Tweet Manookatoo Adventures: Port to Coffs to Yamba

Friday, 16 June 2017

Port to Coffs to Yamba


Leaving Port Macquarie at 6am
A weather window opened on Monday, the Queen's Birthday holiday, so we took it! We were up before 6am, keen to be underway at first light, casting off our lines at 6:15 and cruising down the Hastings River, over the bar and back into the ocean swell. Conditions were quite overcast with intermittent rain, which reduced visibility, although we did manage to see evidence that whales were about, with many water spouts in the distance and a group of three quite close to us! We cruised past Smoky Cape and South West Rocks, coming closer to shore after Trial Bay and following the coastline up to round South East Islet and enter the breakwaters of Coffs Harbour, cruising into the Marina and tying up just before 4pm. With strong winds forecast for the next few days we look forward to exploring the local area.
Coffs Harbour Marina at sunset
Tuesday dawned grey and threatening rain, but we donned the raincoats and walked the 4km into town; after a day on the water it is always good to have a long walk! We followed the Coffs creek walk back to the surf club, enjoying a drink in the bar before returning to Manookatoo via the fishing co-op for some fresh prawns for lunch. In the afternoon we tried out the yacht club while waiting for our washing to finish, then hung it up in the strong wind to dry quickly on the flybridge!
Nambucca Heads
We left home early on Wednesday morning to catch the bus to Nambucca Heads; the bar there prevents us entering the river but we had heard how nice it was so we took the opportunity to visit. We walked along the boardwalk from the highway to the heads, then enjoyed an early lunch at the RSL club overlooking the river in order to catch the bus back to Coffs. We finished the day with a walk home via Park Beach.
Under the Coffs Harbour jetty
Thursday morning started with our exercise routine - after several days of walking it was time to do some strength training! After breakfast we walked the 700m Coffs jetty then followed the beach to Corambirra Point, returning to Manookatoo for a leisurely lunch. As we plan on leaving here tomorrow, later in the afternoon we walked up to the lookout on Muttonbird Island to check the sea state, then we cast off from the Marina to pick up a courtesy mooring near the jetty, enabling an easy exit in the morning.
Whale - breaching!!
The captain was up early on Friday morning, keen to get going, and by 6am we were on our way, out of the Harbour and back into the sea! The sun rose over calm water as we cruised along, enjoying breakfast and taking things easy. We could see whale plumes in the distance then we spotted some closer to us, tail slapping and breaching! It was great to watch but a little intimidating when they are so close! The swell increased as we cruised along, making for a very roly-poly trip, and just before the Clarence River bar rain started, reducing visibility just as we wanted it the most. While the first mate was tentative crossing the bar, the captain handled it with ease, in an entry described as "excellent" by the Marine Rescue operator, watching from their headquarters above the break wall. We turned to port soon after, cruising into the Yamba Channel and tying up at the Marina. A rainy walk up to the Pacific Hotel followed, with celebratory drinks overlooking the entrance before we  returned via the local yacht club for dinner and an early night.
The rainy view at the Pacific hotel
We look forward to exploring the Clarence River in detail in the coming days.
Captain's log:
Port Macquarie to Yamba
Distance travelled: 131 nautical miles
Time taken: 18 hours 35 minutes
Fuel: 207.1 litres

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