01 February 2017 | Approaching Port Stephen Heads
23 October 2015 | Camden Haven in sight at last.
09 October 2015 | Moreton Bay
26 September 2015 | Off Pancake Creek
19 September 2015 | Sunrise beyond Round Island at the entrance to Port Clinton.
13 September 2015 | Island Head Creek
05 September 2015 | Outer Newry Island anchorage
01 September 2015 | Crayfish bay
30 August 2015 | Cape Gloucester
24 August 2015 | Cape Gloucester
23 August 2015 | Refuge Bay, in Nara Inlet, Hook Island.
15 August 2015 | Whales at Bait Reef
03 August 2015 | Airlie Beach
02 August 2015 | Seaka and Spectral Mist in Bowen Marina
23 July 2015 | Airlie Beach
15 July 2015 | May's Bay, Whitsunday Island.
05 July 2015 | May's Bay, Whitsunday Island.
30 June 2015 | Sunset Woodwark Bay
27 June 2015 | Woodwark Bay, sunset.
Heading South to Lake Macquarie for a Top Hat Raftup.
01 February 2017 | Approaching Port Stephen Heads
The refit on Seaka is now 90% complete with only a frig to be installed, sea-cocks to be replaced and anti-fouling sometime in the next six months, the opportunity to go south to Lake Macquarie for a Top Hat Raft-up in early February came up. We would sail down with Shaun in Blue Moon, a junk rigged Top hat.
So I provisioned Seaka and on Saturday 28th January my wife Nancy dropped me at Dunbogan where Seaka is moored with my ice and frozen food. I had arranged for Doug of Knee Deep to row me out to Seaka and once aboard I prepared for sea the next morning.
Both of us were ready to go by 0500 and as soon as we could see we set off crossing the Camden Haven Bar at 0600. We found the sea in a funny state so much so that we both felt a bit seasick for several hours before coming right. At first the wind was only light and considering that we were going to Port Stephens, some 80 nautical miles away we had to maintain at least 4.5 knots to arrive before or just on dark.
Shaun and I sailed together until about noon when Shaun headed offshore a bit on a long tack and soon fell behind. Around 1300 we had enough wind to maintain 5 plus knots and so the inboard was turned off. Sometime after this we hooked a large fish, a very large fish, as it took off and stretched the 80kg mono line until it was thin enough to break. I only noticed it later when I saw the line loose in the water.
Around 1600 we rounded Seal Rocks and were surrounded by thousands of dolphins and circling Dusky Mutton birds. Soon after I made contact with Shaun only to find he was some 4 nautical miles ahead of me! Turns out Shaun went out to the 100 m depth contour [I was in the 60m's] where he found up to 5 knots of the Australian East Coast Current. Next time we head south it will mean going straight out to the 100m depth first before heading south.
As we approached Port Stephens I caught a sight of Blue Moons sail against Boondelbah Island, definitely 4 nautical miles ahead. Approaching the Heads we had a dolphin do several jumps ahead of us and then right on dark I realised that the wind coming off Yacaaba Head were in the order of extreme. Just as I started to drop the sails we were hit by a bullet causing Seaka to do a 360. Now just before this happen my AIS alarm [it tells me where nearby shipping is] went off, so as we completed the 360 and I'm getting sails down and trying to head up into the wind to do so the alarms went off again! Suddenly I realised it's not the AIS alarm but the engine alarm. Oh shit, rushing below I confirm yes the engine is overheating so I turn it off and rush back up to deal with the sails. Once I had them roughly away I had a think on the situation and realising that without the motor I would not be able to deal with the tide that had just turned into an ebb tide.
Oh well, "Port Stephens Marine Rescue this is Seaka", "Seaka this is Marine Rescue go to 73 and call again" I replied 'Negative Marine Rescue I'm declaring a situation" Once I'd explained what was going on they suggested anchoring and that they would organise the Police Boat to come and get me. So anchor down, sort out the rush job on the sails and do a general tidy up. It wasn't very long before the Police Boat arrived and they said, "Ok, get your anchor up!" I couldn't move it by hand, my usual way of getting the anchor in! So getting a winch handle I tried again with the Muir VM500 anchor winch, it worked, but that chain was now 30 metres straight up and down and it took me some time, I've no idea how much, to get the anchor in. My thanks to Greg and Jane for the gift of that winch, it was all thanks that night.
