Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Big Banana

Well the last two weeks in Coffs Harbour have flown by and the weather has been amazing with generally warm and sunny days. Today is the first day of real rain we've had for a while so it's an afternoon of cooking on the boat with the girls after school this morning.

We've spent quite a bit of time with friends Mel, Bryan, Freyja and Milla here in Coffs and have enjoyed some time exploring the local area. We ventured out to Bellingen and up into the World Heritage listed rainforest at Dorrigo where there were great walks and views.
Dorrigo Forest View
Boardwalk in the trees
Dangar Falls

We have also made the most of our new paddle board in the tidal Coffs Creek and at the nearby beach within the harbour.

The girls have loved having Freyja and Milla to play with and have had sleep overs on the boat and ashore.

School is going well for both girls and we are all starting to get into a better routine with it now.

No visit to Coffs would be complete without visiting the Big Banana. So we ventured out one sunny afternoon to check it out. The girls loved the big water slides as much as the Big Banana itself.

Big Slide!
We have a few things that need us in one place for a while so have decided Coffs is a good spot to sort them before going further later in the year. So we are going to stay a few more weeks here and also look forward to exploring Northern NSW a bit from our base in Coffs. It seems amazing that we have been living on the boat for over 5 months now and are nearly half way through the year!!

Tired friends after a big day.  

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Leaving Port

Our final week or so in Port Macquarie saw us venture out a bit to see the local surrounds. First off we went up to the beautiful Comboyne Plateau for a walk in some spectacular tall forests. The trees were beautiful and we were also rewarded at the end with views of a great waterfall. The Plateau itself is covered in rich red soil and is home to many farms and cottage industries such as cheese makers, chocolate makers etc.

Tied up in the Hastings River

Forest walk

Big Timber

The waterfall

Comboyne Plateau
We also took a day trip up to Smoky Cape to have a picnic at the lighthouse. The view was spectacular and we visited nearby South West Rocks and Trial Bay gaol. The car trip up took about 1 1/4 hrs and later in the week it would take 5 1/2 hrs to sail!

Smoky Cape Light

Picnic Lunch

Trial Bay gaol

 We watched and waited for weather and tide to cross the Port Macquarie bar and to be right along the coast to sail the 70nm to Coffs Harbour. We are learning it can be tricky on this coast as many places can only be exited/entered at certain times and in certain conditions. This often dictates when and how we sail in terms of weather and the time of day/night. Finally the conditions looked good on Wednesday and despite the forecast getting better later in the week we were keen to move. The tide was just right and allowed a dawn exit of the bar in moderate swell with an early evening arrival in Coffs on the cards. The trip up was good with some bursts of stronger winds in the constant showers that drifted in from the East all day. The sun is setting early now so by 5:30pm it was gone and we entered Coffs Harbour and the marina in the dark at about 6:30pm and picked our way in by finding the navigation lights amongst all the houses, cars etc in the background. It was sad to leave family behind in Port but we are also excited to be moving again.
Leaving Port at first light on the high tide

Emma knitting as we motor sail through calm seas.

Smoky Cape light from the sea as we pass by

Rain squall approaches