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Archive for May, 2005

`LADY MUSGRAVE ISLAND’, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA … 29TH MAY 2005

Had a wonderful `dolphin’ experience on the way to the island.  Four dolphins found the yacht and played with it for at least an hour.   I have developed the habit of whistling to them from the for’ deck … as you would whistle to call a dog … and I am certain they know you are trying to communicate with them. 

* PORPOISE ... CERTAINLY ADD TO THE QUALITY OF THE DAY! *

This four had obviously escaped from a circus as they put on a magical performance … one came rushing head-on with the yacht then jumped at least 3 metres out of the water to land about 4-5 metres in front of the yacht … incredible timing.  Also, a duo gave a great jumping display in perfect synchronisation.  They did all the usual dolphin tricks, but somehow did them with great majesty. A wonderful display of marine animals communicating with humans.

* AN EXCELLENT SHOT OF THE `LADY MUSGRAVE' ISLAND/CAY ... QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA (Compliments Google Images) *

I arrived at Lady Musgrave Island at 13:30 with the sky clear and sun almost directly overhead … just as I had planned (true) as the lagoon (Cay, as they are called on navigation maps) are peppered with `Bommies’ … we had a name for them many years ago which became culturally unacceptable … can’t remember exactly, but it sounded something like `blackboys’? 

The reference books I have bought for navigating the east coast (`The Curtis Coast’ and another by a mildly famous East Coaster, Alan Lucas called `Cruising The Coral Coast’) are great and I would bet 9 out of 10 boats/yachts on the east coast would have copies on board.  They give wonderful advice, supported by maps and aerial photographs, of most islands, rivers, harbours and almost anywhere a water craft can travel on the east coast.  Sorry I keep mentioning the east coast … there may be similar publications for the north, west and south coasts … I just haven’t had the need to find out … yet!

* A BLACK AND WHITE BIRD ... (How ignorant can a person be?) Lady Musgrave Island, Queensland! *

* DAILY TOURIST FERRIES ARRIVE EVERY DAY FROM BUNDERBURG AND A TOWN CALLED `1770' *

Getting back to Lady Musgrove … it is well documented that the lagoon and for that matter, the surrounding coral reefs are studded with coral `bommies’ … and to hit one is to risk a hole in the hull … and water loves to rush through holes!!

Came through the entrance OK and standing as high as I could, whilst manning the steering wheel … and staying close to the motor controls (wishing I had my remote auto-steering device), Tsunami and I managed to travel down to within 500 metres of the island … and safely anchor.  The breeze was 12 knots and sea was calm. 

Lady Musgrave Island is quite small, I would say in the region of 20-30 acres … the lagoon/cay surrounding the island is large … say, 3 miles by 1.5 miles, however, there’s only one entry/exit.  And riding at anchor is no guarantee of a smooth ride … the reef on the outskirts of the cay are about sea level in height … however, there’s that nasty occurrence called a tide … and twice a day the outer  reefs are submerged by the high tide and the wave action of the open sea can wash across the cay unimpeded. 

* GORGEOUS COLOURS OF THE `CAY' ... SHALLOW CORAL GROWTH! *

* HARD AND SHARP CORAL SAND ... BEST TO WEAR SHOES! *

That night the wind strengthened to over 30 knots and the wave action across the cay was rough, rough!   (Don’t want to put too much emphasis on it!) 

One of the dreads of anchoring is the possibility the anchor may drag!   A   dragging anchor in the dark is every skipper’s nightmare … particularly in a cay, surrounded by bommies.  (Can you imagine starting the motors to react to the drag and not knowing whether one is going to motor over a bommie, or reef?)  So this skipper let out all the anchor chain he had in the locker  (40 metres, that’s about 130 feet) which helps the anchor to hold into the sand … and set a little gadget  on the GPS Chart Plotter, called an `anchor alarm’. 

You live in hope this little sucker will never go off!  Mine went off at 02:00 the next morning … I was up out of the cot like a stunned mullet, banged my head on the way (spoke to God about that) and came on deck ready to swing into action … but, what the hell was I going to do?  There were two other yachts anchored within 200 metres of me and I had been keeping an eye on the relative angles of them to me all night and they still seemed to be, roughly, in the same position.  So I sat down to think (don’t think the best on my feet) and soon came to the conclusion the wind had changed from a sou’ Easter to a southerly … and Tsunami had swung on her 130’ anchor chain and moved far enough to the side, to trick the alarm into thinking the anchor was dragging … bugger! 

