09 December 2019 | Dunbogan in the Camden Haven Inlet NSW
04 October 2019 | Lawrie's Boatyard.
30 August 2019 | MacKay Marina.
19 August 2019 | Airlie Beach
06 August 2019 | Airlie Beach
06 August 2019 | Approaching Pacific Creek and SunHill 9th July.
01 July 2019 | The Narrows.
23 May 2019 | Dunbogan in the Camden Haven Inlet NSW
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
Mooloolaba to the Camden Haven Inlet and home.
09 December 2019 | Dunbogan in the Camden Haven Inlet NSW
On the work dock at the boat yard in Mooloolaba.
So I was in Brisbane for three days [5th to 7th Oct.] and back for the Tuesday [8th Oct.] when nothing happened that day. But on Wednesday [9th Oct.] they started on installing the new engine mounts. I must note here that when I get home I will have to reconstruct, in some manner, the bearers for the engine as the engine mount coach bolt holes into the timber are starting to break down and two had to be epoxied in.
By Wednesday afternoon [10th Oct.] they had the job complete, but wait, they then found that the Poly-flex connector between the gear box and the propeller shaft had work harden and there within lay the source of all our problems!
A new one was ordered immediately, but it did not arrive until just before noon on the Friday [11th Oct.] and guess what, they close at noon on Fridays! So we had a discussion about when it would or who would install it when I think the mechanic decided that after all the work that they should complete the work. So there I was, left to endue another weekend of doing nothing. Come Monday, that will be 19 days and counting in this boat yard!
As an aside to me being here, friends who left the Wide Bay Bar with me are still only as far south as the Goldcoast and Yamba because of the fickle weather.
This was a quiet weekend but on Saturday [12th Oct.] we had our first real rain for the trip and I cooked a cake on Sunday [13th Oct.]. Come late Monday [14th Oct.] morning the job was finally complete and a test run done. That afternoon I paid up my bills and prepared to finally leave Lewis's Boatyard. As I had been charged for the day I stayed where I was for an early departure on Tuesday.
I awoke the next morning at 0300 hours to thunder, lightning and heavy rain so stayed in bed. Finally by 0545 I was at the Mooloolaba Bar and lead out 11 other vessels that soon passed me on the way south. I had a good run down to the south end of Bribie Island, seeing two whales on the way, when the tide changed on us slowing us down considerably. We had a fair run across to Scarborough but by then we had some reach for the North East wind and it became rough as we headed down to Woody Point. By the time I approached Woody Point it was very rough and I decided to round Otter Rock to the south before heading up into Woody Point Beach and anchoring in 1.5 metres of water. It was a bit bouncy for a start but as night fell the NE wind died and it flattened out by 2100 hours.
On Wednesday [16th Oct.] our plan was to visit Keith, the previous owner of Seaka, and then anchor at Peel Island for a couple of days. So at first light we motored south in dead calm flat sea. Seeing the rocks off Woody Point I was glad that I had gone around Otter Rock last night. After rounding Mud Island, just south of the main channel into Brisbane Port, we found that the flooding tide would make us too early for our meeting with Keith so we had to slow down a bit.
By 0930 I was in Raby Bay meeting Keith for a coffee and a bit of that cake I had baked a couple of days ago. Keith said that he also had had trouble with the alignment before he sold Seaka, but he did not replace the polyflex connector when he replaced the shaft and engine mounts. So Seaka has had three shafts and numerous engine mounts over the last 20 years, all for the lack of replacing a $300 polyflex connector! So take notice all those who are having trouble with their engine alignments, if you replace engine mounts you have to replace the polyflex connector as well.
We took on 10 litres of diesel and exited Raby Bay two hours after we entered. Outside we found a stiff NE wind and a bit of a chop, a big change from the flat seas when we entered. Heading south we were soon able to see into Horseshoe Bay on Peel Island and seeing no boats there, which had to mean something with this weather, decided to press onto Jacobs Well. As dusk approached we anchored at Stieglitz for the night.
