Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Getting North: Part 1

We left Bundaberg early in the morning just before the sun rose. It's really such a beautiful time of day!
There is a channel heading into Bundaberg and as we left before the sun came up the channel was lit up like an an airplane runway. We were headed for Pancake Creek with a strong wind warning blowing us along. We had a gorgeous day sailing, averaging about 7.5 knots. Just outside of Pancake there are a series of rock puddles that are not marked. The intention is to go between two of them, which was a bit disconcerting. We did spot them right before we passed them though and we had plenty of space. The rest of the entrance into Pancake Creek is well marked but was a bit hairy. We anchored just as the sun went down. When we woke up the next morning, we were in for an awesome surprise. We could see the bottom and the water was so crystal clear we were able to follow our anchor chain back to the anchor. After the Brisbane River, Mooloolaba, the Sandy Straights, the Burnett River, all murky and gross.... this was amazing! We had made it! We spent a couple of days here before heading on.
Can you find the anchor?

On September 6th, 2014 we officially entered the tropics by crossing the Tropic of Capricorn. A pod of dolphins joined us in celebrating by swimming, diving and splashing all around the boat. Definitely a most memorable experience!
That night we anchored behind Cape Capricorn which was remarkably uncomfortable and rolly. After our last unpleasant night, we are that much smarter and so at 2:30 am after not much sleep we decided to up anchor and move on. Now we have never sailed overnight before so this was still a novelty. We set up a nest in the cockpit with blankets and pillows and dozed until the sun came up. We set an alarm and every 15 minutes one of us popped our head up to check out the perimeter. By leaving earlier we were able to eliminate an entire day of sailing and made it to Port Clinton.
2:30am and ready to go!
Now Port Clinton marks the start of the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Facility. It is this amazingly beautiful and ginormous reserve.

Sometimes the area is shut for training and even when it is open it is still not permitted to go above the high water mark as there is possible unexploded ordinance around. We were lucky to be there around a full moon so had lots of extra beach to play with because of the extreme tides.
It's pretty thick brush though and so not very inviting! While we were at Port Clinton, we were able to to isolate our electrical leak. We didn't fix it but we at least know where it's coming from. I should also mention that we were boarded by the Water Police here. This was a shock to us as we had *JUST* been boarded for sewage and safety checks in Bundaberg. Most people we tell this to are shocked as they have been cruising much, much longer than we have and have never been boarded. And no... it's not us. Every boat in the anchorage was boarded. From Port Clinton, we headed up to Pearl Bay.
Rainbow after the storm


  1. We're enjoying your stories........ happy the seas are being kinder to you.
    The Wisconsinites

  2. Why the police boarding?

    1. They boarded everyone in the anchorage to check for compliance with safety and sewerage laws. We are required to have life jackets for everyone on board, fire extinguishers and in-date flares. There are more requirements this is just what they checks. It is also illegal to discharge sewerage overboard within 3 nm (nautical miles) of shore, so they were checking to make sure everyone was doing the right thing. We baffled them with our composting toilet though. They couldn't understand where the hoses ran (we have no hoses)!