Another adventure begins!

After a hectic 3 weeks on Lake Macquarie, catching up with family and friends we departed the Lake with excess cargo!! Mum and Dad were on board for the 6hr trip to Port Stephens and after going through the Swansea Bridge on a 0800 hr opening we cruised north through the ‘parking lot’ of ships off the coast all awaiting a berth in the port of Newcastle. It was a calm day with little wind and sunshine which enabled Mum to settle in as this was only her second off shore passage. Once clear of the channel, Alan set the game rods with different lures in the hope of catching dinner. It wasn’t long before we heard the whirring of the lines and as I backed off the motor Alan fought the fish and reeled him in. A 10kg Mackerel Tuna, catch and release.

I handed the helm to Alan and went about putting the ingredients in the bread maker for our bread rolls for lunch and then making a fresh batch of Rockcakes for morning tea. We passed quite close to one of the ships and they acknowledged us with a few friendly toots on the horn to which we replied with the same. Some of the men on deck were sweeping, others fishing to while away the hours before moving into port.

The good weather continued all day and 10nm south of Point Stephens we were treated to a fantastic display of playing dolphins under our bow as well as a hundred or more frolicking off our starboard side. We woke Mum to come on deck and see them and for the next hour all four of us stood on the bow watching and laughing. Two dolphins jumped simultaneously right under our bow and splashed us. Nelson Bay has a very large commercial Dolphin Watch Tourist fleet so we suspect that they are used to performing!! We gave them a 9/10 for difficulty!!

Outside the heads was a swarm of activity as the buzzing of small runabouts with weekend fisherman were all trying to catch the Big One!! We pulled in the lines as we rounded Tomaree Headland, 12 caught and released, as they are not prime eating fish. A lot of this area within Port Stephens has now been made a fish sanctuary.

We weaved our way around the shoreline passing Shoal Bay, the beach full of holiday makers on the beautiful white sand beaches. We were amazed at the increase in high rise apartments since our last visit.

Just on the headland is the local Volunteer Marine Rescue and I logged off with them before proceeding around the point and down beside all the shoals in the middle of the bay until we anchored in Fame Cove, the only all weather anchorage in the area.

Happy Hour was enjoyed by all as we hung a line over the stern and waited. . . waited. . . I caught a nice plate sized Sole, sadly only one. As the sun set we dined on Roast Lamb and veg before retiring.

Early next morning we went to Soldiers Point Marina to pick up Nathan and Nicole so they could enjoy a days’ fishing with us before driving Mum and Dad home.

Only a mile from the marina we dropped anchor over a 30m deep hole, for the boys to try their luck with the rods. Before long Alan had caught a 1m Gummy Shark and he didn’t take long to lay it out on his new filleting table that Nathan had made him.

Straight from the table to the galley where Mum and Nicole helped me with the crumbing production line and from there it went straight to a hot pan for lunch!

As the tide had changed and the wind strengthen, the water was getting very choppy and we needed to move to stop everything falling off the bench and table, so the anchor came up and as soon as we went around the point and back to the marina, the water was like a mill pond.

Simultaneously we decided to stay here for a few nights, and what a great decision that was!! We found Marina Heaven, Soldiers Point Marina is a Five Star Marina, Margaritas delivered at 5pm, Cappuccinos and a newspaper at 9am, a courtesy vehicle to use, luxurious large bathrooms, sauna, massage therapist, Restaurant and Cafe with service to your boat, and the list goes on . . . great staff! We will definitely go back there!

After checking in, we farewelled everyone and shortly after welcomed Peter and Julie, Seawind friends that live at the Bay, they enjoyed our Margaritas with us before taking us back to their place for a swim, spa and a scrumptious meal.

The arrival of the morning paper and coffee before we had gotten out of bed, was a great start to our day, once showered we strolled to the cafe and enjoyed a hot Big Brekky of Bacon, eggs, and all the trimmings. With the use of the courtesy vehicle we set off to Salamander shopping centre where we managed to find lots of goodies that would be suitable to take to the Louisiades for donations to the school and returned back just in time to receive Mum and Dad with Aunty Val and Uncle Bill in tow, they had drove up to bring a few things that we were waiting to come in the mail. More Margaritas and then we joined them for dinner at the Salamander Hotel.

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