Thursday [17th Oct.] saw us motoring south at 0700 for Bums Bay [Marine Stadium]. While navigating the shoal area north of Woogoompah Island we almost came to grief while being overtaken by an Australian Border Patrol vessel which threw up a 2 metre wake almost alongside us. Surviving that we arrived at Bums Bay around 1100 hours and found a spot inside the bay. Once settled I sorted the charts for NSW and put away the last of the QLD charts and guides. I then refueled and put two reefs in the main in preparation for tomorrow. I then had to prepare for a major storm front that was approaching from the south with reports of hail and lightning. With the wind from the NE the storm hit from the SWW around 1500 hours with very heavy rain and the odd hail stone. All the boats swung around and one squatter, in a 40' plus modern production yacht, swung towards me and the occupier popped up and demanded I keep clear of him! There was no effort on his part during the storm to keep clear of me or anybody else. By the look of his anchor chain he had been there for some time. After the storm we had light winds from the west which gave us a great night's sleep.
On Friday [18th Oct.] the weather reports were all over the place but I decided to go at 1045 NSW time [I had put all my clocks onto NSW time]. Once we had cleared the Seaway we found a very lumpy sea and light SE winds. We tacked 4nm off shore and tacked back towards the Goldcoast then put in another tack out to sea before dropping all sails and motoring directly into the wind to clear the reefs off Danger Point. Once off Danger Point and clear of the reefs we were able to point more south, which enabled us to sail at 5-7 knots which we kept up until Bryon Bay, when as predicted the wind started to die. By midnight we were off Ballina, arriving at the Clarence Bar at 0900. By 0950 [19th Oct.] we were anchored in Iluka after an easy passage from the Goldcoast Seaway.
So without sleep last night I went to bed till 1300 and on getting up refuel, tided up and booked the Harwood Bridge for a noon opening tomorrow. Well that didn't happen as we woke on Sunday [20th Oct.] to a very strong 25 knot cold southerly wind which blew hard all day. Rebooked the Harwood Bridge for 1100 hours on Monday.
So Monday [21st Oct.] saw us motoring out of Iluka only to go aground off the western entrance! I increased reve's on the motor and we slid with a bit of bumping off the shoal into deep water. Well that makes three out of three for going aground on a trip to Queensland!
We made the Harwood Bridge by the opening time with one other going up and the Dufkin caravel replica going out. Going up to McClean I tied up to the public wharf with Greg on Lewie. Went ashore and got provisions for the next few days.
On Tuesday [22nd Oct.] morning we refueled with the help of a friend who drove us to the local petrol station, saving us a lot of effort, thanks Neil. On return to our vessels Greg and I reviewed the weather and quickly decided that we had to go today to Coffs Harbour. Booking a noon opening of the Harwood Bridge we prepared for sea as we will only pause at Iluka to check the weather. We checked the weather on the way downstream and at Iluka called Marine Rescue Iluka for the weather who repeated the internet weather. On asking for the weather from their instruments they only repeated the internet weather again which was indicating SE winds while we, looking at our mast head wind vanes we could clearly see that it was a nice easterly wind which was just perfect.
At 1530 we exited the Clarence River into a calm sea but with a low swell. Once we had hauled far enough offshore to get a clear run south we turned and had a good sail getting up to 7 knots as we neared Coffs Harbour. Warned by Greg that there was a dredge in the harbour, I called up Marine Rescue to get some idea of what was going on to have them say they're not able to tell me anything. When I asked exactly where was the dredge they still refused to give any information. Bloody useless!
By 0300 [22nd Oct.] we were anchored off the Coffs Harbour Jetty getting 1½ hours sleep before departing for Port Macquarie at 0445 hours. After sunrise we found a flat sea and no wind as we motored towards Smoky Cape. We were visited by a five large pods of Dolphins which was a great change from Queensland where only on rare occasions would we saw a lone Dolphin. Once past Smoky Cape the wind slowly increased so that as we sailed towards Port Macquarie we recorded many spurts of speed up to 9.5 knots with an average in the last 5 nautical miles of 7 knots. We were only 3.5 nm behind Greg in Lewie when he entered the Hastings River. By 1800 we were moored to one of the river public moorings. These moorings are dangerous as they are out in the tidal stream with the river mouth only a few 100 metres away. We ended up on the public mooring as the Duck Pond had been closed due to construction work on adjacent land.
On the last day of this voyage [Thursday 24th Oct.] we exited the Hastings River at 0530 hours and had a bouncy sail until we cleared Tacking Point, it's always rough along the front of Port Macquarie. Once past Tacking Point the seas smoothed out and the NW wind blew gently so we had a fast 6 knot sail down to the Camden Haven Inlet arriving at 0800 to be greeted by my wife Nancy, and friends, from the Training Wall. We motored up to the Laurieton United Services Club wharf and moored at our start point at 0900.
