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Archive for the 'Great Sandy Straits … Queensland' Category

URANGAN HARBOUR/HERVEY BAY, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA … MAY 4th ’05 –

My prime reason for coming to this town was to pickup my new reading glasses from OPSM.  They had been forwarded from Brisbane.  Golly it was good to be able to see again! 

* THE FERRY FROM URALGAN TO `KINGFISHER RESORT’ , FRAZER ISLAND *

Not a bad little harbour ($30.00 per night … too dear for me to stay long) and has a very well to do club named The Boat Club, with an acre of Poker machines and thousands of retired fools willing to give their money to them.  A very good dining room with reasonably priced meals … the reason it’s packed most nights.

* VEHICULAR/PEOPLE CARRIER FROM URANGAN HARBOUR TO FRAZER ISLAND *

The weather has been R/S (meaning RatShit for those not in the know) and I wasn’t going to be trapped in Urangan Harbour at $30/night, doing and seeing nothing … so I took off on an incoming tide.  The tides are 2/3 metres high here, meaning there is a lot of water moving back and forth twice a day … and the smart thing is to plan any movements to go-with-the tide!  They move at up to 3 knots in The Great Sandy Straits (GSS). Tsunami was doing 6 knots into a 20 knot breeze (no sails up as a yacht cannot sail directly into a breeze/wind) with both engine doing 2,500 Revs … a medium/fast idle.  So the tide added over 2 knots to my speed on this occasion.

* CAN'T GO PAST A `RAINBOW' FOR A SPECTACLE! *

* MARYBOROUGH TOWNSHIP ... UP THE MARY RIVER, OFF THE `GREAT SANDY STRAITS', QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA! *

 I was headed for the Mary River which leads to Maryborough, 19 miles in from the GSS … arrived in the dark, which I don’t like doing, but didn’t get into too much trouble finding an anchorage.  I did though experience the problem of anchoring amongst a bunch of boats which were anchored without `anchor’ lights burning.  Very hard to tell in the dark, even with a strong spotlight, how far away they are.  THE RULE IS:  when at anchor at night one must arrange for a strong `anchor’ light (usually placed on the mast head) to be burning all night … how otherwise can other sailors know you are there??

* AS WITH MOST LOCATIONS ... THERE ARE GORGEOUS SUNSETS FROM TIME-TIME. *

7-8

ooOoo

posted by admin in AUSTRALIA,Great Sandy Straits ... Queensland,QUEENSLAND ... AUSTRALIA and have No Comments

NEWS FLASH: `YACHT CAPSIZE’ … `Wide Bay Bar’, near Tin Can Bay, Queensland, Australia

* WIDE BAY BAR ON A GOOD DAY ... IT'S WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE THAT DOES THE DAMAGE! *

 NEWS FLASH:  Just received a ‘phone call from yachting friends to say tonight’s TV news revealed a yacht had turned upside down crossing the infamous `Wide Bay Bar’ … the very bar I wrote about a few pages back.  That would be a very, very, very, bad experience!  There is only one area about 150 metres wide which will allow a crossing … it is to be approached on co-ordinates (way points) which will assure correct navigation … that is providing one attempts it on close-to-a-full tide.

* `BILBARA' THE SAME MODEL `LIGHTWAVE CAT WHICH WAS FLIPPED ON THE `WIDE BAY BAR' *

* `BILBARA' FROM THE STAR’BD SIDE ... SAME MODEL `LIGHTWAVE CAT WHICH WAS FLIPPED ON THE `WIDE BAY BAR' *

My friends Bill and Barbara Hastings had been sailing against this very yacht a week previously at a Regatta for `Lightwave Yachts’ on waters off the Gold Coast.  Apparently it was a near new yacht (value over $600,000) and at the time of the `prang’, was being skippered by its owner and girl friend on a trip to Thailand.  For my own education I was itching to learn the `truth’ behind the crash … and as often happens, my subconscious came up with the answer about 03:00am the next morning … contact my radio operator friends at Coast Guard Radio Tin Can Bay.  This is the closest rescue centre to the bar … and they will always be involved in any drama.  I made a point of meeting them after having such good advice from them for my crossing.  

