Monday, December 10, 2012

LWH – Week 22 Home is the sailor

One thing I forgot to mention last week when we were at Scawfell we could hear the helicopter pilots talking to the cargo ships waiting to go into Abbot Point. They fly out to drop the ship pilots off and one we heard was late at night blowing 21 knots, very dark and he asked the ship to speed up so he could land – some very precise flying !

Sat 1 Dec – Fraser Island
25⁰23.029S / 153⁰01.729E
We should be putting our Christmas tree up today! We left at 4.40am at low tide again. There was a yacht anchored outside having a very rolly time and we passed them coming in as we were going out. Its not the easiest of places to get in and out of. Passed the Bustard Head lighthouse at 5.25am with the sun quite high in the sky. The sea was rather lumpy and not all that nice. The skipper was remembering when he and Amy went fishing up there. Well it was very swelly and uncomfortable and then it was just swelly. We arrived at Bundaberg at 3pm and having ascertained that we can in fact get diesel at Kingisher Bay we decided to go through. The seas had calmed and it was pleasant enough. However, on dark the winds came up and the seas came up and we were getting slewed around sideways as the waves hit our aft – not pleasant. The moon came up at 8pm and it was a relief to see the leads to the channel into Fraser. We hit 8 knots at one point. We could see boats anchored and went round then anchored further north and further out. We dropped the anchor at 11.20pm.
Miles: 112: TTT: 4,074

Sun 2 Dec – Kingfisher Bay
We went ashore at high tide and walked to the petrol station and got some diesel. The skipper found a trolly and took three jerries back while the crew waited with the other two. A very nice man came in and offered to take the other two for us. He was driving what looked like a glorified golf buggy turned into a covered ute. He said he had got really excited when they had told him he was getting his very own work ute! I walked back as he only had the one seat and then he kindly took the trolly back for us. The skipper put the fuel in then we went into the day area of the resort and had a hot shower (after I had a cold one then realised there was hot!) and lunch along with all the other daytrippers who were using the pool there. In the afternoon our decision to come through last night was vindicated when a northerly came through and it got very rough. It was only when the wind stretched us right back on our anchor chain towards the beach that we realised we were only 5 – 10 metres from the sandbank! Its called perfect anchoring!! All the other yachts anchored left and we were left on our own again. The skipper reckoned it would drop off in the evening and sure enough it did and we had a lovely calm night.

Mon 3 Dec – Garry’s Anchorage
25⁰37.790S / 152⁰58.390E
We upanchored just after 8 to make our way through the shallows of The Great Sandy Straits on a rising tide. We came though the shallow bit following the red and green buoys. One of the green ones had been moved since our last journey through. We followed a big American yacht through part of it with another yacht behind. Both of us then passed the American yacht and I think he was happy enough to follow us through. The lowest we got to was 1.4m under the keel. We pulled into Garry’s Anchorage at 12 noon. The other two boats kept going. There were two other yachts anchored there. It came up very windy in the afternoon and was windy all through the night. Usually it drops off at night. Its amazing at low tide to see how close the sandbars are.
Miles: 21 TTT: 4,095

Tues 4 Dec – Garry’s Anchorage
Well the wind howled all day and this is a very protected little spot but we had whitecaps on the water. It was gusting 30 knots so we were hunkered down in here. It was a hard day for the crew though as we could see boats flying past in the main channel and could hear them on the radio going out and heading south. It kind of makes you wonder if we are wooses but really we thought they were nuts and must have had a fast but thoroughly uncomfortable trip down. The SE change is supposed to come through this evening. But meanwhile the northerly is still howling and apparently Brisbane has a heatwave heading towards 40⁰.
Wed 5 Dec – Inskip Point
25⁰48.835S / 153⁰02.472E
The wind dropped out entirely at 2.30am and the mosquitos and sandflies started coming in so we had a chemical spray – both the boat and us and went back to bed. 6am and it was so still, not a breath of wind and the water like glass and a mist hanging over everything and the constant buzz of cicadas. It was absolutely beautiful. After yesterday, unbelievable! Visibility would probably be 100m – couldn’t see the next marker buoy. And wherever we go there always seems to be one lonely koll (bird) calling for his mate. So still - where is the SE change. We need it to go through and pass so we can go south. We left on a rising tide at 10am and motored down to Inskip Point. We vaguely thought of continuing but were a bit late to cross the bar. We anchored at 1.10pm in 3.7m and had a good night.
Miles: 13 TTT: 4,108
Thurs 6 Dec – Inskip Point
It was calm in the morning and the SE change came through around lunch time as predicted and the wind was very strong. We just had a boat day. One boat went over the bar at 9am on a low tide but they couldn’t have checked the weather because we heard them on the radio calling up VMR for a weather report saying they were bashing into a southerly. Couldnt have been too nice out there – we just stayed hunkered down and a few more boats came in.
Fri 7 Dec – Inskip Point
One of the boats left at 2am and two cats went out at 4.30am and 5am. A whole stack of jelly fish went past under the boat – the majority of them white clear but some with a rim of dark blue – very pretty. We had intended to leave at 11am but the weather came up and it was forecast 1.2 – 1.7m seas on top of a 1.5 – 2m swell which was kind of big so we decided to wait till tomorrow. A thoroughly frustrating afternoon.
Sat 8 Dec – Home is the Sailor home from sea
The skipper ran the motor earlier in the morning to put some charge in the batteries and all of a sudden the water exhaust exit wasn’t working so well. Turned out to be a heap of jellyfish parts in the skimmer box filter Its so hard to wait and by the time we left at 11.30am the crew had herself in quite a stress about crossing the Wide Bay Bar. As it turned out it was lumpy but ok. The lowest we went down to was 3.4m under the keel. We saw a light brown coloured shark beside the boat as we went out It was quite swelly at first and then it settled a bit. We notice by the weather forecast that we have just snuck through another small weather window and it will start blowing up again Sunday night. How lucky have we been really. Well we came through the night and it was really swelly and the skipper did some cargo ship dodging off Mooloolaba and we came into Newport marina at 5.30am. There were a few people to take our lines and Pacific Express is now tied up in the marina in our home port.
Miles: 97 TTT: 4,205
Since the 10th of July when we left Miri till we arrived this morning we have done around 4,205miles and the round trip from the end of April till today is 17,400 miles. We want to really thank you all for travelling with us and we hope the trip has been as enjoyable for you as it has been for us. If anyone has any questions or would like to see our wonderful Pacific Express please email us. Also I have to say I had a really great skipper. Someone (Brian) asked me once if anything happened to the skipper would I be able to bring the boat home alone and I very glibly said of course. But if it had been up to me she would have sunk, been drifting around out in the ocean or run ashore on the Wessels!
Anyway hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year and all the very best to you.
We dared and we did it
Fair Winds and Calm Seas
Dell and Peter signing off