Monday, 6 August 2012

Pittwater: Cowan Creek and Bobbin Head anchorage

Right at the very end of the journey inland through the Ku Ring Gai National park at the top of Cowan Creek is Bobbin head.  We enjoyed a calm and tranquil journey under motor intending to stay a night on either the public moorings or on anchor at the end of the inlet next to Empire Marina.  We stayed three eventually as it was so relaxing.

Tiki is in the distance on this photo which is taken from the road bridge facing north.  The public pontoon is in the foreground.
There are two 24 hour stay moorings in this area and they were both empty.  We were in the week after Easter and the regular moorings provided in bays along Cowan Creek were on the whole free and the river very peaceful.

The shore here has picnic and barbeque areas and a national park office where we picked up maps for the trails in the local area.  There are plenty of walks to choose from.  We took one or two that went inland and spent an energetic day working our way through the forest tracks. 

The marina is convenient to the anchorage area and moorings and has a pleasant cafe for finishing off a walk with a coffee and snacks. There is also a fuel pontoon where we topped up with diesel and petrol. 

Pittwater: The Basin / Coasters Retreat moorings

Coasters retreat, and also called the basin by some is a popular anchorage that is entirely taken over by club moorings.  We visited several times over the March and April period and enjoyed some late summer weather as well as some small storms that came through. If you are cruising then you will likely end up having to tie up on a mooring here as there is little room to anchor in the bay.  At most times it is pretty quiet and at busy times you may be asked to move to another mooring if the club owners turn up.
Looking inshore from the mooring area towards the beach on the north. 
It is popular with good reason.  The tidal 'basin' inshore is a great place to relax and go for a swim, we made it for an end of season warm weekend in May.  Also the national park campsite provides some facilities behind the beach that include toilets and barbeques.  There is a small charge,  a few dollars, to use the facilities and a warden will appear on busy periods as you land on the beach. There are many tracks and paths into the national park that are worth exploring.  The coastal fringe is so interesting in this area it is easy to forget the region is an amazing national park as well.
The bay from the north shore beach.  the local ferry lands here regularly and the beach gets busy on the weekends as it is sheltered, warm and clean. 
Looking out to the north from the bay towards Barrenjoey Head
This is taken from just inside the basin entrance which is netted off, stopping sharks and boats entering.  

The basin from the campsite

Friday, 3 August 2012

Pittwater: Brooklyn anchorages

We headed up to Brooklyn to pick up a friend and have a look around the small town and marina at the north end of our navigable waterway. For sail boats the rail bridge stops any travel further up the river.  

There are three courtesy moorings available in the channel, just north of the northerly cardinal 424 shown on the map - and of course they were taken when we arrived so we anchored just to the north of them as marked on the map.  The moorings are the 24hr stay national parks moorings and as elsewhere the stay tends to get stretched out in some cases until conscience, more travel or authority provides a motivation to move.  On the anchor we managed to get out of the main tidal current in just enough water for our 1.7m draught, it was springs.  However the southerly gusting wind sent us dancing around beam on and bum to wind against the outgoing tide and although we held well enough it would need settled weather for me to stay the night – well stay and sleep well without numerous anchor checks around the turn of tide. 
We also moved around to the south of the small peninsular into Dead Hose Bay.  Maybe it should be Dead Horse Bay yet Navionics says ‘Hose’ so that's how it stays.  There are numerous moorings all along the shore here and it looks as if there is no room when viewed from the channel. There is and after moving close to the beach we found plenty of space for several yachts to anchor.  The water is deeper than the chart suggested and on the anchor marked we ended up with 2.5m below datum and with plenty of sticky mud hanging on to the anchor and chain when we hauled it up.  To the south of us was also plenty of room to stay in deeper water and weather that does not leave you on a lee shore. 

We tendered around from here into Parsley bay  just to the north where the public pontoons are convenient for locking the tender up for a visit to Brooklyn.  The Marina in town has fuel and water, beer, pay showers and laundrette and it is possible to visit and tie up if there is space.  The town has convenience stores, pleasant cafes and restaurants and pub for hanging out and some basic provisions.


