Saturday, November 7, 2015

Sailing south for the summer

Nimrod left the Gold Coast in May 2013, following a refit after damage from a lightning strike. She has lived in North Queensland since that time; spending summer of 2013-14 based in Mackay, late 2014 in PNG, and subsequently in Townsville and the Whitsundays.

If miners can 'fly-in, fly-out' so can yachties. It has worked very well, and we have had some great sailing in FNQ (far north Queensland) and the Whitsundays.

But there have been times when we wished that she was nearer home for pottering about in and day-sailing on Moreton Bay or the Broadwater.

So we decided that we would use the month of November to slowly cruise down the Queensland coast and bring her home. We have also decided to do a major Pacific cruise next year (Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia), and preparing for that, and leaving, will be easier from the south.

Nimrod has been berthed in Abell Point marina at Airlie Beach for the last six months. We flew up on October 30th, and George provisioned while I fitted the new Spectra trampolines. The standard ones are mostly fabric, with small holes. They catch upward waves, and we have ripped ours a few times, mostly significantly on the trip to the Louisiades. I wanted some netting ones with bigger holes, and less fabric, so as to present less resistance to water. After some research I ordered some Spectra netting with 18mm squares. Spectra stretches very little, so the tramps are firm to stand on, and not too bouncy.


Original on the left. Spectra netting on the right.

One nice effect is that you can see the bows slicing through the water much more clearly. 

We had a meal at Sorrento's restaurant with our friends Graeme and Enriqueta Nolan, and left the next day for Cid Harbour. Then down to Thomas Island, to a quiet anchorage on the south coast, sheltered from the north-easterly.

Next down to a lovely anchorage on the west coast of Keswick Island.


An early start at 5am to get down to Middle Percy Island. Sixty nautical miles.



Many boats are trekking south at this time of year

Middle Percy Island has a special place in the cruising world. It has an A-frame shed where hundreds of yachts have left their memorabilia as a sort of shrine.






Sunset off West Bay, Middle Percy Island

We spent an extra night at Middle Percy Island, round on the south coast in Rescue Bay. Very pretty.






A natural sculpture made of what looked like baked sand with a rusty iron content. Possibly volcanic?


Then an easy kite run down to Island Head Creek in the military reserve at Shoalwater Bay. Some parts of it were out of bounds, but the easterly anchorages were open. We went up the top of Island Head for one night, and spent another in the breeze lower down. A very special piece of wilderness to enjoy all alone.


Saturday November 7th. We set off south again, picking up a 18kg Spanish mackerel as we left Island Head creek. Then a lovely kite run in a strengthening wind down to Great Keppel Island. Just before we got there, we were hit by a thunderstorm, with major squalls and heavy wind. We coped well, furling jib and putting in three reefs in short order, before anchoring in Long Beach, on the south side of Great Keppel Island.


Thundersquall


Sunset at Long Beach, Great Keppel Island


Exploring a creek at sunset


A possum on Great Keppel Island. Unusual to see one in daytime.


Nimrod at sunset, Great Keppel Island


Queenslander on the shore at Sea Hill, on the north-west corner of Curtis Island.


Shiny kit for processing coal-seam gas near Gladstone.


LPG loading dock


Pancake Creek


Sunset at Pancake Creek


Storm over Hervey Bay. A miscalculation here! We went from the town of 1770 to Bundaberg. Pretty gentle motor-sailing. All was going well, with the forecast for several hours more of peaceful weather followed by a southerly front and then several rainy days. We didn't much fancy being holed up in Bundaberg for several days, so thought we could press on to Platypus Bay on Fraser Island, and spend the bad weather in the Great Sandy Straits, which are lovely. Great idea, but the front came through before we expected, so we had to punch through pouring rain and a 30 knot headwind across Hervey Bay to reach Platypus Bay by 11pm at night. Nimrod did us proud, but it was a long and tiring day.


Walking on the beach at Platypus Bay. Fifty kilometres of magnificent sand all to ourselves. One of the few bits of Australia with a consistent off-land wind. 


Cormorants




Kitesurfer jumping


Osprey on the beach at Urangan



Sundowner in Garry's Anchorage, Fraser Island


George cooking up a storm


Morning kayak


Mooloolaba fishing fleet and marina masts


Pelicans hanging round where fisherman clean their catch


George by a rock on Mooloolaba beach. HDR photo using Aurora HDR Pro.


Pandanus palm roots. Another HDR photo.


Jetskier letting off steam on a Friday night


Outrigger canoeist doing the same


Mooloolaba waterfront housing


Christmas lights in November. 

2 comments:

  1. Dear Dave and George - great to hear of your plans to cruise the near pacific next year. I finish up my work in Premiers in early December and Anne and I will make the move to Europe early next year. We have sold our share in Trim and have arranged to borrow a Bavaria 35 for the next two seasons in the Med. We pick her up in May '16 and plan to do Greece and Turkey during the first season. After that, who knows.

    Anyway, great that you will continue your love affair with Nimrod and we look forward to following your adventures.

    Best regards

    Bruce & Anne

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  2. Wow! Your vacation looks so much fun. It is thrilling to see people enjoying their boat ride. Keep discovering!

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