Continued from last part
Wednesday 27 May 2015 - Scarness Bay to Burnett Heads, Bundaberg
|Scarness at bottom, Bundaberg middle and Lady Musgrave Island at top|
It was calm most of the night but about 0300 it blew well over 12 knots as the wind generator could be heard running (it is not loud despite what I have read some other people claim). It is also blowing the same strength just before we get up, but then it drops. We get up at 0710 and have breakfast.
At 0810 we pull up the anchor and motor out of the bay. We head out through a gap between a couple of sandbanks, the minimum depth there is 2.0 metres and it is almost low tide. Once outside, we pull up the main and then the screecher. There is 12 knots of south-westerly wind but we are only making 4 knots, so one engine is left on. We are doing 5.5 to 6.0 knots.
At 0935 Michael puts out a fishing line but we have no luck despite it being out all day. By 1200 the wind drops to 5 to 7 knots and is now almost straight behind us. We are only doing about 5.4 knots at the best, but this is fast enough.
|The first use of the spinnaker ever||A panoramic photo to fit it all in |
Only 10 minutes later we pull down the sails as the wind has started to swap from one side to the other. We actually lose no speed. Michael dumps the holding tank about now. We motor till 1300 when we put up the spinnaker. This is the first time we have ever used it, so we are worried that we might stuff it up. However, it goes up perfectly and we turn off the engine.
We are only making 3.0 knots with about 5 knots of wind behind us. We decide to sail like this while we have lunch and will then pull the spinnaker down unless we get some more wind. We need to average at least 5 knots today. At 1330 we pull down the spinnaker, again, we do it perfectly. We are very happy that this has worked as well as it has.
We motor again for a while and then pull out the screecher as the wind has picked up a little. Michael does some clothes washing and at 1530 we enter the main channel into the Burnett River. This is the river that leads to Bundaberg. We motor in and decide to anchor just past the entrance to the Burnett Heads Harbour (which is tiny and can only fit one boat apart from the moorings and there is one there). We are out of the channel on the south side.
|The small Burnett Heads Harbour||Catlypso anchored at Burnett Heads in the river |
There are three boats anchored here, so we go to the east of the first one and drop anchor in 4.5 metres. The tide is running in, so we hang back up the river. We are soon anchored, it is 1550.
Once we are certain we are not going to move, Michael takes Kelly to the boat ramp in the harbour. She needs to go to the post office to mail a couple of things. Michael cannot wait at the ramp as the wharf is under repair. Instead, he goes to the small beach just inside the harbour and anchors off there. He and Veto go to shore and she has a great run around. Michael can see Catlypso from here so can keep an eye on it to make sure it is not moving.
We are back on the boat just before 1700. We tidy up, bring in the clothes off the "line" and close up all the clears around the helm. We had them all open today as it got quite warm after about 1300. After showers, we have some nibblies but no grog (our day off). Kelly uses the left over lamb from last night and makes a green curry.
Tonight is the first match in the NRL State of Origin where NSW plays Queensland. However, we do not watch it till the end as it does not start till 2030 and we have to get up early in the morning to head to Lady Musgrave Island. Who won? I forget now, but probably Queensland.
Thursday 28 May 2015 - Bundaberg to Lady Musgrave Island
Last night was it was pretty calm here, the only motion on the boat was when the tide was outgoing and we were stern to the very slight swell coming into the river. We get up at 0500 and have a cup of tea and coffee before pulling the anchor up at 0535.
As we head out to the main channel, another yacht passes us. We have the radar on to check on other boats but soon it is light enough to see anyway, despite sunrise not being till about 0620. We follow the main channel for quite a way before turning to the north. This is because there is a shallow sand bar that reaches quite a long way out. We turn north between starboard channel markers S5 and S7.
The other yacht, a monohull, also turns and we parallel each other for then next five hours or so. There is only 5 to 7 knots of southerly wind and we are heading almost due north. We motor on one engine at 2200 rpm doing 6.0 knots. At 0635 Michael turns on the watermaker, we might as well make some water while we have the engine running.
At 0710 we pull out the screecher, we are now doing 5.9 knots in a 9 knot southerly. We have lost a bit of speed as there is a 0.75 knot current from the north. At 0750 we have to swap the screecher to the port side as the wind has moved a bit towards the east. Michael tries to fish again, but has no luck all day.
|The seas north of Bundaberg before they got very sloppy||Michael and Veto resting in the saloon |
The wind picks up a bit to 12 to 15 knots and our speed to 6.0 to 6.5 knots (with an engine still running). We have blue water for the first time since just after Byron Bay and a few individual dolphins come around. At 1035 we turn off the watermaker, we probably made about 100 to 110 litres of water. By now the seas are getting very sloppy, with swells from two directions.
The monohull that has been near us falls behind and later we cannot see it at all. We later hear them on the radio saying they have engine problems and are returning to Bundaberg. They will not get back there till near midnight. Bugger!
