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When we came in to Jervis Bay I had an idea of long walks on the beach in the evenings, the children off exploring in their kayaks and latte-sipping afternoons of peaceful tranquillity. Hmm, well there have been some of those moments but over the last 7 days I must say I have been surprised with the conditions in what I thought of as a boater’s paradise!
We have moved now, since we first came into the Bay, three times, and are set to move again today ahead of our actual leaving tomorrow or Wednesday. We knew that in JB there would be the need to move when the wind shifted from north to south, but had not expected such continual strong wind, or that the wind would change so often! It is, I now see, the dance of Jervis Bay!
We have spent more time sitting watching the wind, the beach tantalisingly close and unreachable, than I would ever have imagined! Of course this experience has all been ‘enhanced’ by the fact that our outboard motor which has given us a lot of trouble since Albany, but which was repaired and seemed to be working well, has finally given up the ghost completely! Another motor we were given has also failed to provide us with any help and Peter, great rower that he is, can’t row in 30 knot wind! So we have spent more time on board and less time exploring, and even more time moving from one side to the other and then back again!
Yesterday I was thinking about all this and it occurred to me that despite this all being somewhat frustrating, there is a silver lining. Quite a considerable one.
When we are at a wharf in a safe harbour, or in a marina, the impact of the weather is more mental. You read about it, observe it, think about it, but its effect is felt less viscerally. However, sitting here in JB we cannot help experiencing the weather in a more physical sense. We feel the wind rising. We move more. We check the forecasts and see it has changed. We prepare to move. We move. It settles. We ride more comfortably. The wind shifts and we feel a subtle change in how we are sitting and we check and the dance goes on. We have felt the weather here in JB more than we could have anywhere else and I feel, in the end, that this has been wonderful for us. In the eighteen months since we sailed into Batemans Bay, while the weather affects everything we do it isn’t LIFE to us like it is when we are actually sailing. The transition from sitting in a marina which offers considerable protection from the elements, to being out on the water 24/7 has been greatly enhanced I feel by being in Jervis Bay!
So, so far since we came, we have been at Hole in The Wall. This is a pretty area to the south of JB, where there are 5 free public moorings available. This spot offers excellent shelter in a southerly wind. The moorings seem to be well maintained and are rated for up to 40 ton boats and up to 30 knot wind. When the wind shifted to northerly we set off up to the north, and settled on a spot near Callala Bay, just back from the point. There seemed to be good shelter there and our friends in Notorious (a car…….) were anchored there so we came up nearby and dropped our anchor in the clean sandy base. This was great in the few days of northerly winds we had and the holding was excellent.
When the next southerly came we set off for Vincentia, at the suggestion of Notorious’ skipper, and found several moorings there. They were not so well maintained as those at Hole in the Wall, but seemed ok and we stayed there a few days. The following Northerly saw us set off for Callala Bay proper, where there are a lot of boats moored. We thought this would offer good protection in the wind but have found it to be very swelly and very hard to get to shore. There are several free public moorings here too, rated for up to 20 ton boats. While there is a jetty and a small township with grocery store and hardware store (great for getting empty gas cylinders filled) it is not at all easy to get to. After the hefty row to shore there is a 1 km + walk! And then the return trip! Getting on and off is tricky in the swell!
So today, with more and stronger northerly winds forecast and probably an increase in swell, we plan to set off for Callala Beach and will anchor again. Tomorrow there is the possibility of a southerly change and we intend to set off for Wollongong.
JB, while offering the promise of crystal clear water and clean white sand has failed to deliver the tranquillity we hoped for but instead offered a much richer prize – the opportunity to do the dance and re-learn the weather pattern for this area and this time of year! It hasn’t been what we expected but undaunted we have learned what I believe we most needed to!
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