Flying slowly south in spring

So here we are again. Fling has been resting in Manly harbour for the last ten months. Boat sales are slow and we feel like we’ve been hibernating in Melbourne without a boat. We have decided to sail Highland Fling home to Melbourne where we can at least enjoy using her while we wait for a buyer. Two weeks of waiting for bits and pieces, lots of odd jobs to do and finally we are ready to sail.
We chose to sail the Canaipa Passage down through the broadwater to Southport and spent our first night at the RQYS outpost on Russell Island. A tranquil anchorage with lots of local turtles and a whole bunch of Curlews, who staged an all night rave! Thank goodness they are cute, otherwise they’d be extinct!
Coming to the south end of North Stradbroke Island Andrew spied a 1.5m shark which leapt another 1.5m out of the water! No swimming today we decided!
After all the natural beauty of the passage Southport was a shock to the senses. Southport YC hosted two weddings during the weekend we were there. Imagine our surprise to find pretty young things in heels which equalled the local highrises teetering up and down the wharf!
Happily we put the Glamazons behind us and headed south for Byron Bay. We had a two day weather window to get to Yamba and planned to break it up at Byron. A glorious sail was had, playing Ă„nimal Spotto on the way. The count? One turtle, several dolphin, a couple of flocks of mutton birds, several spectacular flying fish and just before Byron Bay, whales!
Bryron turned on what could only be called a perfect evening. Great sunset, no wind, almost no swell. Perfect tranquility!
We left early, at dawn, expecting to make it to Yamba by mid to late afternoon. Unfortunately this was not to be. The forecast strong winds from the N-NW were expected to come in early and we revised our passage plan to include Ballina. A delightful three hour passage with many whales and a couple of turtles thrown in.
We have heard much about the Ballina bar, and not much of it good. We entered the bar at one hour before low tide with our hearts in our mouths. Stormboards in, lifejackets on, Andrew looking forward and steering, myself looking backward and calling the waves. It’s not the sort of bar where you can wait out the set of waves and duck in before the next. It’s quite a way before the waves settle. Happily we made it in and are now snug at the public wharf. We expect to be in here for the next three days or so.

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