Over the next few days I removed the dinghy and outboard motor as well as all the gear I HAD'NT used during the voyage, visibly raising the waterline.
During this voyage we anchored over 80 times, did 2,250 nautical miles [4,200km] during 5 months and 2 days.
During most of the voyage I sailed in company with Greg on Lewie, a New Zealand built H28, whose company was much appreciated, thanks Greg.
At times I found this voyage to be hard and I really think I was away for far too long this time. So any future voyages will be limited to between Moreton Bay and Port Hacking.
My thanks go to my wife Nancy for letting me do the voyage and maintaining daily phone contact which really made this voyage possible.
Photos to follow at a later date.
Gladstone to Mooloolaba.
04 October 2019 | Lawrie's Boatyard.
Phillip Bowman | Fine
Moored on the working dock at Lawrie's Boat Yard.
So over the next two days [11th & 12th Sept.] we relaxed by reading and doing a little cleaning inside to stop the mould getting away. Come Friday [13th Sept.] we had that last shower again and motored out of the marina just before high tide. In Gladstone Harbour you have to work the tides and with this falling tide we were swept out in one and a half hours. Against the tide that would have taken some four hours!
We had a good sail down to Pancake Creek, at times doing 6.5 to 7 knots. At the entrance to Pancake Creek we were hassled by a stink boat as I was on the leads ahead of him and he wanted to get past but didn't have the guts to go around me. Once inside with more room he sped off. I was to greet him the next morning as he had no anchor light on and I almost ran him down. I moved into the inner anchorage where there are now National Parks moorings. Not really wanting to use a mooring I circled around until I realized that there is less room there now due to the northern sand bank having moved southwards. So I picked up a mooring and found that the thick heavy ropes had been changed to lighter ones which made the whole process so much easier. They have actually put on two ropes so it's now possible for catamarans to moor as well.
With the weather in our favour we pressed on the next day [14th Sept.] to Burnett Heads. I was away before first light, had to avoid that stink boat I mentioned above, and with everybody moving I had to turn my AIS receiver off as all the data being shown on my plotter over-rode the navigation data! Greg and another yacht were only half a mile ahead of me as we exited Pancake creek. In total some fourteen boats were heading south and by the time we passed 1770 I was tail end Charlie. Most of the day was spent motoring into headwinds with only a couple of hours sailing. We finally anchored at 1700 hours and in doing so passed the 1500 nautical mile marker for this voyage.
The next day had to be a rest day [Sunday 15th Sept.] as the winds have turned against us again for Rooney Point. We are finding the BOM forecast are only good for about six hours and have seen completely different forecasts issued two hours after the official forecast! So we went ashore for coffee and a few things from the very expensive IGA store in Burnett Heads.
That evening an ENE wind of 10 knots plus got up and it became very rocky where we were anchored. Around 0430 hours I gave up and by 0500 was sailing south to the Great Sandy Strait. Greg left an hour later and it would take him 27 nautical miles to catch me. Mind you most of the day was spent motoring again in dead flat seas. When we reached the Fairway Marker for the channel into the Great Sandy Strait the tide was still ebbing so we had to stem the tide for some 12 nautical miles until we could get to the southern anchorage of Big Woody Island.
We have been finding it hard to find safe anchorages with the northern winds and Big Woody Island proved to be marginal that night as the winds turned to the NW blowing along the island. But the next morning [Tuesday 17th Sept.] we had the tide with us and without much effort we were doing 5 to 6 knots on our way to Garry's Anchorage. It was rough until we passed White Cliffs and then it was mirror flat from then on until we arrived at Garry's Anchorage with a NE wind of 15 to 20 knots blowing. I anchored twice before I was satisfied. The big stink boat behind me wasn't and he shifted only to find when he lifted his anchor that it was fouled on his chain. A lucky break for both of us I think as it blew all night with Seaka doing some 10 nautical miles sailing around her anchor. Just another rough night.
On Wednesday [18th Sept.] we found the wind had died completely and the Strait was mirror flat. After talking to a couple of yachts Greg and I decided to go down to Elbow Point with the intention of going over the Wide Bay Bar the next day. So at day break on Thursday [19th Sept.] we proceeded out over the Wide Bay Bar. Conditions were very good considering it was at the start of the flood tide. With the winds doing what BOM predicted we clear the bar to find half an hour later the wind had shifted to a 15 knot plus SE'er, in other words, straight on the nose! After an hour of that I rang Greg and said, "That's it. I'm for Double Island Point". It took us two and a half hours to make it to the anchorage behind Double Island Point.