Much as we wanted to stay a while longer the southerly winds were heading in so we  headed off down to to the southern bays for a few days.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Pittwater: Bayview Anchorage and RPAYC

We’ve just made the trip up to Broken bay which is about a twenty mile trip north from Sydney harbour.  It’s a hugely popular sailing area for sailing that is also a national park.  There are literally hundreds of safe anchorages to visit in the area and so we are making a start at exploring some of them over the next weeks. 

Heading south in Pittwater- Tiki self steers when in a good mood!

Our first visit on entering Broken Bay was to head south along the Pittwater all the way down to Bayview opposite the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club since we had pre arranged to meet 'Me Too' in this area before they headed north for the winter warmth in Whitundays.  The Pittwater is a busy waterway that just became more and more populated as we headed south down the water on a wonderful Easterly wind and flat sea - and since it is was Easter weekend it was only going to get busier.   

Pittwater, Bayview area
The channel is well marked and by the time we arrived at the Bayview area there was not much room to anchor outside of the channel markers.  Of course after a closer look around we did find several places on the edge of the channel that can still be used for anchoring – luckily someone forgot to put a mooring in the space and rent it out!  If you have shallow draft you can find more room and in fact dry out right up the beach south of the isolated danger mark as several boats did whilst we were there..    

There is plenty to see and do ashore although we enjoyed a cruise around in the tender doing some really lazy tourism before sundowners arrived and it was time for socialising and also watching the moon rise.  The picture has Wild Oats X in the middle, largest mast, having a well earned rest.  Going ashore can be a multiple choice if you are cruising as much of the foreshore looks private and is.  Pittwater council has some good information on wharves  
and of course the marinas have tying up facilities for visitors.

We also visited Coasters retreat which is on the western shore of Pittwater.  A well sheltered bay that seems to be entirely taken over by club moorings, with no public that we could see.  The moorings all have ‘private’ or some version of ‘keep off’ painted on them so we moored up anyway since most are unused most of the time. 

Moon rise in Pittwater

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Sydney Harbour: Blackwattle Bay ancchorage

Blackwattle bay is one of the most convenient and sheltered anchorages that gives easy access to Sydney city.  It is frequented by cruising boats to varying levels depending on the time of year. 
The anchorage area is marked with buoys
The marked anchorage is in about 4m of water and it is very small and so you need to be prepared to anchor up close.  On one occasion we could have stepped off our bowsprit to our neighbors stern with no trouble.  Its a good practice for accurate anchoring technique.  It is also renown for the nasty smelly mud that sticks to your chain and so in general it is good holding.  We were inspired to fit a deck wash after visiting  several times. 

Of course various friends will take a deep breath and tell me of the times they have dragged here after being sat happily on anchor for two weeks or more.  The fact is there is a lot of rubbish sat in the mud, we have dragged up old cables and others blocks of wood, wire, metal etc. so care is needed not to be complacent once you are dug in.   Having said that it is a sheltered anchorage on the whole and we have enjoyed our stays because there is a lot of city life nearby. 

The city views are great and there is a lot of convenience with everything close by.  This picture is taken from just by the Glebe Point cafe and the pontoon is used regularly by tenders.  We spent many happy morning in the cafe using the WiFi and enjoying the view.  The fish market is across the bay and they are happy for tenders to be tied up on the inside pontoon by the ramp.  We asked the office and they were happy for us to tie up Tiki for an hour or so midweek where we took on water.  They are busy weekends and will charge if you tie up.  It is also a great place to visit and the fish-market tour is worth going to early in the morning.  

Sunset and sunrise was my favourite time here, the city skyline always made a great ambiance and backdrop for sundowners.   

Sydney Harbour: Manly Cove anchorage

We have visited this anchorage in the north harbour several times in the last months and enjoy our stays in this well known and pleasant spot.

