Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Motoring up the mighty Clarence River

Did you know that a keeled sailing yacht can motor 40kms up the mighty Clarence River to Grafton and beyond. We just had to explore the Clarence because this is probably our only chance. We are not in a rush and the weather is glorious. Everything we read said go! The depths under Sea Trek III to Maclean ranged up to 16 mtrs. The river is both wide and deep.

We were surprised to pass a reef fishing vessel called "Tom". The chart plotter and the sailor's voluminous guide by Alan Lucas "Sailing the NSW Coast", reassured us that we would not be grounded. Neither of us ever expected to be travelling on deep Australian rivers.

Introducing Tom. What's he doing here?
Going under bridges is a buzz. The Hardwood bridge required opening just for us. With a phone call the traffic on the Pacific Highway was stopped and the span raised. Full acceleration. There can be current disturbances when passing under bridges. Pylons and boats don't mix and we have previously experienced a few hairy moments on someone else's yacht. This passage was easy, but it did cause some anxiety. Glenn hates heights and will not look up when we pass under. (even the Sydney Harbour Bridge). I know that doesn't really make sense. ST3's mast is approx 18mtrs high and we had heaps of room.

The dinghy enjoying itself.
Maclean is "Australia's Scottish Town" according to their tourist pamphlets. While looking for a good cup of coffee and roaming the streets we noticed an abundance of murals. I have to ask why they are all so darn awful. The craft shoppe was just as bad.
Don"t flush 'me umbrella down the well Donald! Woof Woof. WTF!
The Scottish heritage of this town is on display on over 200 light poles decorated with Tartan and the names of the founding families. One of the very first I saw was on pole 58: CAMERON. I was so excited that I instantly messaged my life long friend Maureen about it! It's not her surname but is included somewhere on her birth certificate. (I do know her full name but am sworn to secrecy, lest she reveals too much about me to others). I then went on the search for Mc Slattery, McAndrew, MacGordon, MacLove and of course also hoping to find a McHuppatz. Glenn became tired and scuffly again, telling me that he had already walked a lot this week. (today is Tuesday) He also worried that I would be hit by a car because the names on the tartan cladded poles are only visible if viewed from the road.

A pole of distinction for Maureen.
The Scotts are known to be extremely thrifty. This sign "Tidiest Street 1982" is probably due to be retired now. It is on the main tourist road and I think that it has been recycled annually. It is a very very tidy street. The light poles are all nicely draped in Tartan. When you're on a winning streak why change!
A very proud street

Glenn is cooking his way through the Iluka meat raffle tray. He couldn't be happier. I wonder why a fishing town didn't have a sea food theme for the pub fund raiser? I suppose then it wouldn't be a meat raffle.


Where to anchor or moor ST 3 safely while at Maclean? We had consulted various reliable sources (friends after sundowner drinks) and of course the bible for sailors : Alan Lucas's "Cruising the NSW Coast". (in print since 1968). We scoped the area for depth and then took the written advise of the author. We were congratulating our selves on choosing an anchorage in perfect depth etc, and Glenn proclaimed "Alan Lucas recommends this spot so it must be good". We then saw that Alan Lucas himself was right behind us and leaving his yacht Soleares to row to shore. We waved. Mr Lucas was in the other perfect position. We may approach him for an autograph.

Alan Lucas: our bed time reading.