Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yeppoon to Manly (16th - 23rd November)

After a couple of pleasant days in Yeppoon we headed off again on our quest to go south.  This time we didn't have far to go as we were off to Kingfisher Bay Resort for a few days which is only about 15NM.   We had a lovely sail to Kingfisher and after a bit of a wander around the resort in the arvo headed back ashore in the evening for Sundowners at the Sand Bar on the pier and a meal.  It was really nice to see a resort up here doing well and there seemed to be plenty of coming and going's every day. 

On the morning of the 18th we thought it was a good idea to have a bit of an explore so did a couple of the walks that leave from the Resort.  The first was up to the look out at North White Cliffs lookout and we then headed off to the McKenzie Pier and then back to the resort past the remains of the WW2 Commando Training centre which was based on Fraser Island. 
After all the morning activity we were back to the boat for a swim off the back and a bit of R&R on the aft deck.

On the 19th we are going back through the Great Sandy Straits.  With a bit of luck and good management we seemed to time the tides perfectly and had current with us all the way and also had plenty of depth to get through the shallows.  We decided to spend the night at Elbow Point which is just around the corner from the Wide Bay Bar as we will be having an early start in the morning to get through the bar at the best time.

Up at 4.00am on the 20th which means we will get through the Wide Bar Bar just at the end of the Flood.  The swells are pretty low at the moment so our exit was relatively gentle which was rather nice as it can get very nasty going across this bar.  We had light north easterly winds so had a lovely motor sail down to Mooloolaba - one of our favorite spots!   Initially we were only going to spend a night here and then head off to Tangalooma (North Stradbroke Island) for a couple of nights but with some odd weather forecast plus I really like Mooloolaba we decided to spend a couple of nights here so we had a good walk around and also managed to fit in a body surf - always a favorite!

Up again early on the 21st and this time we are heading to Manly (just south of Brisbane).  This will be our last sail on Sally until we come back up in January to bring her back home to Melbourne so feeling a bit sad - especially as this means this part of our adventure is actually coming to an end. 
The trip to Manly was quite pleasant although the wind did build to 25knts during the day which meant parking procedures were going to be a bit exciting but luckily one of the locals here helped with our lines which was much appreciated as always.

The next couple of days are going to be spent giving Sally a bit of TLC and pack her up before we fly home for a couple of months.  We will be back up at the end of January when we finish off the trip and sail her back home to Melbourne. 
So far to date we have done around 6200NM (or around 12,400kms) and looking forward to our next big adventure in 2013....

Sorry but we didn't think to take any photos for this entry.

We will be catching up with Leapy Lynda on Friday for a bit of a celebration - she has just finished her first week of work.

This will be the last Blog until Jan or Feb 2012 so thanks for following and hope you will keep tabs on us again when we set off again next year

Monday, November 14, 2011

Southward Bound - Brampton Island to Yeppoon (9th - 15th November)

Things didn't quite work out as planned on the morning of the 9th November.  If the weather behaved itself we were hoping to have a longish day sail through to Curlew or Digby Islands however, the weather didn't behave at all and we were greeted with moderate South Easterlies as we left the bay at Brampton Island so we moved onto Plan B which was to go to Keswick / St Bees Islands (just off Mackay) for the night in hope of better winds tomorrow.  As we approached St Bees we were met by the Marine Parks IRB that informed us that anchoring was not allowed at St Bees as there was a goat cull in progress so after a few mutterings we diligently moved around to the anchorage on Keswick which unfortunately was pretty roly and not that nice at all.  Luckily a bit later in the morning the Parks people got back to us and encouraged us back to the original anchorage for the night which was very polite of them and made conditions aboard a whole lot more comfortable.  By evening we were accompanied by a  number of other yachts all waiting for weather windows to move south. 
A "Tough" Sail to GKI
The forecast for the 10th was looking great with light ENE winds so the alarm was set and we picked up the anchor at 4.45 and were on our way but this time the plan was to do an overnighter through to Yeppoon or Great Keppel Island (locally known as GKI).  The forecast was to plan this time so the start of the 165NM trip began.  The day was all pretty uneventful and we enjoyed very light and favourable breezes so were making good time especially considering the tides that you find in this part of the world.   Just on dusk we went past the Percy Islands - one of Mark's ambitions is to stop and spend a few days at Middle Percy however, yet again this was not to be as we sailed past still en route for GKI.  The moon was absolutely awesome and excellent for a night sail - it was so bright we had shadows on the boat.

The Percy's at Dusk
Remembrance Day and we turned up at GKI mid morning and dropped the pick at Second Beach - before you could blink we were in the water for a refreshing and much needed swim.  GKI was one of our favourite stops on the way north so we decide to spend a couple of nights here waiting for our next weather window. 

GKI Sign Post
When we were here last we did a number of the walks on the island but never made it to the Light House so figured this would be a good thing to do on the 12th.  As it gets warm pretty quickly in these parts we decided that an early start would be best.  The walk was pretty much all up and all down but was great to have a look around the island again.  The view from the Light House was pretty good especially the one looking back over Wreck Beach.