On Friday [20th Sept.] we sailed at 0300 for Mooloolaba. We had good winds until we were off Noosa when once again it turned on the nose. The decision was made to shelter at Laguna Bay, north of Noosa Heads for a couple of hours. At 1230 hours we were away again, arriving at the Duck Pond just on dark. During the day I had made arrangements by phone to go onto the hard at Lawrie's Boatyard next Thursday to have the drive shaft bearings replaced and realigned with the engine.
I spent the next three days [21st to 23rd Sept.] cleaning all the lockers. I went fishing on Monday morning but only caught a small cod that had to go back. On the Monday night we had a bit of a blow that ended up with two yachts smashed together and one aground in shallow water. Thankfully no visiting yachts were involved as those in trouble were all unattended long term stayers. On the Tuesday [24th Sept.] I went by bus up to the big shopping centre at Maroochydore. When I came back I found a catamaran had anchored three metres from me and was over my anchor. Nobody was onboard so just before dark I managed to retrieve my anchor and after two attempts I re-anchored. I had intended to give him serve in the morning [Wednesday 25th Sept.] but he was gone before sunrise. Angry I went below for a coffee during which I heard a strange noise and I heard it again as I went out to investigate and as I came out of the cabin I glanced to my left only to see my wind vane heading for King Neptune! A Cockatoo had ripped it off! So that meant a trip to Whitworths and three trips up the mast to replace it. So as things come in threes, later on Wednesday, I discovered that we had a leak in one of the tubes in the inflatable dinghy, undoubtable from that small fish I caught.
So on Thursday [26th Sept.] we motored around to Lawrie's Boatyard for a 0930 lift out onto the hard. The shipwright I had contracted to do the work was on hand as soon as we were set up in the bay. Now this was supposed to be a one day job but within a little time that had gone with the discovery that the shaft was worn at the cutlass bearing! With the shaft ruined it was cut in half to allow a quick removal. The consensus was that the cutlass bearing put in during my voyage to Lake Macquarie in 2017 was too big thus allowing the shaft too much movement. So it took until Friday morning to find a machinist who would reconstruct a new shaft and bearing and they wouldn't be done till next Thursday.
With that delay ahead of us I purchased some anti-foul and started rubbing the bottom down. I found that as I hadn't had the bottom cleaned with high pressure water there was quite a bit of growth in areas that had now gone hard. So [on 27th & 28th Sept.] I had to use a wire brush and hose to clean her down. Derek of Silver Lady (Camden Haven Inlet) gave me some PropSpeed that he couldn't use for the propeller, which would work out well as we will go back in the day after the alignment is done, not enough time to use anti-fouling. On Sunday [29th Sept.] I got two coats of anti-fouling on. Now that Seaka has been sitting out of the water for a few days we have discovered one little osmosis on the port side again which will have to be repaired next time I haul out at Laurieton.
Over the next three days [30th Sept., 1st & 2nd Oct.] we didn't do much, well we cleaned Seaka's topsides, re-watered, did the washing and helped Silver Lady go back in the water and install a new furler. A Top Hat Owner, Brian, came by and we had lunch on the Monday. I also did a bit of shopping. I also repaired that small leak in the dinghy.
On Thursday [3rd Oct.] we finally got our hands on the new shaft and bearing. The mechanic spent five hours putting it all together and once he had finished I started painting the prop with PropSpeed. We are clear to go in tomorrow morning, hurrah!
I was up bright and early on Friday [4th Oct.] getting Seaka ready for sea. The yard manager came along and said are you ready I said yes, so he put me in earlier than planned which was excellent. I went alongside the working dock for a bit as I still hadn't paid my bills, but once that was done we were off at 0830 for the bottom of Bribie Island.
Well we thought we were!
A hundred metres from the dock I realized all was not well so turn around and return to the working dock. A quick call to the shipwright had him down and inspecting the engine and he diagnosed that the front engine mounts were shot! They had been inspected but not under running conditions. I was forbidden to move and arrangements were made for Seaka to stay on the working dock free of charge. I must say that all the crew here do all they can to help.