We see Lady Musgrave Island from about 8 nautical miles away. It is located over 40 miles from the mainland. The main attraction is that there is a quite large navigable lagoon and on the western end, a smallish island. The lagoon can hold dozens of boats, including quite large ones.
Just west of the island, we pull in the screecher and turn more east and enter the lee of the island and coral atoll. We motor to the entrance and line up the centre. Luckily it is daytime, if we used the chartplotter we probably would have hit the reef. On the chartplotter we came in right on the southern/western side of the very narrow channel rather than the middle like we really did. Our Google Earth photos on our laptop program (OpenCPN) was very accurate.
We are inside the lagoon at 1445 and head towards the island. There is an exclusion zone near the island as well as on the northern side of the lagoon where the commercial charter boat has a pontoon and various small boats moored.
|Looking at Lady Musgrove Island from the north as we approach the lagoon entrance||Michael getting ready to dive |
We find a spot near the edge of this zone and drop anchor in 6.5 metres. However, we drift back too far and are behind a small coral bommie. The bottom of the lagoon is sandy with small and larger coral bommies. We move back and try again, this time ending up with our stern just over a bommie that comes up to 4.5 metres. It is 1515.
There are 15 boats in the lagoon, including two very large ones of 98 and about 70 feet. Even though the wind is still blowing about 17 knots, it is pretty calm here.
Michael decides to go for a scuba dive, to check out the anchor and also see what fishlife there is on the bommie and whether it is too shallow to be near the boat. He pulls out all his gear and gets in the water. He has not dived for six weeks, an extremely long time for him (probably the third longest period in 27 years). Before we left Sydney we had awful weather that kept him from diving and we have now been sailing for three weeks.
He spends just over 30 minutes underwater, first checking the anchor, then the bommie and finally checking out the hulls. He finds that there is some fishing line around the starboard prop, who knows where we got this, could have been from January for all we know. He cuts it off. There are also some barnacles growing on the props, so he knocks them off. He will finish his bottom cleaning over the next few days.
Back on the boat, he has a shower and then gets sundowners ready. We have a drink as the sun disappears below the water, the first time we have seen this from Catlypso.
Dinner is a barbecue with Scotch fillet and sausages and some salad. We read, write up this blog and then go to bed early to catch up on our sleep. We plan to stay here as long as the weather is fine, maybe even two weeks. We will see if this happens.
Friday 29 May 2015 - Lady Musgrave Island
It was still quite windy during the night and even at 0815 when we got up it was still blowing about 15 knots. However, the wind soon dropped and most of the day it was about 5 to 7 knots south-easterly. We have breakfast and then get things ready for Kelly to do a dive.
She has not done more than a few dives in the past nine months due to her getting bent in Bali, then her operation to fix that problem (PFO) and then her thyroid operation a few weeks before this trip. The only dives done were just before the last operation. She dives by herself on the small bombora (bommie) which is almost under the boat. This is the same one Michael dived on yesterday afternoon.
|Kelly about to go for a dive on the bommie near the boat ||Michael in Thunderbird 2 with all the dive gear ready to go diving |
It is quite warm by now and she enters the water. So refreshing! However, she is a little underweighted as we are using aluminium tanks on this trip rather than the normal steel we use at home. Michael puts a couple of weights in her pockets and all is well. She ends up doing about 25 minutes on the bommie before surfacing.
We have a cup of tea and then take Thunderbird 2 for a run to look at other dive sites in the lagoon. There are a couple of bommies we spotted as we came in that we want to look at as well as the entrance which we hope to dive tomorrow afternoon. We pick out a spot which looks like a nice easy dive to do later today. This is about two thirds of the way from Catlypso to the entrance. It only takes about 4 or 5 minutes to get here.
We have lunch and then set up Thunderbird 2 for diving. This includes fixing up the main anchor, putting some gear lines on the side of the pontoons and working out where to put the dive flag. We also fix up Catlypso so that Veto is comfortable while we are diving. This includes opening windows to let air in and also putting flyscreens on a couple of windows so she cannot escape!
We head off about 1330 and soon are in the water. The bommie has a lot of cabbage coral, so we call it Cabbage Bommie. We end up going right around it and then doing the north-western part another two times. This is because there is a nice wall here that has a lot of fishlife. We see all the normal small tropical species, including bannerfish, Moorish idols and butterflyfish. We also see lots of blind shrimp and their goby guards.
|Catlypso with Lady Musgrove Island behind||Michael filling tanks using our compressor |
We end up doing 35 minutes on this dive, it is only 8 metres maximum, but it is a nice relaxing dive. The visibility is only 12 metres or so, as the sand is so fine it clouds the water when the fish stir it up. The water is a nice 24.2ÂșC. Back at Catlypso we pull all the gear out of Thunderbird 2 and then pull the compressor out of its housing.
