A Travellerspoint blog

South to Brisbane

Sat 27th Sept
2 Mooloolaba
The trip down the coast was easy with mild weather and calm seas. Our guest crew for the day, Ric, was looking for a bit of a sail but they was just not enough wind in the right direction to cut both the motors; it was motor-sailing all the way. JJ steered Alana Rose on course all the way; we passed several yachts under sail flagging in the light breeze. Somewhere along the way a pod of whales was sighted, they were some distance away. I did manage to get a couple of pics, one hump and one tail, I was so excited.
Coming in through Mooloolaba’s seawall was another one of those experiences you must have; what looked calm from out to sea is a different story once in close. The seaway entrance ran parallel to the beach so there are a few rolling wave to navigate through before you have cleared the entrance. Just to add to the adventure, it was a Saturday afternoon with weekend boating traffic heading in and out including another big cat, also a school of small sailboats racing right in front of Alana Rose’s path. Once in through the seaway JJ followed the marker up the channel to the Mooloolaba Marina where we were given an inside berth on the last finger. In safely once again!
JJ and I stayed in the Mooloolaba Marina for three nights, waiting for the next weather window to get down to Brisbane, leaving just on daylight Wednesday morning.

Mooloolaba
Mooloolaba is a coastal town located 100km North of Brisbane at the Southern end of the popular Maroochy region on the beautiful Sunshine Coast.
Mooloolaba is also home to a large river port, which accommodates the Auckland to Mooloolaba and the Sydney to Mooloolaba Yacht Races. Part of this port houses the Mooloolaba Marina.
Next to the port is a large shopping, dining and entertainment complex called The Wharf. Underwater World is located at The Wharf and is a great place to learn about and see a number of different sea creatures including sharks. Mooloolaba also features a number of other attractions that you can enjoy.
Mooloolaba Marina is 100 paces from the beautiful, golden sands of Mooloolaba beach and easy walking distance to the esplanade with its cosmopolitan range of beachfront eateries and retail outlets. Mooloolaba provides a mix of harbour, beach, parks and shopping with coastal strip panoramas and is a great place to enjoy surfing and fishing. You can also head out to sea to enjoy a day of deep sea or game fishing.

The name Mooloolaba is thought to have derived from either the Aborinical word 'mulu for snapper fish or from 'mullu' meaning red-bellied black snake.
Lieutenant Heath surveyed and chartered the Mooloolah River mouth and harbour in 1861. The following year, Tome Petrie, explored the region for timber resources. By 1864, the first land was purchased at the mouth of the Mooloolah River by William Pettigrew. Pettigrew dominated the timber trade in the Maroochy District for the next thirty years. He founded a timber depot and wharf to ship timber from Cotton Tree and Buderim to his Brisbane sawmill. In partnership with James Low, he also opened the first store in the district to serve the needs of the new settlers.
Mooloolah Heads was the gateway to the Maroochy District between 1870 and 1884. Due to the protection Point Cartwright offered, the port was preferred over the Maroochy River. Pettigrew's steamers 'Tarshaw,' 'Tadorna Radjah' and 'Gneering' operated along both rivers. The steamers carried produce, passengers and timber between Mooloolaba and Brisbane. In 1891, with the opening of the North Coast Railway to Yandina river transport deteriorated. Pettigrew transferred his activities to Maroochydore, establishing a saw-mill there in 1891, led to the further declination of the depot at Mooloolah Heads. Over the next decade little development occurred in the coastal areas.
By the year 1919, Mooloolah Heads industry had grown to include fishing and fruit growing. Thomas O'Connor bought Pettigrew's land from Sylvester Murphy and surveyed the first allotments of what to become Mooloolaba. On January 1 1921 the first sale of allotments was held. These extended along the river frontage from the surf beach to Tucker Creek.
It was then that the name Mooloolaba was embraced to distinguish between this developing area and the Mooloolah Township on the railway.
Throughout the 1920s the population increased. The area had always been a desirable destination for Buderim settlers. Holiday cottages and houses were dotted along the river and the narrow spit. Boat hire and fishing were also very popular. As the roads and public amenities improved, Mooloolaba continued to develop as both a premier residential and holiday location.

Wed 1st Oct
2 Brisbane
It’s early morning once again and Alana Rose is on the move. Negotiating the river entrance this time was slightly tamer than the coming in; hardly any traffic on the water at this early hour of the day, except for the beach waves once Alana Rose was clear of the seawall. The swell was not as crazy and in no time at all Alana Rose was clear and out in the ocean once more.
A couple of other yachts were also on their way south this morning; one in the same direction as us and the other heading further out to sea, possibly heading a lot further south on the outside of Moreton and Stradbroke Islands.
JJ and I put up the main and the genoa even though the wind was not that great. Isn’t it funny how we sailors look for the good weather windows to sail, not wanting it to be blowing a gale or passing rough seas? By doing this we usually find ourselves out in mind conditions with little enough wind, just enough to fill the sail but not enough to push us along at any decent speed. Sometimes not even that. If Alana Rose was out there just cruising and nowhere in particular to go than JJ and I would go with the flow but because we have a deadline to keep – getting into Brisbane’s Manly Boat Harbour today – we use at least one of our motors to help push us alone at an even 6 – 8 knots.
JJ and I had more whale sighting as Alana Rose was coming close to the marker at the entrance to the Spitfire Channel which is part of the main shipping channel just north of Moreton Bay, off Bribie Island. In the distance all I could see was lots of splashing around the marker, as we came closer the whale must have moved on as there was no more signs of them.
JJ and I followed the main shipping lane all the way down, past Caloundra, Bribie Island and into the top end of Moreton Bay. This is where the other yacht when in, maybe heading for either Scarborough or Newport Marinas. JJ kept Alana Rose in the Eastern Channel till we were past Tangalooma on Moreton than instead of following the channel into the Port of Brisbane, up the Brisbane River, we headed a little further south past Mud Island, between St Helena and Green Islands and on into Manly Boat Harbour.
It is Wednesday after noon and Wednesday afternoon means WAGS on the water – afternoon general sailing races. Surrounding the entrance to the channel into Manly Boat Harbour and all around this part of the bay are a multitude of sailing boats, all of different sizes and race categories, dashing back and forth, up and down and around special floating markers which have been dropped in place by various small motor craft. This is what JJ had to manoeuvre through before Alana Rose was safely in. It is the little sail boats that you have to watch out for, the ones that are maned by young people. It is not that they are not looking where they are going so much or what may be coming up behind, it is that they cannot always get out of the way and can be very slow when heading right up the middle of the fairway. It’s a catch 22 – we are under motor going up the harbour entrance fairway channel, we have to keep in between the markers as the water depth outside the channel maybe too shallow for our draft, we keep as far as possible to the starboard side of the channel but came move over to the port side if need be, the little sail boats do not need any depth of water to glide over but they insist in following the channel dead center and because the wind is not in their favour – them being sail/wind driver only, the boats are dead ahead nearly at a stop. This means that JJ has to almost stop Alana Rose right in the middle of the channel until the path is clear. And this sort of jostling goes on for other boats every week, twice a week, every Wednesday and Saturday; not only in Manly but out of a lots of other boat harbours all round the world.

