Visiting Port Stephens and the marina from heaven!

Welcome to our new found paradise! Whilst we generally don’t endorse specific facilities we think this marina deserves special mention.
As I mentioned in the last post, marina’s around here are some the most expensive to stay in on the whole east coast. But this one earns it fees.
It is currently rated by the MIA as the best in Australia. It carries a five gold anchor rating, offering such luxuries as several courtesy cars, ranging from a late model Nissan Navara ute to a zippy little B class Mercedes hatch. There are also complimentary pushbikes, daily newspaper and coffee delivered to your vessel and in the summer months complimentary cocktails at the barefoot bar on the marina!
Whilst we didn’t avail ourselves of any of the latter we certainly did make use of the Mercedes for a bit of sightseeing and provisioning.

The very best aspect of this marina would have to be it’s helpful, friendly and easy going staff. During the last two days of our stay here the wind blew a solid and unpleasant 25-30 knots from the South. Jim and Adam, the dockmasters continually monitored the marina, checking lines the security of the boats.
For full details of the marina visit their website: www.soldierspointmarina.com.au
This first slideshow has marina facility pictures.

Sailing is a small world and as we tied up Fling we spotted a familiar burgee just in front of us. Macanudo of RBYC!
We wondered when we washed Fling down the other day why Macanudo’s back step was so dirty. That night the southerly hit, with great gusto and it was easy to see why Macanudo looked the way she did. Her entire transom step had dissappeared under a mound of dirty brown foam generated by the wind!
Being stuck in port is no hardship when transport is so readily available and on two separate days we took the little red Benz for a spin.
First to provision and check out the cafe culture in Shoal Bay near the heads, secondly to replace our broken kettle and visit the southern beaches. We liked Birubi Headland and Fingal Bay. Birubi sits at the top of Stockton Bight, a huge long beach which extends all the way down to the north shore of the Hunter river at Newcastle. It’s a fantastic surf beach with fine white sand. Fingal Bay is also on the seafront but is much more sheltered, being almost a cove and protected by an island with a drying spit at low tide. A great beach for small children.
On Saturday afternoon we sat in the cockpit and watched the very mixed fleet from Port Stephens Yacht Club start their race. The wind was a solid 25 knots from the north and it was interesting to watch the boats sail out of the lee, then almost fall over in the stiff winds! At least one retired as we watched.
On Sunday the southerly change came in. Within minutes we went from hot and sultry stillness to 30 knots and cold!Yesterday it blew all day and rained non stop. Only now is it clearing.
This evening we will head across to Fame Cove. Fame Cove is a local’s favourite because it is so sheltered. I remember last time we were there it was so quiet and peaceful we could hear the dolphins breathing as they made their evening circuit of the bay.

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