Yours truly pretends to go fishing.
The recent spate of light winds appears to end tomorrow as a new low front moves in. Today we made the most of this wonderful weather as we sailed to Bundaberg, a distance of 42 nm. We might be holed up again for a few days as the forecast predicts 30 knots .
In the meantime... after a number of queries regarding the absence of fishing tackle in photos, and even though I've never caught a fish in my life, with my fishing advisor (Peter from 'Valhalla'), and we went shopping for fishing gear back in Mooloolaba. We purchased only the best gear - Penn, for those who know this stuff - to give me every chance to on being one-up on a fish.
We got back to Andamon and Peter rigged everything up and taught me how to troll (using lures) setting the right tensions and other stuff like that. For the last 2 days we've been doing exactly as instructed, but my perfect record of 0 fish caught still stands. I'm beginning to think this whole fishing thing is a conspiracy set up by people that sell fishing gear. In an earlier part of the journey from Coffs Harbour to the Gold Coast, Rob bought his own hand lines and he caught nothing, even though we trolled through marine parks where one would expect to find lots of fish. I've also noted that Peter's boat Valhalla isn't actually overflowing with excess fish!.
Fishing increases tension on board , because we go into a panic everytime we see dolphins, trying to bring the lure in quickly, in case we catch one (BTW are dolphins edible ?). So about the only benefit I can see in fishing is that it gives you something to do to fill in the day. Talking about Dolphins, Lyn and I have noticed that in NSW the dolphins always swim towards Andamon and play around the bows, sometimes up to 20 at a time, but in Qld the dolphins keep their distance. We've seen numerous pods, but always 100 metres away, never closer. Strange we think, maybe they know we are from south of the border.
So back to fishing, not being a quitter, I will again attempt to catch a fish, or give the whole thing over to Lyn who will probably catch a marlin within seconds of the lure hitting the water.
05/06/08, Hervey Bay
The look of happiness and serenity as we apporach Hervey Bay marina - who'd of thought that 24 hrs earlier Lyn was a nervous wreck as we rode the Wide Bay Bar.
After 7 days we finally left Mooloolaba yesterday morning along with our friends Peter and Paula sailing 'Valhalla'. After endless discussions with the Mooloolaba boat people, we decided the best way to cross the bar was to head out early and aim to cross at 4:00 in the afternoon, 3 hours after low tide, and not cross at high tide which we originally thought was mandatory. This way we avoided sailing at night or crossing the bar at night, both difficult on a new moon (i.e. no moon at all - sailing in pitch black).
The Wide Bay Bar itself stood up to exectations, a bumpy ride with mainly following waves about the height of Andamon's roof. At the bar these become more vertical and break, but somehow we only had one breaking wave hit us. This time we decided to go slowly to avoid actually catching the waves, we let them pass underneath, and this worked well. Andamon seems to handle following waves without fuss. Catamarans have no lead in the keel and therefore rise easily when waves approach. However, Lyn was still terrified because the route that is followed is a channel between shallower waters where breaking waves are everywhere, an awesome sight. I was a bit dissappointed given all the hype we'd been hearing for the past week, I thought that we could have been pooped at least once (pooped = wave breaks and fills cockpit).
Last night we stayed behind Fraser Island, anchoring along the shore, and the weather which had been cyclonic the week before was so calm the stars were reflecting off the mirror-like water, a wonderful scene.
Today we motored up the Sandy Straits , the water seperating Fraser and Qld coast. This is the third day we've had to use the engines with no wind, we are really pining for some normal wind for a change. We've had to come in to re-fuel. The photo was taken at the end of the day just after I phoned a friend in Sydney who described the miserable weather down there, sounded awful. Tomorrow we head to Bundaberg, and then to Lady Musgrave Island which we are really looking forward to.
This photo taken at Inskip Point looking towards the Wide Bay Bar - beyond the spume there are 5 metre waves breaking which unfortunately the camera didn't pick up.
We have been in Mooloolaba for 5 days, battling the symptoms of cabin fever, with no let up in the wind/rain/howling noise. Lyn is desperate to find more interesting people to talk to as I enthusiastically suggest 'but-this-forced-relaxation-is-good-for-you' idea. At least we both enjoy reading, and we have plenty of books on board.
Last Thursday we awoke at 5:00 am ready to sail north through the Wide Bay Bar, about 9 hours away. Peter and I immediately surfed all the usual Internet weather channels -bom.com.au, seabreeze.com.au, buoyweather.com - and made the executive decision to stay put - an eastern coast low was developing (i.e. bad).
For readers unfamiliar with the Wide Bay Bar, it is the shallow water between southern tip of Fraser Island and the Qld coast. It has legendary status amongst yachties and fisherman, many boats overturn by rogue waves and lives have been lost. The problem it seems (it consumes the conversations of all storm-waiting yachties in Mooloolabah), is that there are always breaking waves, but worse, to cross the bar you must make two turns, one 90 degrees, in the middle of the bar crossing because this follows the deepest part of the channel, and of course a 90 degree turn means the waves you were previously travelling with, now come at you on a broadside - resulting in unpleasantness. The crossing itself is much longer than other bars, and has the nickname 'the mad mile'.