Manly Boat Harbour
The Manly Boat Harbour is the largest recreational boat harbour (1,450 vessels) on the eastern seaboard and at present is extending the marina by adding another 300 pontoons where the old pole mooring used to be. It was the first boat harbour in Australia to receive national environmental accreditation from Clean Marinas Australia, a division of the Marina Association of Australia, for each of its five marinas; all are proudly flying their Clean Marina flags.
The boat harbour has jetties, recreational marinas with Clubhouses, slipway facilities, a cafe on the WM Gunn Jetty called the Jetty Kiosk; JJ and I had the odd coffee or two or three at the Jetty Kiosk where we could catch the breeze from the bay. In the harbour there are two public boat ramps - one on the northern side of the harbour, and one on the southern side. The southern boat ramp has a queuing pontoon. The northern break-water of Manly Boat Harbour on Norfolk Point provides the public with a view of the harbour and has been upgraded with landscaping and cycle/walking paths along Trafalgar Street. There are table and seating shelters at the Point and buildings for the Coast Guard and the Multihull Yacht Club QLD. The Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club has a large well equipped building with a huge car-park between the Gunn Jetty and Trafalgar Street. Like so many other seaside villages, all along the waterfront esplanade of Manly there is a cycle/walking path, parkland and picnic areas; these paths JJ and I use extensively to keep our fitness up. Near the entrance to the walkways and park is a public swimming pool enclosure.
The four main marinas in the Boat Harbour are the MBTBC Marina where JJ and I had an outside berth for a month, East Coast Marina where Alana Rose is now; on the courtesy dock for two weeks, Wynnum Manly Yacht Club Marina which is between MBTBC and East Coast and then there is the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron with its lavish clubhouse and facilities or should I say, “expensive”.
I personally prefer the MBTBC Marina for it has a more relaxed feel with excellent security and amenities. One cannot afford the Royal!

Something I read this morning:
"It takes so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment, or courage, to pay the price....
One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risks of living with both arms.
One has to embrace the world as a lover.
One has to accept pain as a condition of existence.
One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing.
One needs a will, stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying."
Morris West in "The Shoes of a Fisherman"

Posted by nancyjean 11:46 Archived in Australia Tagged boating Comments (0)

Visitors On Board & Crossing the Wide Bay Bar

Friday 12th
Tin Can Bay Marina (25*54'40 S / 153*00'39 E)
Alana Rose is allocated a berth on B-Dock (Blue) #22. Thank goodness there is little to no wind, as JJ swings Alana Rose into this berth. It is a tight squeeze and there is another boat on our port side. This other boat, a 36’ Voyager power cat, has no fender over the side and there is no one on board.
It is early morning, too early for the marina office to be open and no one to help. Boaties are always up and about in the early hours, preparing their boat for leaving or heading to the amenities block. This early morning we caught the eye of one such boatie, a lady, who grabbed from me and tied off the forward line, holding Alana Rose thus enabling me to get ashore to secure a spring line. I would really hate to have to try this with any sort of a wind blowing. I would not be able to jump down from our bow quick enough it is too big a drop to the pontoon for my tired old body. At least when JJ backs Alana Rose in her stern is level with the marina pontoons.
Order of the day –to make sure that Alana Rose is secure; this means that all lines are secure, all fenders are secure – not only on the dockside but on the side facing the other boat that has no fenders, another fender is put over the side as a step-up to come on board, top covers are pulled out of the forward lockers and put up, the back covers rolled out and dropped. All this must be done before we can even think about going ashore; it is what happens every time Alana Rose comes in.
The marina at Tin Can Bay has been extended since the last time that JJ and I were here some four years ago when JJ and I had hired a catamaran to learn my sailing. Our chart still show the one entrance but now a number of pontoons have been added to the finger which now extend out past the old entrance and there are two entrances depending on which finger you need to get to. Part of the renovation has been to build fifteen small cottages along the foreshore. I’m not too sure if any of these cottages have been sold as there did not seem to be anyone in them. (????) Tin Can Bay Marina is a very quiet and friendly marina.
Our stay in this marina would last for two weeks where during this time JJ and I were able to get chores done on Alana Rose, meet new people and entertain old friends. JJ had his maintenance jobs, I was busy converting the old bed sheets into covers for the salon lounge seats and we had a visit from dear friends Colleen and Brian and Carol and Mal.

