Gary’s Anchorage to Tin Can Bay

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In the marina at Tin Can Bay

Today we were greeted with plenty of sandflies which attacked us as soon as the sun rose.  So we were desperate to leave.  But as we waiting until we had enough information from the various marinas and BOM so that we could decide what to do, the phone rang and it was the Tin Can Bay Marina.  After a bit of discussion we were able to pick up the last berth for a cat at the marina.  This meant our fate was sealed.

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We looked at the weather and the more we looked the more we could see that we were not going to make Mooloolabah, although the wide bay bar looked pretty good.  So after the availability of the marina berth, it was decided to go to Tin Can Bay and hold up there until the upcoming bad weather pasts.  It looks like it is going to take over a week before we are in a position to move south again.

So we set off towards Tin Can Bay, and it was very calm.  We got a surprise when we pulled the anchor up.  Well actually two surprises.  The first was that the anchor winch worked flawlessly…  The second was we pulled up a folding chair wrapped around the chain.  We tried to salvage it and dispose of it appropriately, but we dropped it, so it is there for somebody else at a later date.  We had to motor for the rest of the Sandy Straights, but finally when we got into the last hour, the wind came up and in a good direction and we had an excellent sail right to Tin Can Bay.  Very fitting for our last day.

So why is it our last day, well we have decided that we should leave the boat here to sort out a number of issues at home and then come back in a week or so and complete the last bit of the journey then.  Tomorrow we have a couple of seats booked on the bus and we will get home tomorrow night.  So this is our last blog for the trip, at least for now.

It was actually a really sad day for me.  From my perspective, it has been a fantastic trip.  Hilary found it a bit tougher.  It is something I wanted to do since I was first given a book by Alan Lucas, about Cruising the Qld Coast when I was probably 12 years old.  It is a fascinating and beautiful place indeed, but it is not that forgiving and sometimes tough and rough going.  We built the boat to do this trip and today it was an understanding that we had completed that journey.  I wished that Ross was here to share it with us, and indeed I really missed him on this trip, but it just wasn’t to be.  I am thankful that at least Hilary and I managed to do it.  So we had a fitting sail to end the journey for now and although the days sail has ended, we still managed to meet some nice people that we have been sailing beside for the last 3 days.  Everybody is on their own journey, I suppose, and sometimes our paths run in parallel for a bit.

I took a bunch of not very relevant photos, so here they are.  I will probably do a few more for the last part of the journey, but it will be a week or so.

So for now, this is the last blog from us.

Allan and Hilary.

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Well we were expecting an anchor, but got a chair. Well we still had an anchor, but that came later.
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Leaving the sandflies at Gary’s Anchorage.
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Not a lot of wind coming down the Sandy Straights
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The entrance of the Wide bay Bar. But today we will not attempt it.
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Looking up from the engine bay.  The sail did a mighty job.
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We had enough wind to keep moving some times.  Looking north towards where we came from for the last month and half.  The journey coming to an end.
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Looking towards Tin Can Bay
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Just about the last bit of sailing.
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And the sails are set for the last time on this part of the trip.
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Then at the end, the wind came up and we were off.
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My home for many hours over the past 3 months.
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Arriving at Tin Can Bay
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Arrived and settled in a very narrow marina. One boat aborted as it was just too tough, but we were stupid enough to try and somehow managed it.
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The final sunset. Well a 7/10. Bye for now.

 

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Big Woody Island to Gary’s Anchorage

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Hilary getting the anchor sorted
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The sunset for the day

Today we were to navigate the Great Sandy Straights and set ourselves up for a crossing of the Wide Bay Bar tomorrow. Well the weather is not playing nice to us and it looks like we won’t be able to cross the bar and get to somewhere safe before a strong NW wind then and new SE strong wind appears.  So today after a fair bit of analysis of different weather patterns and different options we decide to just go to Gary’s anchorage.

So weather wise today it somewhere between dead flat calm and dead flat calm with a breath of a breeze.  We got up around 0500 and were on our way by 0515.  The anchor came up no problems, so I assume I have fixed that problem.  If it doesn’t work in the future I will assume it is a new unforeseen problem; which I might add there are many.