With the anchor in, a line was tossed over and once I had it attached the tow was on. Very soon they had me on a mooring just inside Tomaree Head and after getting my details they were on their way. I then cooked a pork chop to satisfy my hunger and crashed around 1200, that's four hours after all this started, it certainly didn't seem that long.
The next morning after breakfast I started the checks, oil ok, impeller to the cooling water ok, cooling seawater intake filter ok. Started the engine but still no water coming through. Stopped and had a bit of a think, then just cracking the seal to the impeller pump started the engine again and when I had a bit of water leaking from the impeller case tighten it up and all was going again. So it seems that when we did the 360 we must have also rolled so that the water intake sea-cock was exposed to air long enough to suck in enough air to stop the cooling water pump working.
Now that solution sounds rather simple but add total darkness, high winds and a shore line to the south approaching rather relentlessly because of our drift, a choppy sea, then the calls I made on the night were the correct ones. My thanks go to Port Stephens Marine Rescue for their calm response and to the Marine Unit of the Port Stephens Police Command for their supportive and efficient approach to the completion of my rescue. My thanks go again to Greg and Jane for that anchor winch, it must have taken me ages to get that anchor in!
Talking to Shaun the next day I discover that I'm not the only one to come foul of the Port Stephen Heads as he was also caught by the winds and suffered a 90 degree knock down, breaking several sail battens. As a subsequent we declared Monday a rest day and we also wanted to avoid the 30 knot NE'er predicted for that afternoon. So we put off our sail to Swansea till Tuesday. In the meantime we moved up to our favourite anchorage in Port Stephens, Fame Cove.
By early evening on Monday we could see that Tuesday's weather was going to be 27 knot NE'ers all day and we once again postponed our departure south until Friday when we should get light winds all the way to Swansea and Lake Macquarie. We will move down to Tomaree Head late Thursday for an early start on Friday. Monday and Tuesday were extremely hot with Wednesday being just hot and muggy.
The adventures of Seaka continue!
S 32 41 099
E152 03 725
Home at Camden Haven, Journey's End.
23 October 2015 | Camden Haven in sight at last.
One thing I forgot to tell you all about was the cargo vessel SUNJO I encountered off Ballina. On the AIS receiver I noticed this vessel coming south on a course that would meet us some ten nautical miles ahead. I changed course slightly to the west to run parallel with him. That information came from the AIS. I then called him up and a very polite gentleman with an Indian accent identified me by my speed [6.4 knots] and that I had just altered course. He said I was fine on that course and we eventually passed each other about a mile away. Not much later a yacht ahead of us called up "the large fishing boat" or anybody that could see it. I let him go on for a while; this must be a game with these large cargo vessels, before calling him and giving him the name of the vessel which of course got an immediate response. He had been seen and was well clear, but when these large ships approach from astern at around 15 knots it is disquieting to see them getting nearing all the time without knowing their intent as they pass you. Every yacht should at least have an AIS receiver and every commercial fishing boat should be equipped with a 'Class A' AIS. It is so rare to see a fishing boat with AIS, I have only seen two, and one of those two turned his AIS off when he started fishing!
So, on Thursday 15th October we motored down from Maclean to the Haywood Bridge on the Pacific Highway. I was on time but there seemed to be a problem and eventually 35 minutes later they raised the bridge. In fact they forgot about me and I proceeded under the bridge without the lights. The bridge was raised all the way up, something I have never seen before and they kept it there for almost 15 minutes. Anyway I was through and on my way to Iluka Bay at the river mouth. On the way down I saw a 2.5 metre shark which could have been a Grey Nurse or a White Pointer Shark. Once anchored up I sorted all the gear for tomorrow and just to see what was around cast a plastic lure for a bit and got a nice Taylor for tea.
We rose before daylight the next morning and soon got underway, crossing the bar around 0600. We moved out to get some sea room and into the East Australian Current after which the sea flatten out and with very little wind we motored south. We saw a few sharks on the surface but nothing else. As we approached the Solitary Islands the winds went around to the north east and quickly strengthen to around 15 knots. As the winds strengthen the seas built up till we had at times 2 metre waves. This is hard sailing as we now had a rough sea and the wind directly behind us. Eventually I took down the Genoa and we motor sailed on with just the main with two reefs in it.