I can do without those sorts of experiences. Anyhow that night was a bit of a write-off and it took the next day to relax, sleep and get over it.  I stayed on the same anchor point for three nights and it was great. 

* IT CAN BE CALM HERE ... AND IT'S ALWAYS BEAUTIFUL! *

Didn’t get off Tsunami until Tuesday due to continuing strong winds … and went ashore to Lady Musgrave Island to enjoy a good walk and explore.  A beautiful little island.

Again you must be very careful how you approach an island such as this when you are suspended on an inflatable dinghy … it’s akin to powering ashore on a balloon and they have a nasty habit of bursting.  Tropical islands are made from coral and coral reefs also surround these islands.  Coral is very sharp, hence the need to wear sandshoes, or some foot protection. 

 Anyway, almost every day a large catamaran or two (about 70’ long capable of carrying, say 60/80 people) cruise from `Bundaberg’ and another small town called `1770’ … and ferry people to the Island from the cruise boat.  Watching this procedure through binoculars gave me a good start to getting onto Lady Musgrove Island without too much risk to the dinghy.  My dinghy does have an aluminium bottom which is a great deal better than an inflatable with a rubber bottom!

* THE LOW TREES ARE AWASH WITH NESTING BIRDS. MANY LOOK LIKE PIDGEONS! *

The island is classic tropical although it does not have Palm trees … mainly Morton Bay Figs and Mangroves (I’m not big with Flora.)  The sands are coral pearl white and the waters crystal clear, with a range of aqua-green colours, changing with the depth of water.  Shallow Bommies show up readily as they turn a yellow colour when close to the surface.  Hundreds of birds nest on the island with some trees thick with nests and protective parents.

* A SOLAR-POWERED SHIPPING BEACON ... OFFERS A VERY GOOD VANTAGE POINT FROM WHICH TO PHOTOGRAPH! *

I was very naughty in my quest to take a photo of the lagoon from a great height.  There’s a small light house on the western side of the island … and as with all beacons it is well protected from the public.  It quickly becomes apparent when one has cracked the security gate, that all visitors and their  dog (not allowed on the island) have been climbing this tower (about 15 metres high – 45-50 feet) as all the rungs of the ladder are brightly polished from hundreds of bare feet buffing them.  I can well imagine the tour operators un-officially dropping the hint to their guests about where they can obtain the best ‘photos … no they wouldn’t do something like that??  What a great vantage point from which to view the lagoon and from which to take spectacular photographs … which I did!

 8-5

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posted by admin in AUSTRALIA,Lady Musgrove Island ... Queensland,QUEENSLAND ... AUSTRALIA and have Comments (3)

BUNDABERG MARINA, TOWN CENTRE, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA … 24TH MAY 2005

Stocked up with non-perishable supplies and took off for the mouth of the Burnett River (Port Bundaberg) … Tsunami travelled 400 meters and one engine stopped (better 400 meters from a chandler than 20 miles out to sea.)  However, I was not impressed, as again I had to go into `service mode’ to get the boat in order again.  Maintenance and servicing is a constant companion when travelling by sea … whether one likes it or not … I honestly wonder how people get on who are not mechanically trained or inclined.

* THIS A `NEW' FUEL FILTER I FITTED AT THE TIME OF THE NEW YAMAHA OUTBOARD MOTORS ... IN SINGAPORE! *

* THE `OLD' CAV FUEL FILTERS WHICH WERE ALWAYS HARD TO SERVICE! *

This time it was truly my fault, as one of the fuel filters had filled with water (most likely condensation forming in a partly filled main fuel tank … or dirty fuel from a dirty browser holding tank, ashore.)  Buying fuel is a lot like taking water on board … you cannot be certain of it’s quality … Tsunami must have a mix of water from 20 different taps at various Yacht Clubs, or marinas. 

The same goes for the supply of fuel from the same supplier outlets!