So on this Friday new mounts have been ordered, due here, hopefully on Tuesday [Monday is a public holiday] and I reckon if I'm lucky I'll get out of here on Thursday [10th Oct.] but in the meantime I'm going down to Brisbane for a couple of days.
Photos have been added.
Sitting in Gladstone Marina.
11 September 2019
Phillip Bowman | Fine with strong winds
The Tidal Range at MacKay Marina
On Saturday [31st August] I serviced the inboard motor and looked at the weather which meant we are here for another 24 hours. I went for a walk along the marina break wall, something I haven't done before. As we have paid for Sunday we "planned" to leave that night and we did at 0500 [2nd Sept.] into a flat sea with a 5 knot SW wind, perfect! We attain speeds around 6 knots plus which meant we were anchored at Curlew Island at 1400 hours.
Tuesday [3rd Sept.] night was a bit rough with the NE wind and we will now face this problem all the way south as our anchorages from going north are now all exposed to the northerly winds. We had also anchored in a bit close, assuming we would lay to the north but in fact we lay to the south, and ended up with only 30cm below the keel at low water. The other overnight problem was that the mast had started to creak in the mast girder again with the rough conditions. This resulted in several visits to the mast with lubricating grease and spray before I was able to get to sleep again.
We got away at first light to find little wind and a very flat sea. So we were motoring again. We were slowed as we approached Hunter Island as the tide had changed against us before anchoring in our usual bay.
On Wednesday [4th Sept.] we motor sailed south with the tide towards Island Head Creek. Once again the seas were flat with about a knots worth from the sails. At first the tide was of great assistance but by the time we reached Cape Townsend we were battling the flooding tide and Seaka was down to 1.9 knots. So I said to myself "why not" and I got out the spinnaker.
Now for those who don't know, I've never flown a spinnaker before, so this was going to a bit of a learning curve. It took me over an hour to sort it out and rig it correctly but then came the moment when I hoisted the spinnaker. Wow, it worked and on the starboard tack our speed increased up to 5 knots which was great. For the next couple of hours we steadily approached Island Head Creek where in my wisdom I decided that I should jibe the spinnaker around onto the port tack. Well after a bit of the heart in the mouth stuff we got onto the port tack and heading into the anchorage with the port gunnels under water and doing well over 6 knots, gulp!
Inside Island Head Creek I found that things had change a bit since we came through a couple of months ago, the most dramatic being the changes in the harbour depths, which were shallower. So now I had to get that bloody spinnaker down! After trying several ideas I eventually just pulled in the tack as far as I could and let the head go until it hit the water were I was able to haul it all over the port safety wires. Later I would dry it off so I could put it in its bag. It would not be until Gladstone where I was able to fold it up and bag it correctly.
After surviving a night of an enormous number of midges, we motored down to Pear Bay [5th Sept.] where we anchored in clear water. I immediately got in the water to give Seaka's bottom a scrape to remove more of the growth we've had since we left the Camden Haven Inlet. The increased speed we got was worth the effort so I will have to do that more often. While there with the clear water I was able to check that the sounder was reading the correct depth under the keel. After 1330 Greg and I motored down to Port Clinton, doing our phone calls as we crossed the entrance and up to the southern anchorage. Once there I found the NW'er put us on a lee shore so we turned around and went back north to Perforated Head where we found a calm anchorage from the now very strong NW wind.
On Friday [6th Sept.] I was away at 0430, an hour before Greg, with the tide in my favour doing 5 knots plus under motor and sail. Just before Manifold Head and Island we caught our first fish after some 1300 nautical miles. Unfortunately it was 80cm long [too big] and a Mac Tuna which is only suitable for bait. So one lucky fish got to swim again. Still motor sailing on over a flat sea we finally approach North Keppel Island where the NE wind started to pick up to give us a rollicking sail into Long Beach on Great Keppel Island. There we joined a host of boats that would number over forty as they continued to arrive overnight. By first light the next morning [7th Sept.] they started to depart so that by 0700 when we departed, less than half were still in the bay. I don't know where they went.
Seaka was able to sail directly for The Narrows giving us a pleasant change from motor sailing. Arriving at The Narrows we had to motor again to get to the start of the crossing where we had a two hour wait for the tide to be an hour from official high tide. We found it very hot there with the thermometer reaching 31 degrees C. We were later to hear that the day before it had reached 33 degrees there.