So have I got enough problems? No not quite. I next saw a pod of whales ahead and slightly to port [left side for you landlubbers]. As I got closer they started to Breach with the youngsters being the most active. What was concerning was that they were on a converging course. Eventually I couldn't drift to the west anymore and I had to reverse course for a bit then head east to get clear of them. The last three miles into Coffs Harbour were very rough and I was glad to enter the Marina and dock in bay B23. There I was met by the marina staff that it turns out, used to own the Top Hat called "Pippin", now I believe in Jervis Bay.
The next morning at 0349 my phone started ringing, as I didn't know the number I didn't answer, but they left a message on 101. I called that in and its Marine Rescue Port Macquarie saying I'm 50 minutes overdue and would I please call them. Turns out that when I logged off at Coffs Harbour I said I would be sailing for Camden Haven next SUNDAY afternoon. Somebody got it into their head that meant that I was sailing 'NOW'! How they worked the reporting times out I have no idea. I did not log on to start the journey and that alone should have had alarm bells ringing.
So, Saturday was spent relaxing and preparing Seaka for the final leg. I didn't cook in Coffs Harbour but had 'fish & chips' on both nights. Sunday dawned and we were greeted with a clear almost windless hot day. By 1430 I had had enough and retrieved my mooring lines and departed from the marina. Outside we found a SE breeze that we were just able to use towards Smoky Cape. There was little if no swell and only a slight wind chop so we made good time heading south. Before we made Smoky Cape we had another yacht approach us from the south with his 'Class B' AIS going. It was interesting to see how my plotter showed him and we eventually passed port to port about half a mile apart. After that we encountered no other vessels but the AIS receiver showed plenty passing us out beyond the horizon and the 100 metre depth line.
We settled down quite easily for the night with no real signs that I was as tied as on previous overnight sails. I had reduced the main sail by two reefs before nightfall and with the Genoa we averaged the required speed to see us over the bar at 0830 on Monday morning. During the night we were visited by Dolphins, a terrific sight as they were all lit up by the efflorescence. When dawn broke we found a larger than expected south east swell but no wind-chop at all. The south east swell would not affect our passage over the bar which is protected from that direction by Camden Head.
As we approached the Camden Haven Bar we were surrounded by a large pod of Dolphins for the last time, as in if they were welcoming us home. The bar was flat and on the end of the north wall was fellow Top Hatter Shaun and further in my wife. By 0900 we were at the Laurieton wharf and tied up. I would take off two ute loads of gear, most of which will not be going back onboard, home before I moved Seaka to her home mooring at Dunbogan the next morning. Seaka is now a good 10 cm up on her waterline!
This trip took 7 months [212 days] and covered 2,773 nautical miles [5,100 km]. Only 2 days were spent off Seaka during the trip on two separate occasions with friends.
My thanks to all of you who have been following my adventure and I hope you have all enjoyed these Blogs.
14 October 2015
Fine with Thunder Storms.
Dolphins greet us we come back into NSW.
On Saturday 10th October we left the Horizon Shores Marina at 0545. We proceeded to the Goldcoast Seaway with only one incident when an approaching large motor boat crossed to my starboard side, the wrong side of the channel for him, to ensure I got his large wake. Unfortunately, or fortunately for him, I could discern no name or registration numbers on him. We logged on with Marine Rescue for the trip to Yamba by phone and called up on the VHF to confirm our departure from the Seaway at 1000 hours. With an outgoing tide fully developed it was very rough in the Seaway and it here that I think we hit 9.1 knots as the maximum for this trip. Once clear of the Seaway things settled down and we sailed for Danger Point arriving off there at 1400 hours and so we slipped back into NSW with the clocks going forward one hour.
We now settled into a very fast trip with speeds of 6 and up to 8 knots, arriving off Cape Byron just before dusk at 1800 hours. Here we found that some northern Marine Rescue stations were lacking enough radio operators to operate 24/7 with Kingscliff closed down and Ballina, Yamba and possible Coffs Harbour only operating between 6 am and 6 pm. For the rest of the night we reported our progress to Marine Rescue Bryon Bay.