Anyhow internal combustion engines will not run on water … try it one day with your car.  My first priority was to clean the filter, which has a seeing-glass section to it … hence my admission that this breakdown was my fault, as I had not been regularly checking the glass bowl for water.  Water is heavier than petrol and will settle in the bottom of the glass bowl, therefore, if you are doing a regular inspection you will see the water in the bottom of the bowl building up and drain it away.  In this case the bowl was allowed to fill and eventually water was sucked into the carburettor of the motor … and the motor stopped … bugger!

Despite my vast experience with all things mechanical, I had never dismantled such a filter… hard to believe, aye?  So using as much common sense as possible, under the situation I found myself … in the middle of the Burnett River,  I unscrewed the bolt which held the tiers of the filter together … removed the base and a split second later realised the glass bowl may need support.  As I reached for it, it went plink-plonk splash … and joined my reading glasses in Davey Jones locker.  $44.00 thankyou said the chandler and my mood darkened another 3 shades of black. 

* THE `OLD' YAMAHA MOTORS (REMOVED) ... AT TIME OF REPLACEMENT IN SINGAPORE NOV. 2009. THEY HAD RUN FOR 3600 HOURS! *

Anyway the filter was only the beginning of getting her going again and I gained new experience by dismantling the inlet manifold and carburettor … it was necessary to remove water from the carbie!   And then, after a night at anchor in the middle of town it was great to motor to the Bundaberg Port Marina at the mouth of Burnett River … berthing for one night, then anchoring again at the river mouth … and 0415 the next day (still don’t like sailing in the dark, but I’m trying to break myself in slowly, as one day I’ll have no choice) to take off for Lady Musgrave Island about 50 miles north … my first coral island on one of the most southern islands of `The Great Barrier Reef’.  Yair!

 8-4

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`LIGHTWAVE’ FACTORY, COOMERA, GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND … 23RD MAY 2005

 On the last day in Paradise …  Roger, Cath, Sally and I visited the Lightwave Catamaran factory, which is building Roger’s new 38 foot catamaran … ready in October/November ’05 … cost, not much change from $600,000. 

* (L-R) BARBARA, CATHERINE, ROGER, BILL AND LLOYD ... COOMERA, GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND *

* `BILBARA' HAVING SIDE WINDOW WATER LEAK FIXED BY `LIGHTWAVE'! *

* `BILBARA' AND CATH ... COOMERA, GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND. *

* PART OF `LIGHTWAVE' FACTORY ... COOMERA, GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND. *

* A VERY CLEVER TRAILER FOR HARMLESSLY REMOVING CATAMARANS FROM THE WATER! *

We also met up with Bill and Barbara Hastings from Lightwave Catamaran, `Bilbara’, at the factory and ended up having a delicious lunch at the restaurant run by the Riviera Group of boat-builders.  They took 32 orders for new boats at the Show … and in the main their craft go for around $1,000,000 plus, per!

 

* TRAILER HYDRAULICALLY LIFTS CAT FROM UNDER BRIDGEDECK! *

* WITH TWO OPERATORS, THIS APPEARS TO BE THE SAFEST WAY TO REMOVE A `CAT' FROM THE WATER ... OTHER METHODS HAVE CAUSED GREAT DAMAGE! *

 

Next day, 24th May ’05, back onto the tilt-train for Bundaberg and onboard Tsunami.  A great adventure over!

 8-3

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posted by admin in AUSTRALIA,Coomera ... Queensland,QUEENSLAND ... AUSTRALIA,YACHTING/SAILING ... Interested? and have No Comments

SANCTURY COVE BOAT SHOW … GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND … 18TH MAY 2005

My primary reason for being here was to moor the yacht and travel back by train to Surfer Paradise, to attend the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show.  This is the biggest Boat Show in Australia and a well respected show by world standards.  

* JUST A GLIMPSE OF THE HUNDREDS OF DISPLAYS ... WORLD CLASS WE'RE TOLD! *

My jaunt had been planned back in Pittwater, NSW, with friends Roger and Cath Manning inviting me to stay with them in their apartment in Surfers Paradise.  Roger picked me up from the Ribena Railway Station (close to Surfers Paradise) … and Cath and a friend, Sally, had a feast waiting for us on our arrival at  the apartment, a great setup right on the Gold Coast beach.  It doesn’t get any better than this!

