Destiny was still on the hardstand when we returned. When she splashed a few days later, our destination was Blackwattle Bay, where we spent the next few days readying to leave Sydney. Our highlight was going to dinner one last time with Heather and Mark. Gosh we will miss these two, but will see them again in the Aussie springtime. We were ready for some adventures and had been in Sydney long enough for now. I was happy that this would be the last time for a long while that I'd have to lug the bags of laundry 2 km up the hill to wash.
We left Sydney Harbour on the morning of April 18th; destination Cowan Creek, just the other side of Pittwater on Broken Bay. Frank had a promise to fulfill to our new friend Russell. Broken Bay is a very large body of water, comprised of many smaller bays and creeks. Cowan Creek is actually large and wide – not like a creek at all rather more akin to a river. We motored up Cowan Creek, meandering past beautiful, lush forests and towering embankments that rose proudly along both sides of the creek, so calm and serene. We motored as silently as possible feeling that to raise the rpm's would disturb the peaceful repose of the nature that surrounded us. The Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park flanked us to port (the left side). Now we understood two things: this is why there is no phone and no internet service in here, and this is why it is so peaceful. Clearly, we could hear the gentle water parting for our bow and closing back in around the stern as we passed. This is not a place to rush for anything. The calm water reflected our profile as though we were passing through a liquid mirror. The sounds of nature were all about us as we drifted along feeling…just feeling. Eventually we arrived at a beautiful park straight ahead, and noticed a small marina tucked into the cove: Bobbin Head. A few boats were anchored to the side of us. Frank put Destiny in neutral and she just sat. So calm. We did not have a booking for the marina, so we opted to anchor. Frank had been trying to phone Russell on and off all the way up the Cowan Creek only getting an intermittent signal as we passed a valley here or there. He managed to reach his voicemail and had left him a message that we were on our way to Bobbin Head. Not long after we set the hook and sat back to relax, a runabout motored up to us carrying two surly-looking men. As they closed in we heard a very strong Australian accent yell up at us; " I never thought you bastards would come!" Here, bigger than life, stood Russell Meggitt and the marina manager holding onto our railing and smiling like the Cheshire Cat. Russell was so excited to see us, exclaiming over and over his disbelief that we had finally made an appearance. After meeting us in Sydney Harbour over New Year's Eve and inviting us to stop by for a visit, so many months had passed (it was now Easter time) that he had abandoned all hope of seeing us again. He shared with us that he watched for our arrival for months and finally told his family we must have just been paying him lip service, never really meaning to stop in. Frank defended us explaining that we had just left Sydney, determined to make this our first stop and so here we are. He invited us to his home for dinner, saying that he would return to pick us up at 5 PM. I asked what to wear, and he responded "Ah, Mate, just come as you are…I am!" Well one look at him told me I could come as a ragamuffin. He was dressed like a homeless person. I told Frank we shouldn't expect too much as Russell and the marina manager sped away.
There was still plenty of time left in the day for us to go into shore for a look around. Truly it was hard to resist. The allure of this place was strongly enticing. Bobbin Head has been awarded the distinguished Five Gold Anchors award by the MIAA and is described as follows: "Positioned deep into Cowan Creek within the Ku-ring-Gai Chase National Park, the marina is surrounded by virgin natural bushland that tumbles into the tranquil coves and inlets. It's a little urban treasure…" As we walked over to the little park, I exclaimed to Frank that this is just too pretty and serene to be real. Even the visitors at the park, the ducks in the inlet and the little café/gift shop were almost too perfect. We stopped for lunch and a hot coffee (chilly out), and then ventured over to one of the trailheads called the Bobbin Head Loop. The trees and vegetation bore such remarkable colors and patters, I stopped to take picture after picture of various trees and then we came to some Aboriginal markings in stone; axe grinding bowls cast into the rock and sharpening grooves. We were simply fascinated with this place. Eventually, however, we worked our way back to the boat for a quick shower and change for our dinner date. I did not go dresses as I "was", but put on a simple long sleeve T-shirt, sweats and a hoodie. Russell arrived spit and polished looking quite dapper. I could have crawled under a rock!
His home is located in the small town of Asquith, surrounded by large beautiful trees it backs up to a dramatic golf course. It is an architectural sensation. Russell and Jan built this stunning home on property that could have been stolen directly from a fairy tale setting. I felt I'd just been tripped up again by my own sense of judging a book by its cover. Twice I'd seen Russell and although we had both taken an instant liking to him, thinking he was a great guy, I had never dreamed of what lay under that layer of country bumpkin façade. Shame on me – again! He introduced us to his daughter Kate, explaining that his wife and son, Jan and Tom, were both out of town. Russell and Frank set off to grill some steaks and drink beer while Kate and I got acquainted. We had a lovely evening, although I was truly sorry to have missed seeing Jan. Russell delivered us back to Destiny later that night making us promise to take our dinghy for a float up the creek past the marina at high tide. He promised we would be impressed with how beautiful it is back there. We couldn't imagine it being more beautiful than what we had already seen. We assured him that we would and then bid him goodnight promising to stay in touch.
That evening we received a phone call from Heather and Mark, hoping that we had not ventured too far along yet, informing us that they would be joining an Easter weekend yacht adventure to Pittwater with the Middle Harbour Yacht Club. They extended an invitation to us as "honorary members" for the event. We replied that we were in no hurry and would be happy to turn back (one bay over) to meet them in Pittwater on Thursday afternoon.
Wednesday morning after another remarkable bush walk, we cruised the dinghy up the creek. This water is so clean and clear I felt I could drink it, the forest (bush) so lush I could smell it, and the rock formations bursting with colorful designs appeared to be carved by the hand of God. An entire universe was teeming below the surface of the crystal water without making a ripple upon the surface. This is the perfect venue for meditation. We slowly cruised along until we realized we had been out for over an hour, and must turn back before low tide. The return journey revealed even more beauty as we enjoyed another perspective from the opposite direction with sun gleaming on the trees and rocks from another angle. Returning to Destiny we weighed anchor and then moved out to America Bay, closer to the exit for Pittwater.
We had just settled in for a quiet evening when we heard something outside. A large motor yacht was bearing down on us. OH MY GOSH! A powerful light shone on us and we thought – Uh, oh, we are on someone's private mooring and the authorities are coming after us. They large yacht slowed and we heard a voice yell out, "Tried to call you, Mate, but you didn't answer the phone". It was Russell. We had no phone service out here so of course we didn't' answer. Next thing I knew he was tossing us lines and we were rafting up stern to bow. He handed Frank a cold beer and invited us over. His boat (a Riviera) is named Tom Kat and is an absolute showboat. So this is how the other half lives! Russell is one surprise after another. I prepared dinner for the three of us and we visited for quite a while, then I left the boys to their beers, hugged Russ goodnight and returned to my book and the warmth of our bed. In the morning we wandered over to Pittwater to meet up with Heather, Mark and the Middle Harbour Cruising Club.