Time to go
After a 3 week hiatus the bad weather had passed and I assessed the upcoming weather would be good for Ellie’s continued southward passage. I completed my plan for the journey and I had arranged a crew member to join me at Coff’s Harbour but first I had a 65 nautical mile (120km) solo trip to make between Yamba and Coff’s Harbour to prepare for.
I re-provisioned the boat and completed my final checks. This would be no Sydney harbour dinner cruise though. Ellie was good to go including her new VHF radio which was operational. I planned to depart just before sunrise and cross the Clarence River sand bar at first light on the high tide. The morning came and the weather perfect. As a large yacht weighed anchor in the channel and cruised toward the entrance I followed in Ellie.
The exit over the sand bar was a dream. Smooth seas were ahead of me as I set course for Coff’s Harbour. Ellie was slipping through the water like a hot knife slides through butter. The swell was southerly but low and gently rhythmic. With the auto-pilot engaged and course plotted I could go into the galley and make a brew. In the wheel-house visibility was great and I saw a number of whales heading north, mothers and calves in pods and cruising males. This trip was a stark contrast to the passages to Yamba, it was glorious. Flying fish crossed my bow and one landed on the forward deck. It flopped around almost indignantly before plopping over the side to join friends.
It was a long day to travel and some distance but Ellie made good time. As we arrived at the entrance to Coff’s Harbour the sun was still high and the seas calm. I was welcomed into the harbour buy a small pod of whales breaching.
I settled Ellie into her berth, cooked a meal and enjoyed a beer as the sun set. Tomorrow I would bring on a new crew member and make the run for home. I was excited and energised. I refueled Ellie, she was good to go and weather was with us.
If Ellie continued to perform well out in the ocean she would make a perfect luxury charter on Sydney harbour. Maybe I could share my love of the dark spirit and host a whisky tasting cruise on Sydney harbour.