Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Lady Musgrave to Great Keppel Is

Saturday 20th July

We left Bundaberg early on Thursday for the 50nm run out to Lady Musgrave Island as there was a great forecast for the next 4 days.

The wind started off as a South Easterly of 5 to 10 knots and slowly swung to the North East of about 10 to 15 knots with 20 knots during the rain showers.

Lady Musgrave is part of the Bunker group of islands and is a coral lagoon of about 12 square kilometres in area with a sandy cay situated at the western end.

The entry channel is on the Northern side of the lagoon and is one of the very few coral lagoons where vessels can safely enter in almost any weather.

Allusive motored in through the narrow, deep channel and anchored in 9 metres of crystal clear water with about a dozen other vessels. Apart from a quick run ashore late in the day we didn’t do a lot as the breeze had picked up to about 20 knots and the lagoon was a bit lumpy with the swell breaking over the reef top for an hour or so either side of high tide. Once the tide drops the reef is exposed and the lagoon becomes very peaceful. The holding here is excellent and during the night the breeze slowly died away.

Friday turned out to be a million dollar day with no wind all day and lots of sun. We spent the day snorkelling, taking photos and cruising around the lagoon in the dingy looking at the various reefs.

At one spot we found a turtle cleaning station where the turtles gathered in a depression in the coral and small fish nibbled away at the accumulated algae on their shell. The fish life here is very colourful and abundant and the tour boat Lady Musgrave calls regularly with day trippers who hand feed a lot of the fish life, so they are fairly tame as you snorkel through the schools.

The dogs get a quick run ashore in the morning and evening but as there are a lot of ground birds in the undergrowth they are kept on the surrounding coral beaches on their leads.
 We have enjoyed the company of Greg and Karen from the Grainger 43 cat, Entice for a few sun downers and beach walks.

The weather is still holding on Saturday morning as I write this with a 5knot breeze coming in from the North West.

During the day we took a walk on the reef at low tide and found heaps of tropical fish and numerous turtles in the reef pools. Another snorkel along the edge of the reef then a snooze and sundowners with 3 other couples off the surrounding cats finished off another great day.

 Sunday 21st July

Out departure from the lagoon this morning wasn’t without incident as the engine of the mono hull departing 2 minutes in front of us stopped just as they got to the entrance. We managed to get a line onto them and towed them out through the coral pass into deep water where they made sail and headed off for Gladstone
The 100nm run to Great Keppel Island was a mixed bag of showers, multiple reefs in the main and eventually motor sailing in light breezes. This is a picturesque run up through the Capricorn group of reefs and small coral fringed islands including Heron, Masthead and other less known islets. The fishing is usually pretty good up through this area with Entice picking up three good fish (tuna and Spanish Mackerel) on their trolling lure around Heron Is. Our luck was out but we did lose another lure to something big.

We arrived at the anchorage at 9.00pm under a near full moon and spent a quiet night.

Hoping to improve our luck we set 3 crab pots in the mangrove lagoon behind the beach on Monday morning, but only picked up a couple of small ones overnight.
Dawn Monday at Great Keppel Is
Today, Tuesday is overcast and a bit windy, a good day to catch up on the blog. We are both well but the midges are leaving their mark on Di.









Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Bundaberg and beyond

The passage through the Sandy straits was uneventful.
After the night at Inskip Point we motored up to Tin Can bay to find somewhere to buy a couple of crab pots as we didn't want to pass up the opportunity of hopefully catching a few muddies.
The local chandlery was able to help out, so after a cruise around the Tin Can Bay estuary in the dingy we decided to stay in the area at anchor for the night.
Early the next morning we sailed up the strait to Garry's Anchorage, a muddy gutter off the main channel which is a popular anchorage, as it is sheltered and easy to get ashore. This is thickly forested and has some very pleasant walks.
We loaded up the crab pots with dog food loaf and tried to look as if we knew what we were doing as we located the spot to drop the pots. At low tide most of the pots are sitting on the mud and we realised we needn't have bought pots as there were old pots scattered everywhere throughout the anchorage.
On our first pull the next morning we caught a biggy! Onto Google to see how to cook it! All was revealed and a pleasant lunch followed.

After a couple of nights at Garry's it was time to move on, especially when Di spotted a big dingo on the shore where we water the dogs. Her last trip ashore that morning saw her armed with a dingy paddle over her shoulder. No dingo was going to get one of her babys!!