Three yachts crossed The Narrows with one doing it for the first time and panicking when they radioed that their chart plotter showed them crossing land. They had to be told sternly to ignore their chart plotter and just follow the buoyage! Later they received a photo of The Narrows at low tide to prove they had "sailed upon the land". Once through The Narrows we motored down to Targinie Creek where we completed our anchoring just on dark.
The next morning [8th Sept.] we had a 2 hour sail and motor with the tide down to the Gladstone Marina. The staff at the marina are the friendliest I know of and we always enjoy a bit of banter with them. During the day I discovered that the protective coating to my glasses is breaking down, I just hope it doesn't get to the point where I can't use them for reading.
Monday [9th Sept.] was a shopping day for fuel and food. Had a last shower, there will be no more showers before I get home as this is the last marina of our voyage.
Well Tuesday [10th Sept.] didn't start off very well as we now have a strong wind warning for our area today and the narrow window we had to get to Pancake Creek is two hours shorter. So the decision was made to abort today's sailing, this is at 0600 with a strong wind blowing, until Friday where we plan to sail to Pancake Creek, Saturday to Burnett Heads and then Monday to the Great Sandy Strait with a possible crossing of the Wide Bay Bar sometime next week.
Oh, and that last shower is delayed until Friday morning!
There are new photos in the 2019 Gallery.
Waiting at MacKay Marine for better weather
30 August 2019 | MacKay Marina.
Phillip Bowman | Fine and windy from SE
On the 8th August we set off from Airlie Beach to find the sea like glass as we made our way to Hook Passage and down the eastern side of Whitsunday Island to the Whitehaven Beach area. We finally anchored in Windy Bay on Haslewood Island, going ashore for a refreshing swim before dark.
The next day [9th August] we moved over to Whitehaven Beach to observe the tourist hoards that arrive and leave there every day. Greg and I went ashore and climbed the track up to the Chance Bay lookout where we were able to make a few phone calls. It seems strange but there is still no phone coverage on the eastern side of the islands when you consider the number of tourist, near half a million, that come out here every year. There was an assortment of vessels here with stink boats causing havoc with their wakes and float planes flying at mast height, well below the 500 metre minimum.
On Saturday [10th August] we got up early to go to Gulnare Inlet, but having stuck our heads out into Solway Passage to find 15 knots of wind we turn around and headed north up towards Hook Passage. With the tide taking us north and light winds we enjoyed a wing an wing [sails on opposite sides of Seaka] sail, getting up to 5 knots! During that sail I kept smelling this awful smell and it was some time before I realized it was coming from the whales astern of us. There were plenty of whales around that day. Once we rounded Hook Passage we found a south west sea coming in so moved around to Nara Inlet for lunch before moving onto Cid Harbour. We had gone to Cid Harbour in anticipation of strong winds over the next few days. In Cid Harbour we found a line of reef markers, we are not allowed to anchor between them and the shore and nobody had. It wasn't until next day that I discovered that they were actually warning of the shark attacks occurring in Cid Harbour. We spent the next day [11th August] sheltering from the winds.
On Monday [12th August] it was still blowing hard in the morning but by lunchtime we were able to get away for Stonehaven Anchorage where we found a mooring and I set up the four buoys to prevent the mooring buoy banging on the hull. I tried all sorts of lures that night but did not even get a nudge. The next morning [13th August] we made our way around to Butterfly Bay with the intention of holing up for another three days of strong winds. On arrival I was lucky enough to get the inner mooring which I've always wished to get on during my last two visits but were unable to do so. That afternoon I dived on Seaka's hull and using a wide plastic plaster trowel to removed the fur growing there.
Over the next two days [14th & 15th August] it blew hard, at times gusts over 25 knots, but we were comfortable on the mooring. With not much happening I baked a chocolate cake and did a bit of snorkeling around the bay.
With the weather improving we moved [16th August] around to the back of Nara Inlet where we visited the Aboriginal cave shelter and then moved back out to do phone calls and emails before finally anchoring in Refuge Bay off Nara Inlet. We stayed there another day with Greg catching a Trevally which provided a welcome change of diet.
On Sunday [18th August] we motored out to the entrance of Nara Inlet and enjoyed a sail across to Airlie Beach. Once there we entered the marina going to the public dock where I filled up the water tank. I had used 5 litres a day since being in Gladstone. The next day [19th August] I spent shopping which included buying an extra 10 litre fuel drum to get us through some of the longer stretches down south. Then the next two days [20th & 21st] were too windy to go north to the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club get together at Cape Gloucester.
