July 09, 2009
As strong winds were forecast that afternoon 25-30kn and to continue for 3 days (we had listened to the latest VHF forecasts in the morning) we thought it best to head over to Urangan and get a spot in the marina.
We pulled anchor around 9:00 and headed off thinking there was no hurry. We had sailed up Fraser island though further than we thought and it took a while to get back to Moon pt in windy conditions. We went out through the narrow Ferry channel within spitting distance of Moon pt int the full brunt of the SE – it was now at 27-30 kn on the nose. The tide had also turned so now we were bashing against the waves and down to around 3kn SOG (Speed Over Ground). This meant that we were going to have to spend an hr in this direction before we could change to the next NW leg, the final S leg should be more protecetd but the troops wern’t entirely happy with this. As water bucketed over the dippiong bow I thought that trying to do this against the tide was a bit like pulling teeth so why not go back and wait for better tidal conditions.
IO swung Holdfast back around 180deg and we set for the narrow ferry track again – thank god for GPS. As we came up to it – we hadn’t come very far at all really around the corner – the tide was pushing the boat onto the sandbanks and I had to glide sideways into the narrow channel. Once there we were fine and I rounded Moon pt and motored along until I found a quietish spot and dropped the anchor.
Agfter considering options and tides etc we thought best to sit here and try tomorrow at the top of the tide ie not fighting it but not wind over tide either which would be very viscous with these wind conditions. It started to pur outside so we cranked up the movie HD and settled in for 3 movies and a cou-ple of episodes of Underbelly before bedtime. Good to have 240V and a generator as well.
July 07, 2009
The challenge of the Great Sandy straits is getting over the shallow areas with enough depth under the keel. The shallow area is just north of Gary’s anchorage around Tooth island with the meeting point of the north and south running tides just a little north of that. The obvious solution for maximum depth which conincides with tidal assistance is to start with the flood tide and aim to be at the shallowest area at around high tide, exiting north with the ebb tide as it flows out to the sea into Hervey bay.
Following this plan we up anchored at 6:15 Tuesday morning aiming to be at Tooth island at around 9:30am. We motored off with the skipper half awake when he realised that the oars were still in the dinghy which was still behind. I didn’t want to anchor so idled the motor back so I could pull in the dinghy rodes and retreive the oars from the dinghy – easier said then done. 10 mins later we were on our way again.
The plan was to follow the handheld GPS which had a route marked. I had checked and this seemed to be the same on each map (plotter, handheld and physical map) I had but I had also plotted the route on the chart plotter for double checking. When we were up to Gary’s (around 8:45 ) I asked Jacqui to continually feed me the bearing and course from the cabin plotter to verify my handheld. This became important because I couldn’t check with a bearing off compass because (a) not accurate on steel boat and (b) not too many about anyway and I hadn’t prepared bearings to go off. It also became important because there were very strong cross flows as we wound around through the narrow channel and the handheld GPS did not always give a good GOG figure (course over ground- this maight be due to some adjustment but the Simrad plotter worked great only it wasn’t feeding to the helm)
After a hard working 40 mins where Jacqui was constantly giving me the course and bearing from the plotter while I was reading the Handheld, we were through back into deep water. Turns out the Garmin handheld generally performed welll except it sometimes gave misleading COG numbers with radical boat or hand movement, so the exercise actully increased my confidence in it.
Heading north we were able to put up sails in a light S breeze north of White cliffs so finally switched the motor off. Breeze almost died hovering around 3-6kn before picking up after lunch, now 10-13kn. Sailing well now I headed north to the fairway bouy before decing to turn back and head through to the channel off Moon point behind Moon Banks. We were able to do it all under sail no worries and found ourselves now with an increasing 13-16kn breeze skooting along the West coast of Fraser island now out in Hervey bay. The sailing was great so we kept going. It was now time to look for an anchorage with 20-25kn SE wind forecast. I though anywhere on this side of Frazer Isalnd should provide pretty good protection. We headed back SW towards Moon pt but found there was a S swell coking through as though it was sweeping around Moon pt and deflecting NE wards. We went further along the cooast to where I could see v high sand dunes "Arch cliffs – perhaps more protection there.
We arrived in the late afternoon – too late to go anywhere now and anchored. Also anchored here was a Cat and a motor launch. The wind had picked up but we seemed well protected.
