Time to Get Going
Tuesday 13/01/09, time to head out! All the cleaning is done, enough marina time to last me a while and all the provisions on board to last us a month if needed. 1040h MrJ and I leave the marina, setting a course for Kauri Crk, not too far up the road. We have 30kn winds from the SE; the tide had just turned and the current is now flowing out (ebb tide) against the wind. This makes the little waves stand up as were motor sail past the entrance to the Wide Bay Harbour as we begin to push against the ebb tide. Leaving the entrance behind AR is now swirling around in the rolling waves as we approach the entrance marker to Kauri Crk. One thing I did notice out here is that except for one house boat who was running for cover, further back, into Teebar Crk, MrJ and I are the only other silly buggars out on the water. We anchor up in Kauri Crk for our first night and the moon appears, peaking from over the top of the trees to light up our evening.
0740h Wednesday 14/01/09, I winch the anchor up, MrJ sets our course for South White Cliffs some 20n/m north, through the “Flats”. I may have mentioned before that the “Flats” is the shallowest section on the marked channel through the Great Sandy Straits call Sheridan Flats. This area includes not only Sheridan Flats but the islands of Moonboom and Boonlye Point. Tidal flows in the Great Sandy Straits meet generally in the vicinity of Sheridan Flats. North of Sheridan ebb tides tend to flow out to the north, whilst south of Sheridan ebb tides generally flow south. The reverse applies to flood tides.
1120h AR is now anchored in 9mts of water between South White Cliffs and Yankee Jack Crk. Most of the little coloured anchor chain markers have fallen off, whenever, and I have made a note in my log book to replace them as soon as possible. But now MrJ tells me that we cannot get this kind of marker here in OZ. Hum.................................! A little research is needed.
The anchorage is calm; the setting sun put on a good show as it slowly sinks behind the mainland in the distance.
0545h Thursday 15/01/09; AR is on the move again to anchor a little further up the line at south Kingfisher Bay where we should get some protection from the NE winds. Wouldn’t you know it! The wind shifts round to the N/NNW and is staying there. (How unusual!!!!) It is a flood tide, coming in with the wind and that is okay for now. There are two other yachts at the southern anchorage, both some distance away from AR.
While MrJ and I were taking advantage of the relative calm morning to relax, mainly reading and writing, the yacht in front of AR has decided to up anchor and move on. The first MrJ and I am aware of this is when MrJ sees this boat backing into our bow. The next thing I feel this thud and am awoken out of my own little world to full alert. “Sh*t” is the least of the things I say! No major damage is done; their dingy which is up on their davit, has pushed into the “dolphin catcher” (bow A frame) and bent the nave light guard. How the hell this yacht managed to do this is beyond me? The response was “we had drifted”. Maybe so, but how could a boat drift half nautical mile or more without the people on board noticing where they were going? Is it that hard to pull up ones anchor? Just goes to show that it does pay to be on watch, alert even when at rest.
The wind is not shifting from the NNW; by lunchtime the tide has changed (ebb) and we are now getting a choppy swell hitting us on the side. Not very comfortable at all!
1400hs, MrJ and I pull up anchor; we make an afternoon run across to Sth Big Woody Island, passing close by Duck and Picnic Islands on the way. One yacht (not the boat that backed into us – they have probably headed back to Urangan Harbour by now) and three other motor boats are already in there. This is our first time that MrJ and I have anchored in this southern anchorage. South Point anchorage on Big Woody is a wide gutter along the SW coast of the island. At high tide some boat can travel right through to the top of the island but not on low tide. I am very surprised at the make-up of Big Woody on this south western corner. This part of the island is not like the muddy shores of the mainland, nor like the sandy banks of Fraser Island. Big Woody not only has dense tree coverage, as the name suggests, but it also has a very rocky foreshore. Big Woody’s rocky foreshore extends way out into the water so I am also surprise that AR anchor took hold first go. Lucky me; I hit a mud hollow!
The couple in one of the small motor boats must be having some sort of a domestic or something (????). “Her” and a boy jump into the dingy and off they go, racing away; “he” in the main boat takes off in another direction, he then comes back at high speed, she dingies a little closer, and then takes off again. All this goes on and on for at least an hour before the situation seems to be settled and everyone is back on board the main boat. Just another afternoon’s entertainment to MrJ and me!
Our intention was to head up into Hervey Bay and follow the coast of Fraser Island to the top but the weather is not going to let us do this. MrJ has to be in Brisbane on the 30th January and AR is booked into East Coast Marina on the 27th January. For us to meet this deadline we need to take the weather window next Tuesday or Wednesday to cross the Wide Bay Bar and transit south either calling into Mooloolaba on the way south or doing an over nighter strait through to Brisbane. To do this MrJ and I need to get AR back down the Straits into a closer position to take advantage of this weather window when and if it happens.
1230h Friday 16/01/09: The anchor is hauled up and AR is on the move once more. MrJ takes a short cut across the channel to Fraser Island near the badge landing at Wanggoolba Crk. We are under sail, well the genoa at least. The winds are still from the NW; pushing AR along with the help of a flood tide at 5knots. Once AR gets through the “Flats the tide will be on the ebb and AR will be going with it out the southern side; we do need the motors running to get past this spot. Motor-sailing at 6.4knots past marker S30 off Moonboom Island; 1530h in the afternoon and all’s quite on the water, only two other vessels insight. One is a yacht sail following in the far off distance and another is a private house boat heading in the same direction as us just north of the “Flats”.
