Sunday, April 29, 2012

Garry's Anchorage - 29/04/2012

Yesterday was a very wet day so we kept the little generator ticking over and played on the computer and  last night read a book. Due to the amount of rain that as occurred this summer and beginning of autumn  there are a lot of insects about and Garry's Anchorage is always well known for sandflies and mossies so doors closed and a burner going in the cockpit to keep them at bay.

Garry's Anchorage is and all weather anchorage although it can stir up with SW winds and very strong southerlies. We had some SW winds during the night hours and that put us in a position of wind against tide so this held us side on to wind, tide and small wind waves which woke me due to different movement of the boat with a gentle rocking.

This morning looks good and we may take off a little further north to White Cliffs as we are still expecting strong winds this evening, so we need the anchorage with S/SE protection.

Goodmorning from Garry's Anchorage)

Rick and Michelle on 'Neriki' called this morning they have made the move for Bundaberg and asked us if we would be heading off to. We had not given it any thought and we could have done that if we thought of it earlier this morning, however, we are 25 NMS behind 'Neriki' as we have to go through the rest of Great Sandy Straits where they were already in the northern area. We may be in the Straits for a few days as the wind and seas pick up later today.

Garry's Anchorage is a very popular place when strong winds are forecast in the charter boat season the place can be packed and one thing one has to watch is these charter boats, mainly house boats will anchor a little close to you. Many do not understand that we swing with wind and tide on the anchor and each vessel behaves differently therefore we need space between boats especially during strong wind warnings. If you see someone coming politely tell them if they are getting too close.

(Garry's Anchorage)

At Garry's most boats will anchor were the red anchor with the yellow background is marked on the chart. This is the best place but it is where everyone congregates leaving little swing room, often go up near the starboard markers where I have marked the chart below with a red anchor.

Garry's has two entrances north and south, to go north access you need a shallow draft or a high tide, we have been through a few times and where I have marked shallow on the chart I have had very little water under me and we draw 1.4 metres. Always go through shallow waters before high tide then if you run aground you have still some tide to lift you off. Before attempting any shallow areas to investigate check that the following high tides are increasing not decreasing.

Some people have come to grief when going through shallow water at or near high tide and have not been able to get off on that high tide have been stuck for days or a week because  the tides are at that time of the month that they are decreasing each day. Some years ago a yacht was entering a port and was not sure the path to take they followed a local catamaran unbeknown to its skipper, the catamaran took a short cut as it had little draft, the yacht with a keel giving it considerable draft in following the catamarans path ran aground and was stuck there for a long time, days. Trouble with those yachts is that they do not stand up when there is no water.

I have found over the last few years being a new bloke to sailing on the ocean that a lot of the work before sailing off somewhere is the planning and plotting, gathering information about the places you intend to visit. It is important that complacency does not set in. Things change, Mooloolaba is a perfect example we have been in and out of there the last few years but due to heavy rain and rough seas it is difficult to enter at the moment.

Another good example is that many boats do not talk to the coastguard for whatever reason and some sailors are still crossing the Wide Bay Bar at the old waypoints. Yesterday as we sat at our anchorage we heard an American call Tin Can Bay Coastguard he had intended to continue going south but decided to come across the bar. They told Coastguard that they were crossing and Coastguard asked them to let them know when they are at waypoint one, they did this, when they did Coastguard asked them to call them when a waypoint three, the skippers wife called back and said they could not find waypoint three in the book and coastguard gave the waypoints to them. This conversation rang alarm bells in my head, do the Americans have the correct waypoints. I phoned Coastguard with that query and the lady on shift then radioed the vessel. The American skipper was using the Beacon to Beacon book which is a guide put out by the Queensland Government the waypoints in that book are the old waypoints not the new ones they were lucky they did not run into trouble. At least now the Americans have the correct waypoints to cross the bar when they go back out.

Our playground can and is a dangerous place at times common sense needs to be used and the best information that is possible to get. If you go to a new place it is always a good thing to talk to the locals that know the waters this can be sailors, fishermen and the Coastguard. Guidebooks can be out of date the day they hit the store shelves as time since information was gathered and the time it takes to publish and get them on the shelves in the shops. We have spent days getting information in relation to this trip we are doing but there is still a lot we do not know and we will continue on our research as we go along.