Just before midnight a check of our progress discovered that over the last 18.5 hours we had covered 100 nautical miles at an average speed of 5.4 knots. This is a record for Seaka and I. Just after 0200 hours, when 4 nautical miles offshore, we observed a meteorite fall between us and the land. I was later to learn that the sonic boom from this meteorite had shaken towns well south of us. By 0430 we were off Yamba but with the large swell running I decided that it would be best to wait for daylight before crossing the bar. Eventually around 0600 we headed in and found that the bar was smooth but with that swell from the NE present. About a mile off we got a fright as two large whales surfaced almost alongside Seaka, they sounded and we didn’t see them again. The only other whale seen was a full breach just south of the Seaway. Safely crossing the bar, we moved upriver and soon anchored in Iluka Bay where we hit the sack for a well-deserved sleep until noon. We did the 120 nautical miles [Jacobs Well to Yamba] in 24 hours and 20 minutes with an average speed of 5 knots. This includes the time spent hanging around waiting for dawn.
On Monday 12th October our plans of getting home this week crumbled with the latest BOM weather predictions. I decided then to go up to Maclean where I could tie up to the town pontoon which gave me better access to the shops than at Iluka Bay, where I would have to get the dinghy out. We got a booking for the Haywood Bridge on the Pacific Highway at 1800 hours and motored up there during the afternoon. Once under the bridge we moved up to Maclean and moored to the pontoon just on dark. Over the last two days we have been doing small jobs and reading. We have had visitors of course, being on the pontoon.
On Thursday 15th October we have a 1000 booking to return under the Haywood Bridge to Iluka Bay. Because of the weather we plan to leave Iluka Bay on the same day around 2000 for an overnight sail to Coffs Harbour where we will await the next lot of northerly winds.
About to leave Queensland.
09 October 2015 | Moreton Bay
Has been windy & wet. Fine now!
Fog about to lift on Moreton Bay.
On Monday 28th September we set off from the Burnett River at 0300. We at first had a wind from the SW and Seaka was doing 5 to 6 knots but this gradually backed to the SE over the morning. Eventually the wind died and I pulled the jib down, leaving the main up to steady the boat. We only saw three boats all day until we reached the Fairway Light into the Great Sandy Strait. By then the sea was mirror flat with storms all around us but some 10 miles away, these eventually collapsed late afternoon. When we entered the Great Sandy Strait the tide was still against us and it looked like we would only make it to the Kingfisher Resort. By the time we had made the first starboard buoy off Long Island the tide changed and we were doing 6 to 7 knots. A quick replan of how far we could go before dark saw us aiming to anchor for the night off Ungowa. We did get there by 1730 but the ground was so foul I decided to go the extra mile and anchor where we had anchored on the way north. This we did, juggling between the other eight boats to have the anchor set just on dusk.
Next morning we got under way around 0800, had to wait a bit for the high tide, and proceeded to Pelican Point where we anchored at noon and a review of the weather saw us putting off the voyage to Mooloolaba till next Thursday. Today, for once, I saw plenty of Dolphins and large turtles. There was a lot of motor boat traffic today around high tide as everyone scrabbled to get through the shallow section of the strait. For once there were only a couple of idiots who did not slow down as they went past. That night at Pelican Point we and ten other boats were threatened by a large thunder storm that missed us. On Wednesday night I was invited for 4.30pm drinks but decided not to go as we had a rather large storm approaching us again. Well we didn't get any rain but it blew around 20 knots till 0200 the next morning so not much sleep was had by all as the yachts all danced around in the wind. That is except for one guy whose anchor light did not move all night. The next morning I was able to wave to him as he sheepishly wave back from aground on the sand bank. At least he had a good night's sleep.