Michael sets it up on the starboard transom, a mistake, as it is in the way here as this is where we moor Thunderbird 2. We will make sure we put it on the port transom from now on. The tanks from the last dive are filled first and only take 15 minutes as we had 150 bar left. The third tank is the one Michael used yesterday and then Kelly also used this morning. This takes 17 minutes to fill.
|Walking along the track from the beach to the camping area||The camping area on Lady Musgrove Island|
We hang our wetsuits up to dry (no washing as we cannot waste water) and put all our other gear in our dive bins.
About 1630 we take Thunderbird 2 and head to the island to have a look. We walk to the camping area, it is quite eerie along these tracks, the pisonia trees are very creepy looking. The camping area is not too bad, with a new toilet block, a fuel area and a compressor bunker (to keep noise away from campers).
We go back to the boat and then have drinks and nibblies as the sun sets. Later Michael makes chicken schnitzels and Kelly does potato mash. Excellent dinner after diving!
We read a bit, Michael finishes his ninth book and then we go to bed early again. This sailing and diving is certainly tiring!
None as we did not move.
Saturday 30 May 2015 - Lady Musgrave Island
We get up at 0745 and while listening to the ABC Radio News, we get ready to have a swim. There is virtually no wind and it is sunny and warm already. We have a swim (water about 24 to 25ÂșC) and then breakfast on the bow. A very nice way to start the day.
We take Thunderbird 2 for a run and go through the channel and start to head back towards the island. Our intention is to check out the diving down there. However, once we get a little way there is a fair bit of north-east swell and chop, so we decide to head back. We check out where to start a dive into the lagoon on the incoming tide and also where to end the dive. We plan to do this dive after lunch.
Back at Catlypso Michael takes Veto for a swim and then the Spirit of 1770 arrives. This is a large aluminium fast catamaran which brings tourists from the town of 1770 to the island for day trips. Today it has almost 100 passengers and crew on board. It moors at a pontoon off the island (in the lagoon) and has glass bottom boats, fishing boats and diving boats moored here permanently.
|This is the Spirit of 1770 which brings tourists from the town of 1770 to the island for day trips.||The channel into Lady Musgrove Island lagoon|
The boat has been here every day except yesterday, perhaps the tides were wrong for its exit from 1770. They also take passengers to the island and most snorkel the reef near the pontoon.
About 1030 the wind picks up to 10 to 12 knots southerly. Michael makes an extension to Thunderbird 2's anchor line as it is a bit short. He also puts the spare EPIRB and flares on board in a dry bag. When we go out in it, we also always take the portable radio. He also adds fuel to its tank so it is nearly full again.
Michael has an idea about how to get internet coverage out here. We are over 80 kilometres from the coast, so we get no reception at all. He decides to put his iPhone in a dry bag and then haul it up the mast using a spare halyard. He attaches another rope to it so it will not swing around. He turns on the personal hotspot on the phone and hauls it up.
He gets out his laptop and after a few minutes, voila, we have internet access. He uploads the latest addition to this page as well as photos, puts some photos on our Facebook page (search for Catlypso) and checks the weather. He also checks his email. Kelly then also does some searching. A simple solution to a first world problem!
We have lunch and then Michael puts together his dive gear and loads it into Thunderbird 2. Kelly is not going to dive as she has sinus pain, but in any case, we would have had to dive separately due to the nature of the dive. At 1345 we head off and out the channel. The water is really rushing in, there is no way a small dinghy with a 3 to 5 hp engine would be able to exit in this sort of current.
We go to a spot just south of the entrance where the second starboard channel marker is in line with the cardinal marker. We throw out the anchor and Michael kits up. The plan is for him to descend and once he hears Kelly has started the engine, he will free the anchor if it is hooked in. All goes well and he heads off towards the entrance.
There is some nice reef here and lots of fish, including some larger species. Michael can hear and see Thunderbird 2 following but as he gets closer to the entrance he loses sight of her. The depth is about 11 metres and at the entrance about 7 to 9 metres depending on the spot. The current starts to build and soon he is moving along at a knot or so.
|A panoramic photograph of Lady Musgave Island lagoon taken from Thunderbird 2 while Michael was scuba diving the channel. Channel at far right.|
Within a minute or so he is ripping along at 3 to 4 knots. This is really flying. He sees a few large turtles, a large Queensland groper (or cod) and plenty of fish. The visibility is about 20 metres here. He zips past some anemones and clownfish, no way could he stop to look. Dodging small bommies and ridges, he starts to slow as he gets fully inside the lagoon.
As planned, he follows the right hand wall and then comes out into a sandy area where Kelly should be anchored. He has not seen her since just inside the channel when she shot past him. There is a very nice large brain coral bommie here and he swims right around it. There are some overhangs and swimthroughs and about half way up there is a large turtle asleep.
He still has not seen Kelly, so he heads shallower along the edge of the reef. Finally he decides to ascend to see where she is. She has seen that he has gone shallower, so has pulled up the anchor and is about 20 metres away. He climbs aboard and we head back to Catlypso. This was an excellent dive, the only pity is that it is over so quickly, only 25 minutes.