The whole anchorage is dominated by the Manly Wharf and a continuous stream of ferries heading to and from Sydney.  Don't let this put you off and they are going so slow by the time they arrive close that there is very little wake to notice and you just have the friendly wave to the children and tourists a lot if you anchor close!  Manly wharf bars, cafes and the town shopping is very convenient and we enjoy a beer on the front watching Tiki bob about on her anchor.

It is fairly open and is not a good anchorage in southerly weather, yet in northerlies it is calm and in settled conditions a great place to swim from.  There is a swimming enclosure in the picture that is in regular use and can be used also if you are cautious of the stories about Bull sharks.  We tender up the beach and have never had any problems with landing ashore, being careful as there are often swimmers in the water.  The protected 'little penguins' come up the beach here and there is often a crowd of people at dusk waiting for a chance to see them, we have yet to see them and are still wary of running them over!  The come under a lot of pressure from foxes and dogs and there is a lot of effort to protect them and ensure they continue to breed.  They, well their support group even have their own website
We took the picture of Tiki from the  west side of the cove at Manly Ocean world whilst having a coffee there on a warm sunny morning in March.

The anchorage is pretty large and we anchor anywhere off the beach and keeping clear of the ferry wharf on the east and we end up in 3 to 5m of water depending how close we move in to the swimming area.  It is a sand anchorage and holding is good. with sea-grass patches that can be seen and avoided easily. 

For electronic navigation we use our Ipad and are using charts from Navionics.  We also have INAVX downloaded as an app along with the charts.  We love both systems for various different reasons.  Navionics charts on the ipad now have a 'community layer' where anyone can upload chart information to the community, noting uncharted buoys, marks, changes etc to the Navionic charts. The anchor on the image is our upload of our anchor location in Manly Cove. We also use the google overlay for land features as well and find it really useful for working out where to head once ashore.  

I have put on a short video of Manly Cove so that you can get a good idea of what a lovely place it is.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Sydney Harbour: Chinaman's Bay anchorage

Looking South to the anchorage
We've been anchoring around the Sydney harbour area for some months now and there are some great anchorages to enjoy.  The harbour is so varied and each anchorage is slightly different, from middle of the city to peaceful and silent waterways surrounded by forests.
We most recently spent some time relaxing in Chinamans bay which is in the north harbour area on the south side of the channel just less than a mile before spit harbour bridge and marina.  

It is a popular beach for anchoring and swimming at the weekends and safety markers keep boats from close to shore.  There are four small fixed moorings and anchoring around them in several meters or to the south and the area we anchored was 7 meters or so.  Holding is good on sand and there is some limited weed to be aware of that a good anchor will have no problem with.   We use a 60lb Manson Plough anchor  and it has not let us down in some heavy and varied conditions. 
from the north of the beach area. The harbour entrance in the distance

The beach is sheltered well in the south based winds and gets uncomfortable if the ocean swell comes in from the east and makes it to the middle harbour area.  There are plenty of other good places if that is the case – over to the east by Castle Rock Beach anchorage is well sheltered, popular and very shallow inshore. 

Onshore and just behind the beach front is Rosherville reserve which a pleasant park area to get some time in the trees and green and there are numerous recycling bins for talking rubbish ashore and well maintained toilets and beach showers.  The walk up to the main shopping areas from here is not one for the faint-hearted, we tried it, and we prefer to take the easy option and jump on the bus from Spit Bridge up to the Warringah Mall.

We were happy to have a great sunny autumn day on anchor doing some deck work, yet again, and watching the Sunday afternoon optimist racing around us.  Amazingly they all managed to miss us even though many were clearly just learning and seven or eight years old.
We anchored on the blue spot on the google image.  Just to the north of this anchorage are three pink public moorings that we also use on occasion and they are for 24 hour stays and rated up to 20 tons.  Whatever that rating means they are well maintained and an alternative to the local anchorages
We are moving up to Pittwater in the next day or two for several weeks to enjoy some more of the NSW coast and anchorages.