It’s a different experience sailing on The Pittwater in Sydney compared to cruising the islands and bays of the far north Queensland coast and Great Barrier Reef. The Christmas period has been pretty hectic with family arriving from overseas for a couple of weeks so I’ve been a bit more quiet than usual. Last weekend we hosted the in laws on the boat for a long weekend and even though the weather was not sunny and bright it was my other favourite – cool and drizzly. The Pittwater in Sydney is simply stunning either way. It also gave us an opportunity to test run the new remote for the autopilot. Here’s a photo of the Skipper sitting on the bow driving the boat!
Usually we take our boat away from the marina each weekend and have a couple of places we like to anchor or moor. There are a few public moorings to be found on The Pittwater but they usually get scooped up pretty quickly on a good weather weekend leaving you with the anchoring option. I’m still affected by our bad experience in 1770 last year where we dragged anchor so anchoring is not my favourite – even more reason to keep doing it!
This last weekend we decided to travel a little further afield to Bobbin Head. We picked up our guests and departed mid morning after a cooked breaky for Hallets Beach which is just past America Bay in Cowan Creek. There are five public moorings but they were all taken so we anchored just before the beach and had the whole area to ourselves. It’s a good anchorage except in northerlies or westerlies. There is lots of sandstone around all weathered by the wind in intricate patterns making it a beautiful vista from the comfort of our outdoor seating area! The kids love to swim anywhere we go leaving the adults free to while away the day.
The next day we headed to Houseboat Bay which is quite a bit further along Cowan Creek and named after the houseboats that would moor in bays along the creek in the late 1800’s. We were met with three monohulls when we arrived all anchored and with stern anchors in keeping them still and away from the moorings. We managed to pick up one of the two moorings available, the other taken by two power boats rafted up. Incidentally it’s illegal to raft up on public moorings but it’s pretty rife, obviously the water police have enough to worry about and turn a blind eye.
The rain drizzled all day but it didn’t stop the girls from swimming around and under the boat and eventually convincing Nanny to come ashore with them to investigate the waterfall, lots of sea snails and of course, mud at the low tide. They returned triumphant with native mud stripes on their faces giggling all the way, Nanny too. There’s a real peace that settles over us when we are away from the dock. Life is lived differently and I’m not sure about all yachties but it’s polar opposites to how we live during the week. When we’re at the dock the TV is on at night and we eat indoors. On the hook the music is playing, the TV is rarely on and we eat outside. We will also sit outside late into the night with incense and candles burning. I received a battery operated but realistic looking candle for Christmas, one of two I now own and much safer than real candles!
In the morning we had a yummy breaky followed by a trip in the tender (in the rain!) to Apple Tree Bay where we went on a little walk along the water’s edge. There are plenty of great walks in the surrounding national parks on The Pittwater. This walk goes all the way to Waratah Bay but we only did a part of it. It was a reasonably easy walk with carved out steps in the rocks and beautiful plants, natural caves and gorgeous views. Apple Tree Bay was named during a survey in 1832 which used a native smooth barked apple tree growing on the top of the headland as a survey marker. Today the bay is filled with moorings and is a popular picnic spot. The only part we didn’t particularly like about the walk were the leeches! Swab must taste good because she had a few on her ankles but handled it with grace of course. She’s a tough little nut.
The next day we headed back and picked up a mooring in America Bay right by the waterfall, a popular spot on The Pittwater for yachties. The kids swam around the boat again and then grabbed the inflatable to row ashore and play on their own, under our watchful eyes of course. They are yachty kids now. While they were away we watched as the members of a nearby houseboat brought in a huge flathead so not to be outdone we put in a few hand reels and Poppa pulled in an absolute beauty just with a little prawn bait. Took a while but we got there in the end! Note to self, must get a big net!
We are making the most of being in Sydney, so many little bays on The Pittwater to explore and so much time to do so. It makes no difference to us if it’s raining or sunny, if it’s raining at the dock it will be raining out there, might as well be out there, however we are itching to go cruising! I could do this every day, really I could.
The girls managed to even get some learning in! How was your weekend?
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