Easter 2013 on board Pendana
Well, we have just spent a lovely four days aboard Pendana and once again her systems all worked flawlessly and she didn’t miss a beat. We had decided to make our way down to Sydney Harbour for most of the Easter break and departed our Marina at 10:00am for the four hour run south. As is becoming increasingly usual the Tasman Sea was kicking off and we were confronted with 3mtr/10ft following seas, on our trip south. I must confess I truly hate following seas and would much prefer them on the bow or even beam. That being said, we pressed on and within a few short hours were making our approach to the Harbour and all its beauty.
View above from anchorage in Athol Bay.
After making our way up the harbour we had decided to go under the bridge to check out an anchorage at Berry’s Bay which we had heard was good. Berry’s Bay was not to be as it was full to over flowing and there was no way of getting Pendana into the bay with all the anchored boats. We then tried the next bay further west called Balls Head Bay and while empty, it didn’t hold a great deal of beauty and, as such, we decided to head east back under the bridge past the Sydney Opera House and head to Athol Bay where there was plenty of room and where we secured a safe anchorage.
I had decided on this trip to use out battery bank to provide power for the very first time and as such, turned off the generator while at anchor. I must confess we have been extremely lazy when it comes to power management preferring to always run one of our two Onan 21.5KVA generators 24/7 to provide the power we need when needed – but this was all to change. On the first day when anchoring was complete I turned off the generator providing the power and announced to the family that we were now running on battery power. Wow, that seemed simple enough! To tell the truth I am not sure why I haven’t done it before as not only are there a savings to be made on maintenance and running cost but also the peace and quiet without the generator running was superb. Ahhhh… as I watched the battery power output gauges it was clear that we have plenty of power available to sustain us for days.
Below chart of day two data shows that while running the battery bank for nearly nine hours we only drew 1 volt form the 24volt bank and .15V from the 12volt bank. Superb! That being said, I need to have a quick conversation with my folks here to make sure I am reading this data correctly.
The first night at anchor was peaceful but was not without incident. A large party boat had decided to drop anchor close to Pendana and while the Captain of the vessel was doing goodness only knows what, their anchor decided to let go and this goliath of a glass houseboat (well, that’s what is was) was on a direct course to Pendana’s bow. I ran upstairs and turned on Pendana’s flood lights to illuminate our foredeck and also turned on our (not to be messed with) spotlight and pointed it directly at the vessel that was now within feet of Pendana. Claire was on the foredeck trying to get their attention, I was in the pilothouse trying to raise them on radio and by also using my horn with great gusto but alas nothing seemed to wake them from their stupor! Guests aboard were now trying to raise the staff as we could see them rushing around inside frantically. Feet turned to inches, which then turned to centimetres and before long, bang! She hit. Pendana fortunately sustained no damage but honestly, a commercial vessel being operated by a professional crew not keeping a proper lookout is unforgivable. We did report the matter to Sydney Water Police who came out and took a statement from us and also eventually hailed the ship’s captain of the party boat, who while apologetic, didn’t seem to truly grasp the nature of the incident nor what could have been. Nonetheless, I understand that NSW Maritime will be investigating the matter as commercial crews are subjected to much tighter licence conditions that us mere mortals.
A picture I snapped as they were getting closer.
Why these boats feel the need to come in around private yachts and manoeuvre in close quarters is simply beyond me. Why a proper lookout is not established again beyond me. Why no anchor alarm set to alert crew again beyond me. Nonetheless, no damage sustained so it all turned out to be nothing more than a bit of unwanted excitement at the end of the day. However, with our flopper stoppers deployed things could have been much worse and while insurance would have picked up the tab, the inconvenience of being without Pendana would have been a real drag!
The next day, we deployed the tender and as the harbour was a wee bit choppy with all the boats and strong southerly now in affect Abi and I decided to go out and have a bit of fun. I must confess however that Abi’s idea of fun and mine are diverging at a great rate. Her idea of fun is measured by how wet she gets while mine is not. Ah the things we do!
Later that day we ventured into town and went up the iconic Sydney Tower which stands 310mtr’s tall. This was shamefully a first for me and I must say that the view was truly amazing and certainly well worth a visit.
After spending three days in Sydney we decided to up anchor and head back to Broken Bay and take advantage of what would be flat seas (.5mtr/1.68ft) – there is nothing like being at sea when the conditions are good. I took a video of our return trip which is now available on Youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rISALnr8910 Note that this video can be viewed in HiDef is required. Simply perfect conditions and a joy to be at sea. The only problem was the return trip was not long enough.
All in all, Pendana once again provided her crew with a relaxing break away and didn’t miss a beat. Both Claire and I remarked how much more comfortable we were in both entering and exiting Sydney Harbour and remembered the early days when we would be very anxious as we navigated past both the commercial and pleasure traffic.
For all those who have pre-ordered “From Family to Crew” you will be pleased to know that it should be shipping in the next few weeks as final proofs are approved – will keep you posted via direct email once I have firm ship date.
More information available at http://pendana.net/pre-order_book
The next trip planned is in two weeks when Pendana and her crew will make a return trip to the Port of Newcastle which is approx. 80nms to our north. Then after that, we will only be a few months away from making our way north to the Whitsunday Islands on a 1,150nm trip.