On Thursday 1st October we crossed the Wide Bay Bar at 0715 and the largest waves we encountered were from passing speed boats going offshore to fish. Crossing Wide Bay we encountered several whales, one in particular was a baby whale which kept breaching almost its whole length out of the water. After rounding Double Island Point we settled into the groove of motor sailing in very very light winds. We arrived in Mooloolaba's Duck Pond thirteen hours after we left Pelican Point and we had just enough light to enable us to anchor safely. We passed Warren in 'Wunjo' as we entered the Duck Pond. By Saturday, 3rd October, we had replenished the fuel, water and food. The next day was spent clearing a blocked toilet, don't ask, and scrubbing the waterline at Seaka's stern to remove green weed.
On Monday 5th October we, in company with 'Wunjo', left the Duck Pond at 0600 for Scarborough in Moreton Bay. This proved to be another light wind and flat sea day; hence the motor was once again in demand. Initially we saw a few whales but not inside Moreton Bay. We were unable to raise the Scarborough Marina, being Labour Day holiday, so opted to anchor outside Newport. One feature of the VHF radio in this part of the world is that for a couple of hours after 0600 you can hear all the Marine Rescue stations coming on air. Most only operate for twelve hours a day. With the lighter winds I removed the Jib and hanked the Genoa on. Next morning I set out at 0545 and not long after that the whole area, as far north as Wide Bay at least, was blanketed in fog. With visibility down to 10 metres I was able to practice that ancient act of "blowing my horn!" Well, it was not quiet that easy as I had to pump up the horn canister first and I suppose that's also where the saying "to pump one's self up" comes from. After half an hour the fog started to lift and as the day progressed I lowered the Genoa as the sea became like a mirror. In the Bay the biggest waves in these conditions are the wakes of boats and the wakes can travel for miles. At 1400 hours we were anchored off the Ferry wharf at Russell Island. Here I visited friends and picked up the gear I had left behind after doing Seaka's anti-fouling back in early April. The next day I packed away all that gear and did a bit of shopping. That night the strong winds that BOM had been promising us arrived and we spent the early part of the evening watching the adjacent boats to ensure we didn't drag onto them. Seaka didn't move at all but did swing north on her anchor.
Thursday, 8th October, was not a good day. As we cleared Russell Island and turned south we were greeted by a 30 plus knot wind...... yep it was a battle, four hours to do eight miles, with the tide, and at one stage Seaka was doing less than one knot. The waves weren't big, just 0.75 m high but only 2 to 3 metres between them. That meant that as Seaka's bow greeted a wave her stern was up on top of the previous wave and the bow lost out as it drove right through the wave shoving water up onto the foredeck. That day Seaka saw more green water on her deck, than the whole of the rest of the trip. We eventually made the Horizon Shores Marina where I intended to refuel. Having got into the marina I decided that it would be safer to stay which has turned into two nights moored to a pontoon. Mind you, I have been real glad about that decision as it has continued to blow and it did rain rather heavily overnight. It has also meant that I will get two good night's sleep before doing a 24 hour sail to Yamba.
We had a bit of excitement in the marina last night when the Police and the local Jacobs Wells Marine Rescue turned up, seems someone's EPIRB had malfunctioned and gone off. The boats berth number must have been in the system as they went straight to the boat concerned. I have now tied the Yankee onto the foredeck in case I need a smaller sail, the Genoa is hanked on at present. Tomorrow looks good for a smooth if not rolly ride to Yamba. The sun is out now and the wind is easing and backing to the east. Perfect for tomorrow.
26 September 2015 | Off Pancake Creek
Very windy but the sun is shining.
Well on Monday morning we did move down to the Gladstone Marina for 20 hours. On arrival we couldn't get on the fuel wharf so I eventually used a marina trolley to take three 10 litre fuel containers to the fuel wharf for filling. At 1030 I was on the Marina courtesy bus into town for a little bit of shopping. I had a complete list that, apart from fresh food, should see me all the way home. Back at the marina I used the laundry to wash some clothes and generally cleaned Seaka up for sailing the next day. I also topped the water off again.
At first light we were underway out of the Marina and heading south at 6 knots with the ebbing tide. That was the first time I've got the tide going in the right direction when entering or leaving Gladstone. With a southwesterly wind and the tide we were forced out to the east so that as we were approaching the Boyne Cutting we had to cut across the Bypass Cutting to avoid clashing with two large ships entering the port. It was interesting to note that in their unladen state they had a smaller wake than some of the motor boats I have encountered.