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We timed our departure so that we did not have to appease the god of current, because we knew what the tides were and where they meet in the middle of the travel we had to undertake.  So we planned it so that at the high tide were were at the point where the tides meet, so we therefore always had the tide with us.  If you don’t understand it, then just assume the god of tides was working with us for a change.

But the god of wind was also asleep (waiting for his big day on Tuesday, I suspect) and we had virtually none, but what we did have allowed us to sail most of the way.  However, when there was no wind then that diesel stuff sure becomes useful.

Anyway, when the new forecast came in at around 1000, it was clear that the situation with regards to the weather over the next week was getting worse.  So we decided that we would not cross the bar this week, but would wait it out.  Our first option was to go to Gary’s anchorage.  We feared that that there would be hordes of boats here, but there is not, at least today.  I assume they are going to try to make their way down the coast before the big winds come.

Well we anchored in Gary’s with nobody else to start with, but a couple of other boats arrived later.  I did some maintenance on the motors as some of the mounts were a little loose.  I had an issue with the salt water cooling system on the motors, most likely because the pump is getting a little old.  But after manually priming them, which required plenty of sucking on a hose and the inevitable mouth full of salt water, we got it going again.  We also have noted that the sun is starting to get really intense.  It seems worse than further north.  Maybe it has just caught up with us, so we unrolled some tarps and covered a lot of the boat to give it some shade.  I also checked that prop again, and guess what, it is still there.  Nice to see it doing its job.  Apart from that I read a book about the death of JFK, and it seems that there is nothing new there, so that was a good waist of time.

So our plans for tomorrow kind of depend on a few things.  We think if we can get a berth at either Tin Can Bay or back at Urangan, we will take that to ride out the weather.  In that time, as we are so close to home, we will take the bus and come back next week to bring the boat home.  This will allow us to sort out a birth at home, which we currently don’t have.  No if that all doesn’t happen, then we will sit here, or somewhere close for a week.  Lots of books, I fear.  Also I have a list of things to do so not all bad.  Some people call it relaxing…

Well we will keep you informed about what we will be up too tomorrow.

Allan and Hilary.

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Sunrise at Big woody Island
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well this was a windy part of the day
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Hilary looking for the next beacon
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This guy lives on a different planet, but we enjoy the surf afterwards
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Gary’s anchorage
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Covered in tarps to protect us from the sun
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Sunset with pretty clouds, but a little bit of a concern as they are tell us a story.
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The last bit of the sunset 7/10

Bundaberg to Big Woody Island.

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Sailing a long very slowly

It was a pretty long boring day without wind for most of the day.  We left the marina at about 0630, and we were greeted with no wind.  In fact, there was no wind until about 1600.  There was a bit in the middle, but the reality is that we spent most of the time running the motors.

In total we did about 90km over 10.5hrs.  It was a slow hot day and we were glad to finish it.  There are not a lot of pictures to show as we really did not a lot today.

So till tomorrow.

Allan and Hilary

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Leaving the marina at Bundaberg
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Coming out of the river
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You get an idea what the days weather was mostly like.
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West side of Big Woody Island looking north
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West side of Big Woody Island looking south
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Sunset over the boat
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Sunset over the water
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Sunset from Woody Island 5/10

A day in Bundaberg (again)

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Bust of Bert Hinkler in Bundaberg

After yesterday’s trip we decided to have an easy day in Bundaberg. It turns out that this may be a bit of an issue as we are losing our window on the weather for traveling south, but we both wanted a bit of a rest.

We had to fill up on water and fuel and a few groceries. So we got the free shuttle to the IGA to get the food and filled the tanks from the marina.  All went well and very helpful people everywhere.  We completed a few jobs and then got the free shuttle to town.  At this point we were confronted with about a 4km walk to the Hinkler museum (it didn’t look far on the map, was somebody’s, who shall remain nameless, comment}.  This was something we missed last time, probably because I looked at the map last time….  Bert Hinkler was an important aviator and in 1928 he completed the first flight from the UK to Australia here.  The reason he chose Bundaberg, was because this is where he was born and bought up.

