Sunday, 9 December 2012


4th  Dec. 2012 , 60 NM.

Capt Barry and Capt Ray were up at 6.00am and had a light breakfast, of OJ and cereal.

Even though today was not a long passage , only 60 NM, we wanted to get away relatively early and enjoy some down time at Coffs Harbour.

We started lifting the anchor at 6.45am , but this took longer than expected, as the middle section of the chain  was mud covered where it had moved on the bottom. Capt Ray did not notice the mud until the chain was over the deck ,  and when he started to hose it off the chain over the deck , it splattered  everywhere, and   took Capt Barry longer to clean the mud off the boat deck than it did to clean and bring in the balance of the muddy chain.

Capt Barry gave up the cleaning process with the ordinary water pressure from the hose , and had to resort to the high pressure Karcher he keeps in the lazz ( for the Hawkesbury River mud).

Well the anchor was up, the deck cleaned of mud, and the two Capts were finally under way at about 7.00am, and logged on a tracking sheet with Marine Rescue Yamba/Iluka.

Capt Ray took LAST WORD out of the shallow,  ILUKA,  inner harbour through the Clarence river mouth and across the famed Yamba bar , whilst Capt Barry was below having a shower , to remove the flecks of black  mud he managed to cop , otherwise he would have transferred  black mud everywhere he sat.

Yes folks,  two of the world's  most experienced Capts managed to cross one of Australia's hairiest bars with one of them in the shower. Not recommended, but they did look at the bar first and check with the local marine rescue, and ......  they were in a great boat...LAST WORD............ with TWO  fins.

LAST WORD crossed the bar, about 1 hour after low tide , ( approx. a  0.7m tide ) , and saw 0.9m under the props , inside the Iluka Harbour, being the lowest point.

So far as the weather and seas  were concerned, Capt Ray and Capt Barry had been closely watching both BOM and Buoyweather , trying to dodge the various thunderstorms and the two blows that were moving up the VIC and NSW coasts. In fact it was the seas and weather that dictated where we planned each stop over, and the speed we needed to sit on to get there ( at the desired daylight time  and tide) , not the the fuel use, which was secondary in this case. If the seas had been better Capt Barry would have planned a more leisurely trip back to Sydney , probably using 1500 L less  fuel.
Still, it is better to have  the capability to use the faster cruising speed when the weather looks  a bit dickie, and no point having the capability , and not using  it.

BOM was predicting 2 M seas , and 1+M  SE swell and 15 to 25 kt winds from the south , and Buoyweather was predicting lesser seas 0.7 M at  9 secs ( just south of Yamba ) and 1.2 M at 6 secs apart (  as we progressed towards Coffs ), with 7 to 9 kt winds from the NW moving to 16 to 20 kts from the SE as we approached Coffs.

On route Capt Barry made some social calls, confirmed rear admiral Julie still loved him,  did some share trading, blogged and  confirmed the berth for LAST WORD ( E17 opposite the fuel wharf ) at Coffs harbour.
Meanwhile , Capt Ray spent most of his time doing business by telephone, so for him it was  business as usual, just a changing environment.

Capt Ray on the telephone doing business

As the seas and wind for this passage was not to bad, during the passage , LAST WORD,  for the most part,  sat on 1220 rpm making about 9+ kts using 58 L/HR , with a speed run at 1850 rpm making 17 kts and using 165 L/HR for 50 mins.

The seas were fair and at some stages almost oily flat.

fair seas and spectacular cloud formations

We passed several other  boats and prominent headlands and lighthouses along the route.

Mid-morning , Capt Barry cooked cheeses and tomato omelettes and toast to take the edge off our hunger, followed by a cup of tea.

Capt Barry cooking cheeses and tomato omelettes

LAST WORD made the Coffs Harbour entrance, which was very flat and well behaved,  at 1.00pm , and we proceeded direct to the fuel wharf where we waited about 20 mins for a vessel to finish fuelling ( then load up with bait for the next days fishing expedition ).

While waiting for fuel we watched a fellow bring his husky (dog ) down the the wharf for a swim to cool off.