* AUSTRALIAN MADE CATAMARAN YACHTS *

* MARITIMO YACHTS DIDN'T HAVE A BOAT READY FOR THE SHOW ... SO THEY DANGLED A LARGE BANNER FROM A HELICOPTER! Since gone broke in Australia! *

The first day at the Show was a flurry of activity trying to visit all the sailing catamarans … which were scattered all over the place.  I should explain there was $300,000,000 worth of boats on display and they were spread over what seemed to be about 10 acres of ground and water … massive!   As well as the floating displays there was around one and a half acres of tented area displaying every conceivable contraption related to power or sailing craft.

I invested in a newly released wireless control for my Auto-Pilot (AP)!  (I can see from here, my girls shaking their heads with incomprehension!  This will be a mandatory attachment to AP’s in the future, as they give you the ability to walk anywhere around the yacht whilst the AP is operating and still be able to steer it by pressing a button on the remote control.  My girls would ask … “why is this so important Dad”?  I would reply … “because when I am sailing one-up (alone) around coral knobs in the Great Barrier Reef, and I am high up on the roof of the cabin spotting   coral, it will be a vital way to control the steering from a distance and  steer around such objects”.  It will though be very interesting if I am ever required to stop the yacht in a hurry, as I do not have a remote control to reverse the engines from on top of the cabin!  But I have my eyes open for such a development.

* MORE CATS ... THE REVOLUTION IS HERE! *

 When visiting the show on the second day I went aboard a 43 foot cat which was promoting catamaran self-sail yacht hire on the Whitsunday’s ($1,000 per day … you read right!)  Thought I might pick up tips on sailing around the Whitsunday Islands.   I learnt a few things … namely, how to go into the charter business with Tsunami.  I also managed to leave my digital camera onboard … bugger … which meant I had to go back for a 3rd day …   What a burden for me……………?

* ALWAYS ROOM TO SQUEEZE IN A `HOLDEN' RACER ... GOOD SALES PROMOTION HERE! *

I had a look around quite a few power boats which I didn’t have time or inclination to do on either of the first two days.  Very interesting to learn how `the-other-half-live’ … one craft I went onboard was a 60 foot Bertram, imported from the USA by Ralph Sarich, the Perth inventor of the Sarich Orbital Engine.  This craft sells for $3,000,000 … and consumes 400 litres of diesel fuel (at an average price of $1.40/litre) every hour of cruising.  When I suggested this consumption seemed a smidge on the `heavy’ side … the salesman countered by saying “Maybe to some, but you’re moving 34 tonnes through the water at 32 knots!”  Well that made all the difference to me, I was sold!  Size of fuel tank … 3,400 litres … enough for 8.5 hours cruising, a 272 miles range … then `fill her up again Jack!’  And you thought there was an energy crisis……..?

NoteTsunami carries 200 litres and consumes 3-4 litres an hour, that’s 50 hours travel, at 5 MPH … giving me a range of 250 miles … not quite as salubrious/fast … but a mile’s a mile!

* FOR THE `BIG' CRUISING YACHT WITH EVERYTHING! *

 

* A comfortable looking Model! *

 8-2

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posted by admin in AUSTRALIA,QUEENSLAND ... AUSTRALIA,Sanctury Cove ... Queensland and have Comment (1)

BUNDABERG FROM MARYBOUROUGH, QUEENSLAND,AUSTRALIA – 16th MAY ‘05

There’s an adventure-a-day when sailing … and they can come cheap, or cost lots … depending on how lucky you are!  Tsunami and I had a cheap adventure sailing/motoring down the Mary River from Maryborough to the Great Sandy Straits, adjacent to Fraser Island.  (Did anyone read about the South American businessman who recently became lost for 10 days on Fraser Island … and was found by a female Security Officer, to whom he proposed marriage?)  He was lucky not to have been eaten by a pack of hungry dingoes.

* Kingfisher Resort, Frazer Island, Sandy Straits ... roughly between the Mary River and Bundaberg, Queensland. *

 

Anyway, on my way down the Mary River I sighted these three yellow floats bang in the middle of the passage, which was only about 100 metres wide.  I considered they were floats attached to crab pots as every man and his dog seems to fish with nets in the river.  Making an executive decision I decided to sail between the centre and the right hand float … I picked the wrong thimble … the three floats were supporting a 50 metre wide fish net, which brought Tsunami to a fairly positive stop … a bit like running aground on a sandbar! 

