Our Current Position

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Wide Bay Bar, Mooloolaba and how to run aground!

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.

At anchor in Great Sandy Strait

A resilient mangrove at Fig Tree Creek beach
Another beach cleaned
Sand pellets left by Soldier crabs
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.

At anchor in Tin Can Inlet. The haze is from controlled burning on Fraser Island
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 crossed at around high tide across the recommended route and had no problems. The marvels of GPS.

Once across the bar it was sails up and point south with a following wind. We had a great sail and made really good progress down the coast at speeds averaging just above 8 knots. It was great to be progressing so quickly but had one disadvantage. It meant that we arrived at Mooloolaba bang on low tide and in the dark!

We cautiously headed through the entrance without any issues and then turned into the river, where we promptly ran aground! We had hit a small mud/sand bank and were completely stuck. At least we had a rising tide and so it was a case of sit and wait for the tide to come in. It was a bit embarrassing as there were apartments adjacent to the river at this point and lots of people enjoyed the entertainment of watching a stuck boat.

However our luck changed after about twenty minutes when we spotted a large fishing boat heading our way. With a bit of foresight I waited until the bow wave hit us and then gave the engine a burst of reverse and this floated us off! We then gingerly made our way up the river to the marina, no damage done.

Mooloolaba marina - home for the next few months

We have spent the last few days cleaning up and eating all the remaining food! There is still some drink left, but not much!

Tomorrow we say goodbye to X-Pat for a while and head to Sydney so that’s the end of this cruise. We’ve been going for 132 days (with a few breaks) and covered 2258 nm. We have a few plans for some coastal sails around here next year and then the next major cruise will be New Zealand! Watch this space ….

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Great Sandy Strait

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.

The Burnett River
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.

Feeding Frenzy

Common Tern

Mackerel and terns fight for the bait fish

The one that got away!

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.
Another classic turtle pose

Yesterday we hired a 4WD vehicle and went touring around the beautiful Fraser Island, visiting the beaches and the lakes. Debi drove the whole way, which was 7 hours driving.  She seems to have acquired a taste for off road driving now and to her credit didn’t get us stuck once! For my part I now have a swollen knee from bracing myself in the navigators seat for 7 hours! We saw one dingo sniffing around one of the car parks for food and did a nice dawn chorus walk this morning before we left.

Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island

Car and Driver

The rainforest

Wreck of the Maheno

Wreck of the Maheno

Tourist planes landing on the beach

The motorway on Fraser Island

Perched Lake

Tannin stained water from the nearby tea trees
After a rather wet dinghy ride back out to the boat (due to wind and waves) we have now motored down the coast of Fraser Island a few miles and are once again sitting in what seems like quite an exposed anchorage. I’m not sure why I can’t pick more sheltered places. Hopefully the wind will obey the forecast and die down over the next few hours.

Friendly Fiji

After a burst of activity early on, it has been a pretty chilled out week. We left Buca Bay on Sunday, motoring out through the reef into...