Capricorn Coast, 2017

Singita alone again

Date:Oct. 11, 2017, 10:26 a.m.

Time to leave and go back to Perth for Sonja and back to Singapore for work for me came around all to quickly. After a few days of busy activity installing a new solar panel on the dodger and various cleaning activities aboard, it was time to get up very early, 4.00am, and catch the morning coach to Brisbane for our respective flights to Perth and Singapore.
Singita will remain in Mooloolaba now until January, when our new sails will be ready for us. Our daughter Katrina and husband Aaron, will be visiting Perth from Melbourne in November, so we are both very much looking forward to some family time next month!

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Mooloolaba and Sails

Date:Oct. 9, 2017, 10:16 a.m.
Position:26 41.20 S, 153 7.64 E

We had been deciding (read procrastinating!) over replacing sails on Singita for the past 4-5 months, and we finally decided to bite the bullet, and we selected North Sails, from Brisbane, to supply the sails for us. Vaughan from North sails visited us on the Monday morning to measure up, deposit was paid, and we had finally committed! The sail material we selected was a relatively new technology, called Nordac 3DI. They certainly have had great reviews, the Volvo Ocean race series exclusively use this technology and it is well proven as an efficient, very resilient, long distance sail, with excellent shape holding ability, mildew and UV resistance. We hope this has been the right decision, time and distance will tell! Regardless, we are very excited about this latest performance upgrade for Singita!
Whilst in Mooloolaba, we again caught up with Scott and Milly on Pelican (Challenger 39) along with Brian and Carol on Escapade (Catalina 445). We had bumped into these guys several times over the last couple of months, starting in Bundaberg. Coincidently, we had also met Brian in 2016 whilst in the Canaipa passage, between the Gold Coast and Moreton Bay. Small world! Good times were had with catch ups over a BBQ, beers, wines and the occasional coffee. As all these guys have their boats at the Wynum Manly marina, we are sure to catch them again as we eventually make our way south.

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Inskip Point to Mooloolaba

Date:Oct. 5, 2017, 9:02 p.m.
Position:26 41.19 S, 153 7.65 E

After spending an uneventful night on the anchor, we awoke at 0500am and had a look outside to see how the weather looked, all good for the days crossing of the Wide Bay bar by the looks.
Even though we made haste to depart, there were approx. a dozen yachts ahead of us making the crossing, so we were last in the queue! We had contacted Tin Can Bay volunteer sea rescue yesterday, and by text message, they sent us the updated coordinates for the best route over the bar. The latest survey of the bar, again indicated that the sand bar had moved further north again, and that lowest astronomical tide, the minimum depth encountered was 3.7 meters. The crossing for us went well, we had departed approximately 1 hour before high tide and the swell was no more than 1/2 to 1 meter. The wind, from the south, was light at less than 10 knots. The minimum depth we saw was 5.3 meters.
For the first half of the day, we motor sailed into a light southerly breeze, that throughout the morning slowly beard around to the east, eventually giving a good angle to sail at. The engine was switched off at approximately 1.00pm and we had a pretty decent sail on towards Mooloolaba. Speed over the ground under sail during the afternoon was between 6 and 6 1/2 knots.
We arrived off Mooloolaba at approx. 3.30pm and furled away the sails for our entrance into the river.
There was an incoming tide that was moving relatively fast (spring tides at the moment) so it was without really trying that our entry speed into the river, quickly accelerated to over 7 knots. Best throttle back the engine! 6 knots is the speed limit here!
We made a dummy approach to the fairway where our berth was sited, and noted a fair cross current ripping across the marina with the incoming tide. So, a positive approach (read faster than normal!) was made and once inside the protection of the jetty arms, the current abated a little, allowing an uneventful entry into our pen. Nice work by the deck crew (Sonja) handling the lines.

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Tin Can Bay to Inskip Point

Date:Oct. 4, 2017, 7:34 a.m.
Position:25 48.80 S, 153 2.37 E
Track to here:Download

The solar panel and other accessories we ordered finally arrived, so as soon as we collected them, we departed the marina on a rising tide and made our way to Inskip Point, where we have anchored up for the night.
We are anchored alongside E Capoe (Stephen and Arnica) and Madiba (Roy and Trevor). Trevor, who we met last night aboard E Capoe, was a for check and trying Captain, for several different airlines and smaller charter operators, He had some interesting tales from his days of flying Joh Bjelke Petersen (former Queensland Premier), of corruption and various power plays.
Tin Can Bay had a nice feel to it, friendly marina staff and a nice little laid back holiday town. When entering the marina, keep a close eye out for the starboard channel markers, the last couple when inbound to the marina can be hard to see - we narrowly avoided driving ourselves onto the sand bar. Jon Sanders on Peri Benout was not so lucky, getting himself caught on a sand bar. The Marina manager Dave, said, yeah, Jon was not so good in confined spaces......
While we were there, we also saw another big yacht, after refuelling, make a speedy exit, only to drive themselves up on the sand bar outside the marina also. You need to make a pretty sharp right hand turn when leaving the marina, and follow the channel (with the starboard hand marks to port this time) past all the fishing trawlers and smaller boats on the pile moorings (which should be on your left!). The channel initially is quite narrow, and as we left, we made no such mistake as others before us have.....
Our plan is to stay here overnight and make the outbound crossing of the Wide Bay Bar in the morning at high tide and make for Mooloolaba.