Back on board, Michael fills his tank with the compressor. We relocated this yesterday evening to the port side as it is less in the way here. We also see that the large fish under our boat are remoras (suckerfish). There is also a medium sized Queensland groper swimming around. We sit on the bow having a cup of tea and listen to Souths play the Gold Coast Titans (Souths win 22 to 16).
We have some visitors, Jillian and Wayne from Walkabout. Kelly met Jillian through the Facebook page Women Who Sail Australia. They have a home built cat which they have been sailing (with their 16 year old daughter) for the past year. They are originally from Lake Macquarie in NSW. They stay for about 45 minutes before heading to the island for a walk.
We have drinks and nibblies and then Kelly cooks mustard pork with vegies. We were going to watch TV but Michael cannot tune any channels. The boat has another fancy TV tuner but he has never been able to get it to work. He tries again without luck. Instead, we watch the first three episodes of The Twilight Zone. A brilliant series but Kelly is worried the scary stories will give her nightmares. We go to bed at 2100, sailing (and not sailing) is tiring.
None as we did not move.
Sunday 31 May 2015 - Lady Musgrave Island
The wind shifted to the north during the night and blew 10 to 12 knots. It was a bit sloppy when we went to bed as a larger north-east swell was coming over the coral reef at high tide. About 0400 Veto woke Michael up. We figured that she wanted to go to the toilet, so he took her outside. She did a huge wee on the transom. Very good girl!
We got up at 0800 and Veto was again very good. As she has not been able to be taken to shore each morning and evening as normal, she has been holding onto her "actions" for the past couple of days. She did three big number twos on the transom, very well done.
We have a special breakfast of bacon and eggs before checking out the weather forecast. Yesterday we decided to move tomorrow as the wind is forecast to increase to 25 knots southerly the day after. We confirm our decision. We set up our dive gear and load it into Thunderbird 2. We are planning to dive just outside the lagoon west of the entrance.
|Michael has not shaved for four days,|
so he is starting to look like the ancient mariner
|Veto having a rest on the foredeck|
We have to leave Veto alone on Catlypso, so we open all the hatches, making sure than any she could access (eg the ones in the saloon) have their fly screens on them. We also give her plenty of water before closing the door. We head off at 1030 for the seven minute run to the dive site. The tide is running out very strongly at the entrance so we need to take care. Once level with the outside of the reef, we can cut across out of the channel and get out of the standing waves.
We anchor a bit west of where Michael started his dive yesterday. We are in 9 metres and just off a small wall that comes up to 5 metres. We set up the mermaid line, deco weight, gear lines and roll over. We descend to the bottom and hook the anchor into some dead coral.
We head north across a lot of dead coral and live soft coral. We get to 15 metres and a nice bommie. Here we see a large turtle. There are lots of fish around. We head back to the small wall and a very large shark passes us. Neither of us have ever seen this species before, but Michael thinks he has seen it in a book. We will update this page once we work out what it was.
Back at the wall we follow it to the anchor and then out a bit deeper to the west. There are some more bommies here and lots of fish, including a few species of anemones and clownfish. On the way back we see a large eagle ray, lots of unicornfish, surgeonfish, trevally and a few red bass. There are also all the normal tropical species like bannerfish, Moorish idols and butterflyfish. There was also a very large school of flutemouths.
We spend the last 10 minutes of the dive under the boat in 5 metres doing our safety stop. This is also very nice. We surface and put our weight pockets onto the boat, attach our BCDs and tanks to the gear lines, and haul ourselves over the side into the RIB. We then pull in the BCDs and tanks. Not too hard. We head back to Catlypso and a very happy Veto.
Michael spends the next hour cleaning our hulls. The outside of the starboard one is filthy, amazing considering he cleaned the upper half only three weeks ago at the Gold Coast. He does not get to do the outside of the port hull as he has run out of air. Hopefully it is not as bad. We suspect that the growth happened when we were at Russell Island and Garrys Anchorage.
|Our dive gear drying before we put it away for our passage tomorrow||The generator set up for charging our batteries |
Back on the boat, Kelly has been doing some cleaning, including removing rust from the dive ladder. We have lunch and dry our dive gear since we are moving tomorrow. Michael also fills the scuba tanks, this takes 45 minutes for one totally empty tank and one about half full. Both are 10.8 litre (85 cubic feet) tanks.
Once the tanks are full, Michael puts on the generator. We have not made much power today as the solar panels at the stern have been out of the sun for most of the day. He runs it for one hour charging batteries (and 240 volt stuff) and then one hour heating our port hot water tank. He then gives the batteries another 20 minutes.
We are not sure how long it takes to heat the hot water so this is a bit of an experiment. We have our first showers since Thursday, it is nice to be totally clean again. Michael also has a shave! Kelly washes her hair. The water is very hot and we do not run out. Next time we will try running for only 30 minutes.