The facts regarding the Lightwave prang are: 

(1)      The Skipper crossed the Bar at Low TideTHE RULE IS:  the only time to cross any sand bar is at high tide, or close to!  He had not checked the tide charts 

(2)     The Skipper chose to cross at night!  Visibility at night has to be nonsense!   To add to his terror he was catapulted from the yacht when the mast dug into the sandy bottom and broke off.

(3)       He chose to cross with both engines powering the yacht, which makes sense … however, his rescuers claim he was driving the yacht too fast. 

(4)     He chose not to make contact with coastal radio stations before his crossing, therefore, when he inverted (a nice way to say … went up-side-down) nobody in the area knew he was in trouble.  He did, however, have the latest digital EPIRP (what’s one of those?) on board … and this sent a message via satellite, to Canberra.  The first anyone in the region knew about the disaster was when Canberra telephoned our friends at Coast Guard Tin Can Bay to ask them to look into the problem.  What did go wrong with the EPIRP was, it sank … and therefore ceased transmitting!?

* JUST STICK TO THE RULES AND YOU'LL BE OK! *

(5)     When the owner obtained a quote for insuring the yacht it came in at $20,000 … you guessed it … not insured!

(6)     The first boat/person on the scene was a professional fisherman and all he could do was nurse the remains of the yacht into the beach on Fraser Island.  Luckily, the TCB crew were able to get a crane onto a barge and tow this to the site and up-end the yacht… then tow it into TCB, where it is presently moored.  The owners, with friends who have come up from the south are cleaning the yacht up to make it habitable and then they will go-back-to-work to earn funds to try to resurrect the unit. 

What a nightmare … in fact the nightmare of all cruising yachties!

7-9

ooOoo

posted by admin in AUSTRALIA,Great Sandy Straits ... Queensland,QUEENSLAND ... AUSTRALIA,Tin Can Bay ... Queensland, Australia,YACHTING Disasters and have Comments (7)

THE `GREAT SANDY STRAITS’ … NORTH INTO … MAY 1ST ’05

I took off from Tin Can Bay for places north, primarily `The Great Sandy Straits’ west of Fraser Island and firstly to a beautiful offshoot called Garry’s Anchorage.  Nobody could tell me how this place had acquired its name, so when I arrived I went ashore and found a notice which did tell me … around the 1900’s an aboriginal named Garry lived and supported his large family off the land in this general area. 

* THIS IS THE TERRITORY OF THE `GREAT EAGLES' *

Saw the most spectacular family of 4 White Bellied Sea Eagles … 2 parents and 2 large chicks.  They circled Garry’s Anchorage for about an hour and were highly successful in their fishing endeavours.  How did I know they were White Bellied Sea Eagles?  From a great book on `Australian Birds’ given to me by Arianne & Srdjan.  I might slowly become an authority on birds, although I don’t know what I will use for a memory!

* AND HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TINY BLUE/GREY CRABS! *

Next morning whilst munching on my Weetbix, a dingo trotted along the beach.  It was rather skinny and looked starved and decidedly unhappy.  There is a large population of dingoes on Fraser Island and people are warned about them as they can be starving and have been known to attack humans.

The Great Sandy Straits are named that for a good reason.  They are very wide, very shallow and have a strong tidal rip running to and fro twice a day.  You have to be on your toes all the time to prevent grounding on any one of thousands of sandbars … this is despite the channel markers planted all the way along the straits.  Without these it would be futile to try a passage.

* ALSO THE HOME OF MLLIONS OF STINGING SANDFLIES! *

From Garry’s anchorage I sailed to the only resort on the west coast of Fraser Island … Kingfisher Resort.  A very well designed 4 Star resort, but not a spectacular location.  They do however, cater very well for visiting yachties with a dedicated restaurant/swimming pool/shower etc facility right on the beach.  Anchoring there was tricky as shallows go out a long way from the shore (drifting sand) and then the water deepens rapidly.  Tsunami was anchored in 6/7 metres of water which was too rocky rollie!   Spent two nights there then sailed across to a harbour at Urangan.  Jagged a berth at a marina as there isn’t any anchoring allowed … due to the fact there’s not a square metre of spare room in the Harbour/Marina!

7-7

ooOoo

posted by admin in AUSTRALIA,Great Sandy Straits ... Queensland,QUEENSLAND ... AUSTRALIA and have Comment (1)