Thursday, we sailed from Bundaberg to Kingfisher Bay. Arrived just prior to dusk and rain. While sailing past Big Woody island we saw a sleeping mother and baby whale. This year we have seen more whales than we have in the past two years of sailing up and down the Queensland coast.
Friday was a wonderful day, nice and calm anchored at Kingfisher bay We launched the dingy, first time in the water since 27June when we left Trinity inlet for Bluewater marina.
It was nice to take the dinghy ashore and walk on a sandy beach. We have not walked on a sandy beach since Dunk island back in May. Fraser island is a lovely sand island. Ashore we had showers and lunch. A nice treat. Paul had a burger, I had a calamari salad.
Anchored next to us is a 62 foot sloop with in mast furling main sail. So we went over to say hello and ask them about their mainsail. The boat has an aluminium hull and weighs 30 ton. It has an aft cabin with island berth double, an L shaped settee and full heads, with seperate shower stall, on the port side. They have enclosed the cockpit with a hard Bimini and zip down sides. It has made the cockpit into a pilot house. The yacht is a deck saloon with internal helm position to starboard and the galley to port, with a dinnette table (converted to a day lounge) The head height in this area was 10 foot. Then four steps down into the saloon, with six foot head height. I did not wander further forward, they had the saloon area set up for sleeping with the table dropped down to make a bed and a bench seat/pew against, the starboard settee. It was a lot of boat. With two heads and a seperate toilet midship in the deck saloon. Another feature was a hydraulic drop down transom that converted the boat into a sugar scoop. Great for fishing and boarding from the dinghy.
Last night the wind blew from the south south west, it was a bit lively. We were woken up at 1:30am. We will move down to South White Cliffs this afternoon and try to get out of the westerly swell.
15 September 2015, just spent a week at Keppel Bay marina sheltering from strong southerly winds.
We caught up with a few fellow cruisers while in the marina. Kevin and Elaine off Eureka; Paul and Jenny off My Ruby. Friday night we all got together for spaghetti night at the yacht club. Then Monday night Neil and Chris off Surfari arrived at the marina so we had drinks with Paul, Jenny, Neil and Chris on Surfari.
Tuesday morning we left the marina headed over to Keppel Island, Fishermans beach. Where we saw Eureka. Kevin and Elaine were going to spend the night at Keppel then head off early in the morning fo Urangan.
We had a nice relaxing afternoon at Fishermans beach, had a quick dunk/swim at 4:00pm them headed off just prior to dusk. We have been on the move non stop for 24 hours. We have another 10 hours till we get to Bundaberg.
16 September 2015, at 2:00am, when it was time for me to take over the watch, we heard whale song. It is amazing how clear their song travels through the water and our fibreglass hull. It was a lovely way to wake up and start my watch. The wind was not strong when I took over the watch we were travelling at 3.5 knots. By 5:30am we were becalmed. As Paul was asleep I left Olympia to drift. When Paul woke up at 6:00am we started the motor and travelled past all the ships at anchor off Gladstone.
We have been treated with several whale sightings today near Pancake creek. Plus a lone dolphin swam alongside Olympia. Then when we were passing Agnus Water we heard more whale song.
Whale song, heard through the hull of the boat, is a very tranquil thing.
8 September 2015, we have been on the move for the last three days, since my last post. Each day we have seen whales. The first sighting was half way between Brampton and Keswick islands. We saw about 6 whales at various distances from Olympia. There was not much wind so we motor sailed all day till Digby island. We anchored just before the sun set. The anchorage had two catamarans already anchored when we arrived. The Eastily swell rolled into the anchored. It was a rolly night.
We were up at dawn and departed Digby island at 5:30am, where we saw another group of whales. The day was approximately 70 nautical miles travelled. We arrived at Pearl Bay at 11:00pm. Paul estimated that we sailed for 30 nautical miles and motor sailed for 40 nautical miles.
While we were sailing, just south of Digby, at least three squalls hit Olympia. Paul put the first reef in the main sail for the first one. Then we saw the second squall coming and put in the second reef. While he was on the cabin top, putting the second reef in the main sail, the border patrol plane buzzed us. It gave Paul a start, I thought he was going to jump onto the wing of the plane he looked up so quickly.
There was a lull in the wind between the second and third squalls. Paul was debating taking out the reef. When we saw dark grey clouds ahead. I was so glad he left the reef in as the third squall was the strongest and longest. Olympia heeled to a constant 30 degree angle with gusts pushing her even further over. My equilibrium was not happy. When the squall hit I was in charge of Olympia. Paul was down below trying to get the weather forecast with the limited internet coverage he was receiving. When we heel to 30 degrees I find it very difficult to reach the main sheet and see where we are going. I was a nervous wreck by the time Paul came topside. I had been easing the main but the gusts kept coming stronger and stronger. I am sure one of them put the toe rail in the water. Paul furled away the head sail and things improved a fraction. I am sure my body experienced all the flight and fight emotions during that 15 to 20 minutes of adrenaline rush. Finally leaving me in a passive, drained and slightly disconnected state.