We put all the dive gear away and Michael transfers all our water in containers to our tanks. He also swaps the water to the port tank which we have not used at all. Tomorrow we will make water when sailing to Pancake Creek and fill the containers and the one tank not yet full.
We have drinks and nibblies and Kelly makes lasagna. We watch some more Twilight Zone before bed.
None as we did not move.
Monday 1 June 2015 - Lady Musgrave Island to 1770
|Lady Musgrave Island at right, 1770 at bottom, Pancake Creek at left|
The wind was 10 to 15 knots from the west the whole night, with a bit of slop at high tide about bedtime. We get up at 0710 and have breakfast. We are moving today as the forecast is for 25 knot southerly tonight and we do not know how good the lagoon is in these winds. We changed our minds last night on where to head to, deciding to go to 1770 as there are shops and fuel there. This will mean we do not need to go to Gladstone later where there is no suitable anchorage. 1770 is where Lieutenant James Cook, RN, first landed in Queensland in, of course, the year 1770.
At 0730 Michael turns on the watermaker as we suspect we will be motoring for most of the day.
We start to pull up the anchor at 0800 but it is caught on a small coral outcrop. It takes a while to free it, but by 0810 we are underway. The exit out of the lagoon on a runout tide is easy. We pull up the main soon after leaving but after a while we realise that the wind outside the lagoon is no good for us to sail and is right on the nose. We motor on one engine at 2400 rpm making only 4.5 to 4.8 knots with 2.5 knots of current against us in low sloppy seas.
We dump the holding tank and about this time a small 14 foot RIB passes us heading for Lady Musgrave Island. No way we would come out here in that, but we assume that they have people on the day tourist boat which was about 20 minutes ahead of them. At 1225 a boat in the lagoon reports finding an upturned 4 metre RIB on the southern side. They say it is called Little Elaine Doona (or similar) with a Queensland registration. The VMR advise that they have no reports of missing tenders.
|A panoramic photo of Kelly and Veto as we sail to 1770 ||The channel is so narrow the tourist boat |
Spirit of 1770 passes so close to our anchored boat
After five hours, Michael turns off the watermaker, we have made about 125 litres. We should have almost full tanks as well as another 95 litres in containers. At 1240 the wind turns more to the south so we pull out the screecher. This gives us 5.6 to 6.0 knots with one engine running at the lower speed of 2000 rpm and in very flat seas.
Over the next three hours we turn off and on the engine numerous times, as the wind increases and then decreases. At times we are making over 5 knots sailing in 10 knot winds. As we approach the headland you round to enter Round Head Creek and into 1770, Kelly calls VMR Round Hill to get the up to date information on entering the creek. You need to approach the green starboard channel marker at 180ÂșM and then follow the channel markers.
|Catlypso from the pub at 1770||Kelly at the 1770 Beach Hotel|
We enter the creek and follow the channel, but at the northern end of the beach off the caravan park as we round the green starboard maker we run aground. Michael backs us off and we head wider around. We touch bottom two more times in the next hundred metres. Our depth sounder says 0.2 metres when we touch. It is 2.5 hours after low tide when we hit.
This channel marker appears to have moved and is not accurate. Later the ferry that goes out to Lady Musgrave Island comes in and it cuts this corner and passes between us and the sand to the west. Anyway, we decide to anchor to the west of the beach and north of another catamaran. The depth here is 1.5 metres.
We anchor in a strong incoming tide but we do not move. Michael takes Veto to shore for the first time in about five days. She has a run around the beach. There is a nice pub here, so we decide to go there for a beer or two. While Michael is ashore, Kelly tidies up the sails etc and then we go to the pub for a couple of beers. Very nice spot and we can see the boat as well. One of the barmen, Brett, offers to take Michael to nearby Agnes Waters tomorrow when he goes there so we can get fuel. He will ring at about 1000. What a nice bloke.
We come back to Catlypso and have the leftover lasagne from last night. The wind picks up from the south to 15 to 20 knots. We read and then go to bed.
Tuesday 2 June 2015 - 1770
It got very windy during the night and by morning it was gusting to 30 knots at least. Our wind generator was putting out 5 to 10 amps with bursts of 15 to 30 amps. The anchor alarm went off twice during the night, but that was expected as the strong tidal flow causes Catlypso to move a fair bit each time it changes.
We get up at 0805 and while Kelly gets breakfast, Michael adds 66 litres of diesel to the main tank from containers. This is so we can refill them today. While doing this Michael notices that the anchor bridle had come off the chain, that is probably why we had some strange noises last night. We reattach it.
