Rain, engines, fish net and shallow water. 22June2010

At the bottom of Hervey Bay.

Can you believe it?  Here we are in sunny Queensland hiding from the rain!  We are at anchor on the back of Fraser Island hiding from some crappy weather outside and trying to keep warm; well warmish, it’s not really that cold but it is wet and shitty.

After our soiree at the Royal Queensland Yacht club we headed out to Mooloolaba and one and a half nights at what used to be called ‘Lawries Marina’, now ‘Kuwana Waters’ or something similar.  One moment of concern was when off Caloundra the engine revs dropped alarmingly and the engine did not seem to want to behave at all.  Anyway the skipper and Leif discussed possible scenarios, all being bad.  On arrival before we rafted up to Ian’s broken fishing boat the engine did seem to undergo a miraculous recovery at least in reverse and next day was more than happy in forward gear; very odd but at least back to normal.  Anyway discussions with our boating guru in Melbourne (Paul Bartley) involved the concept of something on the prop of a ropy or netty variety and the need to get in the water.  Now the water at Lawries marina is not that inviting so the skipper decided to let the engine just behave, but then he dropped a part of the BBQ in the water requiring a swim anyway and there it was, a big lump of nylon fishing net wrapped around the shaft and propeller; ah well at least we got it fixed without trauma. All hail the guru!!!

Whilst in Mooloolaba we became very chatty with Carl and Harold, other intrepid boaty types living on their boats.  Harold the German engineer was of great assistance in providing information on our next challenge, ‘The Great Sandy Strait’, and Carl took the trouble to trundle us around town to assist with purchase of some equipment and food.  It seems Carl lives in Sydney during summer and Mooloolaba in the winter on his 50 foot ferro boat with his two cats.  He is it would seem the genuine Kings Cross identity and used to run night clubs prior to his retirement to a more gentile existence on his boat. Nice fellow and very helpful to us non car people.

The next leg was the 55 odd miles out of Mooloolaba up to the ‘Wide Bay Bar’ and the entrance to the Great Sandy Strait and the passage behind Fraser Island up into Hervey Bay.  Our discussions with Harold and Paul Bartley indicated the need to time the passage with the tides so the plan was to drop the lines from Ian’s fishing boat at midnight, exit Mooloolaba in the wee hours, arrive at the Wide Bay Bar two hours into the rising tide, then head up the Strait to get past the shallow pinches right on the high tide.  So after a fish BBQ with Harold away we went into 15 to 30 knots of SE wind, right up our stern.  Wind up and down, sails flogging, motor sailing etc etc.  One highlight for the skipper was just after dawn lots of whales were to be sighted doing whale like things, jumping, tail slapping and the like. One wonders what the tail slapping is all about as you imagine a whale sort of standing or swimming on it’s head and flailing it’s tail about in the air. It does give the impression perhaps of whale form of synchronised swimming; or perhaps they are just showing off! Another highlight was a passing visit by the Young Endeavour, the square rigged gift from the Brits to the RAN for the Aus 1988 bicentennial.  She must have been anchored under ‘Double Island Point’ and after getting up rag she passed under our stern. Anyway the planned entry over the bar went to script and we were Wide Bay two hours into the flood with the boat lifting with the rising sea across the bar and us looking pensively at the white water over the Middle Bank across to Port.

Very pretty the Strait is without all the seemingly over the top development of the Broadwater and the Fraser Island National Park to starboard.  The shallow parts are near a couple of islands, Stewart and Turkey and a couple of times we had as little as half a metre under the keel, high tide was definitely the answer.  After Turkey Island we went to anchor at a place called ‘White Cliffs’ and the crew less the skipper went ashore to look at some stuff on the shore where in the days of yore they used to mine sand and carve out timber; old wrecked barges, landing platforms etc. Gini also took ashore a little gecko that the skipper found loitering on deck; where he got aboard god only knows but apparently he is called ‘Albert’!. The next day (today) we moved the boat around to ‘North White Cliffs’ and the ‘Kingfisher Bay’ resort where showers were the go and some walks out to ruins of jetties and other such things involving various failed commercial exploits and later activities.  It seems during the war the army used to train ‘Z force’ commando types here before they sallied forth to go and do nasty things to the Japanese. One imagines the existence here in those days would have been much more austere, no resorts and restaurants to be found. At the moment we are still in the Strait and there is a strong wind warning about for 20-30 knot SE winds but we are expecting that a passage up through Hervey Bay should be okay and tomorrow night we hope to be in Bundaberg.  After that an overnight longish hop up to Great Keppel might be the order of the day.

Cheers to all at home and hope the music is good at CP’s tonight. How ya going Dave??


3 Responses to “Rain, engines, fish net and shallow water. 22June2010”

  1. Gillie Says:

    Cool any space for me?

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