Sleeping between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
28 July 2013 | Bundaberg to Brisbane
The night sailing through the Sandy Straights was a majestic finish to day one for the 36ft little red yacht named "Inner Light". He who hums and I, were there to assist a friend Ian to bring his newly acquired boat out of her old home town and south to her new home town of Manly, Brisbane. She was put back into the water after 6 years on the hard stand and prepared for the journey south by Ian. As we exited Burnett Heads she was looking pretty good and not faulting to say goodbye to Bundaberg.
The timing was perfect and He who hums had a set of finely tuned plans that had us all up with the first light to sail out of the leads and make our way to the inside of Frazer Island.
The vision was to make the 'run-in' with the tide at the top end of Frazer Island, by 7pm. At half way down through the sandy straights, the darkness brought us a gossamer silk surface that we ghosted through like there was not a care in the whole world. We were spotting every extra bright red and green marker we required, all beautifully in line with the GPS plotter making it as easy to navigate as any airport runway. By 9pm we slipped in amongst a cluster of sleeping boats that were also anchored for the night. The white hulls were huddled togehter just a stone's throw away from the notorious and much talked about Wide Bay Bar.
It was easy to feel comfortable when you enter with the calm of the moon lit sky as every detail remained a secret with the devil. We all had an unexpected silent night's sleep, the kind that wakes you as it is too good to be true. I listened out for the typical slap of the water against the V-berth that we were sleeping in. But no not even the chug of the anchor chain as it held firm...nothing ....eerie and the buzzing quiet of death was all I my straining ears could pick up. Before I chose to go back to sleep the devil reminded me that a drifting boat would be quiet as it floated away with the tide Yes? It would - as I have experienced that very phenomomen many years ago in an inlet aptly named "the bedrooms". All right! So then I sneak a peek to make certain the anchor is still in charge and tell the devil to take a break, as I fall back into a solid sleep. Not before I visualised our well laid plan to cross that bar in the top of the morning tide where we could see the deep blue sea beyond those breaking waves that cover the sandbar.
5.30am The kettle was put on; therefore the day has started, although someone needed to let the sun know. With the many nautical miles experience under my belt, I know not to jump up until certain things have been heard. Like the engine motor purring not coughing and holding its breath like it is starved of fuel. I let the very important people attend to whatever idiosyncrasy has been set to test their early rising nerve. And before too long and without much ado, I am up and donning my wet weather jacket and life vest and no questions needed to be asked about that hiccup as she now laboured over her continuous rhythm to warm her engine for the big gig.
So bar crossing day and to have safety gear is wear safety gear! I won't need it, but should I not wear it, is letting the devil know I am looking for him in the deep blue sea.
We unwillingly breath shallow as we concentrated hard as we motored out towards the breaking morning sky ignoring the in between patch of work. Now the engine is purring and we have the sail up for back up. As the sun breaks we follow the single yacht with the same intention in silence. The sky doesn't hold the sun for long and as we punch out through the rising swell the sky starts to grey over that trusty anchorage we left behind us. We focus on the shining light on the horizon and we all encourage "Inner Light" to continue ticking off her achievements for her second day out. As we reached the place where we could make a turn to sail down the sunny coast of Queensland, I look back to see a portion of a rainbow hitting the land marker reflecting brightly in the gloom of a rainy day behind.
Our Day 2 had beautiful clear blue skies and we waved past Noosa and Coolum Beaches. But within 10minutes of passing Coolum we had the darkness of a weather front pick up its pace and was dumping on us before we had the mainsail reefed completely. He who hums when everything is goes well, was steering the flighty "Inner Light" and trying to hold the owner as he was swinging with the motion of the boom as he tried to tie up the reefed sailcloth in that stormy sea. I watched eagerly from the companion-way, trying to keep out of the way and remain useful (a talent I have mastered). We were on track and making the next unexpected decision - "Do we pull in to Mooloolaba or do we continue on to Manly". The weather report we had appeared to have come up the coast early, as we were expecting this weather the next day, and hoped to be in safety before it happened.
Once that monster passed us we had calm seas and clear skies again which was enough to have us all agree to sail on overnight and to get her to her new home by the wee hours of Sunday morning.
The rest of the voyage went according to plan, Inner Light steered in through the shipping channel lights most of the night. We made our way past Bribie Island late Saturday night and pointed the trusty little yacht for Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island. We governed her past Mud Island, St Helena and Green Islands before turning into the manly harbor lead lights making way for the hundreds of white masts standing stationary in the marina dormitory darkness. We dropped our pace to a putter in and tried to make little noise as we tied her lines in the stillness of the marina. We were tucked into the bunks for a well deserved break before Sunday had any chance to break. The mixture of physically tired and mentally stimulated made for an active shut eye but before long - nothing but that buzzing silence of peace.