Sydney to Port Stephens
After a busy two weeks alongside the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron the Duyfken was ready to get back to sea. Much work has been done over the period with some of the crew getting a chance to have some leave. But there was a restless feeling on the ship, and once a new bunch of volunteer crew joined we were definitely ready to leave Sydney. The Monday was a busy day of crew inductions and final settling of the ship, getting her ready to go to sea. Finally in the afternoon we slipped the lines, said farewell to the RSYS who had given us so much assistance in the times that we have been in Sydney, and headed out to anchor in Manly for the night waiting for the wind to swing into the south. The next day the wind had swung as anticipated, so we headed out through the Heads and set sail for Port Stephens. The southerly wind was of a reasonable strength so the ship averaged good speeds up the coast, past the entrance to Broken Bay, and then on towards Newcastle. By Wednesday morning we were sailing slowly off Stockton Bight trying to lay a course around the headland and into Port Stephens. However, the light winds were slowly heading us, so the day was spent trying to get to windward as best we could. But we were somewhat hindered by the East Australian Southerly current. Still it was all good practice tacking and the crew were handling the lines better with each tack. Finally in the early hours of Thursday morning I conceded defeat, and we motored the last twenty miles in towards Port Stephens. A calm morning made our entrance into Port Stephens easy and by nine o’clock we were tied up alongside the marina in Nelson Bay. Many of the crew had been up since four in the morning but their energy levels were still high. The ship was converted from her seagoing setup into Museum mode ready for the public to start inspecting the ship after lunch. The crowds were already gathering eager to look over the ship. We will be in Port Stephens for the whole Easter break, and with Port Stephens popularity as a tourist destination I sense that there will be some busy days ahead for the ship and crew.