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.