15th Sept
Back to Garry’s
Colleen and Brian tried to sneak in an early visit on the Sunday but I felt that they were coming; arriving just on lunch time while Carol and Mal arrived on the Monday at lunchtime. Colleen was so excited to see us and finally to see Alana Rose and to be able to spend time aboard. As soon as Carol and Mal came on board on the Monday JJ and I cast off lines and JJ headed Alana Rose out of the marina.
Our first night’s destination would be just north of Snout Point off Fraser Island some three hours away. The weather was coming in and the chop on the bay was a little uncomfortable for Carol; Brian lent her a pair of wrist bands with special pressure points attached. The bands were helping.
The tide was going out while the swell and wind waves were coming in; one against the other in shallow waters makes for messy chop. The worst part was as Alana Rose motored across the entrance to Wide Bay; we did a bit of rocking and rolling. The clouds were closing in and there was rain about, maybe even a storm in the air.
To get into the anchorage at Snout Point JJ need to steer Alana Rose up the inside of the sandbars off the island into a narrow gutter that became very shallow very fast. With two meters of water under the boat I dropped the anchor. By now the wind was howling and we had little or no protection. JJ was not too happy with our position; if conditions worsened that we could be stuck here on one of the sand banks. I didn’t want to be in on that one!
Up came the anchor, JJ spun Alana Rose around on the spot and headed back out the way we came in. The weather was getting worse, strong winds, and the daylight hours were running out. Half an hour later Alana Rose was a little further south, just off an area of Fraser Island called The Bluff. There was another boat tucked right in close to the shore line; JJ manoeuvred Alana Rose into about six meters of water and once more I dropped the anchor. The anchor set first time and I than laid out a heap of cable; in unfavourable weather condition it is better to have more cable out than not. The sun was just setting.
Our guests did appreciate the reason behind the change of location and even though it was bit of a lumpy night they all sleep very well, especially after some good food and several glasses of wine. Mind you, I was on anchor watch all night and JJ was the one who got up and down to all the little odd noises.
Early the next morning JJ and I were out pulling in the anchor and moving on, further north and to the better protected water in Garry’s Anchorage. Our guests were up and about eager to see everything. Once inside the calmer waters of Garry’s I dropped the anchor, we were set for the day and it was time to cook breakfast. After breakfast and the girls washed up, everyone found their own kind of relaxation activity.
Colleen wanted to fish, Brian and Mal were in on that, Carol read her book, JJ played on his computer and I sat in the cockpit doing my knitting with a front row seat to watch all the fishing antics and add word of encouragement to Colleen. Mal was the first to pull in a fish, a small puffer fish then Brian then Colleen; all pusher fish or maybe the same puffer fish – Colleen thought it was and said so. More puffer fish which Colleen told Brian to bash the fish so that it would not come back – we all laughed; brave Colleen who had to get Brian to bait her hook and than if she had caught a fish it was Brian who cut the fish loose. Colleen could not stand the slimy touch of neither worm nor fish, let alone carry out all the threats that she had been making to the poor little fish. Worth another good laugh! Ah, but it was Colleen who caught what I told her was the only real fish; a flathead, but way too small to keep so Brian had to use the pliers to release the flathead and through it back.
All this was happening off the stern of Alana Rose, not in close to shore and probably not the ideal fishing location; the boys were not too serious and we all had a relaxing if not comical afternoon. Now with good friendship and good fun comes good food and good wine. Our afternoon was no exception, with a sunset to die for, a plate of cheese and nibbles, several glasses of wine followed by JJ cooking a bar-b-q of our bought meat as no respectable size fish were caught, many stories of what have been caught and what Colleen wanted to do to all the puffer fish in the anchorage and a calm good night’s sleep.
The next morning after breakfast, the boys took off in the dingy to seek out any good fishing spots. I didn’t see any lines go into the water just a heap of exploring along the estuary. After that the anchor came up and JJ headed Alana Rose back to the Tin Can Bay Marina where Carol and Mal had to leave us; Colleen and Brian stayed another night. Coming back into the same berth was not as easy as it had been the first time; the wind was from a different direction and a lot stronger. I was so worried about the other boat without the fenders; I had Mal on the starboard side lines with me and the rest of the crew on the port side to fend us off the offending boat.
That couple of days out went so fast, as did the whole visit; it was great to catch up with friends who will remain friends for a lifetime.

21st Sept
Riviera Party
It was like being back in Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia when the party boats came in from Martinique for the Jazz weekend only much smaller, not as many boats or people and it was only for one night not the whole weekend. The other difference was these people were all wealthy Australians and not the beautiful people from the Caribbean. I say no more!
About fifteen Riviere motor cruisers, ranging in size from 30mt to 70mt, came into the marina on the Sunday afternoon, all wanting to fuel up and a berth for the night. Most went about their business in a reasonable manner without much of a do; one was owned by my daughter Ange’s boss Mark, his brother Steve and their dad. We got the party boats, two of them, directly behind us on the finger. These two Riviere, one a real sporty model, had their stern to the pontoon with the saloon/cockpit doors wide open, bar-b-q food and drink spread out and loud music playing for all of the marina to hear. I was so glad that Alana Rose was bow to the pontoon; JJ and I could sit in our cockpit having our own meal and listen to the music and laughter. People walked up and down the finger, visiting the other boats but our neighbours were the friendliest. Loudness came with friendliness! The loud music and talking really didn’t bother JJ and I as once we had come inside and all the hatches were closed the noise was not so noticeable. Very early the next morning all the Riviera boats motored out leaving a note of dislike in the local air. Apparently the noisy party boats did bother others in the marina as this party night was the topic of conversation for a couple of days after the Riviera boats had left. Oh well, such is life!

Friday 26th
Leaving Tin Can
The time has come for JJ and I to make a move, we have been in the marina long enough and there is a need to be in Brisbane before the 6th of October when Carla, Corey and girls, Isabella and Olivia are coming to see us.
The wind, the swell and the weather has been a bit ordinary; JJ has worked out that there is a good weather window for crossing the Wide Bay Bar and skipping down the coast to Mooloolaba for Saturday the 27th. The early morning tide at 0640h would be in our favour for a bar crossing on a flood tide the hour before high tide and this crossing time would give us plenty of day time to travel down to Mooloolaba, getting there in late afternoon daylight hours.
The plan was to leave Tin Can Marina early Friday morning before the wind had a chance to pick up as it usually does around mid-morning, sail or motor sail out to Inskip Point, drop the anchor in Pelican Bay for the night and cross the Bar at 0600h Saturday morning. This we did with relative ease; there were a couple of other yachts already anchored and by late afternoon there would have been at least fifteen boat all anchored in Pelican Bay waiting for the morning Crossing. The next part of this plan was that our good friends Ric and Lou were to join us, driving up from Mooloolaba to the vehicle parking place at Inskip where JJ would pick them up in the dingy to bring Ric and Lou on board. Ric would do the Bar crossing and the trip down to Mooloolaba whilst would be staying onboard only for one night, returning by car to Mooloolaba after being dingied back to the car park at Inskip at 0530h Saturday before we sailed.