Once we cleared the shipping channels we were on course for Pancake Creek in a smooth sea and just enough wind to counter the tidal stream heading north. I saw a sea snake coming up for air where it's only about 15 metres deep. By noon we were off Pancake Creek and it looked like about twelve yachts had spent time there over the previous few rough days. As conditions were very good I decided to push onto 1770 which would reduce tomorrows sail by 10 nautical miles.
At 1500 we were off 1770 and with the great conditions I decided to push onto Burnett Heads some 50 nautical miles south. This turned out to be the right thing to do as a couple hours later a strong wind warning was issued for the area south of Burnett Heads for tomorrow afternoon. With that strong wind warning out I decided to log onto Marine Rescue Bundaberg for the overnight passage. Well that worked out fine, I spoke to them at 1730 and then they closed down at 1800 until 0600 the next morning, but they didn't open to a lot later as the radio operator did not turn up for his shift. I logged off by phone about 0800. I needn't have bothered.
Late that afternoon we were the only vessel in sight and even the AIS had the nearest boat way over on Lady Musgrove Island. I started to lie down and rest at this time with checks every 15 to 20 minutes for shipping. Nothing was seen apart from a few of the very shy Queensland Dolphins. That was until we were 30 nautical miles out from Burnett Heads when I noticed on the AIS a vessel doing 13 knots coming down my track from the north. I waited a while and then they moved to the west of me which meant they had to come back across my track to get to the pilot pickup area off Burnett Heads. The question was how close would they come? From the AIS I was able to get their details and calling the 'Eco Discovery', a sugar ship, on channel 16 I inquired if they had spotted me some 10 nautical miles ahead and would they need me to change course. They came back very quickly saying that yes they had seen me and would call if I needed to change course. They didn't call back and moved to the east crossing our track some 3 nautical miles behind us. I must say thou that I don't think they saw the other yacht behind me as they seem to come very close to it as they moved east.
We were now approaching Burnett Heads and it was going to be a race to see if I got in before the moon set, a race we lost. But before the moon did set we were suddenly confronted with a roll cloud, representing a wind front, rapidly approaching from the south west. As we were only 5 nautical miles out I decided to remove all sail. Once this was done the roll cloud dissipated! Oh well you can't win them all and then I discovered that there really was a steep wave formation occurring which now meant that we were rolling from side to side and we just had to put up with it. At 0130 on Wednesday morning we entered the Burnett River and by 0200 we had anchored and I had gone to bed. I didn't even hear or feel the 'Eco Discovery' go up to the sugar wharf.
Awaking on Wednesday morning I discovered we hadn't anchored where I thought I was but we were in fact just outside the old marina. The first job at 0800 was to phone Marine Rescue Bundaberg and log off and that's when I found that they weren't even on the air at that time. Checking the weather I realized that we weren't going anywhere for a few days, especially not today. Next I raised the anchor and proceeded up river to the new marina where we topped off the fuel tank. There I spoke to another cruiser who advised that the best area to anchor for a few days was just over a mile upriver.
On the way up we passed the 'Eco Discovery' loading at the sugar wharf. Also in that area were a large number of runabouts casting nets for prawns. I would try near where I anchored a couple of days later, but speaking to an old local he said the prawns were off now because of the moon. I haven't caught any fish here either.
The wind today is quite strong and cool from the south east. I had looked at trying to get to the Great Sandy Strait, our next destination, on last Friday but called it off because of high winds in the late afternoon. Our next opportunity is on Monday and I plan to leave at 0330 with the intention of getting as far through the Great Sandy Strait as possible before dark sets in. The tide will be with us again. Tuesday I plan to get to Wide Bay with intention of going across the bar on Wednesday morning to Mooloolaba. On Thursday I hope to get to Scarborough Marina just before the next round of south east winds set in for a few days.
New photos in Gallery
Targinie Creek, Gladstone.
19 September 2015 | Sunrise beyond Round Island at the entrance to Port Clinton.
Overcast and windy.
After a week in Island Head Creek it was time to go with the better weather. We lifted the anchor at daylight and motored out of the creek. When we exited we were greeted with very black clouds that reached all the way down to the sea about 10 nautical miles ahead. While I had turned south I assessed the situation for some time and then I noticed that really, we were sitting in the same place! Yep, we were trying to head a 4 knot tidal current into the river and it wasn't working. Oh well, so turning Seaka's head around we headed back into the creek, at 6 knots!