It's all about safe sailing.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kauri Creek to Garrys' Anchorage - 27/04/2012

When we left Wide Bay yesterday we had a funny experience when we were trying to weigh anchor the boat seemed to be going in circles, I was at the anchor and Nancy was on the helm, being a bloke I asked her what she was doing to cause it. Naturally Nancy fired back saying it was not her. We got the anchor up and went across the bar and when we went to anchor at Kauri Creek we started to do the same.

(Good morning from Kauri Creek)

After we had anchored I started to check the new gear box and found that it was stuck in the ahead gear and started to think the worst but being tired decided to leave it until today. So this morning first job was to check out what was the problem and found it to be very simple. The split pin that holds the control had broken and dropped out when the we had the engine in the ahead position, I was very pleased.

We had to wait for near high tide to leave Kauri Creek there is a section that is very shallow near the entrance (see chart below). There are strong wind warnings that have been issued so we have decided to move up to Garry's Anchorage for a couple of days.
(Kauri Creek is a little tricky for any vessel that has some draft, we draw 1.4 metres and we cannot go in on a low tide the shallow is at the first port marker, give it a wide berth like shown on the chart above)

We motored out of Kauri Creek at 1030 hours and as soon as we left we unfurled the genoa and shut down the engines, the wind was light but going with the tide we averaged 5 knots. Once we arrived at Garry's we found a suitable place to anchor and dropped the pick. We have internet coverage so we are getting up to date with our notes.

We have been in contact with friends Rick and Michelle on 'Neriki' who we met last year, they had some bad luck during the summer months as they were hit by lightening and it blew all the electrics in their boat and all had to be replaced. They had sailed from their place in the Great Sandy Straits the same day we left Brisbane. So we will be catching up with them as we go north.

So we  will stay here for the strong wind days before moving north.
28/04/2012 At Garrys Anchorage and this is what we see today.

(Liquid sunshine at Garrys Anchorage)


Friday, April 27, 2012

The first leg of the voyage. 25/04/2012

The voyage has started on Anzac Day after the Anzac Day March in Manly. The day was supposed to start with the dawn service at 0400 hours, however, I have come down with the flu and did not think it was wise to go out in the morning chill air but I did attend the march at 0800 hours. The previous night we had a BBQ with our friends at the marina as a farewell with them although we will see most of them at the Shag Islet Cruising Club weekend at Monte's.
(Anzac Day is a special day to me I remember  the servicemen and women that made the ultimate sacrifice, I also remember the people that I served with that lost their lives whilst serving in war or peace time whether it be through illness or accident and I use this day to remember my father who was an ex-serviceman from the WWII who died from cancer in 1994. This is the I  celebrate their lives and give thanks, it is a good day to remember the good times we had together as service personnel. I march each year not to glorify war but in respect of fallen and to remind people the sacrifice some men and women gave.)

After the march and the service we prepared the final few things that had to be done before heading out. Daughter Lindy and her hubby Steve and grandson Sam were at the Anzac service and we said our goodbyes from there we had been out to dinner with them the weekend.

Fellow boaties Kath, Andy, Soraya and John came down to send us off or as Andy said to make sure we go and at 1015 hours we cast off the lines and we were on our way.

The predicted weather conditions were favourable and that was the deciding factor on leaving on this day. Weather conditions were for moderate SW winds which are hard not to take advantage of as sailing this coast with the wind coming off the coast means very little wind waves this makes for good sailing.

As soon as we got out of the harbour leads we hoisted the mainsail but still had to motor sail as the wind was too light for us in the direction we needed to go. We passed friends on 'Backchat' as they were slowly heading out across the bay they were trying to fill the sails with wind and were sailing at a slow pace but that should have changed as they moved away from the mainland. We continued motor sailing until we changed direction near the Brisbane Harbour leads then we were under sail and did quite well with speeds ranging from 5.5 to 8.5 knots depending on the landform that occasionally slowed the wind. We took the track up towards Scarborough and the southern end of Bribie Island and round to Skirmish Passage. As we neared the end of Skirmish Passage I noted a cargo ship entering the shipping lane calculating the distance we would meet at the point I normally take a short cut over the North West Channel so I decided to cross it early so that I did not have to wait for the vessel to pass it.
(Our track from Manly Harbour to Skirmish Passage)

