Bye Bye Coff’s Harbour
Leaving Coff’s Harbour behind us in our wake we stretched Ellie’s legs and powered South by South East looking for the strong East Coast Current to push us Southward. That meant heading for deeper water. About an hour into the passage we found it and Ellie picked up speed averaging 10 knots! A knot equal 1.85 kilometres per hour. Night fell and the moon rose and the wind blew from the Northeast. The swell was picking up and coming from the South. Tricky conditions. We started taking bigger waves on the bow. The next hour saw us keeping Ellie as dry as we could, checking the bilge pumps were in operation when required.We found that one for the forward hatches was not entirely sealed for these conditions but Ellie was not in danger. We pushed on knowing the conditions would ease.Port Macquarie was my plan B if the weather didn’t ease.
By around 0200hrs the next day the wind was easing and Ellie enjoyed the calmer sea. We were able to finish mopping up and the bilge pumps had done their job. Our radar helped us check our course against land masses that lay ahead and enabled us to me more efficient in our course monitoring. The radar was essential for a night time passage.
I slept as Jamie took the watch, 3 hours on 3 hours off. This would be our schedule for the next 2 days and 2 nights. Port Macquarie was clearly visible on our Starboard side. Still 390 km from Sydney and some 570km South of Brisbane we had traveled 68 nautical miles in 8 hours. No speed record but not bad given the conditions we experienced early in the evening. The Hastings River empties out into the ocean from here. I decided to push ahead for Port Stephens, that was 94 nautical miles.
From here we were racing against the weather that was coming in 2 days time. Someone was watching over us and the seas got flatter and flatter.