It is too windy and rough to take Veto to shore for a run so we have breakfast. Later, the wind eases to a constant 15 knots, so Michael takes her to the sandspit to the west of the boat. She has a good run, but the soft sand causes her some problems at times. Once back on Catlypso, Michael adds 6 litres of two stroke fuel to Thunderbird 2's fuel tank so we can fill this small tank as well.
|Michael with Veto on the sandspit||The channel marker being changed from green to red|
Michael has some time to spare as the person who offered to take him to Agnes Waters this morning to get fuel has not yet phoned. He looks at the solar panel setup again. He last looked at this in December and he found that one panel was not working due to a faulty connection. Today he realises that two of the panels do not supply power to the main house batteries, but instead they supply power to each of the engine starting batteries. What is worse, the best panel, the 120 watt one, goes to a starting battery.
Further investigation enables him to label the main power board better so that we know which batteries are meant by Aux (the starboard engine battery) and Start (the port one). He decides to do some changes later.
By now it is noon and the barman from the pub still has not phoned so it looks like he has let us down. The wind has dropped dramatically from this morning and it is an almost perfect day. We take Veto to shore and walk to Cook's Cairn on the headland. This is located near where it is thought Lieutenant James Cook, RN, landed from HMB Endeavour on 24 May 1770.
While we are walking there, we see a small boat approach the green starboard channel marker where we ran aground yesterday. The boat has a red channel marker on it. Sure enough, it is Maritime Safety Queensland and they replace the marker and move it 20 metres to the west. Why have they not done this before? We would not have run aground if this was done before yesterday.
|A panoramic photograph of 1770 with Catlypso at far right|
On the way back to Thunderbird 2 we check out the laundry at the caravan park. Kelly finds it is okay to use, $5 for wash and $5 for drying. We head over to the sandspit so Veto can have a good run and then back to Catlypso for lunch. While eating lunch, Michael changes the solar panel setup so that one of the roof top panels goes to the house batteries rather than to a starting battery.
At 1400 we go back to the caravan park and Kelly puts on a load of washing (sheets and towels). We can easily wash other things on the boat, but these larger items need doing in a machine. We then motor to the marina up creek. We fill our three diesel containers and three small petrol containers. Fuel is expensive, about $1.65 a litre. The shop here has no real grocery or fruit We also indulge in an ice cream.
|Cook's Cairn||Catlypso at sunset as we return from the pub|
We go back to the caravan park and Kelly puts the washed clothes in the drier. We return to Catlypso and put the fuel away. Michael then changes the solar set up again as he realises he put the smaller 80 watt panel to the house batteries rather than the larger 120 watt one. We then go and get the washing which is now dried.
We decide to go to the pub again for a couple of Coopers Pale Ales. We will not have many chances to drink out on this trip, so it is a nice change. The beers are a reasonable $6 each a schooner. We are back on Catlypso by 1750 and Kelly makes chilli peanut beef and noodles for dinner.
Another nice day. We will stay here again tomorrow as we need to go to Agnes Waters to get some food and then we want to walk to the lighthouse at Round Hill Head.
None as we did not move.
Wednesday 3 June 2015 - 1770
Last night was again calm but this morning we have a bit of wind. Even though it is sunny, it is also very cold for up here, probably about 15ÂșC. Michael even has to put on his beanie and jumper when he takes Veto to the sandspit at 0805. The two catamarans that were behind us must have left this morning as they are not there now. There are also two boats anchored in Bustard Bay, one was there last night we noticed.
We have breakfast and then at 0920 we motor to the boat ramp near the marina and tie up Thunderbird 2 to the wharf. We immobilise her so she cannot be stolen and then head off to walk to Agnes Waters. It is 5.4 kilometres according to Google Maps.
|The wharf at the boat ramp, next to the marina ||The road and path from 1770 to Agnes Waters|
At first we have to walk on the grass on the side of the road, swapping every now and then from one side to the other. After a kilometre or so there is a footpath the rest of the way. It is an easy, flat walk apart from one very small incline. It takes us 75 minutes to get to the Endeavour Plaza. Here there is a smallish IGA supermarket, a liquor store and newsagent as well as other shops. There is also a fuel station opposite.
Kelly does the shopping, getting bread, some savoury biscuits, vegetables and a couple of other things. We also get a couple more wine casks. We walk back towards 1770. About half way back Veto starts to get tired, but she still keeps going. We stop a couple of times, there are two places where there are seats, one of which has views of Bustard Head which is where we will be heading tomorrow.
We get back to the marina at 1235, three hours after leaving. We have lunch in the cafe there. Veto is exhausted, this is the longest walk she has ever done. Kelly and Michael both have some sore parts, mostly feet. After lunch we motor back to Catlypso, arriving at 1315.
We put all the grocery items away and Kelly and Veto go and have a "nanna nap". Michael reads and then checks the port engine to see if he can get an hour meter reading. Finally, he can actually see the numbers, they have always been a problem, one day you can see, the next not. On this trip we have not been able to see them for more than two weeks. The actual reading is only 0.4 hour off his calculated reading. He will have to adjust his fuel consumption calculations a bit as a result.