That night when the tide changed we started to feel a persistent swell and by morning we were rocking around the anchor quite a lot.
July 06, 2009
Woke to a calm morning.
I checked tides and worked out that we should do a trip into Tin Can bay on the tide for refuelling. I thought we should have almost half a tank of diesel left but was unsure I was reading the sound of the tank right from my taps. Around 8:30 we weighed anchor and headed up the inlet. A wind sprang up with a little rain which we motored straight into – no room for sail here.
We arrived at Tin Can bay passing a boat just across from the coastguard which had run aground waiting the next spring tide – poor buggers sitting out in the sloping cockpit looking a bit uncomfortable and feeling a little glum no doubt. Their boat was just outside the channel so the depthe obviosly chaged quickly – maybe they were swept sideways out of the channel which can very easily happen in these very tidal areas. We went down to the marina fuel depot but it was too tight to get into with a large housboat taking up a fair bit of the jetty. I motored Holdfast out backwards and we headed back to a fuel stop near the coastguard. We weren’t sure though of it’s depth – the tide was on the way out now. Jacqui rang the coastguard and got the number of the depot – the depth would be OK as long as we came straight in and didn’t try to come in too shallow an angle. The first attepmt failed miserably as I didn;t realise the tide had tiurned and was f;lowing quite strongly – we were swept passed the small jetty as I tried to apprioach from upstream. Tail between my legs we went out to the channel so we could get the ropes and Fenders over o the other side. A ferry unloaded passengers and another yacht beat us in before we finally were able to approach from downstream – much easier when you do it right!
We refuelled and headed back through the channel. Apparrently the grounded boat had been there since the night before and was grounded near hight tide. Tonight’s tide will be a little higher so hopefully he will get off. Lots of groundings here as it looks as though there is a by here although it only has a few feet over it at high tide.
July 05, 2009
Had a great couple of days in Mooloolaba – nice sunny weather. we didn’t quite get to swim although there were people in the water – Victorians apparently as Queenslanders were all in coats and jumpers. Mooloolaba very busy with holiday makers Everyone at the marina very friendly.
Jacqui and Natalie stock’d up while I prepared a navigation plan, shopped in local chandlery’s and fossicked around on boat. I’d also visited the local coast guard and checked for info on Wide Bay bar. They handed me a sheet with the latest GPS coordinates and instructions.
We had made a plan to leave early Sunday morning to arrive at the Wide Bay bar just before sunset although still over 2 hrs before high tide slack water. Wide bay bay is renowned as a dangerous bar where the safety advice is don’t go if 15/15 ie breeze over 15 Knots or swell over 1.5 m. The general advice for any bar is to go 0-2 hrs before high tide which allows for maximum depth, still water and not ebb (outgoing) tide over incoming swell (breaking waves etc).
7:00am Sunday we slipped our mooring and headed out of Mooloolaba river.
Outside there was a gentle 4-6 Knot SE breeze so we hoisted sail and made about 3-4.5kn. I though we could afford to go slow for a while but hoped the forecast 10-15 kn breeze would kick in soonish. 8:30am with the breeze dropping we dropped sail and kicked in the diesel – nice to be doing 6+ knots again. Very quiet trip – minimum swell and breeze – almost glassy at times. We tried sailing again at lunchtime for about 50 mins before resuming under motor once more.
We rounded Double Island Pt about 3:30pm and headed to Waypoint 1 7.5nm away. I had the 3 GPS waypoints marked clearly on the map, programmed ion the boat Chartplotter as well as in my handheld GPS.
Approaching WP1 we donned lifejackets and clipped our harnesses on. We had the storm boards ready to put in but I wanted Jacqui to monitor our position on the chartplotter inside the cabin as I didn’t want to totally ctrust my Garmin handheld GPS. We established previous contact with Coastguard Tin Can bay but now passed WP1 without realising and were crossing the bar – luckily the swell was mild and we were given just gentle rides down the smallish waves as I honed in on the leading light. Realising our mistake Jacqui radio’d in that we had just pased WP1 and were crossing the bar. WP2 came up quickly on the GPS and I looked for the leads coming off the mainland. Hard to spot but I found them in the distance and turned the boat to port – we had gone past the leads so I headed back onto them as rather large green waves rolled under us in about 20m of water. The boat rocked violently causing the crew to become very nervous all of a sudden. Wide bay bar wasn’t done with us yet. I was also a little surprised how much these waves were throwing the boat around so headed onto the biggest of them before resuming the leads in between sets. 10 mins later the waters slowly calmed as we tuned the corner into the Great Sansy Straits. We had come in right before sunset and now the western sky was ablaze as we headed staright into it. We headed along the southern shore of Fraser Island to the anchorage spot charted and dropped the anchor in a very calm 5m of water.
