We planned our departure from Port Macquarie for 3 ½ hours after the morning high tide. It is Friday the 13th, and the marina manager and all the little old sea-salts around the marina think we are foolish but we feel the conditions are better for leaving today than Saturday. Besides a blow is coming and we want to be up the coast before it hits. We are pleased to inform that their fears were unfounded. The skies were clear blue, the prevailing winds and seas cooperative and the ride comfortable as we enjoyed a cruise up into Trial Bay.
Trial Bay is largely a wide open, circular bay that in the wrong weather can be an absurdly uncomfortable anchorage. To the eye it is astonishingly beautiful. The blue waters sparkle as though filled with diamonds, the sandy beaches appear virgin and inviting. Arriving from land this would be a perfect vacation spot. The highlight of the bay, just along the heads sits the most imposing structure of the entire area: The Trial Bay Gaol (jail to us Yanks). Talk about a room with a view! I can't imagine being incarcerated here in the 19th century, which in and of itself would be terrible, but to be incarcerated with such a view would be torture! It was last utilized in the early 1900's as a WWI German internment camp (prison camp). We wanted so very much to go to shore and explore the remains, but we had arrived at dusk and were due to skedaddle at daybreak on the 14th. So we had dinner with a view and dreamed of returning for a visit to the "gaol".