27th Sept
Bar Crossing
Ric dingied Lou back to the beach while JJ and I readied Alana Rose for our Bar Crossing and day passage south; covers down and stowed in the bow lockers, anything that was not tired down was stowed in a locker somewhere, life jackets were brought out, charts out, final check on instruments and engines – the waypoints JJ had already put into the Garmin Plotter- the last thing to be made secure was the dingy once Ric came back on board. Most of the other yachts had already made a move and were heading out in front of us. That fine by us, JJ and I are never in a hurry, it’s not a race we do not have to juggle for position, and we are happy motoring out at our own pace watching out for our own safety.
The sun had just risen in the East spreading a glowing path along the top of the water for us to follow as Alana Rose heads into the channel. The brown silhouettes of the other yachts in front of us shine in the early morning sun’s rays.
I am feeling a little nervous, a little excited and very alert as JJ stears Alana Rose onward. I am expecting a rough ride or at the very least quite a bit of wash and some breakers across The Bar. The tide is in its last hour before the peak which means that it will not be rushing in as hard, a gentle breeze is coming from a north easterly direction and the SE swell is calm. All this is defiantly in our favour for a good crossing.
There are four sections to The Wide Bay entrance, referred to as “The Mad Mile” for when the conditions are not the best it can be a real washing machine effect. On the inside or going out, the first is an area of water before the entrance which is known as Inskip Point, a narrowing where the barge ferries cross from the mainland point to the southern end of Fraser Island. The next three sections are all part of the bar crossing; they are three separate exact passages following from one way-point to the next in a zig-zag pattern through the water and out to safe water on the other side of the Bar. The water underneath does shallow out but not to a great extreme; the shallowest I saw recorded on our crossing was about 5meters.
The washing machine was on quarter speed this morning and except for the breakers on the sand bar itself there was little turbulence through the water, this made me feel more comfortable. The big motor launch that had been anchored near us in Pelican Bay had finally made its move and was now charging towards Alana Rose. This launch came up very fast behind us, passed with its bow cutting through the water and motored out over the Bar leaving us for dust; leaving everyone for dust. A small fishing boat seemed to being going off the track. I knew that there was another place to get over the Bar called Fisherman’s Gutter but this particular crossing spot was very treacherous and only attempted by the locals in extremely good conditions. My thought was to checked the chart and I was right, he was taking the Fisherman’s Gutter crossing. After watching this little fishing boat appear to be going straight for the breaking surf on the sand bar and surrounded by breaking waves, I’m glad that we are taking the safer path out to the open sea.
Wide Bay Bar Crossing WP2 - 25*47'368 S / 153*06'604 E

Posted by nancyjean 18:42 Archived in Australia Tagged boating Comments (0)

Tee Bar Creek to Tin Can Bay

Wednesday 10th
Tee Bar Creek
Next morning JJ and I up anchor again and leaving Kauri Creek this time we are heading for Tee Bar Creek, we hit bottom getting past the house boats; JJ has missed judged the mud bank. Alana Rose is not stuck and we are soon motoring out. This is not the only place where we tangle with the muddy banks.
Tee Bar Creek which is about 5n/m south of Kauri Creek is our next destination. Tee Bar has good protection against southerly weather but is very shallow. Before being part of the Military Reserve Tee Bar was once a site for a dugong boiling works and had mango farms on the northern side.
The tide has been going out fairly fast and I think JJ’s timing is out. The Garmin chart plotter is not so accurate for Tee Bar and Alana Rose digs into the mud bank at the third marker, half way into Tee Bar Creek. It is low tide and Alana Rose runs aground twice; the second time she is here to stay or at least until the tide comes in a little.
Nancy is not feeling to good; but the feeling does not last. I can see we are not in danger and all there is to do is sit and wait. I don’t seem to feel the panic once we have hit bottom and have to wait for the tide to rise; that does not bother me. It’s the before the incident that I get uptight; I worry in case something might happen.
An hour or so later the tide has come in a little way, enough for JJ to pull the anchor out in the dingy to a deeper part of the channel and drop the anchor over. With the aid of the anchor pulling Alana Rose away from the mud bank and the help of JJ on both engines, Alana Rose clears off the mud bank. JJ and I choose not to keep going into the creek; instead JJ turns Alana Rose around and heads out to follow the main channel further up the Tin Can Bay Inlet.
Going Further South
Alana Rose had cleared the special maker at the entrance to Tee Bar when another yacht came to view; this yacht was a beautiful older wooden style yacht that was anchored to the side of the main channel. Alana Rose came closer and when we were a beam of her JJ and I realized who we had found. The name on the hull was now clear enough for us to read. It is Jill Knight and her yacht “Cooee”. JJ calls out her name and we both give her a big wave; Jill turns and waves back. JJ and I keep moving, not wanting to disturb her any further; as we motor away I notice that Jill picks up her binoculars to check us out. This short encounter leaves me with a warm feeling.
The weather is not looking very good and there is no other real sheltered spot left to run to. If we get Alana Rose further up the inlet between the mainland on the western side of Rainbow Beach and the mainland eastern side of the township of Tin Can Bay maybe the waterway will not be too rough? There are several places along the Tin Can Inlet that have a number of moored boats; JJ and I do not want to anchor amongst these. JJ susses out a part of the inlet that is around a slight bend and behind a small sand bar; closer to the Rainbow Beach side. It was just south of Judd Point and nearly opposite Crab Creek on the Tin Can town side. This may not be the most comfortable anchorage, 8meters of water under Alana Rose, with the anchor set firm and plenty of chain out. We have sat in worse!

