|The bones of "Old Tom" , the leader of the killer whale
pods. For decades, the orcas would herd baleen whales
into Twofold Bay, keep them surrounded while alerting
the whalers of their catch. "Old Tom" went so far as to
tow the whaler's boats out to the captive whale. In
return, the orcas feasted on the lips and tongue of the
dead whale and left the rest for the whalers.
|s/y Nine of Cups
Australia - New South Wales
December 2011 - January 2012
|We first left Bundaberg on 1 December, but turned
back immediately into the berth with engine problems.
The problems were fixed immediately, but we lost our
weather window until 6 December when we finally left
Bundy and headed down the Sandy Straits behind
Fraser Island where we waited for another weather
window to head to Mooloolabah, then on to Moreton
Bay near Brisbane. On 18 December, we left
Southport at the southern most end of Queensland
and crossed into the state of New South Wales. What
should have been a 5-7 day passage from Bundy to
Sydney was becoming a major commitment of
time...mostly waiting for any weather window with
some northerly wind component. The total trip took
nearly two weeks. We began to doubt if we'd make it
to Sydney for Christmas, but thankfully we did on 22
|The East Australia Current (EAC) is similar to a
river in the ocean. It flows at up to 4 knots, is up
to 100 km wide and can transport 30,000,000
cubic metres of water per second. It starts in the
Coral Sea off northern Queensland where water
temperatures are approximately 30C,
transporting warm tropical water down
Australia's east coast. It can reach speeds of up
to seven knots in some of the shallower waters
along the Australian continental shelf, but is
generally measured at two to three knots. The
EAC ends in a current vortex in the Tasman Sea
between Australia and New Zealand. The EAC
also acts to transport tropical marine fauna to
habitats in sub-tropical regions along the south
east Australian coast. It gave Nine of Cups a 3+
knot push coming down Australia's east coast.
|In the 2003 animated Disney / Pixar film Finding Nemo, the EAC
is portrayed as a superhighway that fish and sea turtles use to
travel down the east coast of Australia. The characters Marlin
and Dory join a group of sea turtles, including Crush and his son
Squirt in using the EAC to help them travel to Sydney Harbour
so they can rescue Marlin's son, Nemo. The basic premise of this
storyline is correct. Every summer, thousands of fish are swept
from the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney Harbor and further south.
|New South Wales facts...
|Barrenjoey Head Lighthouse was first lit
in 1881.On 2 March 1788, Arthur Phillip
named the headland "Barrenjuee"
(meaning little kangaroo or wallaby). The
commonly accepted name since 1966 is
|The Macquarie Lighthouse located on
South Head at the entrance to Sydney
Harbour is Australia's first and longest
operating navigational light. There has
been a navigational aid on this site
since 1791 and a lighthouse since 1818.
|Once clearing Sydney Heads, the city of Sydney came into view and the approach was
thrilling. Sydney is a huge, vibrant city and definitely deserves a page of its own.
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|Check out more of our Australia pages....
A new country, a new continent
Arrival in Bundaberg/Queensland
New South Wales
Canberra - Australia Capital Territory
|The Grand Pacific Drive
Sydney to Wollongong and beyond...
|Since our friends, Doug & Fay arrived, we had a rental car
at our disposal and decided to make good use of it. After
our trip to Canberra and NY's Eve in Sydney Harbour, we
were keen for more exploring and the Grand Pacific Drive
seemed like an excellent way to tour the NSW coastline.
We decided to take a loop route south to Kiama and then
head back inland through the Southern Highlands
countryside back to Sydney. The scenery was touted as
"spectacular" and indeed it was. The 140km drive started
just south of Sydney. We drove through the sub-tropical
rainforests of the Royal National Park, Australia's first
national park and the world's second oldest national park.
(The USA's Yellowstone is the first in the world.) The
scenery became more stunning as we wended our way
through quaint villages and along the cliff-hugging roads to
the coast finally arriving at the Tasman Sea.
|The most stunning sight of all was the 665m Sea Cliff
Bridge which snakes out over the sea. Our view from
the Bald Hill Lookout was "gobsmacking".
|We stopped for a few short hikes along the
way and then stopped in Wollongong for
lunch. The harbor, above, was quite scenic.
|The Wollongong Harbour Light sat at the
end of a long breakwater standing sentry
on the dicey harbor entrance.
|We enjoyed these napping seagulls who
seemed non-plussed by the tourists.
|It was a holiday (Jan 1 celebrated Jan 2)
so most restaurants were closed. Good old
Mickey D's came to the rescue.
|A stop at Lake Illiwara for a toe-dip in the
Tasman Sea and an ice cream and then we
drove up to Barren Grounds NR for quick
hike. The views were once again spectacular.