MrJ has his mind set on anchoring at Fig Tree Crk, one n/m south of the entrance to Garry’s but there is another large motor cruise in there (I think it’s ACCALIA from TCB Marina), right at the best spot. Fig Tree Crk has depths from 10mt up and the shallowest spot in where the motor cruiser is. MrJ brings AR in a little closer to shore on the northern boundary but I am not happy and MrJ is not happy; too deep and too close in to a possible rocky shore. It is now too late to make a run for Kauri Crk so it is back to Garry’s, 1700h, for the night.
Saturday 17/01/09: Am I awake? If it was not for a toilet stop I would still be in bed! Now that I am up and MrJ is moving about it looks like a good time to get moving again. While I stumble around in the half light to close all hatches MrJ turns on the electronics and starts the motors. By this time (o430h) I am ready at the anchor winch with torch in hand. Baby its dark outside! No, not really, everything just looks dark when looking down through the anchor hatch far into the black water below. Buggar! The stern light is not working (????????). Thank goodness for the LED garden lights AR has on either side on the stern.
There is a moderate breeze from the NW; MrJ and I roll out the genoa and will the help of the ebb tide AR gently sails along at 4-5knots. How peaceful it is out on the water in the wee hours of the morning. No other boat moving across the water-ways; only the visions, the sounds and movements of Mother Nature to keep us company. As the sun sneaks up from behind Fraser Island, it spreads its yellow through to red colours of the “sailor’s warning” across the morning sky. The weather is on the change; we have been told by the weather reports and now this change is being confirmed.
The morning lightens as I roll in the genoa; MrJ starts the engines and heads AR into Kauri Crk. The tide is nearly out, the entrance to Kauri Crk is very shallow, the sand bar near the first marker has shifted slightly north and AR touches bottom. Hum....................! More choice words! At a higher tide MrJ has taken AR across this sand bar with no problem; we are following out exact route on the chart plotter, but this time we touch. Not for long; with a little extra power from AR’s two 40hp Yanmars, MrJ has us backed off and heading into the creek. Sandflies here we come!
AR’s anchor is dropped and set firm on the sandy mud bottom in 3-4mts of water, the hatches are opened, the covers are put up and it is time to relax once more and watch the forces of Mother Nature unravel again. Funny thing; AR must be tucked away in “her” clutches as this is the only spot that the boat does not have wi-fi coverage. MrJ does his skippers exam paper while I write and read. Such a hard life!
Sunday 18/01/09: This morning I wake up to another glorious day!
When AR arrived in Kauri Crk yesterday morning there was only one other boat there, one of the tourist houseboats; by the time I went to bed last night there were two houseboats, a small motor boat and three small motor cruisers, all settled in to hide from the bad weather that was unfolding. The weather forecast warned of strong winds, 25-30kn, gusting up to a 40% more with rain showers and a chance of thunder storms.
MrJ and I had pulled down the covers, pulled in the cushion and stowed mats. MrJ decided to lengthen the anchor chain from a 5:1 ratio to a 7:1; this might make us swing a bit more but it will be a stronger hold and I will be able to sleep better. Well maybe!
The second houseboat in must be new at this game; just on dark they were trying to re-anchor. It was on low tide and maybe they had swung over the sand-bar in the middle of the creek. Who knows? It certainly made for good evening entertainment for everyone else around; to see and hear this houseboat roaming around in the half dark putting the anchor up and down in several places. Our dingy was secure on its davit, otherwise MrJ would have been out there helping and I was too busy watching the numerous turtle families our grazing for the evening feed.
It is amazing how many sea turtles there are in this area and as “Murphy’s law” would have it, the minute a camera is produced not a turtle can be found. This morning is no exception.
At the top of the tide when the current lulls, MrJ and I are over the side and in the water with scrapper and scourers in hand. This is to clean some of the barnacle and moss which has grown on AR’s hulls. I have secured a line to the bow and run it with a float attached down through the middle of our two hulls to the stern where MrJ ties the line off. MrJ and I hang onto this line with one hand, to stop ourselves from being swept away in the current as we slowly make our way along each hull with brush, scourers or scrapper in the other hand. It makes for good exercise if you keep your mouth shut and don’t swallow too much salt water like I usually do.
Monday 19/01/09: Back to the TCB, just for one night.
To catch the ebb tide out of Kauri Creek and Wide Bay Harbour, MrJ and I up anchor at 0530h and sneak out into the early sunrise. AR is the only boat on the water this glistening morning. We set the sails and glide through the calm water where the only sound you can hear in the whoosh of the water passing along the bows and the shrill cry of the sea birds upon high in the sky.
Our blissful moments came to an end when it was time to change direction to head up the Tin Can Inlet and what little wind we did have was right up our bums. MrJ turned the key to ignite one of AR’s 40horse motors. The quite morning had ended as the old engine came to life and AR motor-sailed closer to our destination, Snapper creek and the Tin Can Bay Marina.
It was still early as MrJ snuck AR into the anchorage at Norman Point, just on the entrance to Snapper Creek. As I set the anchor I could see several small fishing boat heading out, but no one else was moving. By this time my poor old tummy was growling; I was starving for breakfast having only had two cups of tea to survive on since early dawn. Bacon and eggs, it was to be, with thick toast and loads of pepper. Yum oh!
0830h MrJ phoned the marina, making sure that they were able to take us for the night. 0900h I had the anchor up and AR was heading up Snapper Creek. We were tied alongside by 0930h.