Thursday 11th
Judd Point off Crab Creek (25*55'53 S / 153*01'67 E)
On the chart there is supposed to be a shop of some kind at Toolara which is a dingy ride past the moored boats at the mouth of Crab Creek (Teewah Creek). The tide is “mid flood”, halfway coming in, there would be enough water over the mud flats for JJ and I to make to the little boat ramp on the point. I help JJ lower the dingy and attach outboard motor for what looks like a pleasant trip. The channel through the mud flats is very narrow and shallow; we get verbal assistance from an old man out fishing in his tinny. This fisherman points to where two old tree branches have been stuck in the mud to indicate the passage of the channel to the boat ramp and JJ and I make it all the way without hitting the mud. The next testing problem is that the motor will not tilt forward and this will leave the propeller scraping on the rock bottom. JJ doesn’t know why the motor will not tilt and this is not the time and place to be trying to do a repair job. I secure a forward line to an old wooden pole alongside the bottom of the boat ramp and JJ tethers another line from the aft; this will hold the dingy in deep enough water to keep the propeller clear until we get back from our little shopping expedition. Poor JJ, even with his tracky pants rolled up to his knees, he still manages to get the soaked. My long shorts roll nearly all the way up my thighs. The so call shop turns out to be no longer a shop but has been upgraded, or downgraded, depending which way you look at things, to a trendy little cafe with a reasonable a la carte menu. Good for us though, JJ and I had a coffee and open burger, I bought their entire supply (6) of homemade muffins and the girl through in half a loaf of grain bread. Bonus!
JJ and I had not stayed for very long, long enough to have our meal and then head back to the dingy. We knew that the tide was still coming in and even to us, what seems to be a short time could mean a swim to retrieve the dingy. Luck was on our side; both JJ and I could stretch our legs into the dingy from the bottom of the boat ramp without having to get back into the water.
Safely on our way we wave to the man who is still fishing and head the dingy out the narrow channel back to where Alana Rose is waiting. The wind has picked up and the water is a bit choppy; JJ heads the dingy straight into the little white topped wavelets and we both get splashed several times before getting to Alana Rose.
First is to stow our treasures and second is to help haul up the motor and dingy. Looks like we are in for that storm and some rain; a shower of rain has passed over Tin Can Bay just to the north of us and there looks like more is coming and coming our way. JJ and I make sure all hatches are secure, bring in from the cockpit anything that is not tied down and make ourselves comfortable inside the salon. The wind is the first thing that hits, howling through like a freight train; it gets up to 32knots. After the wind comes the rain, sheets of it, rain that is pelting down so heavy that it blankets out the mainland. Alana Rose’s new covers are holding up through the strain and force of this wind and rain storm and all we can do is sit this one out.
The storm passes and once again JJ and I can come out of our cave to do the mopping up. Evening is approaching and with it comes the sight of a brilliant red sunset splashing across the heavens. I’m still doing some of the clean-up when I hear a faint gurgling noise and the sound of swirling water to our starboard side. As I lean out to investigate I am greeted by the presence of two greyish dolphins; they surface twice more before disappearing towards the north end of the Tin Can Inlet. This answers my puzzle! These must have been the same species of dolphin that I had encountered last week in Kingfisher Bay.
The next morning JJ sets about fixing the problem with the out board motor. I have the radio tuned into the local station to catch the news and weather reports; I’m not too fond of all the talk back programs. I would rather play one of our music CDs or have nothing for the sound of the world outside. The early news broadcast tells us that the authorities have scaled down the search for “Blessed B”. The families of Bruce Glasson and Gary are asking for the public’s help; anyone sighting any debris out there to report it to the authorities. JJ has been speaking to our friend, Charles, who had been with Blessed B up till Fiji but was now back in OZ working. He has been assisting the authorities with their search and helping to identify any stuff that has been brought in. So far, to date, nothing has been found or even sited; not even the remotest radio call. What has happened to Blessed B, we will probably never know?

Posted by nancyjean 11:38 Archived in Australia Tagged boating Comments (0)

