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Archive for the 'Fitzroy Reef … Queensland' Category

FITZROY REEF, QUEENSLAND … 1ST JUNE ‘05

The time is rushing by … I have been living on-board Tsunami over seven months now.

A comment about the weather!  Queensland has done a great job of brainwashing everyone in Australia and around the world that the weather in this state is `all heat and sunshine’!  Eternal summer! “What a load of Bullshit!”  The winter months in Queensland are no better than the winter months of Western Australia … cold, windy and wet!  I am almost ½ way up the Queensland coast and I still have to resort to winter pyjamas and two rugs, often.

Thought I had to straighten that myth out!  If it gets better in the next month, as I move further north, I will mention it. 

* FITZROY REEF ... SPECTACULAR FROM THE AIR ... A NATIONAL MARINE PARK ... PROBABLY GREAT SNORKLING (Photo compliments Google Images) *

Back to Fitzroy Reef.  I only called on this reef because it was there … nothing I had read about it made it sound inviting … in fact most directions on the reef suggested caution about a visit, particularly if planning to stay overnight at anchor.  I soon came to realise this reef was different … firstly because I almost sailed straight past it without knowing.

The area of Fitzroy Reef lagoon is far greater than Lady Musgrave Island lagoon, perhaps twice the area, so I read … however, there is no island and therefore nothing stands out from the surface of the reef, not even breaking surf.  My chart plotter told me it was there, but I was giving it a wide berth of about 2 miles, which was too far off to get any `visual’ sighting of the reef.  Chart plotters don’t tell many untruths (has been my experience), so I climbed up onto the roof of the cabin, with binoculars and luckily picked up the three posts of the leads through the reef into the lagoon.  Great!

* ENTRANCE TO FITZROY REEF CAY ... NOTICE, THERE'S NO ISLAND FORMED ... YET! *

* EXITING FITZROY REEF, ONE OF THE MOST SOUTHERN REEFS OF THE `GREAT BARRIER REEF' *

A tricky entrance and once committed there is no turning back … no problems there, however, the lagoon/cay is a mass of shallow coral patches (Bommies) and deeper coral growths, plus the area is tightly segregated with white floats saying “Do not go past me or it will cost you a lot of money … I am a Marine Park”.  “What rubbish”, I thought, “I’m 30 miles off the coast, who can enforce that notice?”  Next morning two Marine Park Rangers pulled alongside in their 40’ power catamaran just to check if I had crossed the barrier.  They didn’t even talk to me … just made their presence felt.

It was difficult to find a patch of sand 10 metres square, not that I was prepared to motor around the lagoon for hours looking.  I dropped the anchor in a patch of sand, on 40 metres of chain and backed up the yacht (my criteria for a good holding anchor is to reverse both motors at 2,000 RPM.  I calculate that’s equivalent to about six  draft horses pulling the yacht back and  if the anchor doesn’t move (drag) I am reasonably happy.)

The anchor passed the drag-test but I was still anxious for some reason … what if a 25 knot breeze blew up overnight and the anchor started to drag??  So, on with the snorkel and mask, out to the anchor where I had a crystal clear view of it and how it was set.  We were in eight (8) metres of water, quite deep.  The anchor had drug (dragged?) but was hooked under a very large block of coral … it wasn’t going anywhere!  That night it blew to 30 knots and I slept pretty well!

* ALMOST NOTHING TO SHOW ABOVE THE WATER LINE! *

Next morning I was out of there and will not return unless for some reason, where a stopover may save my life! 

The next 6 hours were rough sailing (again) as I was heading high into the breeze (25 knots) for a destination called Pancake Creek  which means back to the mainland for me.

 8-6

ooOoo

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