Wreck Beach

Guess Who at the GKI Light

As the anchorage as Second Beach was proving to be a bit roly we decided to move around to Fisherman's Beach which is the resort side of the island.  We kind of forgot that it was a Sunday but soon remembered as we were met by an army of people on this side of the island who had decided to come for a beach day out from Yeppoon.  Despite the chaos we also had a lovely day at the anchorage kind of just hanging out but did go ashore for a bit of a wander around the shops and ended up going to Island Pizza for a spot of dinner!  One thing we did notice as we were sunny ourselves on the back deck of Mustang Sally was the poor condition of our very well travelled Little Red Dolphin.  According to our log the Little Red Dolphin has now completed around 6000NM (or approximately 12,000KMs) and he still has quite a ways yet before we get him back to his home at Safety Beach however, I think we will be approaching the hierarchy at Safety Beach Sailing Club to see if we may be eligible for a new one before we start our next pacific adventure in 2013.  Don't worry we will be finding a good home for our well travelled friend.

Our Very Well travelled Little Red Dolphin
The weather was again looking good so up bright and early on the 14th and this time we are doing an overnight trip through to Urangan (Hervey Bay) which is about 170NM.  The trip started with good winds and in the right direction so we were able to sail for the best part of the day and evening but we ended up motor sailing for the second part of the trip as the winds lightened.  

I got some really exciting news today as Leapy Lynda and I have re-joined the Carlton Football Club which means, we will hopefully, get to a fair whack of at least their home games in 2012.  This isn't going to be anywhere near as easy as it was in 2010 when we were both living in Elwood as it looks like Leapy has moved to Brisbane for a while (she received the good news that she has a job at the University of Queensland starting tomorrow - the 16th) and we now live in Safety Beach however, I am sure with our determination and passion for the mighty blues we will find a way.  

Correct to plan we arrived at the Hervey Bay Boat Club Marina at around 9.00am and are looking forward to a quiet ale or two tonight on the balcony of the Boat Club Clubhouse

Monday, November 7, 2011

Southward Bound - Townsville to Brampton Island (3rd to 8th November)

After a leisurely week in Townsville (one of our favorite spots) the weather is shaping up for a Thursday departure (3rd November).  Despite the Qantas debacle Leapy got herself on a flight arriving on Wednesday arvo so all is well. 

We are all up bright and early on Thursday morning and leave the Townsville marina about 7.00am before the tide gets too low plus we are keen to get on our way south.  If all goes well the plan is to do an overnight sail and end up at Bait Reef, (~135NM) Friday morning for a bit of a snorkel on the outer reef. 
Feeding the Maori Wrasse at Bait Reef
The sail went very well with light east to north easterlies blowing for most of the trip and we were able to pick up a mooring at Bait Reef around 9.30am in the morning.  It is quite a bizarre sight seeing boats parked in, what would appear to be, the middle of the ocean.

We spent a lovely few hours at Bait Reef and did plenty of fish feeding of the back of the boat which included the usual bat fish but also a huge Maori Wrasse and some Dolphin Fish.  We also spent quite  bit of time in the water and did heaps of snorkelling on the coral in amazingly clear water.  No matter where else you go in the world for a snorkel the Great Barrier Reef is definitely amongst the best diving spots in the world.  As mentioned the water clarity was excellent and the coral and fishies we saw were excellent.  We even got to swim with a few turtles which is a first for me.

After an awesome morning at Bait Reef we are off to the Whitsunday's proper for the evening and are hoping to pull up a mooring at Blue Pearl Bay but by the time we arrived late in the afternoon they were all taken so we sail on for a bit longer and stay the night at Bali Hi which is so named as part of the film was shot here.  Up early on Saturday morning to Blue Pearl again in search for an empty mooring and this time we were in luck.  The snorkelling in Blue Pearl is still as good as last time and again we managed to find a tamish turtle to have a swim with.  Juddy and Andrew also decided that it would be worth taking to the water for a bit of a swim with Nemo!
Juddy and Andrew getting ready for a snorkel

Sunset from Bali Hi Island

A bit of R&R for the boys
As we are on a bit of a time frame to get the boat back to Brisbane we can't loiter too long so we head off to Cid Harbour for the night and head into the Hamilton Island Marina for a day of R&R on Sunday,  Hamilton Island never fails to disappoint and is a hive of  activity and there are always lots of fun things to do.  We spent a few hours lazing around the pool and then decided it was time to have the obligatory holiday cocktail before having a yummy meal and the Manta Ray Cafe.  After the busy day we were all pretty stuffed and struggling to keep awake however, Leapy and I were pretty keen to stay up until 11.00pm to watch Casey Stoner in the last of the MotoGP races for the season and we are very glad that we made the effort as it was an action packed race and to make it all the better Stoner pulled out an amazing victory - YAY.

Bye Bye to Leapy Lynda

Unfortunately Leapy had to cut her holiday a bit short.  For those that don't know she took a redundancy package about 1 year ago and has been travelling around to Costa Rica, Bali and Turkey for the best part of the year.  We were hoping that she would be able to do the trip all the way to Brissie with us but it looks like she might be in with a job at the University of Queensland so she figured it was best to get things sorted on the job front.  We were naturally very sad to see Leapy go as she it is always good fun to have her on board and Juddy just isn' the same without his good mate Andrew Walker.  Leapy arranged for a flight out of Hammo early arvo on Monday so we figured it was also a good time for us to start heading south again.  Unfortunately the winds are not all that favourable at the moment with light East to South Easterlies blowing (our course is pretty much SE) however, we did manage to make it down to Shaw Island for Monday evening and have just pulled into Brampton Island for the night.

 The forecast is looking a bit more promising with very light East to North Easterlies planned for Wednesday and Thursday and so hopefully the BOM has it all correct so that we can make some good mileage south over the next few days.