Late in the afternoon we hear a boat called TwoKeela Kalu call the VMR. This boat was tied up at the same wharf in Ballina just over three weeks ago. He is asking about entering the creek. Michael ends up calling him and telling him that the Spirit of 1770 tourist boat will be arriving off the creek in about 45 minutes. If he follows them in, they will be okay as he has to draw more water. This is what they do.
After her sleep, Veto is revitalised so we take her to the sandspit for a run. You would not know she had even been for a walk today, let alone a huge one, the way she behaves. We come back to Catlypso and have nibblies (no beers for Michael, night off). Michael then cooks a Greek flat chicken on the barbecue and Kelly does vegies.
The weather is going to be better tomorrow so we are moving to Pancake Creek, only a short sail away. We will stay there probably three or so nights as the weather is not going to be great again.
After dinner Michael attempts to get our Telstra mobile broadband connection running through our wifi router. We have never really used it before, but we purchased a new SIM for it when we were at the Gold Coast. Michael noticed in the newspaper a deal where if you spent $30 at Coles you could buy a SIM with $30 credit for $1. A bargain which we were obliged to take, even though we already had a new Telstra SIM (but with no credit).
Anyway, despite many attempts via the router and our tablet, it would not finish the setup.
None as we did not move.
Thursday 4 June 2015 - 1770 to Pancake Creek
Today is one month since we started this trip back in Sydney, one sixth is now over, it does not seem we have been on board that long.
It drizzled a bit overnight, it must have been very light as we never heard it at all. Michael gets up at 0710 and does some more work on the Telstra internet SIM and gets it working straight away. We now have internet access via wifi throughout the boat, although we will still use the data on our iPhones till it is almost used.
|Kelly on the walk to the headland||The entrance to Round Hill Creek and 1770 |
It is still drizzling as we have breakfast and then head off to walk to Round Hill Headland. We motor over to the shore and walk to Cooks Cairn where the walks starts. It is a very nice walk, through some excellent rainforest type vegetation. The views along the way are great and at the lookout there is a fantastic view out to sea and back to Bustard Bay. There are a couple of other lookouts as well.
We walk back along the road through the housing estate out there. There are some really great looking houses with excellent ocean views. We go back out to Catlypso and at 1015 pull up the anchor. We motor out the creek, no problems today as it is just after high tide.
|The view from the Round Hill Headland lookout. Lady Musgrave Island is out from the centre|
Once outside the creek at 1025 we pull out the screecher. There is about 7 to 9 knots of southerly wind, but a current of 0.75 against us. We use one engine at 2000 rpm making about 5.2 to 5.4 knots. We cannot see Bustard Head as there is rain there, but the seas are flat and it is a nice motorsail. Once at Bustard Head, we round Middle Rocks rather than go between the two inner sets of rocks.
The current is now 2 knots against us and at 1250 we pull in the screecher and at 1305 we enter the creek. Luckily we are not taking notice of our chartplotter, it shows us motoring through the edge of the headland. We would have run aground on the sandbar if we had followed it.
|A photo of us at the Round Hill Head lookout ||Rounding Middle Rocks off Bustard Head |
There is a 2 knot current in Pancake Creek. We motor upstream to the second area where it is wide enough to anchor. There are lots of yachts here, so we decide to anchor to the north of the first one we come to. Our first go at anchoring is not successful, we drag back towards an anchored fishing tinnie. The second go is better. The depth is about 3.5 metres two hours before low tide. It is 1340 and we are anchored off the northern end of the beach.
This waterway has a sandspit to the west and very shallow water to the east and then the mainland. The water near the sandspit is deep so it is easy to go there. We have lunch and then head to the beach. Even though it looks like mudflats, the sand off the beach is quite hard and it is easy to walk across. Veto has a run around, and we have a look about. There are a lot of fishers camped to the south of the beach.
|The anchorage at Pancake Creek at low tide ||Looking back to Catlypso from the beach|
We go over to the sandspit and Veto has another run. There are 13 boats anchored in the part where we are and another 7 closer to the ocean, including one enormous powercat, probably a marine park or customs boat. There are also lots of midgies and mozzies once it gets near sunset. Back on the boat we do some more reading. Michael takes Veto to the sandspit for a last run and then we have showers. This is awesome, we have not had once for three days.
We have sundowners and then Kelly cooks Mexican. After dinner we update our blog and check the internet. The weather is not too good from Saturday, so we will probably be here till Monday unless things change.
Friday 5 June 2015 - Pancake Creek
It was again calm overnight, the anchor alarm only went off at the change of tides when we moved to the exact opposite direction. We get up at 0800 and Michael takes Veto to shore for a run. Back on the boat we have breakfast and then prepare to go for a walk.
