Cruising the Coast

A Catalina 36 cruising the coast of Queensland, Australia

17 October 2014 | Fisherman's Wharf Marina
16 October 2014 | Burnett River, Bundaberg
15 October 2014
15 October 2014 | Pancake Creek
14 October 2014 | Pancake Creek
13 October 2014 | Pancake Creek
12 October 2014 | Graham Creek
11 October 2014 | Great Keppel Island
10 October 2014
08 October 2014
07 October 2014
07 October 2014 | Yeppoon Marina
06 October 2014 | Port Clinton
03 October 2014
02 October 2014
01 October 2014
30 September 2014 | Abel Point Marina
28 September 2014 | Woodwark Bay

Home at Last

17 October 2014 | Fisherman's Wharf Marina
Sunny, 25 degrees, very windy
Last night was a very still night on the river and we both slept soundly. After breakfast I put the last two jerry cans of diesel in the fuel tank and we raised the anchor around 9.00am and motored out the river, a distance of about three miles. At the anchorage it was very calm with no wind but by the time we reached the mouth of the river the breeze was blowing 15 knots.

We motored a little way out into the bay to get a better angle on the wind and raised the sails around 10.00am. The predication was for easterlies then northerlies around lunchtime. We were on a close reach and with the wind blowing 15 to 16 knots, and with tidal,assistance, we were able to sail up around the 7 knots mark.

The seas were quite flat and Louise enjoyed the sailing. As the wind backed slightly to the east we came on to the breeze to get a better line to our destination. Unfortunately the northerlies didn't eventuate and the wind grew stronger to 20 to 22 knots.

We did well but an hour from our home we motored sailed the rest of the way home, with the wind veering slightly more southerly and becoming more on the nose. We dropped the sails outside the marina and motored in to the calm waters. Unfortunately I had extreme trouble getting onto the berth as we were being quickly blown off and on to the neighbouring boat. After three attempts we went to our original berth with a blow on dock.

We were very pleased to be home after a stressful berthing.

We will have a few days here before heading home.

Exhilarating for One, an Endurance for the Other

16 October 2014 | Burnett River, Bundaberg
Sunny, 27 degrees
Not a great photo but an attempt to show the lean the boat was on as we sailed down from Pancake Creek.

I was awake at 5.30am and by 6.00 am had weighed anchor and was motoring slowly out of the beautiful Pancake Creek anchorage. It was amazingly still and calm and the water was as flat as, well, a pancake! Once out near Cape Clewes at the entrance to the creek Louise came up on deck and for the next hour or two we battled to get around Cape Clewes and the Bustard Head lighthouse. With a fair breeze almost on the nose and waves between a metre and one and a half metres we were forced to motor.

After a couple of hours the tide, which was in our favour for speed but against us in terms of wave height, picked up and as the wind backed more easterly we were able to turn of the motor and sail. We were close hauled and doing between 6 and 8 knots in the 20 knot breeze. I was quite happy with this though Louise had some difficulty with the boat slamming into the waves and water sloshing all over the boat. Many, many times the bow plunged under the waves to rise with sea frothing all around.

We were making good progress and we actually caught up with a catamaran that, at the start of the day, was on the horizon, and we went into the Burnett River together. We dropped the anchor just past the sugar shed around 6.30pm in the gloom and dark. We were both very tired and we had some leftover stir fry for dinner, watched a little TV and I was in bed by 9.30pm. I slept very soundly on the flat, calm water.

Tomorrow is our last leg and we will be "home" in Hervey Bay.

Bustard Head lighthouse

15 October 2014
We had a very enjoyable afternoon meeting the caretakers at the lighthouse and learning about its history.

An Afternoon Walking

15 October 2014 | Pancake Creek
Sunny, light winds 25 degrees
This morning Louise decided to have a go making bread and it was a delicious success.

It was cool enough during the night for Louise to wake up and pull the doona out to cover us. We have been sleeping with just a light blanket but it was somewhat cooler last night. Nevertheless, we both slept soundly and the boat was very still during the night.

After breakfast Louise decided to have a go at making some bread and this took most of the morning, waiting for the yeast to rise, then baking it. The loaf turned out quite well and Louise cut it in half and we took a picnic lunch ashore.

We followed the track we took yesterday but continued to the top and arrived, after 45 minutes or so, at the Bustard Head lighthouse. Just below the lighthouse was a small cemetery and we stopped to look for a short while. We were quite hungry when we arrived at the lighthouse station and we saw the caretakers closing the doors. Fearful we had missed the tour we asked if there were any more. Pat and Wal were very accommodating and said we could certainly have a tour. We said we needed to eat and they said they too were hungry and invited us to their house. Pat made us a cup of tea and for four of us had a great chat around the kitchen table. Something we certainly didn't expect to happen!

After an hour or so Wal took us up the lighthouse and Pat the told us about the station's history. We had a look at the museum and left after about three hours, having had a very enjoyable afternoon.

Back on Breezly we enjoyed drinks in the cockpit and watched the sunset before showers and steaks and veggies for dinner!

Tomorrow we leave early for the long trek to Bundaberg.

Weather Bound

14 October 2014 | Pancake Creek
Very wet in morning, sunny afternoon
At our anchorage the Bustard Head lighthouse is visible by day and its flash can be seen at night.

Well, here we are, still in Pancake Creek. The wind howled most of last night, blowing in excess of 20 knots at times. When I woke at 5.15am I went outside to see heavy grey clouds and lightning not far away. I decided not to head out this morning and went back to bed. Shortly after it started to rain and didn't cease till around 11.00am. At times it was very heavy.

