Home' Afloat : AFLOAT November 2015 Contents Take monthly with water November 2015 51
ON THE WATER with David Lockwood
The Joys of Pleasure Boating
After almost 40 years of regular pleasure
boating on, in and around Sydney’s splendid
waterways I feel quite intimate with it all.
But the arrival of each new boating season,
officially the first day of Spring or usually the
October Long Weekend, never fails to excite.
So it was on Sydney Harbour amid this
year’s 2015 La Nina heatwave. The always
thronging and therapeutic anchorages in
Spring Cove were a sight. Boaters of all
kinds were anchors down, feet up, soaking
it up and diving in from Quarantine Beach
to Store and Collins beaches, Manly Cove
to Reef Beach.
As you moved upstream and into Castle
Rock, at the entrance to Middle Harbour, the
clear jade water running just a few metres
deep over clean sand, contrasting with
the verdant backdrop of Sydney Harbour
National Park, painted a stirring image of
the Sydney boating life.
Nearby Clontarf was positively thronging
with trailerboats pulled up on the sandy
beach, as the shore parties and picnics
were staged in the shade of the Norfolk
pines. Across at Chinamen’s Beach, big
boats were swinging on their picks in the
hot westerly wind.
Meantime, yachts crossed The Sound,
tacking here and there, as the Manly ferries
ploughed forth on their well-worn route,
fishos in tinnies drifted about like pumice
in the Pacific, and the Police made their
presence felt in an ominous high-speed
black RIB. To paraphrase Bill Lawry: It’s all
happening right here at Sydney Harbour.
We had a yacht anchor a little too close
alongside, necessitating fending off, and I
was a tad cranky because I couldn’t get a
sleep-in without worrying about our boat.
But this happens in Sydney where, it must
be said, anchoring skills, even among regular
sailors, are sub-standard.
If you pay out three times the depth in
rode, that is rope and/or chain, you should
be fine for the day. If you drop your anchor
behind a boat then you will pull up astern
and have room to swing independently.
Drop anchor parallel to a boat, especially a
neighbour with altogether different windage
and no deep keel, and you are likely to swing
at very different rates.
Anyway, the bigger picture was what
mattered and it certainly a celebration of
pleasure boating in Sydney in the Spring
of 2015. I was moved to take photos of the
boats in all their guises, got chatting to old
friends and friendly faces like JP, the long-
serving (and it’s not soft) ice cream man
doing the rounds.
He was selling his book, Captain G String,
about the ice-cream wars on Sydney Harbour.
At one point he resorted to wearing nothing
much at all to capture the then nude audience
over at Reef Beach. Today, he was also doing
the rounds with a $55K Williams jet tender,
looking for its owner.
There’s still a lot of great boating
happening in Sydney these days and it’s
hard not to have a bit of extra respect for
those tireless boat dealers who were also
out there enjoying some pleasure boating.
The guys that boat for work and pleasure are
By the time you read this, La Nina will
spark an early summer. So we’ll be ranging
from Sydney Harbour to the fish-aggregation
devices offshore to secure some seasonal
dolphin fish, and maybe tag a striped or
black marlin, and we’ll chase jewfish and
kingfish around the harbour and bay mouths,
before kicking back around the Hawkesbury
a bit more.
Nowhere is quite as inviting,
accommodating and agreeable as Sydney’s
waterways. With a long hot summer forecast,
we are all best served by a boat. h
In the September edition of Afloat, David Lockwood’s
On the Water column stated that: “The divers from
URG, headed by John Turnbull who conducts dive
schools in the Cabbage Tree Bay, conducted their
survey...” John Turnbull does not conduct dive
schools in Cabbage Tree Bay and is not a dive
instructor. He is an underwater photographer and
marine researcher involved in the Underwater Research
Group. We apologise to Mr Turnbull for our previous
reference which could be incorrectly construed.
BOM Boating Weather
Naturally, boaters and fishers, sailors and divers
have a thing about the weather. I’m sure I’m not
alone in finding that the Bureau of Meteorology
(BOM) is now one of the most popular go-to
websites, social media platforms, desktop pages and
accessible sources of information in our daily lives.
Indeed, BOM is doing a lot for water-lovers and
boaters, not only to facilitate we have an enjoyable
and fruitful time, but obviously for safety reasons as
well. Recent new and improved services range from
better wave, swell and wind-wave forecasting and
tracking to improved storm tracking and monitoring
using Japanese satellites.
Most of us have smart phones, iPads and devices
these days. I’d urge you to download the apps, save
the links and get the information for the terrific
weather resources at your fingertips.
The MetEye service is fantastic and we use it
religiously when liveaboard boating, contemplating
coastal passages and offshore fishing trips, moving
to oceanic anchorages and generally boating to
nature’s rhythms. You can look ahead at your
position and drill in to see the wind, waves and
See MetEye at <www.bom.gov.au/australia/meteye>
and Marine and Ocean Services at <www.bom.gov.
JP, the long-serving ice cream man doing
Water Police make their presence felt in an
ominous high-speed black RIB.
Big boats swinging
on their picks at
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