Finally on the Thursday [22nd August] I got away for Cape Gloucester. On the way I was boomed again by a stink boat who passed, less the 100m ahead, across my course. Arriving at the Cape around lunch time I went ashore and registered, got a number 2 haircut, I enjoyed that, and got rid of all the books I had read to a sale table.
The next day [23rd August] I caged a lift ashore to go to the Shag Islet Day. A very windy day and we can now see that there are only about half the boats that were here in 2015. Saturday [24th August] greeted us with low clouds and rain all of which had cleared by 1000 hours, so allowing the Hands Across The Seas to go ahead. It was still rough for my small dinghy but as Frank, in Third Man from Port Macquarie, and I were first there we got a sheltered position behind the 90' three deck stink boat from which the event would be conducted. After the official bit we were all invited aboard, there weren't that many people, for Champagne and eats. The interior of the boat was well appointed and the liquor and food flowed freely, so much so that I would only stand one more drink that night!
Returning to our yachts we soon noticed that there was a police inflatable doing the circuit which caused most of us to call for the ferry boat to avoid them. I reckon I was over the limit at that stage, after the free liquor that day, so really had no choice. Having had not intending to be at the Shaggers do I had no fancy gear for this Rio night but the good people on Third Man and Freya came to the party with enough gear to pass muster. The only downer for the day was the chicken in the evening dinner ashore which was not properly cook and early the next morning, when I got rid of it, I felt so much better.
Spent the next morning [25th August] I repacked the forward lockers and gave Third Man my copy of Going Troppo as they are heading further north. I went ashore for the Pirate Party at lunchtime but found it to be pretty lame compared to 2015 when there were more yachts here. Later that day I got Seaka ready for sea.
So, at first light on Monday 26th August I turned Seaka for home and along with a stream of yachts took the Gloucester Passage south. I was motoring as the wind was on the nose [again] but I was keeping up with the bulk of that fleet. A couple of hours later I had to turn the AIS receiver off as the poor chart plotter was struggling with receiving all the information from so many moving vessels around me. Around midday off Airlie Beach we had a baby whale doing leaps some 100m off Seaka's starboard bow. With conditions so good I decided to motor on down pass Long Island arriving an hour before dusk at Puritan Bay on the north side of Round Head on Cape Conway.
I had planned to leave at midnight but as I had had only a short disturbed sleep due to the short swell coming into the Bay, put it off to first light. So at first light [Tuesday, 27th August] we lifted the anchor and by 0730 had cleared Cape Conway and pointed our nose directly for MacKay. We saw several whales during the day but none close to us. As I passed Thomas Island, way to the east, a 30 to 40 foot yacht joined me, but he was sailing, and for most of the day he tacked back and forth but never getting any further than 2-300 metres in front of me, as he crossed my course, until he gave up and tacked away to Brampton Island. We continued to motor on, trying at various times during the day to get the Genoa to draw, but without any luck. It was 1800 hours as we rounded the last corner to line up the lead lights to the harbour and just as it turned pitch black, we motored in between the walls. It was then a dash to get fish'n'chips [Mackerel] and a shower before crashing into bed.
On Wednesday and Thursday [28th & 29th August] I did shopping and cleaning. The fuel and water were topped up, the engine serviced. Friday [30th August] was spent writing this blog and doing a last few jobs. We leave early Sunday morning for Curlew Island some 45 nautical miles away to the south.
I have added photos to the 2019 album. To see the photo titles hover your mouse pointer over the photo.
19 August 2019 | Airlie Beach
Phillip Bowman | Fine with strong winds
New photos have been added in the photo folder called:
Seaka's 2019 Voyage to the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland.
Airlie Beach to 7th August. Pearl Bay Beach
06 August 2019 | Airlie Beach
On Monday [22nd July] we were away at 0645 for the sail across to Curlew Island. This was one of our better sails with gentle winds, the tide with the wind and a low general swell. I arrived at noon in company of Lewie and Third Man. A lunch of pasta on Third man was enjoyed by all. We also found Sylphide was still here but with her furler now back up. Turns out Catherine had manage a temporary repair to her furler but now had problems with her engine. Other at Curlew had had a look at the engine but had not found out what was wrong so Greg and I had a look and discovered that a bolt hole had been stripped on the fuel return to the fuel filter. The whole unit was replaced in Mackay. Just on evening Greg and I saw 2 metre Mackerel jumping high in the air as they chased bait fish.
