Monday, May 14, 2012

Keppel Bay and Keppel Islands - 13/05/2012

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers.
(A little ray of sunshine)

We have just arrived back in Keppel Bay Marina after being out the islands for a couple of days. But I will go back to where we left off in the last scribbles.

Wednesday 09/05/2012
(Tourist class on the fwd deck, Nancy taking photos as we approach Heron Island)

Chart showing the track we took from Bundaberg to Lady Musgrave Island then to Wistari Reef and then onto Great Keppel Island)

(Wistari Reef where we dragged anchor, this is supposed to be a good anchorage we could not see the bottom due to poor visibilty if we could have seen the clear sand it may have been different.)
(Nancy sitting with her herb garden watching the sunset)
(The sunset from Wistari Island)

We arrived at Great Keppel Island at 0935 hours and after anchoring and having a cuppa I had a sleep, I am still shaking the tail end of the flu so I figured I needed a little rest. So we did very little all day after sailing through the night having little sleep but we did enjoy the scenery and the relax.

Thursday 10/05/2012

At 0845 hours we pulled the pick and sailed over to Keppel Bay Marina there was no hurry so we just sailed under the genoa which gave us a speed of 5.5 knots, seas were still a little messy but not too bad. As we left GKI we noticed 'Swanning Around' friends that we met in Brisbane last year and saw them again in Brisbane this year. Nancy called them on the radio and asked what they were up to and we will catch them up north. We also saw a couple of other yachts that we knew from earlier days and caught up with some of them it goes to show it is the start of the cruising season.
(Sailing to Kappel Bay Marina the mainland ahead)

Getting back to the seas in this area, when sailing from island to island or to Keppel Bay with windy and swell conditions the seas can stand up a little due to the shallow sand bars on the western side of the islands.
(This chart shows the Keppel Islands and the surrounding shallow waters that cause the waves to stand up in high winds and especially wind against tide)

Once we had berthed in Keppel Bay Marina we went to book in with the usual very friendly people here. The marina is quite a nice marina and the people are so friendly. After booking in we had a coffee and something to eat at the cafe before starting on some of the chores. We are in for one night, tomorrow we have friends coming aboard for a couple of nights, Dot and John, we always call in here or Gladstone to see them, Dot has been a friend of Nancy's for a long time when they lived in Geurie.

We did a bit of running around to get the necessary items we needed and when it came to late afternoon we realised that the wind was blowing from astern and it would be impossible to use the BBQ with that wind so we decided to go to the restaurant the only problem is that the area they have as a night setup was fully booked. However, they do have a menu that they call the boaties menu which is a choice of fish or steak with chips and salad. The other choice you have is that you can have it served at the outside seating or you can have take away and take it back on board. We chose the steak and the outside seating, the steak was large and was a rib eye fillet cooked to perfection so we were not disappointed. On the way back to the boat after dinner we called in to see the crew on 'Charon' as they had called by on their way past when we were out at GKI. This ended up in going aboard for a couple of wines.

Friday  11/05/2012

We did a little running around getting some fuel and Nancy had ordered some bread from the servo so we picked that up then Dot and John arrived and took Nancy into Yeppoon to get some items we could not get out here. When they arrived back I had the boat ready to go. Once they were on board I went up to the marina office and told them we were leaving and booked us in again for Sunday and Monday. I also enquired about the courtesy car and they pencilled in a booking for Monday.

This marina has a courtesy car that you can book for a two hour period, totally free of charge, two hours is just enough time to drive into Yeppoon do a big shop and return to the marina unload your stuff and return the keys. This is the only marina I have seen that does this. But let me say that when the cruising season is in full swing it is not easy to get the car the exact time you want it and some people will dip out, this happened to us last year we could not get it in the time frame we was at the marina, that's the breaks. So don't expect to come in for only one or two days and be able to get it you may miss out but it's not always the case.

At 11 30 hours we left the marina, the wind outside was lively so I left a reef in the mainsail when I hoisted it, once hoisted we set a course for the NW side of North Keppel Island, one of the guide books state it is the best SE wind anchorage. Once course set we unfurled the genoa and away we went at 8.5 knots, choppy seas and not knowing how our guest can handle the seas I thought that will be fine I will leave the reef in the main. The waves stood up a little more in the shallower areas but only one or two waves washed the upper deck.

