August 04, 2011
Charon’s Queensland Adventure
4th August, 2011
Redcliffe to Maryborough
We departed our Marina berth of some nine months and the manager Vic had helped us free our lines and head out. We had enjoyed the Wednesday evening BBQ’s and supporting neighbours and Newport had really felt like home for the best part of a year – even without us on board.
The tack to Mooloolaba was familiar and we spend more time out of the shipping channels than before. The VMR groups provided us with emergency radio coverage as usual and we logged off at anchor in the Mooloolaba river anchorage in company with a dozen other boats. There was a dredge constricting the narrow entrance channel and certainly would be still there during our early morning exit for the long run to Wide Bay. We had an appointment with the barway a little after midday and needed the sun overhead as much as possible to enter safely.
The second day of our 2011 voyage also proved uneventful – simply motoring and motor-sailing in light conditions – ideal for the notorious wide bay bar – with sections called the “mad mile” and the “washing machine!” We were in company with two other boats as we radioed Wide Bay VMR (Volunteer Marine Rescue) and followed another yacht in. That vessel did a wide 360-degree turn and ended up following us in! The GPS coordinates were essential and confidence in your plotter as the leads were not visible and the “bright white light” almost a figment of one’s imagination. I thought I could see the directional beacon and its tiny white blob amongst the trees on Hook Point – but would not without a degree of confirmation from the plotter track. The “mad mile” was not too crazy and we entered the main entrance channel and sought anchorage in Pelican Bay.
No water! No water anywhere – just shallow channels and furrows culminating in dead ends. We settled in Pelican bay after some false starts and spent a restful evening enjoying Charon’s new BBQ.
The following afternoon we motored to Tin Can bay and found a safe anchorage off Snapper Creek among other anchored boats. After the obligatory chat with other Hobart vessels (there are usually some ex pats who left Tasmania eight years ago and never went back) we explored Tin Can Bay, watched the dolphins feeding, had coffee and a drink at the Yacht Club and reprovisioned.
As we were dinghying back to Charon after a visit ashore we were beckoned over to an anchored catamaran by a crewmember who noticed out Hobart hailing port. We were equally stunned to find that the crewmember was Garry, a friend from our local tennis club and aquatic club back at Nubeena. He didn’t know it was us and we didn’t know it was him! We enjoyed a cuppa on board Larry’s cat and arranged social tennis the following morning. Larry spends the winter up North (wherever that is!) and was anchored in Tin Can Bay. We received the royal tour of Tin Can Bay, a great morning of doubles on a grass court and discovered that Larry was an old blues guitarist (playing old blues – not age!) so we promised that if we ever caught up we would have a jam session together as Charon had a piano and Larry carried his guitar.
The following morning as we departed, the anchor still dripping, we motored a boat length to say farewell to Larry and run aground. This was to be the first of several groundings in Wide Bay! Having missed our departure tide for Garry’s anchorage we arranged dinner and a jam session that evening. Larry was vegan and Wendy and I were on a strict protein (read “meat”) diet – so we compromised on a Roast Chook for us, and a plate of vegies for Larry and an hour or so of good ol’ twelve bars.
The following morning we departed for Garry’s anchorage on Fraser Island and enjoyed two evening in quiet isolation among the mangroves – and midgies! The walk ashore was great – no dingoes or crocodiles. Just dog tracks and a few fellow humans.
The second grounding followed the next morning on departure north – only enough to wait ten minutes on a rising tide. The depth sounder was alarmed for two meters and went off over most of Sheridan Flats and at other times just as frequently. After our second grounding we decided to spend the evening at Horseshoe Anchorage in the Mary River and take the rising tide up the river the following day. The tide did just that and the river depths were fine upstream from Beaver Rocks.