(Underway sailing north with the Glasshouse Mountains ahead)

(Passing the Glasshouse Mountains along Skirmish Passage)

When in this situation occurs  it is better to make your crossing with a direct movement so that the pilot on the cargo ship can identify what you are doing or they will give you a call on the VHF radio and tell you the obvious that you are in a shipping lane. By the good book shipping lanes should be crossed at a 90⁰ angle not that we always practice this but as long as it can be seen so that the pilot does not think that you have just wondered into a shipping lane not knowing and there are probably some out there that would do this that probably should not be out on the water themselves similar to those sailors that sail without lights during the night or do not use anchor lights. We cut across the shipping lane twice in our short cut the second crossing is near Caloundra at the beginning of the shipping lane then we head north again.
(Our track up Skirmish Passage and crossing the shipping lane near Caloundra and up to Mooloolaba)

In the past we usually call into Mooloolaba to see daughter Cherie but she has now moved back to Dubbo so there was no point. Another reason at the moment is that Mooloolaba is having a bit of trouble with the sand bar since the heavy rain and seas, so it is a little tricky getting in and out. As we passed last night we heard a boat talking to the pilot boat asking if they could follow him in of which he was kind enough to oblige. So we passed by doing an overnight sail to Wide Bar south of Fraser Island.

Overnighters on the first night out is tough, it was made tougher by me having a dose of the flu, those flu injections really work, had one last Friday got the flu Sunday. Also last night was bloody cold. Nancy told me to put a singlet on, can't remember the last time I wore one. I did as she said with a tee shirt on top and a good woollen  jumper , plus a short sleeve sailing jacket and a foul weather jacket on top of that, track suit pants and a blanket around the legs and I was still freezing. Nancy had made a bacon and vegetable soup that was piping hot I had three helpings plus cups of tea throughout the watch to keep the insides warm. It was too cold to get tired, so I stayed on watch through to 0100 hours when Nancy woke up and told me off for not waking her. (Yes dear) Those two words are part of the marriage vows.

I did wake her a few hours before when she was in a deep sleep as I needed assistance. We have a rule on board that no person on watch is to leave the cockpit without another person on deck to make sure the person returns safely. The wind had kicked in to above 25 knots and usually we put a reef in the mainsail before nightfall, we did not do it because the conditions were quite mild. Well when the wind kicked in and occasionally heavy gusts were felt I thought I should have put that reef in the main earlier. So I drag Nancy out of bed we furl the genoa and turn into the wind to reef the mainsail. As I was out at the mast putting the reef in I let too much of the sail down missing the first reef point I had got to the second reef point so I decided that will do. After getting back on course I unfurled a very small section of the genoa and we still continued to sail at 6.5 to 8 knots depending on sea and wind conditions.

Nancy took the shift at 0100 hours and I got a couple of hours sleep before I felt the boat moving differently and woke up, at the same time Nancy came down to wake me as we were near the Wide Bay Bar. She said she changed direction to slow us down but that did not work. I had actually asked her to wake me as we neared Double Island Point then we could have gone straight into Wide Bay and anchored but she had misunderstood what I said so we had a 3 NMS to track back to the anchorage where we anchored at 0500 hours we then flopped on the bed fully clothed for a 2 hours sleep before heading to the Wide Bay Bar for the crossing into Great Sandy Straits.
(Our track from Mooloolaba to Wide Bay where we anchored)

I woke a little before seven and got up and put the kettle on then got ready to get going. Once underway Nancy cooked breakfast and we ate on the way.
(Our track from Wide Bay and crossing of Wide Bay Bar then into Kauri Creek)
( Wide Bay Bar waypoints - Waypoint One - 25⁰ 47.671' 8S -  153⁰ 08.378' 2E / Waypoint Two - 25⁰ 47.364' 8S - !53⁰ 06.630' 6E / Waypoint Three - 25⁰ 48.205' 7S - 153⁰ 04.806' 6E

(One of Nancy's photos of the lively Wide Bay Bar)
(A couple of quick photos of the bar from my position)
Arriving at the first waypoint having checked with the Coastguard that they have not changed since last year then started the crossing. The bar looked lively with waves breaking on the bar and water spraying into the air. However, the conditions outside were not too bad, we had a east - southeast swell of around one metre the wind was from west - southwest. The tide was 2 hours prior to high tide and that is what was causing the waves to stand up a little the wind was opposing  the tide and was blowing the top of the waves causing white caps. As far as the crossing itself I have had better and I have had worse, this one was like a washing machine waves were all over the place but they were only half a metre high. It actually looked worse than it was.