The winds eventually petered out till we were forced to motor sale the next 40 nautical miles. Motor sailing at night with no moon. Thank goodness for clear skies and stars. A cruise ship glowed just over the horizon when I came up for my watch. We were heading for the lighthouse that marked the Clara group of islands. It was nice to have something to aim for.
This morning we were underway at 7:00am. Pearl Bay had been another rolly anchorage. Just outside Pearl Bay we saw a mother and baby whale, asleep hugging the coast, slowly heading north. Then as we passed Port Clinton a pod of dolphins swam with Olympia for at least 10 minutes. Life is good.
The scenery has begun to change we are heading towards the sandy cape now. No more drowned mountains, and lots of sandy beaches and islands.
It is also noticeably colder. Each night is a bit colder. I doubled the blanket last night. Poor Paul only had a sheet and a towel to keep him warm, as I took the blanket with me to sleep in the saloon. We will get a good nights sleep tonight in the Marina. We have booked in for a week in the marina while the southerly blow passes by. After 10 days on the go everything needs a wash. We have not set foot on land since we left Cairns.
We are on the move again after some short trips and full nights sleep.
On Thursday we left Nara inlet and sailed through Hook passage, along Whitehaven beach and out through Solway passage. This put us on a good course for Lindeman Island. We stopped for lunch and spent the afternoon at Gap beach. The winds were still northerly. We had the place to ourselves.
Just prior to dusk the winds eased and the swell rolling into the bay caught us side on. As the forecast was for a southerly change in the middle of the night we up anchor and moved to Plantation bay. This was where we had our second full nights sleep since leaving Russell island.
About 4:00am the wind changed to blow from the south. By 7:30am the wind had picked up to above 15knots so we moved over to Shaw island, Burning point. We spent the day and another night at anchor. We are well and truly caught up on sleep now.
This morning the winds are blowing from the east so we are on the move again, heading towards Goldsmith island, maybe Bramton island. Life is good.
Olympia is anchored at Nara inlet. When we arrived last night we thought we were at Airlie Beach, there were lots of boats anchored in the inlet, lots of lights and one of the charter boats was having a doof doof party, loud music and cheering. We anchored near the entrance well away from the noise.
Our last landfall was Orpheus.island where we picked up a mooring in Little Pioneer bay for 3 hours to rest, eat and bath. We have really been on the go since Russell island. We had light northerlies with only 1 meter swell so we made the most of them. We are one quarter of the way back to Brisbane. Olympia has been her usual brilliant self and taken it all in her stride. I feel very safe making long overnight passages on Olympia. She was built to handle these conditions.
This morning we did not set the alarm, we are sleeping in. Paul is sound asleep, I got woken by the wind in the rigging. Will try to get more sleep now.
30 August 2015. We finally caught up with Craig and Claudia off Gallavant. The rendezvous was at Russell Island. Paul and I sailed from Fitzroy Island to Russell Island arrived around midday. Craig and Cloudia sailed from Innisfail and arrived around 2:30pm. They departed after 9:00am with the high tide.
Paul and I picked up the southern morning which was quite close to the reef. I went for a swim over the coral at low tide. I saw three giant clams and several sea cucumbers.
Craig and Claudia paddled over to Olympia for afternoon tea. We then all got together for a Mexican dinner on Gallivant. Paul made a chile con carne, Claudia made a tomatoe chile and supplied the wraps and condiments, we made up burritos. Claudia and Craig gave me a late birthday gift. They really spoilt me with coconut and Jojoba oils. It was great to catch up.
31 August 2015, We left Russell island at 7:30am and sailed non stop until we reached Little Pioneer bay at 10:00am the next morning. We picked up the southern mooring and promptly went to bed. There was no wind so we though a good rest in the morning then set sail again after lunch. There are North Eastilies forecast for the next three days. So we will continue to sail overnight while they last. Brisbane here we come.
Olympia, left Bluewater Marina at 7:30am. She sailed really well considering she had not gone anywhere for two months. Hopefully some of the weed has been knocked off her bottom.
While sailing along off Mission bay, a mother and baby dolphin swam alongside Olympia for a little while. Then while I gazed out to sea at the sparking water, my polarised glasses treated me to bright green sparkles. It looked like the waves were wrapped in green foil.
Olympia is currently anchored at Fitzroy island and I am thinking about going for a swim. The wind has just eased it is 3:00pm good time to swim.