Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gladstone to Mooloolaba…
Monday Dec.3rd we woke to a beautiful morning in Graham Creek, birdsongs and blue skies….Drinking my first cup of mango tea of the day I saw about a half dozen Dolphins doing what they always do; eating fish and playing around…This group had a couple very young ones, ( just babies) swimming right next to mom. That’s a nice way to start the day!!!
After we had breakfast and enjoyed the Dolphin show the tide began to ebb so we weighed anchor and went downstream with the tidal flow…An hour or two later we called into Gladstone Harbor Control to notify them of Areté entering their piloting area. A huge coal carrying cargo ship had run aground two days before in that storm. We’d heard them on the radio giving “a notice to all mariners” requiring all vessels to check in with harbor control before entering their area…Tying off in Gladstone Marina was a dream as we were given the end of the finger so it was easy even with the 20 knots of
Southeasterly breeze on the nose…Walking to the marina office I saw Peter and Ruth of “As If”, our neighbors at the Mackay Marina. That evening we all went out for dinner at the Port Curtis Sailing Club. I wore long pants and shoes, for first time in a long long time…
We enjoyed two productive days in Gladstone Marina, the cheapest on the East Coast at $20.00 a night…I changed the oil in the outboards, bought some fishing tackle at “Tackle World” and Hiroko enjoyed a couple days in town, shopping and doing stuff like that…
Wednesday Dec. 5th we had North by Northeast winds 10~15 knots with afternoon sea breezes so we headed out with the tide and sailed in light winds to Pancake Creek 36 miles south. Buddy sailing with “As if” we were able to take photos of each others yachts at full sail, something I’ve wanted to do since I painted, re-lettered, and added the black pirate headsail. A near perfect day on the water, I’d of liked a bit more wind but ya can’t have it all…I caught another shark and was trying to get my lure back when he went nuts and broke the wire leader and swam away with my $20. hard bodied Halco lure…
Thursday Dec. 6th we were up at 4:30am and had the anchor up and away by 5:00am with seven yachts headed out of Pancake Creek, another great day sailing, light winds so we needed to run the motors off and on as it’s 65 miles to Bundaberg and I needed to get there before they closed to get the propane tank filled, or no cooking…Trolling an assortment of lures at different speeds I went fishless again, but I guess that’s why it’s called fishing not catching, isn’t it? Again we had dolphins visiting us a few times during the 12 hours it took to reach the port of Bundaberg in the Burnett River…We spent the next day on anchor we needed a few things and I wanted to get the navigational system working again on the computer. I spent most of the day loading and re-loading “Captain” and “Max Sea 7” but it was unsuccessful…O~well we can do without for a while, I guess…
Friday Dec 8th Areté sailed across Hervey Bay and anchored up near Rooney’s Point again I trailed different lures at a variety of speeds but no fish, one huge strike but he was off as fast as he was on….52 nautical miles and another fine day on the water. That night Hiroko made a Japanese dinner and Peter and Ruth joined us, too bad the wind died down right at sunset allowing the bugs to attack, we ate dinner with a couple candles and two mosquito coils burning in near darkness…Good fun though, not much you can do about nature sometimes…the following morning the ocean was flat and glassy as it is when there is no wind at all so we motored along Frazer Island and bang…fish on !!!
This was the first fish I’ve caught when motoring so it was a lot different that trying to bring them in at 6 knots...Hiroko dropped the speed to idle and I landed my first Spanish Mackerel; it was a beauty too at 128cm long ( 4 feet 4 inches in the USA)…( see photo to right )
About noon the sea breeze came up and up went the sails…This being a Sunday afternoon in Hervey Bay there were lots of boats on the water, as it should be, you don’t get days much nicer than that one…Hervey Bay and the Great Sandy Straights are known for sandbars and Pete found one but was able to back up and get right off using his two powerful diesel motors. That’s the exact reason I wanted that navigation software working on the computer…We did make it to the anchorage in front of the Kingfisher Resort 35 miles for the day and we had fresh fish for dinner on “As if”…I gave away lots of fish as we had way more than we could eat and “Saba” ( mackerel in Japanese is good eating!)..
Monday Dec.10th at 6:30am saw us waving farwell and happy holidays to Peter and Ruth as they will spend Christmas and New Years in Hervey Bay and we motor~sailed south through “The Great Sandy Straights” within 30 minutes we were in 2.5 feet of water and looking for the channel…I let a few of my favorite vocabulary words go and eventually we got back in the channel and deeper water…We’d timed it to go up on the flooding tide and through the really shallow parts at high water and then use the ebbing tide to push us through…It worked just like I’d planned and that’s always a nice feeling…We needed fuel, as the following day was the Wide Bay Bar and the long haul to Mooloolaba 65+ miles. The only place to get fuel is Tin Can Bay and that’s also really shallow at low tide so we picked our way up there and as it was just about dry in places we were able to buy some really expensive fuel,…what can ya do when that’s the only place to buy fuel…I paid $108.00 for three 5 gallon jerry cans of fuel at the fuel dock!!!
"glad I don’t own a stink boat"!!!
Tuesday Dec.11th This is the day I’ve been thinking about for weeks, it’s the day to cross the Wide Bay Bar and then around Double Island Point and on down to Mooloolaba…( See Wide Bay Bar photo to right )
The weather forecast said a Southeasterly change will come through on Wednesday at 20 knots so getting to Mooloolaba will be huge!..Of course I didn’t sleep at all the night before as I just can’t stop thinking about everything and playing the different scenarios in my mind…That night the wind was blowing hard and about midnight a thunderstorm brought some great lightning and an hour of rain but after that the winds were calm and this helped to ease my mind knowing that the swell would be a little lighter in the morning crossing “The Bar!”…At 4:40am I couldn’t take it any longer and got up to go over the sail plans for the day…
We were the third catamaran to cross the Wide Bay Bar that morning with a fancy Schionning Catamaran following us through...The bar was kind and gentle that morning, but it’s always a thrill…We went wide around Wolf Rock and Double Island Point setting a course South by Southeast for Mooloolaba…Full sail in light winds at about 5.5 knots of boat speed…Hiroko got out her sheet music and was singing the jazz classics she loves so much, soon a group of Dolphins came to play in Areté’s bow wake…They just love to show off and I would too if I could swim like that! They did spins, jumps and twirls. ..they stalled and let their back fin rest aginst the hulls of Areté then pushed off and raced ahead with bursts of speed you couldn’t imagine…It was the longest show we’ve had on the entire voyage and they were talking to each other too…Of course I was talking to them as I always do…Nice to have friends like that visit once in a while…Later Hiroko was going over the many photos she took most of them just after they went back underwater…She thought maybe her singing attracted them? Not sure but I asked her to keep on singing…I’m glad they aren’t fooled by my trolling lures as it would crush me to catch one of them but they are really smart and they know what’s real fish and what’s a lure…good on ‘em…
Mooloolaba is perfect for a cruising yachtie, it’s got everything ya need or want within walking distance. We are hoping this Southeasterly breeze comes a around to the East or NE and then it’s back to Bris~Vegas.

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