The weather in the sandy straits was overcast and showery so we were pleased to find the sun shining when we anchored later in the day at North White Cliffs, an area of sand cliffs and a long sandy beach. We had been keeping company with Mike and Helen on Grande Cru (Bavaria 50) during our time in the straits and a few relaxing sun downers were enjoyed in their company.
Helen introduced us to skipr.net which is a position reporting site that covers boats on the move all over. Its worth a look.
We left this anchorage early on Friday 12th and had another good sail to Bundaberg (60 miles) with the headsail poled out most of the way.
The Bundaberg Port Marina only lost a couple of pontoons in the floods last year but the Mid City Marina was wiped out with many boats swept out to sea still attached to the marina pontoons. This flood was HUGE with water speeds reported as high as 80KPH.
We have used our stop here to catch up on some restocking and washing plus an important stop at the rum distillery shop for some of their yummy liqueur.
On Sunday we drove South 300km to catch up with Tim and Sue Gourlay and family who are holidaying at Noosa Heads. It was great to see their family and meet all of the grandchildren.
Two days were spent doing things not normal for us yachties like golf and chasing one another around the Go Kart track in the wet! Tim and I taught the younger generation a few tricks probably left over from our younger hooning days.
We arrived back at the boat yesterday and spent the day today sorting through a months mail (thanks Aileen)
The weather over the next couple of days is forecast to be fairly light so we are planning to head out to the reef to Lady Musgrave atoll. As this is 50 miles or so offshore we wont be in phone range so I will move my sim card into the Sat Phone.

I hope to find time to select a few photos covering the last week or so. It is amazing how quickly the time is going and how diverse the trip has been so far.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Sandy Straits

The good weather continued when we left Mooloolaba yesterday for the 40 mile run up to the Wide Bay bar which is the entry point to the bottom of the Sandy Straits running between Fraser Island and the mainland.
Although we are now fairly late in the season there are still plenty of vessels of all shapes and sizes heading north.Our entry over the bar was without incident in company with a Hanse mono and two small cats. There were 16 boats in the anchorage last night.
We are now well and truely into the South East Trade Wind belt with 15-25 knots forecast for the rest of the week, so we should be able to cover some good ground when we leave here.
 The new haircut
 our wet day bushwalk
Inskip Point anchorage (Tin Can Bay)
How to make the day go quick when we go to sea (Dog Watch?)

Delivery Trip - A Quickie!!

The passage to Sydney from Southport with Ken Gourlay on the 36 ft Chris Craft went off without a hitch and we enjoyed some incredibly kind weather during the 48 hours it took to do the trip.
The first leg from southport to Coffs harbour took 8 hours and the second day to Port Stephens was the same. total running time 20 hours for 400 n miles!
 flat seas allows a quick run

Ken takes control

Friday, 5 July 2013

Another week

Oh dear, doesn't time "fly" when you are having fun.

I see it is a week since we posted anything on the blog, so thought I had better do something about it.

We have covered a few miles since the last posting and left Brisbane early, (out of bed at 4am - that is still before daylight) to make the most of the fast out going tide. Sailed most of the day in lovely conditions and arrived at Mooloolaba at about 3pm. The rain set in over the weekend so we hired a car and did some touring inland, still raining there but a good day's outing. Caught up again with crew of Escape Pod and once more enjoyed very pleasant evenings with them. Particularly tasty fish dinner aboard Allusive with complements of Peter & Nicole.

We picked up Ken (Gourlay) from Maroochydore airport on Wednesday afternoon. We then drove to Southport, about a 3 hour trip as we encountered delays on the motorway. Thursday morning John & Ken left Runaway Bay on the boat, that Andrew and business friends have bought, for the delivery trip to Sydney. Good first day's run and they arrived at Coffs Harbour for the night, refuelled (thankfully the owners pay the fuel bill!!) and off this morning destination Port Stephens or Newcastle.
The dogs & I are having a quiet couple of days back on Allusive at Mooloolaba. We will get in several walks and probably catch up on some reading. I like Mooloolaba as shops and beach are close to the marina. The weather has been dry the last couple of days and the forecast is for good weather for the next 4-5 days so I will probably get in some beach walks.