So in the heat we walked to the museum.  It was not a bad walk as we crossed the river and saw a lot of town.  The museum was great.  I did not realise that he was not just a pilot, but was actually designing aircraft and was an accomplished engineer in his own right. He built a glider from his own design which he fly from the local beaches, only a few years after the Wright Bros., when he was just 19 years old.

Well the museum was well worth it.  We then headed back for the town again, but this time by bus.  Well not quite; we missed the last bus by 3 minutes.  So we had to walk it again.  This time we went through the botanic gardens, which was well worth it.

We waited for the shuttle bus back to the marina to arrive where we were told to wait, but it never did.  But rather, the regular bus and the last bus, arrived at the time we thought the shuttle was to arrive, so after a bit of confusion, we got on the regular bus.  Turns out there is no free shuttle bus to return on.

On Friday night the marina puts on a free BBQ.  We meet up with a number of people we had seen previously as well as a bunch of people coming on a rally from New Caledonia.  Seems they were keeping the immigration department busy.  It was a good night.

Not a lot of else to tell you.  But we are off to Woody Island tomorrow, with a bit of luck.

Allan and Hilary.

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Bert Hinkler’s first plane
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Another of his planes
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One of the engines he used.
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One of the planes he helped to design.
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This spare was on his original glider. It was later flown on the space shuttle. But it was on the flight which blew up. But amazingly, they recovered it from the wreckage and it was returned to Bundaberg.
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Another of his early planes
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The botanic gardens.
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Hinkler’s house when he was living in England. They transported it brick by brick and rebuilt it here.
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The bridge across the Burnett River in Bundaberg. It was completed in 1900.
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The Burnett River with the town centre on the right.
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The Bundaberg town centre.

Pancake Creek to Bundaberg

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In our pen at Bundaberg

Today was going to be a big day and we seemed to have a weather window to make Bundaberg, so when we awoke this morning, after a quick assessment we decided to go. It was a bit of a funny day wind wise as it started with  SW wind and was expected to move to the NE.  So completely opposite directions. The change was due at 1100. We used this to our advantage of sorts.  Well at least we used the knowledge of it to our advantage.  It would have been a lot better if it was a NE breeze all day.

Well the first thing was the anchor raising.  And yes this went without a hitch.  So maybe it is fixed.  The departure from Pancake creek was at 0530 and  went without any issues. We motored out till we were just outside of the headland, then put the sails up.  We tacked towards the east missing Middle Rock, which we nearly hit when we were going north.

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Todays trip. 145km completed in 11.5hrs.

There was an exclusion zone in place.  It is marked as a waypoint on the map. This was where a fishing boat sank with the lose of 6 people.  One person was lucky enough to be picked up by a sailing boat.  Well we had to keep about 5km away from this point.  As you can see this did not really pose a problem for us, but I have to say, some people did not seem to acknowledge that there was an exclusion zone.

As you can see we tacked back towards the shore after clearing the exclusion zone, in anticipation for the wind to shift direction.  The slow sweeping curve in our course to aline ourselves with the coast was a reflection of the wind change which occurred over about an hour.  Once it came in we then took off, passing many boats in the process and covering a lot of ground.  Mind you we needed too as well!  We were heading for the marina in Bundaberg, and the last thing I really wanted to do was attack that at night after a long day sailing.

We arrived at the marina at about 1630 and tempted fate and tried to get into our berth. Well the wind and current at the entrance to the bay we were in was running with each other at right angles to the entrance of the pens.  The width of the channel between the pens on either side also looked pretty narrow, but we stopped the boat in the current, and proceeded to back it.  It was crabbing a lot, but I had it under control and was confident I would make our particular pen.  All went well and we approached the pen.  Hilary then yelled out to somebody to assist with the ropes, and seems it could not resist (I’m not sure what Hilary was flashing…).  Then with a bit of effort, we slipped in to our pen without any issues.  A small miracle, but just maybe we are slightly better than when we were here last.

