Tweet Manookatoo Adventures: A week on the harbour

Sunday, 30 April 2017

A week on the harbour

The iconic view of Sydney
Sydney Harbour has always been somewhere we aspired to visit and explore, ever since we towed the Haines Signature to Sydney and put it in the Parramatta River. There is so much water to cruise around in and so many places to moor, so we were determined to make the most of the opportunity while we are here in Manookatoo.
After entering through the heads on Sunday morning, we found a handy visitors' mooring just around the corner in Little Manly Cove, tucked in under the coastal park. With ferries and other passenger vessels whizzing by on their way to and from Manly, and many other luxury cruisers and yachts in the vicinity making the most of a (quasi) long weekend, it was a busy location! We took the dinghy across to Manly and tied up just behind the ferry terminal to do some shopping, then returned later for a lovely lunch looking out across the water. Next morning before breakfast we returned for a long walk along the beach foreshore, then set off to find a new location.
Spit Bridge opens for yachts to pass
Middle Harbour was a place neither of us had previously explored, but with recommendations from Alan Lucas* and the cruising helmsman**, we were keen to see this "pocket playground". Passing Balmoral Beach, we rounded the corner and cruised under the Spit Bridge just before it opened to let all the yachts and taller boats through - an amazing sight, with boats jostling for position then racing through the opening. We had arranged to meet the first mate's parents at D'Albora Marina, just beyond the bridge, then we cruised up into the harbour, past mansions perched on the hillside and into the beautiful Garigal National Park, where we pulled up a visitors' mooring at Bantry Bay for lunch. It was so lovely and peaceful there, so we returned after dropping the parents back at the Marina and enjoyed a beautiful night, along with at least 10 other boats!
Beautiful Bantry Bay
Tuesday morning was ANZAC day and as we dropped the mooring the coffee boat cruised by - a quirky offering in this part of the world and one we will try next time - but today we were keen to really "see" Sydney Harbour - the bridge, the opera house, centrepoint tower, Watsons Bay, Darling Harbour,,,, so we cruised back into the fray. The closer you get to the city the more congested the waterway becomes, with ferries, fast cats, sightseers, fishermen, water taxis, yacht races just to name a few activities. It is a lumpy, bumpy trip from the HMAS Sydney monument on Bradleys Head to Cockatoo Island and the entrance to the Lane Cove River, but the views of all the iconic places and the cruise under the Harbour Bridge make it worthwhile - as long as the captain keeps his wits about him! We had booked two nights at D'Albora Marina, Cabarita Point - an interesting area redeveloped from an old Gas works and the Dulux Paint industrial site now filled with luxury waterfront houses and apartments.
Happy Birthday Sue!!
Wednesday - the first mate's birthday - was a lovely family day, with lunch at the Marina's waterfront restaurant with the parents and sister, followed by a rivercat trip into Darling Harbour and The Rocks for drinks and dinner. You'd think river cruising on a passenger ferry would be a bit ho-hum after our adventures, but the opportunity to get so close to the Opera House and another trip under the bridge was not to be missed!
The Opera House at night
After a morning walk around the developments of Cabarita and Breakfast Point, we cast off our lines on Thursday morning and headed back into the Parramatta River, cruising around into Iron Cove to buy fuel for the dinghy at the Marina and food for us at Birkenhead Point. A north easterly wind was forecast for the afternoon, so we headed into the calmer waters of Lane Cove River, dropping anchor near the Marist Sisters School boatshed. We took the dinghy ashore to investigate the Woolwich dock and gaze out across the water to the bridge and centrepoint tower, stopping for a drink at the Woolwich Pier pub before returning to Manookatoo for a delicious roast pork dinner.
A cool and clear night meant that Friday morning was bright and sunny, a beautiful day for a cruise back down the harbour, but first a visit to the Sydney Fish Markets was in order. We dropped anchor in Blackwattle Bay and took the dinghy across to tie up on a small jetty and explore. There is such a variety of seafood on offer, so we bought scallops mornay for lunch, a mix for a marinara for dinner, and prawns for lunch on Saturday! Returning to Manookatoo, we continued our cruise under the bridge and down the harbour, turning left at Middle Head and passing under the Spit Bridge. we pulled up the visitors mooring farthest down Bantry Bay - at that stage we were the only ones there, but many others followed as the afternoon wore on.
A peaceful evening at Bantry Bay
Saturday was another family day - the first mate's sister and brother-in-law were both celebrating their birthdays, and what better way than a cruise on Middle Harbour! We picked them up from near the Roseville Bridge then cruised down under the Spit Bridge as far as Balmoral Beach, returning to pull up a mooring near the bridge for the much-loved prawn lunch and a few celebratory drinks. As we cruised back we visited all the bays along the way, admiring the huge houses and equally huge boats. Dropping them back to their car, we returned to Bantry Bay, where we were lucky to spot an empty mooring for another night of tranquility.
Even the seaplanes visit Rose Bay!
We spent Sunday morning cruising down Middle Harbour again, this time to explore the southern bays of the harbour. We found a free visitors' mooring in Rose Bay, a busy part of the harbour with not only ferries and pleasure craft, but seaplanes to contend with! We took the dinghy to shore and explored the shops, lunching at the local club, then met friends in the afternoon for a cruise to Vaucluse and Watsons Bay, returning to the mooring in time for a stunning sunset behind the bridge.
Tomorrow morning our adventures north continue, as we leave Sydney Harbour bound for Broken Bay.

*Alan Lucas: Sydney to Central Coast Waterways Guide (printed in 1991, but lots of relevant information still)
** - Cruising Helmsman: Middle Harbour: Sydney's pocket playground (written in 2008)

No comments:

Post a Comment