Akuna Bay Cruising Club

Monday Mafia make Windsor (not Jervis Bay)

Monday 23 February, 2009

As some of you may know a group of self- funded retirees (old farts!) and the odd member who can take a sickie meet at Akuna Bay most Mondays, have a coffee, play with our respective boats and either reconvene for lunch at Zak's or go by boat further afield, eg, Patonga Pub, The Spit, Cottage Point.

After taking delivery of Sez-Am, a shakedown cruise was discussed with a plan to cruise to Jervis Bay for 4 days, departing on Monday 16 February. Barry Southern, Keith Turner, Rob Greene and Scott Murray were the crew and everything was planned in advance. The weather had been perfect for several weeks and we were excited about our upcoming adventure....... but the weather had other ideas!

A large low pressure cell had formed off the mid north coast causing severe storms and flooding and it was heading our way with predictions of 30-40 knot southerly winds, 4 metre seas and torrential rain. We poked our nose out past Lion Island on Monday morning into just awful short 2-3 metre seas and quickly turned back before the crew became as green as the water!

After a crisis meeting the consensus was to head for Joe Craft's Bay in Berowra Creek just short of Berowra Waters. Joe Craft's must be one of the most sheltered bays anywhere, there are several public moorings and the water is like glass, protected from virtually every direction.

The rain stopped and an amazing rainbow appeared right above the boat, not that we were aware of it. A friendly local builder took a few photos, loaded it onto a disc and came over in his tinnie and gave it to us! A meal of marinated BBQ'd king prawns washed down with several bottles of wine made for a great end to a top day.

But then the snoring started! No names, no pack drill but suffice to say it was a very noisy first night.

Breakfast on board and then up to Berowra Waters Marina where we tied up to the fuel wharf and enjoyed a great espresso before setting off for Wisemans Ferry, with the weather being sometimes showery but with many clear patches.

The run up to Wisemans is really spectacular with amazing sandstone cliffs , grassy flats, farms and ski gardens. The GPS does run out about 4 miles short of Wisemans so if you do go I suggest you have a copy of the excellent Alan Lucas book called "cruising the NSW Coast". We found it incredibly accurate and easy to use.

We arrived at Wisemans at about noon, tied up to a public mooring (anchoring or berthing at a large disused wharf are other options) and walked up the hill to the historic Wisemans Ferry Inn for an excellent pub lunch. Back to the boat for a cleansing ale, siesta and time to cook a great roast in the cob. Early to bed and then the snoring.........again!!!!!!!

Wednesday morning dawned with a few showers but the weather looked promising so we set out for Windsor, a further 30 nautical miles up the river. Using Alan Lucas we navigated successfully to Windsor in about three hours. This section of the river is more open than the lower reaches with, farms, some amazing houses, horse studs and many ski resorts/lodges. With careful attention to the chart and keeping wide around the many twists and turns there was plenty of water for a safe passage.

Again we picked up the only public mooring, tendered ashore and had a great pub lunch at the Macquarie Inn, one of the oldest pubs in Australia. It was interesting to read that in the early 1800's, Windsor was the second busiest port in Australia, behind Port Jackson.

A quick walk around the town and it was decided to make a run back to Refuge Bay for our last night. We arrived back to Refuge before sunset, sundowners on deck and being a perfect summer evening steaks on the barby. At this point I believe we all slept too well to be aware of the snoring!

We arrived back at Akuna Bay on Thursday morning and all agreed that it was a great 4 days together - 5 guys, no arguments and all still speaking!

I'd highly recommend a trip up our wonderful Hawkesbury River to club members. It really does give one an appreciation of a river steeped in history of our colonial past and just how lucky we are to have such a waterway in our backyard.

But Jervis Bay still calls so hopefully (and with anti snoring medication on board) we'll get there sometime soon.

Bob Taylor (SezAm)