04/18/2012, Bundaberg Port Marina
We are all set and ready to GO!!! We are now sitting here at the fuel dock, all fueled up, all provisioned up, and waiting for dawn tomorrow morning. Boy, it seems like it has been years since we sailed into Bundaberg Marina. So you can understand how excited and anxious we are to be under sail again with the sun shining down, the wind in our hair, listening to our favorite music and sailing across the bounding main! Even though it is just a day sail of only 55 nm, it still will be a hoot!
This morning we walked over and said our goodbyes to Trim and Sea Mist. Ken and Lori of Trim will be driving down to Melbourne soon so Ken can start his new job. Cheryl and John of Sea Mist are thinking of leaving here in a couple of days. We are sure we will be bumping into each other either in the next couple of weeks or someplace in the Whitsundays. We also hope to see Paul and Julie of Silver Lining II and Jerald and Anz of Spirit. We will keep our fingers crossed.
Our first anchorage is Lady Musgrave Island. It is a sandy cay sitting on a lagoon inside a fringing reef. The channel through the reef is well marked but we will have to be careful once inside since the lagoon is not surveyed and we have read that there are a number of coral heads sitting just under the surface. However, as long as we get there before the sun gets too low in the sky, we should be able to eyeball our way around the coral heads just fine.
We have talked to a couple of boats that have shaken hands with a few of the coral heads. But with each incident, they were doing something that they should have tried to avoid. One cut in from the channel too soon and the other left very early morning and could not see the bottom well. However, when you sail a lot, sooner or later you will run aground. Both boats just had minor damage so that would a good thing.
When we leave, we are planning to leave the lagoon mid-afternoon the day before we sail to the Heron Island and just anchor off the leeward shore of the reef. That way we will be able to see the coral heads just fine and still get an early start the next morning. However, we will need to be sure that the winds will not be shifting that night.
Tonight is our last night of having Internet access for a couple of weeks. Thus, I will be posting our blogs through SailMail. We will still be able to get our emails but I will not be able to post any photos.
04/17/2012, Bundaberg Port Marina
Today our friend John of S/V Sea Mist and I drove into town to pick up my outboard. It was finally ready to be picked up. John had wanted to go to town to get a new battery for his watch. Having him with me also was a big help in moving the outboard engine back to the boat. The cost of servicing my engine was just $178 AU since the plugs were in good shape as was the impellor. The corrosion on the crankshaft was the problem and that just took some labor time to remove. They were able to restore and reuse the old seal so a new one was not needed. Hooray! Now with the outboard back on the boat, we are ready to start our cruising season.
While we were gone, Mary Margaret cooked up a storm and made some great tasting gazpacho and a wonderful vegetable medley for dinner. It went great with the roasted chicken.
We plan to move over to the fuel dock tomorrow to fill up our tanks and then leave at dawn on Thursday to sail over to Lady Musgrave Island. We are sooo ready! The weather continues to look very favorable for a comfortable stay at Lady Musgrave Island. The winds should be below 15 knots until at least Tuesday. If the winds blow over 15 knots, then at high tide the swells pass over the lagoon reef and make the anchorage a bit dicey. Boats have dragged in such conditions and have washed up on the coral. Not good! However, if the weather continues to behave, we should have a great time there.
04/16/2012, Port Bundaberg Marina
Today I drove into Bundaberg to pickup our outboard and do a number of errands. While in town, I received a call from the Yamaha dealer saying that my outboard (which he had previously told me it was ready to be picked up last Friday) actually was not yet ready and that they would need a new rubber seal to closer her up. However, they did not have such a seal and it was backordered and would be another two to three weeks before it would arrive. Yipes! There was no way we would be willing to hang around here until that seal came in and I nicely but firmly let him know that. He said that they would call around for a generic seal and see if they could get that. After finishing the rest of my errands, I stopped by the dealer to see what the status was. It turns out that they could not find a generic seal but the mechanic said that he could clean up the old seal and it should be good to reuse. Thus, my outboard should be ready to be picked up tomorrow. We shall see and it better be ready!!!!
Once I dropped my stuff off at the boat, I picked up Mary Margaret and we returned to Bundaberg to finish our provisioning. We went to two supermarkets to get all the things we needed and it took all afternoon. By the time we had returned to the boat and had everything put away and inventoried, it was 1730. We were exhausted.