Once safely in the Straits we headed for Kauri Creek anchored then after a little Irish coffee (medicinal purposes for sure, plus it tasted good after the cold air), went for a sleep and slept till late lunch time. We will spend a couple of days here before moving on.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Alice Springs - 12 to 17/04/2012

No we did not sail to Alice Springs we went by aircraft. The main reason for this was my mother's 90th Birthday party which was held on the Saturday before her actual birthday.

My Mother and sister live in the Alice and I used to live there. I first went to the Alice after leaving the navy, many people would ask how come I went to the Alice so far from the water? I always replied that I carried an oar over my shoulder and kept moving inland until someone asked what it was and there I stayed. This is not true fact, I had been to the Alice on holiday two years prior to leaving the navy and liked the community. That was back in 1974 when the population was around 10,000 now it is around three times that.

(Macdonald Ranges from Flynn's Grave)

(John Flynn's Grave)
(The stone on Flynn's grave was echanged in 1992 as the original came from Devils Marbles a sacred aboriginal site)
My sister and brother-in-law visited and liked it just as I was moving  on and they liked it so they moved there and I moved away in 1987, not because they moved there I had planned to move well before they decided to go there. After Dad died Mum moved up to the Alice.

The red centre is still spectacular with its rugged looks and bright colours. It is a great place to tour around. At times it is the red centre and occasionally with wet years turns the countryside green.

(Yours truly with Mother Joan and Sister Jeanne)

Many friends travelled to Mum's party coming from Tasmania, Adelaide and Darwin we did not do a head count but it was rather busy with many people coming in from the Old Timer's Village where Mum has her cottage. It was a great time had by all and Mum was quite tired by the end of the day.

(Good friends L-R, Michael, Rhys, me and Frank)
We spent the few days catching up with relatives and friends and it was great to do so as we had not seen each other for some years. The good part about true friends is that although you do not see each other for years after the first greeting and handshake or kiss depending on male or female we start to talk and it is as though we only saw each other yesterday, that's true friendship.

Well we are now back on 'Alana Rose' and preparing for the voyage that will start after Anzac Day march.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Manly Harbour, Brisbane - 03/04/2012

Well we have had a little hurdle thrown in front of us for our planned circumnavigation. We are intending to spend the wet season in Darwin, and yes some may think we are mad for that. However, the hurdle is that it is not that easy to get into a marina which we need to do for protection. The Tipperary Marina has a maximum allowable width of 6 metres and we are 6.93 metres so that rules that out. The Cullen Bay marina does not have space for us which leaves the Bayview Marina who have put us on a waiting list as they have a policy of not taking permanent bookings until a month prior to arrival. I can understand that as many yachts make bookings at marinas and do not turn up at times. May I say the Bayview have been sympathetic towards what we need and have got us on the list and it may all be well but we cannot confirm at this point in time.

So we have to hope that we can get a booking a month prior and that others have not got in before us. This is one problem owning a catamaran there are fewer berths for them because we take up more space and catamarans are getting very popular.

We will try and book a berth at Bayview when we get to Cairns and if we cannot get in at Darwin we will spend the wet in Cairns. One other problem is that I was so confident that we would be alright in Darwin I have already booked and paid for Nancy to fly out of Darwin for a couple of weeks to get her Grandchildren fix. Booking early to get the cheap flights, well if we don't get there then we pay a little extra for her to fly out of Cairns.

The reason we want to spend the wet in Darwin is that after the wet all the waterfalls will be flowing very well around the Kimberly's so we would see it at its best.

If this fails we stay at Cairns until end of April then head to Darwin and have a shorter stay there, we will see what pans out.