Sheridan Flats to Kaurie Creek

Wednesday 3rd
Sheridan Flat – Garry’s Anchorage (25*37'72 S / 152*58'42 E)
The weatherman tells us that the weather is not looking too good, it is predicted to worsen, winds to the S – SE picking up to 20 – 25 knots. It was time to find better shelter for Alana Rose. JJ and I up anchor and leave Kingfisher Bay to sail south for Garry’s Anchorage, passing through the Sheridan Flats water-world.
Stewart, Dream, Moon Boon and Turkey Islands, are a patchwork of mangroves and are part of the huge wetlands complex of Boonlye Point or as most locals know this area as Sheridan Flats. At low tide this whole area dries out to exposed mud flats except for some small extremely shallow gutters of water and a shallow narrow path for the main channel to flow. Boats cannot transverse Sheridan Flat on a low tide and will usually time their crossing to coincide with a better tide.
Tides in the Great Sandy Straits flood from both ends, their streams meeting in the vicinity of Boonlye Point; to be more exact it meets a little further north, off the southern end of Turkey Island which seems to be the shallowest part of the channel. During a rising or falling tide this whole area becomes a place of slack water and variable eddies.
To get to Garry’s Anchorage JJ and I need to get through Sheridan Flats. I’m not that ratty with nerves anymore but I am still on high alert.
JJ and I get our weather information from the thrice daily report that the Coast Guard Sandy Straits put out on the VHF radio system. Our tide information I calculate with the aid of a Tide Tables book and the Coast Guard’s Sheridan Flats report on the VHF. We set sail full of excitement and adventure; the wind is there but not enough to fill the sails. It must be the calm before the change. Alana Rose motors on with not only the challenge of the shallow through Sheridan Flats but the shallow northern entrance to Garry’s Anchorage; the tide is with us.
Garry’s Anchorage or Garry’s Camp, was named after Garry Owens, an Aboriginal tracker. It is a channel between Fraser Islands and Stewart Island which is also the site where thousands of gallons of fresh water empty into the Sandy Straits every day; Garry’s Anchorage about 14n/m north of the Wide Bay Bar. The channel is very popular as it gives all-round protection and an anchorage can be found anywhere along its length depending on the tide and a boats draft. The most popular anchorage is just inside the southern entrance to the channel, close to the Fraser Island sand shore. This is where national park authorities have set up a picnic shelter. Ashore there is also a sandy service track which is good to use for bush walking and it sometimes used by trail bikes on the island. Garry’s Anchorage is a very popular fishing and crabbing spot. Not that we would know; JJ and I still have got the right fishing gear. During the warmer weather this area has a reputation for sand flies, as with most places throughout the Great Sandy Straits. The name “Sandy” gives you a subtle hint.
Garry’s Anchorage is one of our favourite spots, even though I need to bath myself in insect repellent twice per day, just in case; I have an allergy to sand flies. Once bitten the bites fester up they get infected and ugly; not a pretty site and worse for wear, but I am will to endure the discomfort that may happen just to stay in this water wonderland.
Alana Rose is not the only boat to have come into Garry’s for protection from the weather. There are four or five other boats already anchored, motor and sail; some here for the protection and others purely for the fishing spot. Mid afternoon another house boat comes in the southern entrance and drops anchor between Alana Rose and another yacht. Someone (some old buggar on one of the other yachts) blurts over the VHF radio that the house boat is anchored too close to a couple of boats and may hit when they all swing with the change of the tide. Different boats swing in different ways. The house boat has a young couple on board, how embarrassing for them. JJ talks to the girl from our bow and suggests that they might be a little close and it might be a better idea to put more chain out or move closer to the shore. Which this is what the young couple do, up anchor and move closer in. The couple settle in and then go off in their dingy to set their crab pots.
The tide is on the turn, just about at the bottom of the tide and we begin the swing. The wind is blowing in from the south 20knots and this is pushing against the tide change. Alana Rose gets half way round, settles for a moment then gets pushed further around by the wind and now the tidal change picks up on the swing again and we are doing three-sixties. It is not until the tide is totally rushing in that it overtakes the strength of the wind and then we are face towards the south entrance. The wind does change again later in the evening to the NE still at 20knots with choppy waters and some swinging but no more three-sixties.
As the day start to wind down and the weather is coming in there more boats heading in the south entrance; mostly sailing yachts looking for a protected anchorage for the night. These yachts stay out closer to the entrance than the fishing type boats who dot all along the channel.
The next morning JJ and I up anchor and move further along the channel towards the north entrance, to see if there is a better anchorage with a bit more protection. Most of the good spots have already been taken by other boats. It is very shallow up the northern entrance and the tide must be lower than usual (three days after the New Moon); Alana Rose kisses the bottom in one place. JJ is not happy with any of the places that we put the anchor down and the decision is made to return to where we were before anyone else comes in and take that spot. We are in luck! As JJ turns Alana Rose to head back we can see one of the yachts heading out; it had been anchored behind us. This gave us a new place to set the anchor, back a little and closer in with much more protection from the wind than before. By that evening the wind had settled but this is where Alana Rose stayed put for the next few of days.
JJ did his chores and went on with some of his projects, but no all the time. There is always time for sitting and relaxing. This I can do very well (am I getting lazy in my old age?). I do my chores too – laundry, galley and cleaning but I much prefer to sit and watch the scenery while I knit or read. This day it is over-case and drizzling with light rain; on sunny days sometimes the sun’s warm rays put me into a gentle snooze where I can still here the light lapping of the water on the hull, the whisper of the breeze in the trees and the soft cry of the birds in those trees or flying up high.
JJ struck up a friendly conversation with the man, Bob, from the catamaran, Kinta, an older Crowther, anchored behind Alana Rose, when he was passing by in his dingy fishing. Bob went back to Kinta to pick up his wife, Julia, and they both came on board Alana Rose for a chat and a sticky. Everyone likes to look over other people’s boat; we do.
Bob and Julia invited JJ and I over to Kinta for sundowners but the weather did not let up so our social outing had to wait till the next afternoon. Kinta may be an older catamaran but Bob and Julia have done a lot of renovation on her and she looks very impressive especially on the inside. Bob and Julia live on their boat, they have done the east coast a few times and are now building a house in Tin Can Bay and own a berth in the marina. They will always spend time on the water.
Sunday was to bring JJ and me some sad news that disturbed us both very much. Sometimes we have the radio tuned to one of the local station to catch up on the world outside. This morning the news reader was reporting on a yacht that had been missing off the coast of OZ; this yacht had been due in at least several days ago and not a word since that had contacted family over the Sat phone twelve days earlier. It was Bruce Glasson who we had first met in Raiatea, and his boat Blessed B. It had been reported that Blessed Be had hit a storm and was missing; there were search planes and helicopter being deployed.
I couldn’t believe my ears; I didn’t feel very well.
The mobile phone rang and it was the Search and Rescue people wanting all the information that JJ could think of in regard to what JJ knew about Bruce and his boat, equipment, structure, past storms they had been through and any other radio contact that they may have. It had been Charles, a previous crew member off Blessed B and a good friend of Bruce’s who had give our number to the Search and Rescue people. Charles is also the person who was required to identify any likely debris that had been picked out of the ocean. So far nothing was a match. Good news or bad news? I would hardly know which.
After the phone call JJ and I both just stood there on the spot looking at each other, dumbfounded, not able to move for several minutes. We had no way of getting in contact with Charles; I only had his email address, not his phone number. All we could do was keep our ears peeled to the news reports. I felt sick, sick, sick!
Monday 8th Tuesday 9th
Kauri Creek
It is time to move on, time to get the mind thinking of other things. Monday JJ and I up anchor and leave Garry’s for Kauri Creek. The water across the Straits is calm and flat as far as the eye can see; imprinted everywhere are the reflections of large white fluffy clouds mirrored in the water. Glorious day; the brilliant sunshine streamed across the glistening water with only the ripple of the boat’s wake making a disturbance to the calm. Here and there small whirl pools would form to reveal the stumpy head and the long neck of one of the numerous great turtles that inhabit this watery wonderland. More turtles than we have ever seen in the past visits.
The panic button starts to activate as we cross the sand bar into Kauri Creek and motor up the channel but this feeling does not last for very long. There is too much work to be done; set the anchor, roll out the cover and set up for the stay.
Kauri Creek is another peaceful location, once the regions first timber cutting site and the site of an early dugong boiling-down works. Now Kauri is a very popular place with houseboats and fishing boats. At the mouth of the creek there is a twelve year old oyster reserve and the entire south side houses the Wide Bay Military Reserve. Once over the sand bar the beginning of the creek has good depths for anchoring.
The houseboats come in and they all seem to anchor around Alana Rose. I mean, there are plenty of places to anchor why on top of us? Alana Rose was in first but it is JJ and I that are the ones that have to up anchor just so those stupid house boats do not get in the way of our swing. Really! I am not impressed and say a few choice words about this to JJ. JJ just reminds me that we were there once, “green” at the boating ways. Ahhh, I still consider myself as being “green”.
Sandflies and more sandflies! I cover myself in Bushman’s and Aeroguard but to no avail I still get loads of bites, they seem to have sneaked in through the tiny little places that I might have missed. The weather is warm, the breeze is light and I do like it here even with the sandflies. I watch the antics of all the small fishing boat, mostly dingies from the houseboats that continually pass by. These boats all seem to follow each other around in and out of the same spots; once one boat motors out another boat motors in. And so it goes on, a possession of dingies up and down the waterway, in and out of the little hidey-holes in the mangroves. Most of the dingy passengers are male, mates out on a fishing holiday but there are a couple of female partners out there and even entire families with loads of kids in tow. I suppose it make for an inexpensive way for the family to share time together.
Many moons ago my friend Yvonne, Aunty Gwen and I would spend hours during the holidays scrambling along the river bank with our children in tow. Days of innocent fun and great exercise for all.

