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.


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