It’s time to venture on to our next destination Camden Haven. We sailed all night and reached lovely Camden Haven at the perfect time (high tide). Entering any harbour or river is greeted with excitement and apprehension as one can do the best planning, but you never know what lies ahead. Camden Haven entrance should preferably only be attempted in good conditions and that we had. It can get rather shallow at certain spots so timing is important. Whilst Gunther was steering Cool Change I was holding the I-pad with the latest downloaded maps giving us additional guidance besides our plotter and following the port and starboard markers. Once over the bar we idled into the river still doing a speed of up to 6 knots (this is fast) due to the tide still going in. I did feel like we just entered the Winter Olympics following the port and star board markers as these have been laid out like a slalom course.
We arrived at Laurieton (largest town in the Camden Haven district), and anchoring was easy. Once we settled down we were greeted by other sailors who informed us that the dinghy can be tied up at the public jetty. You can also get a key from the local RSL club (free of charge) that gives you access to toilet and showers. You could just tie up alongside the public jetty for 5 days free of charge depending on your vessels draft.
We explored the huge inlets via dinghy plus conquered the Laurieton track of the three brothers (Dooragan National Park). It is a little bit of a hike and definitely worth it. We would recommend putting on good walking/hiking shoes as the track is covered with loose rocks. The outlook gives you a huge overview of the area plus being rewarded seeing your yacht at anchor. Don’t forget water and being sun smart as the round trip will take you around 3 hours. Just google the entrance of the walk as asking the locals will only result in asking you why you would walk up there when you can drive.
After a lovely time at Laurieton it was time to move on. We decided that we will depart with our new sailing friends of the vessel Molly - skipper Rupert with son Noah, Tom and mum, an amazing aluminium Catamaran built in Tasmania plus Danseur - skipper Brett with Julie, son Nicholas and daughter Matilda at the same time at 10am in the morning as the tide was on the rise again and calm weather was predicted. We all managed getting through the slalom course and sailed alongside for many hours.
As the wind dropped, we put up our big Gennaker (158sqm). That sail has got some pulling power and at one stage we went well above 8 knots reaching 9knot for a short period of time. As the wind increased, down it came. We also received a surprise phone call from Skipper Jim from Takani as they spotted us on the AIS heading the opposite way.
We sailed through the night getting in to the groove of 2-3 hours shifts arriving at Southport a little early as it still was dark. However Skipper Gunther knew the area well so we entered in the dark. What greeted us at the entrance was a big dredger taking up a major part of the entrance. It pays to know the signal lights, as there was only one way to pass the dredger. New and exciting experience for me that early in the morning, to say the least. All went well and we anchored in a protected little cove just off SeaWorld.
After a day’s rest we explored South Port just a stroll down the road and its lovely shops. On the way back just past the Sheraton hotel and the famous Palazzo Versace you will find the fishing trawlers who sell fresh seafood off their boats. Yep, it does not get any better than that we just had to have fresh local prawn for entrée.