Well, you don’t have to stress your imagination much to work out my reaction! Luckily, the two motors on the yacht are outboards which can be tilted to reveal the propellers.  This I did and grabbed the sharpest knife on board and swiftly dealt with this bloody nylon net.  Tsunami was free and I was away. 

Not the end of the incident though … as 500 metres ahead of me I spotted a speeding dinghy coming towards me with two tough looking gents on board … in fact they were professional fishermen and I had just cut up the device that made their profession possible.  They had seen this yacht stalled in the middle of their expensive apparatus and I could see myself ending up with a bashed in head … what could I arm myself with?  Not needed … one did all the talking as they came alongside Tsunami (no way I was going to stop Tsunami’s forward movement) and they wanted to know if I had snagged their net?   “Yes!”    “Did I have to cut the net” (should I lie?)   “Yes, I cut the net!”   The non-talker winced and looked away almost unable to control himself … the `talker’ almost thanked me for telling the truth, turned his dinghy away from Tsunami and back to recover the net.  There’s really no formal protocol for such an incident … who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong?  In my mind they were blocking a `Shipping Channel’ … and they knew it, therefore, no physical reaction.  In having said that:  My feeling is the `non-talker’ would have bashed my head in ….while the `talker’ was the sensible one!    End of incident! 

I learnt what a professional fisherman’s net looks like from this experience … and I hope they learnt not to plant their nets in the middle of a navigable channel!

• * AT NIGHT, SMALL FISH & SQUID ARE ATTRACTED TO THE GREEN `LED’ LIGHTS I HAVE ON EACH TRANSOM ... LARGER FISH ATTACK THEM & THEY JUMP ABOARD! *

Next day I headed north to Bundaberg.  Leaving the head of the Mary River at 06:00 it took 12 hours to cover the 62 miles … this with full mainsail and the huge Screecher jib … plus the two motors chugging away at 2500 RPM.  The reason for the slow passage was obvious … lack of wind with nothing stronger than 9 knots blowing.  This meant arriving in the Bundaberg harbour in the dark, which I don’t at all like, but all was OK and I had a good night’s sleep.

Next day was a 1.5 hour; 8 mile motor up the Burnett River to the township of Bundaberg (never did get to visit the Bundaberg Rum factory.)  Maybe next time.

 8-1

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MARYBOROUGH, QUEENSLAND … 8TH MAY ’05

* MARYBOROUGH DOCKSIDE ... CENTRAL TO `IMMIGRANTS ENTERING QUEENSLAND' ... GOLD MINING, WOOL, TIMBER AND SUGAR ... *

To reach Maryborough, one must sail/motor 19 nmiles up the Mary River to a little old town which is working very hard to maintain an identity … and doing a great job.  The weather is still rat-shit, being cloudy, with wet intervals … and now (11/5/2005) has set in to a constant drizzle. 

The main industrial company in the city today is EDI Rail, formerly Walkers Limited, a heavy engineering business which has built much of the rolling stock and locomotives for Queensland Rail.

* MARYBOROUGH TOWN (QUEENSLAND) FROM THE FLOOD-PRONE MARY RIVER. *

I keep asking the locals “Where has Sunny Queensland gone?” and they shake their head and say they can’t remember the last time they experienced such a long period of wet weather … but they need the rain!  No argument.

I have decided to stay here a week (mooring fee $50.00 for one week) as I have until the 17th May to kill.  Originally my plan was to stay a couple of days in Maryborough, then sail to the north-west coast of Fraser Island, which is meant to be beautiful … and then sail across to Bundaberg.

* SORRY, DON'T KNOW THE HISTORY OF THE CANNONS ... LOOKS LIKE IT MAY HAVE BEEN `PIRATE' COUNTRY? *

Due to the weather, my plan now is to sail to Bundaberg, direct from Maryborough; about 50 miles north, by the 17th, anchor the boat in a marina and then take a high speed Tilt Train south to the Gold Coast.  My reason for heading back south is simply to attend the Biggest Boat Show in Australia at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast.  One must do it at least once!  To make it much more pleasant I have been invited by friends from Pittwater, Roger and Cath Manning, to stay with them in their Gold Coast apartment.  Perfect! 

* SANCTURY COVE, QUEENSLAND, BOAT SHOW! *

With the Show over, I will return to Tsunami and continue north.

7-10

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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

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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

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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

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