Queensland to NSW

Post date: Dec 26, 2010 11:01:35 PM

Here we are in the Clarence River at Grafton, spent a wonderful Christmas day with boating friends, including a beautiful green tree frog . . . on their yacht

We left Queensland on Wednesday, 8th December. We sailed out of the Gold Coast Seaway and headed south for the Clarence River, 100 miles away. It was a cool and showery morning but we decided not to wait any longer. The forecast for the next 24 hours seemed to be OK.

The week before we had tested our new headsail and it worked perfectly on the Broadwater between Bums Bay and Tipplers resort, the engine mounts were still hanging in there and we were eager to be gone.

After hoisting our sails we headed for Point Danger, and, as we sailed further south, the weather cleared and we had a good sail all the way down the coast, sometimes reaching 7.5 knots with assistance from the East Australian Current. As the sun set we were off Cape Byron, the clouds returned, the wind picked up and the showers returned. For a few hours we were sailing with 25 knots of wind up our tail. Exhilarating!! Early in the morning the wind died out and we were ghosting along the north coast of NSW. As the sun rose we started the engine to head toward the bar at the mouth of the Clarence River. Fortunately the tide was high, the night had been relatively calm and the bar was benign. We entered the Clarence River without any dramas.

As we usually do in places that are unfamiliar we find out from reliable sources what the conditions can be like and the best approach to the bar. Our source in this case is the “yachties bible” Alan Lucas's Cruising the New South Wales Coast. His information was very accurate and we anchored in the boat haven of Iluka at around 8:30 in the morning, then going to bed for a few hours.

It must have been a good day to make the passage. When we arrived there were 2 yachts that were in Bum's Bay with us already anchored, 2 arrived within an hour of our arrival and another 2 arrived later in the evening.

At Iluka there is a quiet and very safe anchorage. It is out of the way of the current in the river and the little township has most things people need. Across the river at Yamba the shopping centre is bigger and it only took ashort, wet dinghy ride to get there. Bigger shopping centre.