads perfectly and headed up the channel.

We had contacted the coast Guard to find out about the availability of a berth the day before and just before we arrived we were instructed that there was a berth waiting for us and gave us instructions on how to get there.

There were 2 other Tasmanian yachts there. They had both been there for a while and we felt better when the skipper of one told us they had left Hobart in early March! As he was helping us to tie up Greg recognised him. It was Mitch from Kettering, the broker who sold Greg his first yacht, Felicity. He and his family were on their yacht, Zideco. Another family we became friendly with were on a converted fishing trawler, Tinkerbell, from Darwin, (Ian, Sue and 3 year old Robbie)

Bermagui was a lovely little coastal town with ample coffee shops and bakeries, as well as other important facilities such as a laundromat. And there was not a big hill to walk up to get there. We went for several walks around the town and enjoyed the quiet village atmosphere. We took the dinghy for a trip up the Bermagui River as far as we could. Peaceful and warm (This is the cruising life as we dreamed it would be)

We had great weather here – even broke out the shorts . We were feeling like we were getting to warmer places at last.

This has been a great time to travel in a way because the little harbours that we have been to have been quiet and not very busy, but the urge to get to warm water and tropical beaches was tugging at us so we reluctantly left it in our wake.

Bergamui was left behind shortly after 8 am. There was very little wind and the tide was right for crossing the bar at the entrance. We had had no difficulties crossing our first bar of many. The morning was calm and sunny and the air was beginning to warm up. We hoisted the sails when we were out in the bay and hoped for some wind. It was not to be so we motor-sailed all the way to Broulee Is.

We had dolphins three times during the day – the first time was when Greg had gone for a nap, the second pod was later in the afternoon and they stayed with us leaping and playing in the bow-wave for quite a while and then, when we anchored at Broulee, there was a pod fishing in the shallow water off the beach.

We saw a few seals waving their flippers about during the day BUT we saw no whales again!!!!

There are a few around but they only appeared after we had already been or where we haven’t been yet. We heard people reporting sightings on  VHF radio.

By the time we were at Broulee Island, later in the afternoon the wind had picked up,  a sea breeze, but we were nearly there so we kept the motor going. Our first attempt at anchoring was at the northern end of the bay but the swell was a bit uncomfortable, and after listening to the weather forecast for wind direction, we thought it would be safe near Broulee Is. Our decision  to anchor there was because we had to wait for the tide again in order to safely cross the bar at Batemans Bay and the best time was 10 AM the next day. It was much more comfortable there to sit for the night before our 8 AM start to head around the point to Batemans Bay.

We arrived at about 9:30 and crossed the bar at high tide. We realized how important it was to get the tide right when we walked along the sea wall to the end of the bar later in the afternoon at low tide and saw a small yacht stuck on the bar. They were really struggling to get it off. A powerful motor boat came along and, after a struggle, managed to pull the yacht off, hopefully there was not much damage to it.

After tying up we went for a walk into the township, about 1km away. It was a busy little town, quite a bit bigger than Bermagui or Eden, in fact it was the largest shopping centre we’d been near since we were at Geelong.

While at Bateman’s Bay we did a lot of walking to the shopping centre about 1km away. We walked there at least once every day – sometimes twice, and to the industrial area which was about 2 km away up another steep hill. We did that twice too. We decided to go for a walk around the bay one day and ended up at Surf Beach, 7 km away. We did that only once!

We explored the beautiful and tranquil Clyde River in the dinghy. We could not take Lupari because there are low power cables just above the opening bridge. We puttered with the little outboard all the way to Nelligen and had a picnic lunch on the bank of the river. We had such a lovely day! Nelligen is quite a historic place with timber, gold and bushrangers featuring in its past.

The weather we had since arriving in NSW had been very spring like, with calm mornings and a sea breeze in the afternoon. The nights were cool, though. Some days were very windy, 30 kts northwesterly wind all morning and the temperature climbed to 24 degrees!!!( it was still winter though, we were happy!)