Friday, 24 August 2012

Mooloolaba to Hervey Bay

Monday 18 June an early rise allowed us a 7am departure from Mooloolaba with the high tide. This time the bar was relatively benign although we took no chances and reversed our incoming path to take us to an open sea without any dramas. Jimmy was there in his tinny to bid us a bon voyage on a sparkling Monday morning.

Jimmy farewells us from Mooloolaba on a perfect Monday morning

The kite was soon put to good use in the light 5-10kn SSW breeze for the next 7hrs before we were forced to start the donk to keep up the modest average. It was about 6pm by the time we dropped the pick in the bay around the corner from Double Island Point. There was a very slight swell coming in but it was well protected from the prevailing wind and after an easy tea it was time to hit the sack.

Enough breeze to keep this up for 7 hrs out of 10

Tuesday 19 June
Wide Bay Bar which provides access to and from the southern end of The Great Sandy Straits has a section in it called The Mad Mile. The name is quite apt given its reputation for at times a dangerous piece of water especially when swell conspires with tidal current to create nasty breaking waves. Our turn to cross was uneventful having got the latest waypoints for the channel from the volunteer marine rescue and timed it well with a low swell and rising tide. Nevertheless it was sobering to imagine less than ideal conditions when we had breaking waves either side not too far away and at one point down to 2.5m below the keel.

Heading for Wide Bay Bar. Double Island Point left of pic and Rainbow Beach

Once inside Inskip Point we were greeted by calmness and sunshine of The Great Sandy Straits.
A mile north a sea eagle greeted us as we dropped anchor at Elbow Point to soak it all up. Lunch, a beach walk and a swim was the perfect entree.

Just inside Inskip Point and the serene waters of The Great Sandy Straits heading north

White Breasted Sea Eagle always a majestic sight near Inskip Pt

After lunch it was a short motor to one of the best known all weather anchorages, Garry's Anchorage for the night.

Miff sighting the distant channel markers into Garry's Anchorage
The next morning at Garry's we caught up with fellow cruisers Trevor and Gail who we met in Port Stephens and Derryn and Dianne from Devonport, Tas. We all set off on a pleasant walk through the foreshore bush then Miff and I continued on further to explore the sand and mudflats.

Early morning peace, Garry's Anchorage

I didn't realise!

The wonderful mangrove

Miniature life

Wandering aimlessly?

Thursday 21 June
Paying close attention to the tides we headed north to South White Cliffs relieved to have made it through the shallowest section in the Straits. South White Cliffs is a delightful anchorage with large expanses of water at high tide and sand at low tide and sunsets on cue.

Sandy Straits sunset

looking the other way

Just relaxing here is easy. Caught a couple of bream for tea, went for walks, had sundowners with Trevor and Gail. It's a photographers and twitchers delight. Fantastic birdlife here, sea eagles, ospreys, brahminy kites, herons, eagrets and they are only the ones we know. Then when the weather went grey and gloomy Miff put her book down and took to the galley to bake a delicious fruit cake ( don't take any notice of the expiry date of the mixed fruit) in the improvised pressure cooker oven.

Fresh is best

Miff works her magic with the pressure cooker oven

Its a big country

Mangrove leaves

Sandy Straits low tide

Plenty of sand for the Soldier Crab

End of another day
Sunday 24 June
The next part of the journey was unexpected. Instead of making our way to Hervey Bay in our own good time, when the sun was shining and the wind favourable my heart had other ideas. In short I had a heart attack which started about midnight Saturday at South White Cliffs. Sixteen hours later after a slow showery windy trip I was treated in Hervey Bay Hospital then flown that night to Royal Brisbane and stented a couple of days later.
Thursday 28 June
Discharged from hospital.

Some may say this is a drastic way to avoid Miff's cooking

Two hospitals and one stent later, Brisbane and my beautiful first visitors Sarah, Tim and Arlo

Back in Hervey Bay with friends Roy and Cindy

Our new crew member
Tuesday 24 July
Today Miff and I returned to Sorcerer in Urangan Marina, Hervey Bay and it felt good to be home. For the past 4 weeks I have been rehabbing in Sydney and on the NSW south coast where the walking on beaches and mountains is beautiful. Also I discovered an exercise trail in Hervey Bay which I made full use of by riding the bike to and doing a session. A checkup with my cardiologist in Brisbane on 30 July gave me the OK to finally get going north again so we restocked, refuelled and watered ready to go.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Southport to Mooloolaba

Southport to Mooloolaba

Making the inside passage of South and North Stradbroke Islands is a welcome sheltered alternative to the outside route especially when there is a big sea running. If the weather is good its even better when you can try fishing or crabbing, we weren't inspired to do either except for once on the last afternoon near Steiglitz. With our 2.2m draught we also needed to take careful note of the tides to reduce the chance of grounding in the shallower sections, Beacon to Beacon was a valuable navigation aid.  
After 3 days of windy rainy weather we arrived in calm clear conditions at a delightful anchorage next to Macleay Island at the bottom end of Moreton Bay. As a treat after being a bit boat bound for three days in the less than inviting weather we went ashore to the village to buy a few essentials and have a yummy meal of baked spud and coleslaw at The Blue Parrot Cafe.
A late start from Macleay Island saw us arriving at Bongaree inside Bribie Island 41nm north at about 8pm after a dead calm  Moreton Bay.

Moreton Bay sunset approaching the Port Brisbane shipping lane
Friday 16 June
We woke to a sunny clear morning and set off for Mooloolaba at 7am in a 10kn SW breeze. Having overestimated the distance we had to travel we arrived off Mooloolaba at 1.30pm with the tide only half way in.

sailing along Bribie Island with the spectacular Glasshouse Mountains behind

Passing Caloundra with The Glasshouse Mountains behind

After speaking to Marine Rescue about the state of the bar we decided to sit off and wait for the swell to abate, the tide to rise and to observe, with the help of AIS, the course taken by other vessels coming and going through the entrance. By about 3.30pm we thought we'd give it a go. The course involved heading towards the beach about 500m from the wall then running parallel with the beach just behind the breakers. When we were level with the outer end of the wall we ran towards it at 90 degrees. This took us through water as little as 900mm below the keel, and brought us to the end of the breakwall with just enough room to squeeze between it and the breaking waves across the mouth and at the same time watching out for surfers and all manner of water craft having a ball on the said wave.
Once inside (what a relief!) we were welcomed by Miff's brother Jimmy and friend Bruce and with their pilotage it was plain motoring to our secure anchorage amongst the waterfront mansions of Mooloolaba.

A warm welcome to Mooloolaba from Miff's brother Jimmy

A timely warning for a busy barway entry

Typical weekend traffic at Mooloolaba  barway

The weekend was spent off the boat with Jimmy and Julie at their home in Buderim enjoying hospitality only families can provide. The beautiful weather allowed a good tour of Mooloolaba with Jimmy and Julie including a Saturday morning cafe breakfast, tour of the canal marinas and homes and replenishing food, fuel and water supplies in readiness for our departure on Monday morning. 

Who needs a dinghy when you have a bath?  Mooloolah River local.