Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Sandy Straights to Bundaberg... the long way!

We spent one gorgeously calm night at Whitecliffs on Fraser Island and were up early to head to Kingfisher Bay Resort. We weren't really looking for or needing a break but we were both looking forward to a swim, a real shower and refilling our water jugs. When we got there it was pretty miserable and rainy so we thought we would go ashore the following day. Well... we had an absolutely miserable night with the boat pitching violently forward and backwards. When we "woke up" the next morning after not really sleeping much, we decided to forgo the swim and get on with our lives. As we were leaving we saw some more dolphins and had our first whale sighting! It was nothing showy, just a little wave but enough to keep me looking out for more. Later in the day we also saw another whale surface and blow. We had a miserable and frustrating day sailing as the predicted Southeasterly winds changed halfway through the day to northerlies with a strong wind warning. This also meant that the protected anchorage we were heading for was no longer. Now this is where hindsight is a great thing... unfortunately we didn't have any at this point! You know that sentence I wrote above about having a rough night? "We had an absolutely miserable night with the boat pitching violently forward and backwards." That's the one! I take it back! We really had no idea what absolute misery was like until this night. We had the most miserable night with the boat rolling violently from side to side. It was kind of like trying to sleep in a roller coaster that wouldn't stop. I tried to sleep on the floor at the bottom of the companionway but it didn't help much. We spent most of the night searching for all of the random noises that seemed to constantly come forth from the depths of the boat. Whenever we silenced one noise, another would start. Prior to this experience, I had heard of rolly anchorages but it had never occurred to me that it could cause such unimaginable discomfort.
Autumn colours (in Spring) at Kingfisher Bay
The one awesome thing was that we were now far enough away from civilization that we could no longer see the far off glow from city lights. With the exception of the nearby lighthouse and because of the cloud cover, we were in complete blackness for the first time. 

Because the wind had changed from the forecast, our northwards route through Lady Musgrave and Lady Elliot Islands was now out of the question so we decided to head west to Bundaberg. Another miserable day and running short on sleep we were wondering when it would end. We were going into 25 knot winds, steep seas, rough, miserable, rainy and stormy. (I know it can get worse than that but we are sailing babes and need to work up to it!) Waves breaking over us and the constant up and down of the sails was. not. fun. When we straggled into Burnett Heads later that evening we were exhausted. One last hurdle, just as I went to put the anchor down, I realised that with the spinnaker up (we hadn't put it away from the day before), we were unable to put the anchor down. We were finally anchored and walking around like zombies below when we got a phone call that our anchor was dragging. We didn't question the source and leaped up on deck. Thankfully we were not dragging, just doing a funny dance with the tide around the anchor. We pulled the anchor up anyway and moved a bit up river to give ourselves a bit more room and promptly hit the sack. I had the revelation that I may just be a fair weathered sailor!
Calm on the Burnett River

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