We left on Saturday morning to head north. There was a strong southerly system moving through, but we decided since the winds and seas would be following, that we could handle a less than idea set of conditions. It was certainly a wild ride! By Sunday morning the winds worked themselves up to 25-30 knots and by the afternoon they were 30-35. We had seas of 4-5 meters all afternoon. Here’s the GPS track map of our route:
View Passage to Yamba Going North in a larger map
During the night, we were very bummed because we ran into the East Australia Current. It hit us for 4 knots of current for most of the night. We were only making as little as 3.2 knots of progress over ground for several hours! This meant we were unlikely to get very far north on this system before the winds got less pleasant. Fortunately, by first light, we started to get out of the current and things got much better.
We decided to continue north past Coffs Harbor, which was the last “easy” entrance technically until North Moreton Island in the Brisbane area. It got to be sunny then, and although it was getting rough we decided to at least go for Yamba. By the afternoon, we had decided we had had enough excitement and we would try for the port of Yamba. They have a sand bar entrance there which can get pretty dicey at times. We were not at all sure it would be possible, so we set our expectation we’d have to sail an additional 24 hours if it wasn’t passable.
Here’s a taste of what it was like in the middle of the afternoon (taken with my cell phone). CAUTION: May induce motion sickness! Notice we were only using a small amount of sail and were making 9+ knots through the water.
About an hour before us, a small mono-hull sailboat successfully went in the Yamba bar entrance. So, that was encouraging. As we approached, the waves were still quite large, but the sand bar outside the entrance helped reduce the waves for the most part. But, we saw some big breaking waves occasionally over the bar. We came in parallel to the waves and I timed it to avoid the big breaking waves. Two big ones broke just ahead of us as we entered, but things we were lucky and we came in without any major issue right after them. There are a bunch of photos of the entrance into Yamba in this album:
View full-sized slideshow
To reward ourselves we went to dinner at the mexican restaurant we had discovered last December when we stopped here. What a treat!