I got up around 7.30am and watched some news on the TV and ate breakfast while Louise slept. She stayed in bed most of the morning, resting and reading while I watched a DVD and drank cups of tea.

Around 1.00pm I heated some leftovers for us both and then tidied the cockpit before dropping the dinghy. We went ashore and walked to the beach on the other side of this peninsula. It is know locally as airplane beach and we saw an airplane landing and taking off on the beach. It was taking tourists from the town of 1770 to the lighthouse at the top of the hill. It is quite a tourist attraction.

On the way to and from the beach we saw more xantherea, banksia, magnificent eucalypts, a plethora of butterflies as well as introduced pest species such as prickly pear and lantana. We saw a scrub turkey as well.

Back on Breezly we had cheese and biscuits and drinks in the cockpit before a shower and a delicious roast dinner.

We plan to stay here another night, and will probably walk to the lighthouse tomorrow. The winds are predicted to be from the south tomorrow so we will wait till Thursday and head off then for Bundaberg.

All is well.

Getting Past the Big Ships

13 October 2014 | Pancake Creek
Sunny, 26 degrees, light winds
Well, where we anchored in Graham Creek was delightful. We both slept very soundly on some very still, calm water. A big difference to the previous night. We were up around 7.30am and after breakfast we weighed the anchor at 8.45 am and motored out into the main channel.

We were pushing against the tide but managed to motor along at around 5 knots. We passed the massive LPG plant that is under construction. I've read in the papers that once it starts exporting gas our domestic gas prices will rise significantly. We the had the cement plant on the starboard side and we saw a ship being loaded.

Further down there were the coal loading facilities and a number of bulk carriers being loaded with the black stuff. We cruised past the entrance to the marina and saw a couple of catamarans coming out and we tracked one to our final destination for today.

Up ahead we could see a bulk carrier moving up the channel with the assistance of two tugs. We quickly moved further over to the side of the channel and watcher as the huge ship was pushed and pulled by the tugs into a berth between two other ships.

Shortly after this we raised the sails, turned off the motor and enjoyed a long sail towards Pancake Creek. With the tide falling to the lowest level for the day we motor sailed the last half hour before dropping the sails and motoring into the anchorage.

It's amazing how stressful anchoring can be and tonight was no exception. We had three tries to get the anchor to grab and were both very pleased when it did. Wine, tea and biscuits and dips in the cockpit, watching the sunset finished the day and calmed the nerves.

Tomorrow is a very big day, so we will need to be up very early to get to Bundaberg.

Through The Narrows

12 October 2014 | Graham Creek
Sunny, 25 degrees
I was up just before 5.30am as I couldn't sleep too well with the rolling and rocking. Louise said she was sleeping pretty well though. While she lay in bed I raised the anchor and motored out of the anchorage and around the north side of the island.

It was quite pleasant to be out on the water at that time of day. There was a gentle wind blowing 10 knots from the east and the sun was well up in the sky. Once rounding the northern most headland I set the headsail and motored to the southern point. Once here I raised and mainsail and set the course for the entrance to the Narrows. This is a stretch of water separating Curtis Island from the mainland. Traversing it needs to be carefully calculated as at low tide the sea bed is exposed.

We had a glorious sail for a couple of hours, being pushed by the tide. On a broad reach we were doing in excess of 6 knots, often over 7 knots. In too short a time we arrived at the entrance around 10.00am, dropped the sails and motored up the Narrows.

It took about two and a half hours to get through the challenging part. The depth generally was very good, often around three and a half metres, though it did get down to 2.8 metres. At the boat draws 1.8 metres I had plenty under the keel.

Once through we turned into Graham Creek, just north of Gladstone. We had some dinner around 2.00pm and played a game of scrabble as the red fell. I was worried we were to close to the shore as the tide fell so we moved further up the creek and anchored a second time.

We enjoyed a very still night with both of us sleeping in the V berth.

Over to Great Keppel Island

11 October 2014 | Great Keppel Island
Cloudy and cool, then sunny
We woke to a cloudy morning with a cool wind blowing across the marina. After breakfast I filled the water tanks, secured the jerry cans of diesel and by 9.45am we had slipped our lines and were motoring out of the marina.

It is a short sail across to Great Keppel Island, perhaps two hours at the most. It was a pleasant sail, despite the cloud cover which was slowly lifting. Once at the Island we anchored amongst 20 or so other boats, most of which were motor craft out for the weekend. It was pretty rolly here so we had some lunch and motored around to the north east bays. It was just as rolly here but much quieter. Also our companion cruiser "Grand Cru" was here! We waved to them as we went past. After dropping the anchor we went ashore in the tender and explored the beach. Louise went for a swim.

Back on Breezly we settled in for a rolly night. We watch a little TV after dinner before we lowered the dinette for Louise to sleep on while I slept in the aft cabin. I decided to try and catch tomorrow's tide through the Narrows at midday so it would be an early start in the morning.
Vessel Name: Breezly
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 36 MkII
Hailing Port: Urangan, Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia
Crew: Robert Wright
Extra: Contact me at: windcruiser36@gmail.com
Breezly's Photos - Main
12 Photos
Created 1 July 2014
9 Photos
Created 26 June 2014
2 Photos
Created 21 June 2014
Photos taken on a solo cruise in June 2014 on Breezly.
15 Photos
Created 18 June 2014
Cruising the area around Urangan with Louise.
13 Photos
Created 22 August 2013
Photos of the Great Sandy Straits and Hervey Bay
13 Photos
Created 30 July 2013
Preparing the boat before heading north
3 Photos
Created 10 July 2013