After that vessel moved off , Capt Barry moved LAST WORD forward , on  the fuel wharf , where we waited another 15 minutes for Shane, the manager, to attend the fuel  wharf to reset the pump.

After fuelling, Capt Barry moved LAST WORD across the inner harbour to berth E17 , where Elise ( the marina manager ) was waiting to greet us , and we tied up.


Capt Barry had just tied up when his son telephoned to ask if we were ok, explaining that the NSW water police had phoned him  to see if there was any issue. It turns out that the Coffs Marine rescue unit had tried to contact LAST WORD, and after no response contacted the water police to follow up and determine whether LAST WORD was safe.

Capt Barry asked David to ring the water police back and tell them all was well (which he did and confirmed by text message to Capt Barry )   , and Capt Barry contacted the Coffs Marine rescue and signed off,  explaining that we must have missed their calls during the fuelling process, as no one was in the pilothouse.
Whilst the marine rescue people were perhaps a little quick off the mark to follow up with the water police after 25 mins after the estimated arrival time, Capt Barry apologised for the confusion,  thanked them for their diligence and told them it was great to know that they were doing such a great job.

After settling LAST WORD  into her berth , (which unfortunately still means using plastic hosing on the ropes around the rusty cleats to protect the ropes from being cut ) , Capt Barry connected  his new water softener and water filter unit to the marina water supply and filled LAST WORD'S  water tank, then used the water treatment unit to hose off LAST WORD to see how the water dried on the stainless , glass and fibreglass.

To Capt Barry's hopeful  expectation (and somewhat surprise that a product would work as advertised )  , the water treatment unit did its job, as the stainless steel dried almost spotless as did the glass doors and white fibreglass finish. This will mean less cleaning , as well as a better looking finish, and most importantly.........less cleaning of the inside showers , toilets and cleaner pipes and tanks.....not to mention better tasting water from any tap.

For the better part of the trip north, Capt Barry had been searching for a water softener and water filter unit , and apart from importing a "Spotless" unit from the USA (about $400 for the 8000 L unit , plus $350 FEDEX ), Capt Barry could not find a local handler until he made enquires of Stella Marine at GCCM.

Stella is  one of the agents for Spotless, and had just finished engineering their own units , that they said had some advantages over the spotless unit, which they were about to release for sale.

After some discussion and telling Stella that LAST WORD and Capt Barry would be at the GCCM late Nov. they agreed a price of $600 for the 7500 L resin filled unit ( a little on the pricey side ) , which is housed in a  tank ( like a fat dive tank )  with separate, washable ,  polyester , as opposed to a  paper filter, ( and  not a carbon filter which removes chlorine )  water filter.

The unit came with all the hose fittings, a spare polyester washable filter, a 25 kg bag of water softening salt ( to recharge the resin in the tank , after 7500 L ) and water testing strips kit. There are no instructions at this stage , as they sold me the first unit ( their  test unit ) before it was ready for final packaging and release.

However, I can report it seems to work a treat, and really is essential if one is to travel out of Sydney , as the water tastes terrible, and seems to getter harder and harder as one travels north , and leaves terrible water marks on the stainless and even etches the glass and leaves a white scum on surfaces , if not towelled off almost immediately , ie before it dries, which in the hotter northern latitudes is almost immediate.

Capt Barry attended the marina office to organise the nights berthing and obtain a key, and was pleased to learn that the Marina Operator has finally secured a longer lease with the lands department, and will be pressing ahead with the redevelopment of the Coffs harbour Marina , within the next 6 to 12 months.

Inside the inner marina harbour it was simply a sparkling day.

After a relaxing beer

 , Capts Barry and Ray enjoyed a walk to the nearby Italian restaurant "Fiasco " for a superb dinner and bottle of Italian wine, then a stroll back to LAST WORD and relatively early night for the next mornings passage , 124 NM to Forster  / Tuncurry, Cape Hawke Harbour (entrance to Wallis Lake ).

TRIP:   6 HRS,    416 L,    AV 10 KTS  @  68 L/HR.

PICS to be added later

No comments:

Post a Comment