|Jamberoo was a pleasant, quaint little
town. We browsed in an antique shop and
then headed back to Cups to plan the next
|The Blue Mountains
|We headed west from Sydney to the Blue
Mountains on the Great Western
Highway. Our first stop was Wentworth
Falls. We opted for a hike on the Charles
Darwin Trail which ended up being 5km
rather than 1km as advertised, but
nobody complained...it was beautiful.
|The Blue Mountains, part of Australia's Great
Dividing Range, got their name from the blue mist
which shrouds them. The blue haze is the result of a
fine oily mist that is given off from the local
eucalyptus trees. Actually, they're not mountains at
all, but rather dissected sandstone plateaux.
|After tramping up and down steps, across
streams and on and off raised
boardwalks, we arrived at what we
thought were the Wentworth Falls and
were quite disappointed. In actuality, it
was Weeping Rock (above) and the falls
were a bit more impressive (right).
|A wind whipped up the canyon and
standing anywhere close to the
Falls was a drenching experience.
|At Katoomba, we stopped at Echo Point to view
the Three Sisters.
|The Aboriginal Legend of the Three Sisters goes like this.
An Aboriginal witch doctor, Tyawan, turned his three
daughters to stone to keep them from being harmed by a
nasty creature, Bunyip. He planned to return to turn them
back to humans, but when he himself became cornered by
Bunyip, he turned himself into a lyre bird to protect himself
and escape. In the process, he lost his magic bone and to
this day, he's searching for it while his daughters wait.
|Australian "Watch out for wildlife"
signs.That's a wombat below the roo.
|We crossed over Victoria Pass, the
highest point in the Blue Mountains, and
stopped in the tiny ghost town of
Hartley. Once a thriving settlement in
the1830's, it died a slow death when the
railroad passed it by in 1887. Now only
a few sandstone buildings remain.
|We returned to Sydney and Cups via Bells Line of Road, a
scenic back road across the mountains. Named after
Archibald Bell who discovered the crossing in 1823, the first
convict-built road commenced in 1841. It initially took 25
years to find a route through the Blue Mountains and some
convicts believed China and freedom was on the other side.
It's interesting to note that the forested wilderness area north
of Bells Line of Road is so remote and inaccessible that a
new species of tree, the Wollemi Pine, was not discovered
here until 1994.
|An Aborigine had this young lady
|An idea of what bunyips look like...yikes!
|Eden - Twofold Bay/Snug Cove - 37S04.46 / 149E54.13
|The Sapphire Coast is the
southern most coastline of
New South Wales bordering
the state of Victoria. The area
became known as the Sapphire
Coast for the clear sparkling
waters of the ocean and the
many lakes along its coast line.
We sailed from Sydney on 16
January 2012 and arrived in
Eden two days later after a
boisterous, seasickly passage.
We anchored in Snug Cove in
|We anchored in the bay behind the moored boats
in the lee of the breakwater. Red arrow = NoC
|A wonderful aerial view of Snug Cove and the wharf.
|Eden is a charming little town with a
rich maritime history including
whaling, fishing and lumbering. The
walk from the bay to town was a
steep zig-zag up Warren's
Walk...good for the legs.
Though small, the town is rich in
views, vistas and interesting things
to see and do. We found a
brochure/map for a Heritage Trail
walk and gave it a go. We visited
the Killer Whale Museum and
generally got a feel for the town and
its people. It's laid-back and
friendly ... a nice place to stop and
visit and hard to leave.
|A full-size whaling boat gave us a feel for
how small the boats were compared to the
size of the whales they were harpooning.
|Read more about "Old
Tom" and his mates
.Killers in Eden
|In 1828, Thomas Raine opened the first shore-based whaling
station in Australia at Twofold Bay.
|Seafood and shellfish reign supreme here as evidenced
by the number of seafood shops near the wharf.
|A view from the top of the hill near Rotary Park.
|Whales still return each September-November on
their migratory path.
|Eden's main thoroughfare, Imlay Street, is
divided into a high road and low road.
|Historic houses and buildings were well-marked.
Built in the 1850's, Half House above was
so-called because it took eons to be completed.
|The Great Southern Inn was originally built in
1847 and served as a general store and a post
office before becoming a hotel in the 1860's.
|David had begun brewing beer just
before we left Sydney. Imagine his
surprise and delight when we
entered Eden's Gas & Gear and
there front and center was an entire
display of beer starters and brewing
supplies. Stouts, lagers, IPAs and
so much more. They even had
ciders and ginger beers.
|A localwoman pointed out the native
pink gravillea growing along
|A picture of a picture...an old general store in
Eden in the mid-1800's.
|From our picnic spot at Apex Park, we could
see Asling's beach and the historic cemetery.
|We tread softly in the cemetery, reading
weather-worn markers from generations
|We enjoy spotting uniquely Aussie
products in the supermarket.
|Black swans were numerous on Lake
Curalo as we ambled along the boardwalk.
See several new bird photos on the Birds
of Australia page.