Had we made the decision to go last thursday, we would have experienced winds up to 100km/h as the wind became severe during the day (and still is), and having reached the bar and not been able to enter, would have had to continue sailing on the outside of Fraser Island through the night and into even higher seas, as the waves grew because of the winds. One website estimated wave heights to hit 21 feet! This wind is still with us today (Sunday) so I am sure that such a passage might have dented Lyn's enthusiasm for offshore sailing.
So being holed up in Mooloolaba isn't so bad. Peter and Jane have gone back to the Southern Highlands. We have met plenty of people in the boats around us who like us are waiting for the weather to turn, including Dutch John, owner of a new Lagoon 42, Austrian John (its easy here as most people are called John), Peter and Paula who sail 'Valhalla' out of our home club, Cronulla, Mike, another Seawind owner. We hired a car for 2 days and travelled to Inskip Point, where we took photos of the Bar - see above, and to Hervey Bay, then to Eumundie markets, then to Noosa where we drank capuccinos conspicuously at Aroma's - waiting to be seen, but no one saw us.
The latest on the weather is that the wind is going to ease tomorrow, but the waves will be up for a few days on - we might get away mid week.
27/05/08, At Mooloolaba
Birthday boy Pete and Jane with Caloundra in the background - what happened to the wind?
After an attempt at fishing in the morning (unsuccessful again - why ruin a perfect record?) we slipped out of Tangalooma for the trip to Mooloolaba. At first we followed the shipping lanes in Moreton Bay, but after a while just headed straight across the various banks and shoals. The water is suprisingly beautiful, I had previously thought Moreton Bay was all mud, but the mid and northern areas are sandy bottomed with fantastic water clarity - we could have been in Fiji.
Despite the warm weather and clear water, we had no wind. Another day of motoring - not happy Jan! We did get the sails up for about 1 hour but never got over 4 knots.
We slipped into Mooloolaba, a harbour we know well becaue we've sailed here a few times in the Etchells mid-winter regattas. The Bar has recently been cleared so there were no problems.
Most important thing today is that Peter turns 51 , still a youngster, so we are heading out to a nice seafood restaurant to celebrate.
Sunset at Tangalooma, freaky!
We met our friends Peter and Jane who flew up from Bowral (brrrrrrr!) to join us for the next leg north. Peter owns an X-42 , X-Yacht, and is a staunch monohull person. Jane, his wife, is a director of a regional art gallery. They were originally planning to sail there X-Yacht up to Qld this winter with us, but work commitments put that idea to rest.
Before leaving Sanctuary Cove we upgraded our 45 lb Manson anchor to a 60 lb anchor, which we bought at the show. We originally tried one of the new Manson Supreme anchors, with supposedly better holding power, but unfortunately it didn't fit our foredeck space.
Almost everyone told us the 45lb would be fine for a 38 foot cat, however we noticed in Sydney we experienced quite a bit of anchor drag, probably more to do with our anchoring technique than a problem with the actual anchor. So the decision to upgrade was made on pshycologic grounds, purely to allow us to sleep better at night when we are at anchor off some island and the wind comes in. And we will be practicing our anchoring techniques.
After powering through the mud creeks of southern Moreton Bay we ended up at Tangalooma resort. There we anchored behind man made breakwater of old rusting ship hulks laid to rest. This made a bizarre sight during the sunset as we motored in, monstrous black shapes against a red sky.
We actually anchored slightly south of this breakwater and had a very roly-poly night. Throughout the night ships were seen on the horizon, and even though the water was glassy smooth, the swells kicked up by shipping gave us our first uncomfortable night. Oh well, I'm sure well have worse in days ahead.
24/05/08, Sanctuary Cove
Andamon at the boatshow. Thats John from CYA looking for another place he can attach a 'Charter Yacht Australia' sticker
After a week in Sydney we return to the Gold Coast where Andamon is being displayed at Sanctuary Cove boat show with John and Annie from Charter Yachts Australia. When Andamon gets to Airlie Beach John and Annie will be her adopted parents for the next 5 years. (Lyn and I have visiting rights).
We are in 'Seawind Corner', with 3 Seawinds on display. We are next to 2 Fusions and 2 Lightwaves plus a 50 foot cat from South Africa, this is truly catamaran heaven. John and Annie have Andamon looking spotless, which after 3 days of people walking all over it is amazing.
The boat show itself seems a little down on numbers. Not surprising given that the economy has had a hit over the past few months, and over the last week the price of diesel has gone through the roof and Sanctuary Cove is the home of diesel guzzling gin palaces.
Maybe everyone will turn up tomorrow (Sunday).