Posts

Showing posts from 2016

Wide Bay Bar, Mooloolaba and how to run aground!

Image
It was a fairly windy final few days in the Great Sandy Strait, but our trusty anchor held us firmly in place. We managed to get ashore at Fig Tree Creek and did a bit of a beach cleanup and had a walk.

We then headed down to Tin Can Inlet. This was a little busier than we expected but nice all the same. There were a lot of boats anchored and moored down here but we found a good spot near Norman Point and went ashore for a very welcomed shower and a very expensive coffee and cake! That’ll teach us to have cake for breakfast.
We then moved back north to Pelican Bay. This lived up to it’s reputation and we had good views of about 15 pelicans sitting on the sandbank next to us, along with some eastern curlew.
The winds moderated on Wednesday, but still from the north and so we decided to take the opportunity to get across the infamous Wide Bay Bar in relatively benign conditions. The sand bar lies across the entrance at the bottom end of Fraser Island and is only a few metres deep. We cross…

Great Sandy Strait

Image
We left the comfort of the Burnett River on 28th November and once more headed out to the high seas. Unfortunately the wind was a persistent east or south east and so we were bashing into it and heeled over for much of the way down the coast. We had reefs in and out at various points but safely made it down to the relative shelter of Hervey Bay, although our first anchorage off Torquay Beach was a bit uncomfortable.
Then we had a short motor across the bay to Kingfisher Bay on the west side of Fraser Island. We saw lots of birds feeding in the bay. The mackerel and the birds all chase the baitfish and it makes for quite a spectacular feeding frenzy. I had fun trying to get some photos of the action.







At Kingfisher Bay we said goodbye to X-Pat for a couple of days, whilst we went and lived it up at the Kingfisher Bay Resort. The accommodation and food were both wonderful and we had a room with a verandah looking out over a small lake, so it was great fun watching the wildlife.
Yesterday we…

Bundaberg

Image
It was an early start yesterday (5am) to leave Pancake Creek for a big sail down the coast to Bundaberg. The winds were light to start with, but built during the day. We did a little bit of motor sailing but for the bulk of the time we had the engine off. The last five hours were fairly full on with us reaching at 7.5 to 8 kts and water over the decks. We had one rogue wave hit us from the side and were thankful that we had lifejackets and harnesses on at this point! We covered the 67 nm in 10.5 hrs including motoring out of Pancake Creek and up the Burnett River in Bundaberg so the intervening bit was quite quick!

We anchored in the lower reaches of the Burnett River. Bundaberg is actually about 8 miles up the river. Today we decided to take the dinghy up the river for the six miles from our anchorage to Bundaberg to visit the famous rum distillery. It was a bit of a trek for our little dinghy and took about 1.5 hours. As we pulled into the public wharf to tie up Debi discovered that …

Capricorn, Pancake, Mackerel and 2000nm

Image
We have escaped from Keppel Bay Marina! 😀 We filled up with diesel at the marina and then set off around 9am. The weather behaved itself and we had a combination of sailing and motoring on Wednesday (23rd) from Keppel Bay to Cape Capricorn. We are currently using our No.1 genoa as it works much better as an upwind sail than our normal cruising headsail, but it is a bit of a beast.
Cape Capricorn lies not surprisingly on the Tropic of Capricorn. There is a lighthouse which was erected in 1875 and a tramway which is used to haul supplies and equipment up from the beach. The light is automated now but there are a few houses there and the tram still appears operational.
On Thursday we set off again for Pancake Creek, sailing down past the busy shipping lanes and anchorages off Gladstone. This is a major coal port and now also hosts one the largest LNG export ports in the world. Gas from coal seam gas operations in Queensland is processed here and converted to LNG. It is then exported to As…

Cabin Fever

Image
It's a bit strange getting cabin fever when we are in the marina, but that's what it feels like waiting for this wind to change. 

We decided to take advantage of being near Rockhampton which is reputed to be Australia's beef capital and went and stayed at a cattle farm retreat last night. It was nice to get away from the boat and Debi felt very nostalgic being on a cattle farm again. It was in fact very reminiscent of the South African farm, being very dry and breeding cattle that are resilient to these conditions. The cabin we stayed in was nice and faced onto Hedlow Creek. We went for an afternoon canoe down the creek but having two of us in the same canoe trying to coordinate paddling seems like grounds for divorce! We had a real wood BBQ (braai) in the evening washed down with some nice red stuff.

We are back onboard X-Pat now and hoping to set sail tomorrow morning when the wind is supposed to die down a bit. Watch this space.






Still tied up

Image
Well it's been a long week in the marina. Most of the jobs are now complete and Debi is back from her trip to Sydney. However the weather is not playing ball. We have had consistent 25 knots of wind from the south east for the last five days. South east is where we want to go! 
So we have got ourselves fully provisioned for the next three weeks and have done some nice walks along the coast whilst waiting for the weather. I did a beach cleanup on Kemp Beach. It still amazes me how much plastic is on these beaches.
Today we are hiring a car and going to stay on a cattle farm for a night. Nearby Rockhampton is tagged as the beef capital of Australia so we thought it would be interesting to go and take a look. So we will have a night off the boat which will be my first night off for a few months! We'll be back tomorrow.
It currently looks like the earliest we will get away is Wednesday, when the plan is to sail to Cape Capricorn. Hopefully the wind and waves will have subsided by the…

Slack Blogger

Image
Well as I said last time, we only seem to blog when in a marina and here we are in Keppel Bay Marina and we haven't made an entry for three weeks! 
We left Abell Point Marina on the 24th October and had an horrific crossing to Hamilton Island to pick up Shona and Barry. With 30 knots on the nose we ended up being a few hours late! We then had a lovely week cruising around the islands. Despite only having a week we managed to stay at Cid Island, Nara Inlet, Border Island, Mays Bay, Tongue Bay, Whitehaven beach, Beach 25, Butterly Bay, Stonehaven Bay and finally Dugong Inlet. We saw lots of turtles and even a manta ray in Nara Inlet whilst we were in the dinghy. We could see it's wing tips breaking the surface and initially thought it was two fish until we got our head around the size of it! There was also a good bit of snorkelling, particularly in Butterfly Bay and Border Island.
We said goodbye to Shona and Barry on the 1st November, left them back on Hamilton Island to recover …