Posted by nancyjean 11:32 Archived in Australia Tagged boating Comments (0)

Great Sandy Straits

Bundy to Kingfisher Bay

Saturday 30th August
Hervey Bay – Moon Point (25*15' S / 150*00' E)
As JJ and I pulled out of our berth on the work dock in Port Bundaberg Marina the starboard hull pressed hard against the forward pole, marking our side. We both missed out on that “quick, quick, quick” thing, both not getting another fender in place quick enough; JJ at the helm and me manning the anchor out front. Once clear of the marina JJ steered Alana Rose out into the channel, out of the Burnett River mouth into the main channel leading out into Hervey Bay. Leaving the channel before the second last mark to raise both sails, JJ finds it very hard going pulling on the sheets; out of practice and out of condition. There is very little wind so we need to keep one of the engines running to keep Alana Rose moving along. Our destination is Moon Point. It is nearly a full day’s travel across Hervey Bay to Moon Point.
Hervey Bay acts as a funnel about the sprout of the Great Sandy Straits. The Sandy Straits is the waterway that lies between the mainland and Fraser Island. Hervey Bay is formed by the northern end of Fraser Island and stretches across to the mainland between Pialba and Bundaberg; 47miles east to west and 33miles north to south. The depth can vary from drying banks closer to the Straits to a 36 meter hole in the middle, most depth average around 18meters. You get the swell coming in from the off shore seas and it can be a very uncomfortable ride in inclement weather but very smooth on good light wind days; ours was a light wind day.
I’m as nervous as all hell; this happens every time we stay off the water for more than a week. Can’t say that I will ever change; just something I have to learn how to handle.
Away we sail, heading SE towards the entrance to The Great Sandy Straits then turning to Port to negotiate the shallow before heading through to Moon Point where we will anchor for a couple of nights.
My nerves are no better; in fact they are getting worse. I’m doing silly things, making silly mistakes and I am getting totally ticked off with myself. I think this is making things worse; a snowballing effect; catch 22. JJ is calm, cool and collected; he is in his element at the helm and playing with the sails, while on the inside I am a nervous wreck. My old phobias haunt me.
JJ has the new Garmin Chart Plotter, sitting alongside the other instrument by the helm, up and running. I have the old computer on the chart table with a Sea-Clear program running and I also have the paper charts out on the table. The old GPS has been bracketed to the panel by the chart table; it is running too. We have it all running; who knows which one will be true. I can see that we are approaching the Fairway marker leading into the Straits and no two of our systems are reading the same. “What the”?
Soon it will be time to leave the main channel to cross over the shallow sand banks to be able to get to Moon Point. My stomach is in a tight knot, my nerves are shot and panic fills my entire being. I have been running back and forth to the loo every half an hour. I feel stressed to the max; I feel like we are plummeting headlong into danger and there is nothing I can do about it. I also feel frustrated and cranky with myself for letting the panic escalate.
JJ follows the Ferry line on the Garmin and this takes us across in the right spot – thank goodness. The other plotters and even the chart had us going across the sand bank.
My heart is racing. I will be glad when we get there.
We make it to Moon Point in one piece (funny about that!). And there’s more! More shallows to negotiate. The first anchor drop did not hold so JJ pushes Alana Rose further up the gutter past Sandy Point where it is extremely shallow, behind another catamaran. Thank goodness I have something to keep my mind busy - well nearly – I push the panic down for now.
First night at Moon Point proves to be a restless one, for me; I’m on anchor watch again. There really is nothing to worry about, the anchor is holding. JJ and I have plenty of chain out even for a shallow spot with increasing winds. It’s all the noises that get me; the lapping of the water, the blowing of the wind, the pulling of the anchor chain or bridle and the bumping of the dingy on the hull. Any strange little noise wakes me through the night and still the frequent toilet visits which don’t help.
JJ sleeps on; waking only a couple of times; loo visits and a general surveillance which includes a check on the anchor rode. He really is very good and I do trust him and his operation of the boat.
Sunday 31st August
Moon Point is the last headland on Fraser Island before The Great Sandy Straits opens up into Hervey Bay; it is on a low wooded inlet almost connected to Fraser Island by creek mangroves. Sandy Point is part of this inlet. On high tide as you look across the Straits from this point all you can see is a large mass of water stretching over to Big Woody Island, but on a low tide a multitude of sand banks and small sand islands are exposed. These sandy refuges are a haven for the local sea birds but a problem for the unknowing boat person.
There is a gentle breeze from the SE; Alana Rose is under the protection of Sandy Point on Fraser Island. The sun is shining brilliantly across the calm blue waters. After the morning chores are completed I have the rest of the day to loll about the boat to read, to write, to knit or to just sit and appreciate the beautiful scene. It is very peaceful to sit, watch and listen to the water ripple with the breath of the breeze, to the birds on the land, in the trees, on the water or in the air, to the schools of fish that surface every now and then, to the boating traffic that passes Moon Point coming and going from Fraser Island to Urangan Harbour or into Sandy Straits and even to the activities on the other yachts anchored not too far away.
JJ is busy creating his chores; if it is not written on his white-board or in his head then he invents them. No, not really! His mind is always thinking of new ideas for Alana Rose, whether it is a way of fixing something or making life easier, JJ has always a project in the making. One of his favourite projects is to lower the dingy and say “howdy” to our nearest neighbours; that’s if the unsuspecting neighbours have answered his initial wave of friendship. These ones do and he is off.
As the days light begins to fade and the evening is approaching more yachts come into this little anchorage to seek refuse for the night. The great yellow sun sets forward of Alana Rose’s bow engulfing the neighbouring yachts in its last brilliant flash of fading light.
Tonight my sleep is peaceful.
Monday 01/09
1st & 2nd September
Kingfisher Bay (25*23'15 S / 153*01'70 E)
Monday morning JJ and I up anchor leave Moon Point and head for Kingfisher Bay. The weather is predicted to change; wind direction from the NE instead of SE and Moon Point will not give protection from the NE. It is beginning to be a grey day.
