Wednesday 30 March 2016

March 2016

Why the blog, well a lot of family don’t have a computer, or do and don’t use Facebook or are not savvy with emails, so we thought we would write a blog and that way people will get notification (once I work out how that happens) and can follow our travels. Why is it titled ‘100 days to Cairns’, well at the time of leaving we had exactly 100 days to be in Cairns for preparations to join the 2016 rally ‘ Sail 2 Indonesia’ (S2I). Yep we have decided to go off shore and we figured the best way to do this safely was do it in a rally. Indonesian waters has long been in the background of our minds and seemed the most logical place to sail to due to Bruce’s working history, so Indonesia it is. The rally finishes at Bintan Island, which is just below Singapore late in October. Once the rally finishes we most likely will stay on and find our feet from a yachting perspective or join another rally ‘Sail Malaysia’ – still not sure yet. Again the bonus is Bruce knows Singapore like the back of his hand, having worked there on and off for many years over a 20 year period.

We left Moreton Bay early on the 20th March, a Sunday and we had great winds behind us. Once out we decided to get some miles under our belt and continue sailing past Mooloolaba and then again the decision was made to continue sailing past the Wide Bay Bar and run up past the Breaksea Spit (northern end of Fraser Island). This was and wasn’t the best decision we made. It was good because we got a huge chunk of the coast behind us in 2 nights but bad because the weather was flaky sometimes and we put the engine on. We are never fans of putting on the engine because of the cost of fuel but we more because we enjoy the sailing and its just down right disappointing when the weather doesn’t get the memo from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and totally drops off. We also had an interesting hour or so with a fishing trawler. We could see him clearly on our radar and visually. We always move out of their way to give them plenty of working space, but this guy was persistently moving to face us – in the end we had to again put the engine on and make a mad last minute dash to get out of his way – all a bit nerve wracking at o’dark thirty. Not to mention the weather around the Breaksea Spit, it was pretty full on for about 9 hours.

By late Tuesday afternoon we had made Pancake Creek with plenty of light to anchor safely. It always feels so good to have the anchor down, a good wash and a solid meal. We don’t tend to eat as much once we are underway. We spent a lovely few days just recovering and decided to go for a sail out to Lady Musgrave Island on Friday.

Lady Musgrave is always an interesting place to visit. Its simply beautiful, the water is pristine and the island is very interesting. But,,,,,,,,it’s a very narrow entrance that has some serious pull at either side of the high/low tide. We arrived at the last hour of the low tide and we had the engine cranked up and only clocked 1 knot of speed as we entered. Then once inside you have to avoid all the coral bommies. While they are easy to see, some do creep up and you end up waving frantically for the Captain to move the boat in the opposite direction. This visit we stayed 2 full days, so 4 days all up. It wasn’t the best visit we have had due to the wind. We a sou’easter present the entire time and some days it got quite boisterous and nobody was leaving their boats. The thought of dragging anchorage is always present in your mind. We didn’t do much diving either because we havnt made a new set of step for our tender since we broke the last set and seeing as we cant get back into the tender without steps, it meant no snorkeling. But we did swim and really enjoyed it. Bruce still snorkeled over a couple of coral heads around Matilda, but they were too deep to see very much. We did however see a huge potato cod. On the way out we caught a tuna and once anchored we guttered and skinned the tuna, Bruce threw it over board and the enormous cod came out and devoured it whole!

Passing the Green marker - note the coral and how close we are.

Skipjack Tuna - Bruce caught on the way over.

Eagle perched high on top of the light of Lady Musgrave Island.

Easter Monday we left with slack water just after the high tide at 10 and did want to originally go to Wistari Reef, then onto Great Keppel but the wind again was not blowing the predicted direction so we set the sails and as it turned out ended up back in Pancake Creek.

South Passage at anchor in Pancake Creek.
Sun setting over Pancake Creek.

Now its near the end of March and I thought after much deliberation of the blog I would throw on a capture of the progress made during March.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Deb and Bruce x