Day done the crew recovered and proclaimed themselves to be Wide Bay bar junkies! Bubbly was decorked, food was worked up and we settled down for the night as the nerves subsided.
July 02, 2009
up anchor at 515
SW around Peel island in the dark, then dawn light.
Headed N towards the main shipping channel alongside Moreton Island then out spitfire channel, to caboulture, around the rocks then to Mooloolaba river.
Motored all the way though only motor sailing from caboulture to Mooloolaba (7Kn with jib up – apparent wind 90deg)
arrived Moolooaba 3;35pm.
total trip of 59.6Nm acheived in around 10 hrs – good effort we all thought.
June 30, 2009
Washing acheived at marina laundromat
went to dinner at local indian restaurant
Alice and Che visited. Che’s dad had apparently had a 45 steel boat in adelaide which was now sold. Alice was glad to see her remaing clothes etc which we gave her from Julie. Alice keeping even busier in her break by working long hours although she was obviously enjoying the work, which had a fair amount of responsibility attached, and it seem to pay very well.
Jim and Julie Betts came over and we had coffee with them. jim showed me how to undo winches for servicing and I was able to ask a few questions I had. Jacqui Julie and Natalie walked up to Manly shops to have coffee and chat.
2:55Pm we left marina
Put sails up once clear in light 6-8Kn breeze
breeze died about 4:15 so we then motored the last section into a dusk laden horseshoe bay 9sunset at 5:00.)
anchor was dropped and determined to be holoding fast arounf 5:30
Overnight wind picked up to 15Kn N
June 28, 2009
Natalie and I got the boat tidy and organised for the trip down to Manly. everything stowed as it was forecast to be around 15+ knots.
We left the marina at 1130. Sails hoisted at 1200 and set a course ESE around the point then SE to a track across Brisbane port entrance, SW of Mud island and N of St Helena, then around the SE corner of Green island into Manly Boat harbour.
the trip started with a great WSW breeze 10-14Kn and we averaged 7-8Kn boat speed. After coming alomgside Mud island the breeze slowly eased to 6-8 kn and changed SWS. we had to go E off course a little to keep sailing a while off St Helena before we dropped sails and headed W to the Manly boat harbour leads.Important to follow these as the depth was only a little over 2m in places (Holdfast draws 1.8m) with the start of the leads having a narrow and shallow patch to go through.
1540 we docked in Manly marina having covered 22.3 Nm – moslty by sail for a change.
June 27, 2009
Holed up in Scarborough Marina .
Jacqui left by taxi for the airport at 6:00am.
Weather came in very rainy. Mid morning I went and had a coffee with Mike from the boat sales. He offered to lend me his car again all day if I wanted so I transferred Holdfast’s rego, and went to several chandlery’s looking for a couple of bits.
Natalie arrived at Brisbane airport about 6:00pm by bus from the Gold coast with her scholl band. I convinced her that she was old enough to jump in a cab to Scarborough by herself and didn’t need me to come and get her. She eventually arrived, after a lot of direction to the cabbie and several mobile calls, to a very wet Scarborough.
June 25, 2009
Upped anchor and motored up to Tangalooma.
The morning saw a hearty breakfast of Bacon and eggs cooked up by the first Mate while the skipper threw the dingy off the fore deck and lugged the little 5hp outboard onto it’s transom. After eating we gingerly disembarked suprised at how difficult this exercise was without the false courage we had last time. The dingy motored nicely into the almost pristine beach of Lucinda Bay. After lifting it well clear of the likely tide height we walked along the beach watching a small school of dolphins fishing along the edge of the gutter.
Returning to the boat I hooked the dinghy on for a tow up to Tangalooma resort. We went out and around Dring Bank in case the sandbanks had moved since charted and motored North.
The entrance into Tangalooma is marked by 2 sets of leads which I though I’d take Holdfast through.