To get out and back over the shallow sand bars JJ follows his track in and the Ferry Line back to the main channel. My nerves are heightened, nothing like the first day but the loo visits are still frequent.
Out in the main channel several sailing boats pass us by, many small power boats dot the waters along the way and a number of turtles surface for a quick breath of air. Each turtles swims around like this oblivious to the rest of the world till it sees a boat coming and submerges to reappear many meters away.
JJ and I drop anchor in Kingfisher Bay, north of the jetty which leads to the Kingfisher Bay Resort. The resort is on the western coast of Fraser Island nearly opposite River Heads, the entrance to The Mary River. It is an ecological friendly resort with a separate visitors area near the beach in the form of a swimming pool, bar, bistro, shower and toilets. The main guest area is further up the hill and includes a general store, a takeaway and coffee bar; all this can be used by any visitors. Boat visitors are not allowed to use the jetty or ramp; these are for the constant traffic of passenger ferry cats and vehicular barges. Boaties get to beach their dingies.
Another small power boat tries to beat us in, we let it. She anchors closer in to shore than Alana Rose, between us and the shoreline. This power boat looks like an old cabin cruiser turned into a rental boat all set up with fishing gear, dingy and several males looking for that elusive catch. Today it will be drinks at the resort pool bar. This power boat is flying the Broncos flag. I wonder?
After I set the anchor I always check it maybe twice or three times, just for my peace of mind. On one of my inspections I saw something swim by towards the shore, off the port bow; it surfaced three times. To me this sea creature looked like a small whale but JJ thinks that it may have been a Dugong (he did not see it). I don’t know? This creature had a slight hump or stubby fin like shape on the top of its back. It was mid to light grey in colour with patches of white on top. Maybe it was a dolphin? I never saw it again.
JJ drops the dingy and we go ashore; lunch at the pool bistro. There is no dingy dock for us yachties only to beach the dingy. As our dingy heads for the beach the water becomes too shallow for the use of the outboard, this is where a good pair of oars comes in handy. Once the bow of the dingy hits the sand JJ and I hope out to calf deep lapping water and drag our dingy another meter clear of the water’s edge. This is when JJ takes the little anchor further up the beach and digs it into the sand. The tide is going out so we can’t be too long away. I have mud and sand caked on my feet from wadding through the wet slush to get to dryer ground but who cares; everyone round here has sand or mud on them somewhere.
The outdoor bar and bistro is set back off the beach with a surrounding bush garden and swimming pool hiding it from waters view. Once you come off the beach you pass through a closed gate which is part of a wire mesh fence which surrounds the resort complex. This fence has been put in place to keep the wandering dingos that inhabit the island from explore in and around the resort. I wander beside JJ with my muddy bare feet, along the road that leads from the jetty to settle ourselves at a shady table under the bistro awning. And guess what? The guys from the power boat are there.
JJ and I eat some, have a drink and talk to another couple who have come over on the barge. I inspect the toilet and shower amenities, just in case we ever need to use them in the future. Modern corrugated building with a wooden slat floor; might come in use one day. I’ll chalk that one up in the old memory bank.
It’s time to leave but the tide has gone out faster than we had anticipated. Damm! JJ and I have to drag the dingy about 50 meters to the water’s edge. Hard yakka! How long does it take two old farts to drag a three and half meter dingy with a 15 HP motor 50 meters? Seems like forever and we need a thousand rest stops. How many eyes are watching?
The boys do not return to their boat and the tide has gone right out leaving the poor little power boat lisping to one side. I sit there watching it happen and there is nothing that I can do. It is really quite funny; bit by bit the little boat tips over then settles on a precarious lean in the soft mud. JJ rings the Resort management in concern.
Late in the afternoon two of the boys make their way along the sand and mud down to the boat. I don’t think that they were there more than fifteen minutes before returning to shore and probably back to the bar. Just after dark and now the tide was coming in, the little motor boat has righted itself and the boys return. JJ and I can hear them on the beach trying to get their dingy to the water; it was further up the beach than was our dingy. There are noises and laughter, splashes and yelling when after a time all make it back to the little boat. All the lights on, loud voices are heard; now the motor is running. The anchor is pulled in and they are on the move. Not too far though, anchoring further out past Alana Rose and not a peep out of them for the rest of the night.
JJ and I stay in Kingfisher Bay another day; the boat traffic is not as bad as they make out or maybe it gets worse in the summer season. I’m sleeping better but I’m still in a funny mood – not wanting to go anywhere, just wanting to veg out on the boat. JJ suggests this and that but I’m not enthused; not wanting to go ashore alone if JJ drops me at the jetty, not wanting to drive the dingy to drop JJ ashore to do the same (not that he really wanted to be the one to go ashore), not feeling very secure, disagreeing with JJ, upsetting the apple-cart, just an old grumble bum and wanting to be left in peace. I’m nearly in tears and I don’t know why. Is it part of the panic attack thing, is it stress, is it menopause or is it all of the above? I have no idea; I just know that I don’t like feeling this way. Today I spend part of the day sitting in the cockpit knitting my squares. I’m making covers out of knitted squares with nautical pictures, in various blues and light browns, for the salon cushions. I’m quite happy to sit for a few hours and do this; it helps me to relax. I can also watch the water, the beach and the jetty as I sit in the cockpit; I watch out for any activities. Boats come and go, the ferry makes it usual drop-off and the barge come in to pick up the days traffic of four wheel drives and other vehicles that are returning to the main land. The barge slowly manoeuvres into the docking ramp while the vehicles line up to wait for the signal to board. All in a line, like solder ants, the possession moves forward down the ramp and onto the barge. Last of all a group of foot solders (tourists) are herded on board. It is a funny thing to watch.

Posted by nancyjean 11:12 Archived in Australia Tagged boating Comments (0)

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