Monday, May 3, 2010

Nightsail to the Wide Bay Bar

After an uncomfortable night in Bongaree, at the southern end of Bribie Island, in which we woke at 4am to discover we had dragged our anchor, we set off for Mooloolaba. A rock & rolly sail, as it often is in that patch of sea where the rhythms of the ocean fight with the waves from Moreton Bay.

After losing a big Mangrove Jack, and getting part of a wave through the open hatch over our bed, we got into Mooloolaba and dropped anchor for a rest.

The Wide Bay Bar is the channel between Fraser Island and the mainland. Its like ducking through a narrow pass in the middle of two surf breaks. Many yachts have foundered there. Its the most scary spot in Queensland cruising. To cross it, you need reasonable weather, no extreme swell, daylight, and the last three hours of a flood (incoming) tide. High tide on Monday was 11am. So we could cross it between 8am and 11am. And its nine hours sail from Mooloolaba. Mmm!

The deal was that I would get the boat going alone at midnight and let George sleep in until five. It was exciting to creep out of Mooloolaba under the moonlight and get the sails up. Perfect conditions, a 15 knot wind on the beam, and we were soon creaming along at 10 knots, with the moonlight glinting off the waves. Nimrod went beautifully. I love night sailing.

We got to Double Island Point as the sun rose, and slowed down a little to cross the bar without incident at 8am. Triumphant and exhausted.

Now we are anchored peacefully in Garry's Anchorage, a sheltered spot on Fraser Island, which hosted 1000+ yachties on Saturday in the Bay to Bay trailer sailer race. I've done it myself a few times; there is an amazing party in the middle of the race that often features choppers bringing in rockbands, big marquees, and bulk grog for lots of happy sailors in the middle of the wilderness. It reminded me of a scene from Apocalypse Now! Around us as I write are lots of small boats with hungover crew returning from Hervey Bay to Tin Can Bay after the race.

Dave & George

1 comment:

  1. Hello U2 - glad you reached safety! Sounds like you are having the proverbial good time - lucky bastards:-) Don't be surprised if you find Steve and me swimming out to the boat one day!! Started our new jobs last week - what a farce. Still it's money and we have to stay focused. Keep having the best time and love the blog!