Richmond River Ballina Cruise Xmas/New Year 2014/15
By Ray Perry (Cruise Captain)
Rendezvous Gold Coast. From Moreton Bay The Lady Claire(Dewars - Chris, Sonya & daughter Claire) eagerly set off on Xmas Day afternoon. “Steppin Along” (Peter & Alison Sutherland) & Purr-fik(Ray & Sue Perry) followed on Boxing Day along with Margarittaville(Ray’s long time friends Paul & Jeanie from Nth Queensland) sailing from Mooloolaba. The following day was a bit drizzly so we consoled ourselves with a civilised lunch at Marina Mirage. Shanda (Bruce Wieland & son-in-law) dodged the showers and arrived 2 days later.
The forecast was for northerlies. Shanda needed to deliver crew to Ballina and The Lady Clairewas again keen to get underway so the two boats braved the early rain, motor sailed in the morning and had fine breezy conditions by lunchtime and made the Richmond by late afternoon. Purr-fik& Margarittaville decided to leave mid-morning & made a short hop to the Tweed River, enjoying an afternoon visit from Ray’s aunt & uncle who live close by. Steppin Along opted to explore more of South Stradbroke Island rather than head south.
The next day the weather was clear with just enough northerly breeze for Purr-fik & “Margarittaville” to sail consistently & with the help of the southerly set of the East Australian current, were safely anchored at Mobb’s Bay on the south side of the Richmond by 4pm with Shanda & The Lady Claire. All the vessels took turns to host sundowners each night…..Lyn drove down from Brisbane to join Bruce on Shanda….and the weather cleared.
Day one was spent acclimatizing….the beach at South Wall….the closest coffee shop….the closest bottle shop!! Day two, with the breeze behind us, we were able to sail all the way up the river to anchor at the village of Wardell where we all went ashore for a delicious meal at the local hotel.
On New Year’s Eve Day we motored back to Ballina. The group gathered at a recommended watering hole for dinner before heading back to the boats to watch the local fireworks which was followed by an exciting electrical storm.
A couple of rest & recreation days followed… exploring the town… visiting the extensive maritime museum and wandering along the north wall to check out the bar.
Some new mates on a local cat very generously lent us a car so with Lyn’s car we were all able to pile in. Ray showed us some of the local vantage points having grown up in the area. Travelling inland we arrived at a picturesque golf course at Teven. The fellas plus Claire tried their hand at 9 holes cheered on by the ladies. Claire definitely had her eye in by the end. Golf was followed by a late lunch & some local brew at the Eltham pub.
On Monday Shanda had a change of crew with Lyn driving back to Brisbane…. John Hamaty & Peter Sullivan braving the bus trip to Ballina.
Tuesday dawned bright & clear & all four boats cleared the Ballina bar together. Outside the sea was a little joggly. The wind was from the East at around 10 knots. Shand ahad a great spinnaker run for most of the way, Margarittaville stayed out wide, Purr-fik made the most of the angle taking them close in to the Gold Coast beach and The Lady Claire had to contend with a broken screecher shackle. We were all safely anchored in Bum’s Bay for sundowners and an early night.
Next day Shanda & The Lady Claire returned to Manly via the inside channel through the drizzle.
After a days rest Purr-fik & Margarittaville ventured out of the Gold Coast Seaway, destination Cape Moreton. The swell had increased slightly and there was the odd rain squall. The wind was mainly around 10-15 knots with a spike of 23 knots before a squall. After a full days sail we tucked in behind the Cape, a naturally beautiful spot. The wind was now from the south-east but the swell wrapping around the headland, while not of concern, meant we did not have the most comfortable night.
Margarittaville returned to Mooloolaba. Purr-fikeked out the last day snorkeling on the Tangalooma wrecks & overnighting in Lucinda Bay.
So ended our Richmond River adventure… a good time had by all… a bit of rain… mostly sunshine… enjoyable sailing… and exploring a special area of the northern rivers.