Tuesday [23rd July] saw a daylight start and once clear of the sandbar and rocks around Curlew Island the light winds required the use of the iron sail if we were ever to get to MacKay today. Conditions were very good with the light wind but later in the day with the flood tide being against what wind there was the seas built slightly. As I approached the Hay Point anchorage with some 37 large ships anchored there, I could see this one ship moving and then it swung west to point straight at my proposed course. With no change in its bearing and the AIS plotter saying we are going to collide it was time to call her up. At first I got no response and checking her full details on the AIS, realized I had her name incorrectly. Once I called her with the correct name they came straight back, unfortunately it wasn’t the pilot speaking and I was only understanding the odd word. What I worked out was that he wanted Seaka to pass her stern. I was in complete agreement with that and now he knew that was what I would do. After half an hour stuffing around I was final clear and once again on-way to MacKay where we arrived at 1630 hours. I had a shower and then with the crews from Lewie and Third Man we went and had fish n’ chips and a beer for tea.
We spent two days in MacKay during which I did an oil and filter change and took on water and fuel. I threw away the last of that meat from home and found a butcher where I got meat that they vacuum packed for me. The three yachts hired the marina car for one afternoon and we went and had a look at the northern suburbs of MacKay and completed our shopping.
On Friday [26th July] we tried to exit the harbour but got caught by a fuel ship entering and ended up tied to a marina arm while waiting for the docking to be completed. Once clear we headed for Brampton Island which was a downwind sail. Later in the day we had to add the motor after the tide change to arrive at 1500 hours. I inflated the dinghy as it will be stored on the foredeck from now on while we are in the Whitsunday Islands. I went for a trawl but didn’t get anything.
We spent the next day [27th July] at Brampton Island. Greg and I went ashore in my dinghy and spoke to the caretaker. Seems the whole resort is condemned but to rebuild the owners of the lease have to barge off all the present building materials. It would be a huge job as I could see heaps of asbestos sheets in the buildings which is probably why nothing is happening. By the time we departed the shore the tide had dropped to the point where we had to walk the dinghy out over the shallow bar.
Sunday [28th July] with a late start we sailed up to Goldsmith Island and anchored in Rosslyn Bay. Went for a trawl but didn’t get anything so when the tide had come in a bit so I could get over the reef I went ashore and made a few phone calls. The weather reports do not look from Wednesday this week with 30 plus knots predicted.
Monday [29th July] we sailed the 9 nautical miles to Thomas Island and anchored in behind Young Tom’s Island. No fish again but later that afternoon the crews from seven yachts went ashore for drinks during which we caught up with a few yachts we had been seeing on the odd occasion. The following night can be rated as amongst the worst I have spent onboard Seaka and by daylight I was over it and decided to bolt north, remember we do have extreme weather coming, where I would decide once around Burning Point on Shaw Island. Before I left I managed to ring Greg and tell him of my change in plans. Greg said he would stay another day, which he told me later he regretted as it was worse than the first night, then go to anchor behind Burning Point.
Leaving just after daylight [30th July] I by chance got the tides right and sailed up to Burning point doing 5 knots. Once I got to Platypus Rock, off Shaw Island, I saw that the Whitsunday Passage was relatively calm and it was an easy decision to head across to Long Island which I reached as the tide turned to an ebbing tide and as a result we surged through The Narrows at 9 plus Knots. This continued until our speed had dropped off to 6 knots just north of Shute Harbour. So the 30 nautical mile trip was done at over 5 knots average, our best run yet. On arrival at Airlie Beach we anchored in our normal location off the western entrance to the Able Point Marina, now called the Coral Seas Marina, at Cannonvale.
So on Wednesday [31st July] and over the next few days [to 7th August] we started to prepare for the coming high winds by getting shore jobs done and food onboard. During this time I fitted an automatic float switch to the bilge pump, fixed a broken fishing rod and brought fuel so we have all containers full. I also baked a cake for my birthday. Over these last few days we have had high winds, up to 33 knots and periods of heavy rain.
Tomorrow [8th August] after eight days here we will sail towards Whitehaven Beach to take advantage of a two day period of little wind. After that we will head north to the top of Hook and down the western side of the island before coming back into Airlie Beach to reprovision before the Shaggers get together at Gloucester Passage during 22-25th August.
After that we will return to Airlie Beach for a final reprovision before heading south for home.