Now every time I've visited Island Head Creek I have always got text messages just as I came in and this was about to be explained. Terry in "San-t-y" was anchored in just about that location and as I returned he was setting off north so I anchored in 3-4 meters where he had just been. What I found was the best phone and internet connection area of Island Head Creek.
For those who may need it the location is: Lat S 22⁰ 21.215'; Long E 150⁰ 39.464'
For general reference it's just past the third rock outcrop as you enter on the south side of the creek.
After a couple of phone calls and a check of the weather the rain had passed over us so I decided to try again. This time I moved further off shore before turning south. A lot better! After we cleared the immediate area of the creek the sea settled down and we started to make progress. We were heading for Port Clinton 11 nautical miles to the south. By doing this shorter trip we would be able to do the next section to Yeppoon in daylight. We eventually arrived at 1300 hours and found a new situation where large motor boats actually out numbered the yachts anchored there.
At daylight we again went to sea, but the conditions were now a lot better, even more so than yesterday. We went out in company of two other yachts and both got to Yeppoon some two hours before Seaka. We were all motoring and only getting about 1.5 knots out of our sails. During the early part of the day we saw a few pods of whales but as we moved deeper into the discharge area of the Fitzroy River the water became greener in colour and the whales moved off shore to avoid it. We had only one crash change of course to avoid whales today.
On arrival at Yeppoon we first tied to get on the fuel wharf but it was occupied by a large vessel so we went to our marina berth. Deciding I need a walk I went up and paid, then grabbing a marina trolley walked over to the petrol station to get 20 litres of diesel. So while I had a shower I put the washing on and the topped off the water tank in Seaka. That made us ready for The Narrows tomorrow.
I rose at daylight  on Thursday and after a quick shower we were soon on our way. The sea was flat. Hence we motored the whole way with only a little lift from the sails at time. Compared to our last trip across this section of water it was a very calm deal. Now it had been my intention to go into Yellow Patch, but I was disappointed to hear that all vessels had been kicked out of Yellow Patch and the vicinity of Cape Capricorn by the Queensland National Parks as they are doing pest eradication work in the area. Seems I was always fated to not go into Yellow Patch. On the way into The Narrows we passed a large cargo ship [dangerous goods] anchored at the entrance. Eight hours after leaving Yeppoon we anchored in the last bit of water deep enough for the next two tide changes until we could go through with the noon high tide tomorrow.
The next morning at 1100 we lifted the anchor and at 3 knots proceeded south through The Narrows. Before I got to the first turn I had two large catamarans on my tail. As I passed the Cattle Crossing I saw a large motor boat heading north towards us. I have never seen so much traffic in The Narrows before and all at the shallowest part; well it was high tide I suppose. The motor boat steamed ahead with a large wake, as usual, they never look behind to see the carnage they cause. The first catamaran passed me and then we were into the shallowest part that dries to 2 metres above low water. I had thought that the strong SE winds may push water up The Narrows but was surprised by how much. The shallowest we had was 50 cm below the keel where when last heading north I reckoned I scraped the barnacles off the bottom of the keel. The second catamaran passed us then and we were on our own again.
As we moved south towards Gladstone I looked at places to anchor up for a few days. I considered two but seeing the catamarans anchored in Grahams Creek I decided to try there. After I anchored up I got on the internet [5 bars 4G] and checked the weather. Frankly it's not a good week to be cruising. Grahams Creek I quickly discovered is subject to tidal currents, the wind coming off the hills and whiffs of the flare in the gas works. No good, so I decided to retreat 2 nautical miles to Targinie Creek. We anchored in 5 metres with plenty of room to swing. There is only one other here, a motor boat.
A review of the weather today has us moving to Gladstone Marina on Monday morning for 24 hours to refuel and get some fresh food. We will sail for Pancake Creek on Tuesday and then Burnett Heads on Wednesday. The weather will, at this time, cause us to spend a day there before going up to Rooney Point on Fraser Island or into The Great Sandy Strait.