We leave the boat at 0930 and motor over to the shore. It is now almost high tide, so we anchor a few metres off the beach. We are walking to the Bustard Head Lighthouse, about 2.6 kilometres away. There is a track from the beach, it is very rough for the first kilometre or so, with weeds and other vegetation covering a lot of the track.
|Two of the three kangaroos we saw when walking to Bustard Head Lighthouse||Overlooking Aircraft Beach |
Eventually it opens up a bit when it joins the track from further down Pancake Creek. We see three grey kangaroos and there are lots of lizards and some amazing spider webs.
The track passes Aircraft Beach where small light aircraft land regularly. We have seen one land there about four times since we arrived yesterday. We think they bring campers. There is also a lookout over the beach where we stop for some photos. It takes about 50 minutes to get to the lighthouse.
The Bustard Head Lighthouse was the first coastal lighthouse built in Queensland. It was constructed in 1868 of cast iron sections, each weighing a ton, that were brought to a nearby creek by boat and then transported by horse drawn cart. All the stone for the footings of the lighthouse and the two keepers' cottages was also brought in this way.
|The Bustard Head Lighthouse and one of the keepers' cottages||The grave of Alfred Power who died in 1889 when|
the lighthouse boat overturned in Pancake Creek
There are fantastic views from the lighthouse from the north-west to the south. There is a volunteer caretaker here, they stay four weeks at a time. They do maintenance and also deter vandals who apparently destroyed the cottages when it was first demanned. We have a look around and speak to the caretaker. Just down the hill is a small cemetery with seven graves. Two are of people who died when the lighthouse boat capsized on 15 May 1889.
We walk back to the beach and meet a couple, Michael and Jenny, off an old timber launch. They were out at Lady Musgrave Island last week when we were there. We have a chat and discover that their friend was the one who discovered the overturned RIB on 1 June that we heard about on the VHF. Apparently it broke free from the mother ship about two weeks before in huge seas. Their friend towed it back to Gladstone yesterday and claimed salvage from the insurers (it was worth $35,000). They also say that the winds hit 30 knots out there a few days ago and it was not nice.
|The patterns on the sandspit at Pancake Creek at low tide ||Veto on the sandspit with a lot of the yachts anchored here|
We go back to Catlypso at 1200. The water on the incoming tide was amazing, a brilliant blue colour. We could easily see the bottom at 5 metres. We have lunch and after a nanna nap, Kelly does some cleaning of stainless steel bits while Michael works on updating software on one of our laptops.
At 1600 we take Veto to the sandspit and we walk for 20 minutes to the south and then back. At sunset there are 14 boats anchored where we are and later about 7 at the outer anchorage. We have sundowners and then Kelly cooks chicken risotto.
None as we did not move.
Saturday 6 June 2015 - Pancake Creek
As normal, the anchor alarm went off a couple of times when the tide changed and we totally hung back in the opposite direction. We use the anchor alarm on our Garmin 128 GPS which is located at the navigation desk. This is right next to our cabin, so when it goes off, we hear it. We normal set it for 0.02 nm which is about 30 metres. A very good safety feature worth using.
At 0810 Michael gets up and takes Veto to shore. There are some new fishers here who arrived yesterday, he speaks to them. They caught a few flathead and whiting yesterday. Back on the boat we have breakfast. During the morning six boats left and one came in.
At 0900 there is a lot of wind, it blows over 17 knots and gusts of 20. We move all around and end up very close to the shallow area to the east of us. We decide we need to shorten the chain or pull it up and reset it. We pull in some of the chain and find that the chain is running all over the place. We pull it up and decide to re-anchor.
|Kelly measuring up the spot where she will put a carpet piece||Catlypso with Bustard Head Lighthouse behind|
We motor a short way up the creek and around a small bend. We anchor in 4.1 metres, a bit deeper than where we originally anchored. We put out a total of 40 metres as the forecast is 25 knots south-easterly tonight. We appear to be holding, but then again, we also did at our original spot till this morning.
By 1100 the wind has dropped back to 5 knots, this is weird. Kelly cuts some carpet bits from a large piece we bought ages ago. This is to finish off putting carpet on the steps down to each hull to make it easier for Veto to go up and down. Veto is now going up and down these steps, she had never done it till a few days ago.
After lunch, she finishes off this work. At 1450 we go to shore for a walk along the beach. Back on the boat, we put on the generator. The first aim is to heat enough hot water for showers tonight. We heated water a few days ago for 60 minutes and it was very hot. We decide to test the water after 30 and 45 minutes but it is not enough. We then charge the batteries a bit more, even though we have made a fair bit of power via solar today.
|A panoramic photograph of Catlypso taken from the sandspit|
We go for another walk on the sandspit at 1640 and then once back on the boat, have showers. Michael adds 60 plus litres of desalinated water from containers to the port tank as we will run the watermaker tomorrow morning on the incoming tide.
We have sundowners while listening to Souths play the NZ Warriors. Souths win 36 to 4. Probably the best match Souths have played since the first round, about time.
Michael makes creamy pasta for dinner. We watch some more of The Twilight Zone and then go to bed.
None as we did not move (at least not far).
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