Capricorn, Pancake, Mackerel and 2000nm
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.
|The tramway at Cape Capricorn.|
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 Asia and in particular Japan. At one point our system was showing 48 vessels within a 20 mile radius of us. Most of these were at anchor waiting to load in Gladstone but it does emphasise how much traffic passes down through the Great Barrier Reef shipping lanes everyday.
|Leaving Cape Capricorn|
|An LNG tanker off Gladstone|
Having tried fishing on and off since we left Sydney, it was with great delight that I caught my first mackerel on this passage. I got a few tips from a fellow cruiser whilst in the marina and they seemed to pay off! So we are now eating fish for every meal! We saw flocks of 20-30 Common Noddy fishing on the way, so there were obviously a lot of fish about.
The 46 nm sail down the coast from Cape Capricorn was again a combination of sailing close hauled and motoring. During this trip we passed the 2000 nm cumulative distance since leaving Pittwater on 1st August!
Pancake Creek is a lovely estuary but is littered with sand banks so one has to be careful coming in to anchor. It is a common anchorage for boats heading south but is quite isolated. At low tide there are lots of wading birds (curlews and oystercatchers) and crested terns feeding on the sandbanks and in the shallow waters.
It's blowing from the south east again today so we are just going to chill out here.
|Sandbanks in Pancake Creek|