As we approached the anchorage we furled the genoa and then turned into the wind and dropped the mainsail then carefully motored into the anchorage area as we had never been in this anchorage before. We were at high tide with a 3 metre difference between high and low I did the math and with us drawing 1.4 metres decided that 4.8 metres depth at high tide would keep us off the bottom.
The anchorage at North Keppel Island for E to SE winds, we had moderate SE winds and found it alright but we did get some swell that was short creeping in from the south this can cause a little wave slap on the hulls, I believ Great Keppel Island has better anchorages)
(Great Keppel Island anchorage for SE to SW winds get close in to Second Beach is the best, however, during really strong winds there will be some roll from the swell creeping in from the NE corner)

I found the anchorage alright but I would not say it is the best SE wind anchorage as the waves still work their way up from the southern end and being quite away of the beach there are some small wind waves from the direction of the wind. It is also prone to some slap from waves under light SW winds that tend to be around in the mornings. Don't get me wrong it would not worry me anchoring here in these conditions it is still comfortable but it is not the best SE wind anchorage I would say close in on Second Beach on Great Keppel Island would be a better anchorage.
(Another great sunset, this is from our anchorage looking over the mainland)
Besides this we had a good night at this anchorage and a nice sunset a good meal , a few drinks and a lot of laughs. We did not stay up too late as we were all a bit bushed. John had come off night shift so he was feeling more than any of us.

Saturday 12/05/2012

As usual I was out of bed at first light and it was a beautiful morning, we had the S/SW slight wind that caused some wave slap on the hulls in the early hours of the morning but the skies were full of colour before the sun got over the horizon. I made a cup of tea and Nancy got up, our guests stayed in bed. When the time got to 0720 hours I suggested to Nancy that we pull anchor and head for Second Beach and have breakfast there. So we got ready and was away by 0730 hours unfortunately startling our guest with the starting of engines and the rattle of the anchor chain.

They surfaced and I asked them if they liked the alarm clock. They said that they were awake and thought we were still asleep because they did not hear us moving around.

We motored all the way to Second Beach as the wind was on the nose and it was not that strong anyway.

We anchored close in to the beach and then cooked a good Aussie breakfast of sausages, bacon and eggs on toast. After that and the dishes were done we lowered the dinghy to go ashore for a walk. We first went ashore at Svendsen's Beach, we walked to the end of the beach then went over the walkway to Butterfish Beach on the NE end of the island which is very picturesque we then walked back to the dinghy and went over to Second Beach and walked that and then onto Leekes Beach and went up to Leekes Creek.
(The view of Great Keppel Island from our anchorage)

It is possible to take a yacht into Leekes Creek on a high tide and beach it during low tide. I have seen a yacht in there high and dry supported upright by ropes attached to halyards abeam of the yacht attached to trees so it does not topple at low tide. The bloke that owned it was a Kiwi, he left the yacht there and went back to New Zealand for a few weeks.
(Northern side of Great Keppel Island taken from the NE point of Svendsen's Beach)
(Inside a shallow cave looking out at the eastern end of Second Beach)

After we had walked all the northern beaches it was time to go back to 'Alana Rose' the midday heat was getting a little warm, yes people in the southern states it was hot in May, yes it cools in the night to around 13C, but the days are lovely above the tropic of Capricorn. I should not rub it in too much because we will be sailing south next winter.

We had lunch followed by a quiet afternoon, I had a nanna nap for half hour the rest of the crew soaked up the sun and a couple of beverages on the forward deck. Late afternoon Mark on 'Perfect Solution' a Lagoon motor catamaran anchored alongside and came over with prawns and fish for us, so the prawns were entree and fish was main course. If you followed the blog in the early days we met Mark two years ago he had his boat on the hard at Mackay the same time we were on the hard and we became friends from then. He had come by as soon as we were in the marina the other day with a tray of fish. He loves fishing and he always gives fish away to visiting friends that turn up at the marina. His wife is not keen on the sea so he goes out by himself. Makes me think how lucky I am with Nancy enjoying this life as much as I do.
(What can one say, a glorious sunset)
With our seafood dinner and a few drinks and laughs it was time to turn in for the night and I think we all slept very well. I was up again at first light followed by Nancy our guests surfaced a little later then we cooked the big breakfast once again.

After the big breakfast and all dishes done and stowed we weighed anchor and motored around the western side of the island anchoring close in to Fishermans Beach. This beach is the main  inhabited tourist part of the island there are a few commercial places such as holiday units, Pizza Restaurant, etc. The old resort is there that has been closed for some years.

We went ashore to walk off the big breakfast and look around, I must admit it looks a little healthier as far as business than last time we visited. But there is a big cloud hanging over this island. A big developer apparently worked wonders with the now defeated Labour Government in getting a development approved to build a 37 acre marina, 18 hole golf course, 300 apartments 750 villas.

This is not to benefit the beautiful island that it is, it's about a developer selling real estate. GKI is one of the few islands left for yachties and local people from Yeppoon being able to visit and enjoy the freedom of an island with some facilities to cater for tourist at an affordable price. It is funny how the land zoning had changed from National Park to this development just before the election. Tell my suspicious mind that money did not change hands between the government of the day and the developer. Let's face it elections cost money.

Well after our walk on the beach today we went back on board for lunch and then had to motor over to the marina as there was not a drop of wind to fill a sail. Once in the marina we said goodbye to our friends Dot and John and here I am.

Monday 14/05/2012

We did the shopping and running around today followed by sundowners at the sailing club with friend Mark of 'Perfect Solution'. We sail first light in the morning for Pearl Bay and we may be away from phone and internet services for a couple of days.


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