We found the first set of leads buried in the shrubbery – you couldn’t see them until you were nearly in line. The second ones weren’t much easier to find and I would have been much more concerned without the GPS’s guidance.
Following the leads with a strong cross tide was interesting and much harder than I thought it would be, and it was even more challenging on the way back out later looking back to shore over my shoulder while keeping an eye ahead – a bit liking backing a trailer I thought.
We went up to the wrecks slightly north of Tangalloma resort and anchored. I launched the dinghy and went for a low powered zoom around the wrecks and the fishing folk – a good photo opportunity as well.
I need to get better at the whole trip planning thing. I climbed up aboard, pulled the motor up and hoisted the dinghy back onto the fore deck before tying it down. I rang Manly Boat harbour to arrange a mooring for the night as Jacqui had an early morning flight to Sydney to catch. That organised I sat down to work out a quick route and realised that we had 17M to do and the current boat speed with motor was only 5 knots. There was still only skerricks of breeze around and we were against the tide - extimated eta was well after dark.
Ater discussing with Jacqi I reorganised our plans and booked into Scarborough marina - still 13M away but we were able to go across the tide to acheive better speed over the ground. Holdfast arrived at 5:05pm just after the marina office closed. I had contacted Mike from the Boat sales office and he arranged for Simon from his office to come down and help us dock. I manged to drift Holdfast in just about OK still getting used to a boat 5 times heavier but slippier.
Mike showed up soon after at our berth with a bottle and a chat which was nice. He lent us his car later on so we grab some supplies locally which was greatly appreciated.
June 24, 2009
Picked up anchor at 11:30 and motored in a zepher around the east then north aspects of Peel island. We needed to get back into the middle of Moreton Bay via a NE track so we could then head north, skirting the huge stretch of underwater banks dumped through South channel between Moreton and Stradbroke Islands, then onto Lucinda bay.
Once out into a bit of searoom I ventured to hoist the sails, still hoping the zepher would evolve into a breeze at some point. Frustratingly the main caught on the jackstays several times before we could get the sail up – that was a bit of a test for the old ticker – which it passed with flying colours.
Lucinda Bay is on the Eastern side of Moreton Bay south of Tangalooma resort. It was the site of our first overnighter in Holdfast. We had been invited over by Mike, our friendly Yacht broker, to join in a BBQ with a friendly group from Scarborough Marina and had had a ball.
After futilely trying to sail over to Mud island in an attempt to get some boat speed up on almost a beam reach the first mate enquired how long it would take to get to Lucinda bay. We had spent a couple of lazy hours going slowly the wrong way while time had stood still tardis-like in our little world only. I did a quick mental assessment and decided it was time to drop sail and kick in the diesel. Once the sails were dropped and furled I spent a few minutes at the nav table before reporting that we couldn’t get to a Lucinda bay achorage until at least 30 mins after the 5:00 sundown. First mate was a little concerned however I assured her that the skipper could get in to the anchorage blindfolded and was well supported by GPS and radar technologies anyway should his natural navigating talents fall short.
After watching a beautiful chilly sunset befall Brisbane in the distance we located the entrance to the gully behind Dringbanks alongside Lucinda Bay and ventured ever northwards up hoping the mapped contours still held up, eyes nurturing the depth sounder. Unfortunately as darkeness fell the only instrument not to be lit up enought to be seen by the skippers eagle eyesight was the depth sounder. We had gone through some lifejacket and clip-on discussions, and torches issued. We had also discussed night vision and the use of cabin lights and red navigation backlighting but now I needed to flick the torch on and off over the depth sounder as I was still certain we could get more protection always a little further up the gully.
6:00, pitch dark, no moon, but up the channel far enough, the anchor was dropped with some relief felt in all quarters.
There was a bit of swell kicking around from the north but we were comforable and unaffected. I was concerned the wind might swing north-west which would increase the swell and lead to us having to abandon the anchorage in the middle of the night – the closest refuge from a westernly aspect being some hours away back towards the south of the bay – or to the east anchored against the suberbs I guess. Our and my luck held out and the swell decreased as the breeze swung around to the east overnight and we woke up with a gentle boat just reacting to the container ships heading out of Moreton bay some miles distant.
I checked the tidal swing at 10:15pm and woke to check it again at 5:15am the next morning. The anchor alarm went off at midnight as the tide strengthed but it was set short at 20m and we were fine and stuck fast.