A number of boats start to head out tomorrow. Our neighbors, Julie and Paul of S/V Silver Lining II, moved over to the fuel dock this afternoon to top off their tanks. They will be spending the night at the fuel dock so they can get off early tomorrow morning. We are expecting to see them again at one of the anchorages between here and the Whitsundays. We hope so.
Our itinerary for the next couple of weeks is tentatively the following:
Leave Port Bundaberg Marina and sail to Lady Muscat Island: Thursday, April 19
Leave Lady Muscat Island and sail to Heron Island: Monday, April 23
Leave Heron Island and sail to Great Keppel Island: Tuesday, April 24
Leave Great Keppel Island and sail to Pearl Bay: Thursday, April 27
Leave Pearl Bay and sail to Middle Percy Island: Saturday, April 28
Leave Middle Percy Island and sail into MacKay: Monday, May 1.
We are planning to haul out for a week at Mackay to do a little hull work but even that may be postponed until we get to Malaysia at the end of the year. We shall see.
If you are interested in learning more about each of the places we will be sailing to, you can Google them and/or you can zoom in on them using Google Earth. Each place has a series of pictures that you can click on once you zoom in on them. If you do this, be sure to include the words "Queensland" and "Australia" with the name of each anchorage.
04/15/2012, Bundaberg Port Marina
Each day it gets harder and harder to wait to start our cruising season. It seems like years since we last sailed. It has been 5 1/2 long months since we last sailed from New Caledonia to Bundaberg. During that time, we have traveled a lot. We first went back to the States for 3 months and criss-crossing the continent visiting family and friends, many who we had not seen in years. It was a great trip but exhausting.
When we returned to Australia, we checked out the boat and then spent about 5 weeks exploring this country. This too was wonderful. Thus, when you add our land travel time up, it comes to a bit over 4 months. This means we have only been on the boat in the marina for just 6 weeks or so. That is not so long so I really should not be complaining. The problem is that we just love the sailing life and sitting in a marina, waiting for the weather to turn, gets harder and harder as we are more and more anxious to return to the sea.
This evening we had our friends Lori and Ken of S/V Trim back over for more cards. Ken and I were ready to avenge the thrashing that the girls gave us a couple of days ago. However, it was not to be. In fact, it was worse. After the first hand they had totally demolished us. If we had added up the points, they would have been in the many thousands and we would have been deep into the negative numbers. To avoid counting, Ken and I just declared the girls the winners of the game and pleaded to start a new one.
The girls took pity on us and agreed to begin a new game. While we never did finish the second game, once again the girls were so far ahead that we guys were thankful to call it a night and leaving the game hanging.
Tomorrow Mary Margaret and I will be going into town to finish our provisioning and to pick up our outboard. Yea!
04/14/2012, Bundaberg Port Marina
With the boat projects behind us, we are basically biding our time now. We are waiting for the weather to turn to more ideal conditions before we leave for Lady Musgrave Island, 50 nm to the NE of us. As you can see from the Internet picture I posted to this blog, Lady Musgrave looks very inviting and it is singing a siren within my head, calling me, calling me, calling me to her. If Mary Margaret only knew what went on in my head, she would whack me a good one!!!!
However, like any good siren, Lady Musgrave can lure you to great dangers with her inviting songs. When the winds are below 15 knots she is a wonderful anchorage. Her reefs protect you from the swells that are outside of the lagoon. However, as the wind builds and high tide comes, the surf crashes over the reefs and makes the center of the lagoon a cauldron of lumpy seas. Boats have been known to hobby horse in such water and pull their anchors free, drifting into the coral heads that dot the floor of the lagoon.
Thus, we are waiting for an extended period of calmer winds before we venture out to visit Lady Musgrove. Right now, it looks like next Wednesday is when the winds start to die back and Thursday just may be the perfect time to go. Plus, to make matters more complicated, we are waiting for a package to be sent to us from the US. It should arrive at our daughter's house today or tomorrow and then she will forward it on to us. We are waiting for a couple of computer cables that we need. As the lady at the computer store told me here in Bundaberg, Australia has not yet caught up with the rest of the world when it comes to technology and they don't have the cables I need anywhere in this country.
This afternoon Cheryl and John of S/V Sea Mist came over for dinner and cards. The chili that Mary Margaret made and the Waldorf salad that Cheryl made were great. The cards were fun also but we were not able to finish the game before it was way past cruiser's bedtime. After two hands, the game was too close to call with the guys winning the first hand and the ladies winning the second.
Tomorrow is Farmer's Market day as we continue to stock up on provisions for our cruising season.