A quick trip over to Tangalooma on Moreton Island for an overnight stay with two kids on board – Kerrin and Tarryn was the first leg.
Tangalooma is always a good spot for the tourist; long white sandy bay side beaches, clear cooling waters with no rolling surf. The scenery in intensified by the huge sand hills on shore and the impressive sunken ship wreaks, that act as an artificial reef, lying with their top halves exposed in the waters off the beach. Many a boat anchors here all year round. There is only a couple of drawbacks; one is that the current runs fairly fast, too fast and dangerous to dive or snorkel the wreaks and the wreaks have not made any real protection from the swell or the weather if it comes in from the NW to SW, which SW is where most of Brisbane’s storms come in from. Otherwise it is a glorious location.
Tarryn slept part of the way but Kerrin was out on deck to enjoy the ride. Moreton Bay was relatively calm; it was an easy passage.
Our next destination was Mooloolaba, a ten hour passage up the coast.
Up anchor early; 0545, under way and Tarryn was left to sleep. There was a 2mt swell coming in from the SE and a gentle breeze from the N/NW, making conditions a little rollie, but not too hard to handle. Conditions picked up a bit after Caloundra and off Point Cartwright making our passage a little lumpy.
Alana Rose was not the only boat out today. We sighted or passed at least half a dozen big ships in the main shipping lane; there were several other yachts out and about as well as all the small motor boat on the water.
Tarryn slept on her bunk for most of the trip. No one knew that she was sea sick and Tarryn did not tell anyone. Tarryn did get to have a swim at Tangalooma and did have the catch of the day; 5 sand whiting all during the last evening. It’s just the sea travel that does not agree with her. Next time, if she ever wants another time, we will dose her up on sea sick pills.
Kerrin enjoyed the whole trip and it did give us some quality time with her. MrJ helmed all the way which gave me the chance to chat away.
Our trip ended at 1400 as I tied Alana Rose to the Mooloolaba Marina berth. This was the end of the trip for Kerrin and Tarryn but only the halfway mark for MrJ and me.
2 Tin Can Bay
Our stay in Mooloolaba Marina panned out to five day; as usually waiting on the right weather conditions. Is there ever “just the right conditions”?
Mooloolaba Marina is an alright place but one marina is just like another in my books. Not everyone is as friendly as you would like them to be and some of the ones who are over friendly are a pain in the butt. I do carry on some! Not everyone that we have met in the marinas are like that, some people are really very friendly and nice to boot, it make a refreshing change when you least expect it. I have found that it is usually the people who do a lot of cruising, mostly offshore, to be the most welcoming. We all come from different walks of life but we all experience the same things. Humans are such clicky people!
0645; Heading out the river I radioed Coast Guard Mooloolaba of our intended passage to Double Island Point and the Wide Bay Bar. We were expecting early SE winds 5/10 and that’s what we had, with seas to about 1mt. MrJ had the genoa out and was using the port engine to assist. Motor-sailing again!
The sea was a brilliant dark blue with a small rolling swell on our starboard side. There is not much to do on days like these but to just sit back, appreciate the view and enjoy the ride. We were just off Noosa, somewhere, (0815) when MrJ spotted the large dark grey dolphin playing between our bows. These beautiful creatures seek out the bow wave of passing boat to play and roll with the movement. We pass a couple of yachts heading south and there is always the odd tanker or two.
It was 1230 when Alana Rose rounded Double Island Point. The seas had changed to close on a 3mt swell with the wind increased to 20knots, which made for wind wave on top of the swell. Not the best condition for crossing the Bar. After radio contact with Tin Can Bay Coast Guard and conformation from another vessel off Wolf Rock that the Bar was not wonderful; MrJ made a skippers decision to anchor off Double Island Point for the night and to transit the Bar in the morning when weather and sea was predicted to be calmer.
The anchorage at Double Island Point is not the place in the world either. The point hooks around to give some protection from the S/SE winds and seas but it is still very rolly with the swell hooking around the point. It was Hiva Oa all over again. Not much sleep was had by skipper and crew (me); the swell may have been only 1mt in there but it hit on the beam rocking and rolling Alana Rose all night. This of course had everything creaking and clanging; both skipper and crew were on silent anchor watch in our bunk.
To get across the Wide Bay Bar at the supposed “just right” time; an hour before a flood tide (1 hour before high tide at 0457), we need to be up early. MrJ and I had the anchor up and were underway at 0315 the next morning – maybe not early enough but we were hoping it would be okay. The sea was a lot calmer in this darkness before the dawn; a 1mt swell and an 8/10knot breeze from the NE. It stayed that way as MrJ steered Alana Rose to the Bar’s first waypoint at 0455.
Two minutes before high tide and everything was in a lull. Well nearly, there were no waves standing up anywhere, just a bit of minor turbulence as we pass from waypoint one to waypoint two. I did try calling Coast Guard Tin Can Bay on channel 82 with nothing heard; it’s too early for the station to be open 9operates from 0600 – 1800 each day on 82). I know that people have got their ears out there and I repeat my message to Coast Guard with what we are doing. Someone will hear us and know that we are crossing. We boaties are a curious lot!
There are other boat on the Bar this morning, a cruiser-launch, a motor-sailor and another catamaran, all heading out, punching into the swell and over the turbulence. Not as calm as our last trip out.
By the third callas we pass the last waypoint I get a reply from Tin Can Coast Guard (0525), someone was listening.
Another call to Coast Guard Sandy Straits at 0655, we are heading up the Straits to Garry’s Anchorage. (I feel like this is my new address since MrJ and I have been back in OZ; it seems to be a favourite hangout.)
It was a brilliant warm sunny day, slight cool breeze and hardly a cloud in the sky. What a welcome!