Then that was about it for the day.  An early night was had.

Alan and Hilary.

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Sunset for the day 4/10

Pancake Creek again

 

Today was supposed to be a day of rest, but for some reason we were busy all day.  We still had a problem with the anchor windlass when we used it last.  At least the god of windlasses allowed us some mercy and only provides us with his quota of problems when we can handle them best.  I am sure that has now jinxed me…  Anyway, I had quite enough of this bloody thing (excuse the French), but it was becoming a right royal frustrating pain in the neck, and elsewhere.  So I went about looking for the problem from top to bottom.  I was happy we had done our best with the relay, and as far as I can see, it is working just fine.  So it had to be either the motor or a connection.  The only thing that was apparent was that it always occurred towards the end of the retrieval, so it was something getting hot.  I assumed it had to be a connection.

So all the connections were removed and cleaned, then tightened.  I would say that there was always something to be gained on every connection, so with a lot of hope and anticipation we awaited the next day to see if it worked. Like us, you too will have to wait in great anticipation of a successful outcome.

We then got in the dingy and went for a bit of sightseeing and had a lot of fun zooming around in the shallows and finding channels to take us various places.  All in the name of science, of course.  We saw a fair few stingrays and some other wild life.  The sandflies were by far the prevalent species.    Good I suppose if you like them, but talking to a number of people, they don’t seem to be up there on the preferred list….  Mozzies tend to rank higher on the preferred list and marsh flies are considered good sport to see if you can hit them, then actually kill them.   This species of insect is good at bitting you as well as performing reincarnation.  For those that don’t know what these very large flies can do, well you can belt the living daylights out of them, they will be on their backs, dead as they come, with the ants swarming around having lunch, when up they spring and have another crack at you.   When they bight you definitely know about it for quite a while.

But that is enough of the biology lesson.  The previous evening we had a great time with Greg and Kerry, who are basically on their madden voyage after building a boat similar to ours.  We were on their boat and saw all the differences and compared notes.  So today was our turn.  Greg arrived at some time in the day to look at our anchor bridal.  We have ours tied down low, which is different to most.  Anyway he wanted to see if that would help him.  His boat tends to sail up its anchor and wander around a bit whilst anchored.  Ours does the same, but maybe not as much because of the location of the bridal, but probably more because I have forgotten to worry about it anymore and just park as far away from everybody as I can.

So the afternoon arrived, and along with it came Greg and Kerry with the important food stocks for the evening.  I suggested to Greg we get into our dingy and go further exploring up the creeks now that the tide had come in.  So off we went so that Hilary and Kerry could tell nasty stories about ourselves and compare their social notes.   Well we had fun going further and further up this creek until it was a dingy width wide.  We could see bubbles coming up from the bottom in parts and concluded it was a turtle or croc following us.  Such bravery!  Well we went back considerably quicker than we came.

Then the night went on and on, in a good way.  We had recently gotten a hard disk load of movies from a friend of Daniels, which we provided to Greg and Kerry to down load on their system.  This took many hours, in fact we were finished before it was.  Greg said he appreciated all the X rated movies that Hilary provided.  However, I have to say we are still searching for those.  In return we received 1600 songs for our enjoyment.  There was also a swapping of food.  We were the beneficiary of some chocolate, whilst they got some veges or something.  We got the better deal there I think.

Then that was that.  There wasn’t a lot of pictures taken, but I do tend to agree, one sandfly infested creek tends to look like another.  We were thinking of staying another day, but it looks like a window in the weather is appearing tomorrow which will allow us to get to Bundaberg.  When we had come north we stayed at 1770 as an interim port, but I have to say, this was not a pleasant spot due to the rather large current, as well as the very narrow entrance.  That is also the place that the VMR gave me a lecture on which side the green buoys were as you entered port.  You may recall, if not read about it as one of our earlier posts.  Anyway, not wanting to face that again, we want to give it a miss.

Till tomorrow.

Allan and Hilary.

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The creek inside of Pancake Creek
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Yes tends to look the same no matter where we took the pictures.

Sunset picture coming.