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Figtree creek to Tin Can Bay

Date:Oct. 3, 2017, 6:17 a.m.
Position:25 54.41 S, 153 0.46 E
Track to here:Download

Departed Figtree creek for Tin Can Bay Marina at 0630hrs. High Tide this morning was 0700 hrs.
Arrived at Tin Can Bay marina at 0945hrs, took fuel on (250 litres) before taking berth C11.
More updates on this trip to follow.
Plan to be here until Thursday morning, where a crossing of the Wide Bay bar looks favourable. Mooloolaba is the next and final destination for this particular trip.

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South White Cliffs to Figtree Creek, near Garry's

Date:Oct. 1, 2017, 10:45 p.m.
Position:25 39.32 S, 152 58.50 E
Track to here:Download

Departed this morning at 0545 and arrived at Figtree creek at 0715 hrs. High tide this morning (2.4 mtrs) was at 0700 hours, and we enjoyed good tidal assistance for our transit over the shallows. Looks like rain is the order of the day, I was starting to get wet up there in the cockpit, so decided to stop for a while at Figtree creek, which is only approx. 200 mtrs south of the channel into Gary's anchorage.
The lowest water we encountered over the shallows was 3.1 meters, at our draft of 2 meters, we had 1.1 meter clearance at that point.
Stewart Island has several houses, comprising of freehold blocks, some of which are for sale. One particular block, with a shed/cabin, was for sale for $440,000 and has a 45 meter beach frontage and a total land area of 1.2 acres (5100 m2). Garry’s anchorage is on the south end of Stewart island.
Rain is a big factor here today, very bleak outlook - good for updating the Blog!

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Kingfisher resort to South White Cliffs

Date:Oct. 1, 2017, 6:37 a.m.
Track to here:Download

Waited for the incoming tide this afternoon to give us a push along to make for South White Cliffs, a lovely anchorage off to the side of the main channel. It affords great protection against todays reasonably strong south easterly wind, at times gusting to 25 knots.
This afternoons passage time for the 11 nautical miles was 1 hour and 50 minutes.
Anchored in the same area is the yacht we have seen at Lady Musgrave Island a couple of times, the one from New York - its name escapes me.....

Just north of our anchored position lies the wreck of the Ceratodus, at the mouth of Ceratodus Creek. During the 1940s the Ceratodus carried fine white sand from Deep Creek and Bun Bun Creek to Maryborough where it was used as an excellent moulding sand in iron casting. The Ceratodus once was a steel Dredge, (406 tons, Lbd 145 x 30.1 x 12.1 ft) that was built at Paisley, Scotland in 1898.. She saw her final days as a sand barge in the Great Sandy Straits.

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Bundaberg to Kingfisher resort

Date:Sept. 30, 2017, 12:58 a.m.
Track to here:Download

Today, we rose at 0500 hrs and noted that all the boats around us had taken off early. How very dare they! So, we had a quick breakfast, checked the forecast for the day and weighed anchor at 0545 hrs. The forecast for today was for W - NW winds at 10-15 knots, blue sky day. A good day ahead.
We set course from the Burnett river heads at 0600 hrs and hugged the coast, so we could have a look at the townships of Burnett heads and Bargara, the latter being a seaside tourist town, it looked very nice. It was a pretty windless start to the day, so motoring was the order of the day yet again. After an hour or so, we set the whisker pole out to port in anticipation of a NW wind. Eventually, the breeze came, but only briefly from the NW, then around to the NE, requiring the pole to be swapped over to the other side.
After carrying the head sail only, poled out for some time and motoring as well, the breeze went around to the east then south east, again, the pole came down and we started to sail on a close reach, maintaining the engine on and also making best use of the incoming tide to give us a decent push along. Most of the day, we maintained a good 6.5 - 7 knots over the ground.
Todays wildlife sightings were few, however, we saw a pair of Dugong and a large green turtle, who appeared unafraid and curious. We sailed in company with approx. 1/2 dozen yachts (we did not know anyone) and most of these anchored off the Kingfisher resort as well.
After anchoring in 7-10 meters of water, just outside the resort, we launched the tender and made our way to explore a little and enjoy a celebratory drink at the Sand Bar, as today is our 28th Wedding anniversary. A toast to another 28 years was made. The Grand Final was also on the TV, Richmond Tigers and Port Adelaide, with the Tigers taking the trophy for the first time in some 35 odd years. There will be plenty of celebrating tigers fans tonight!
The large hills next to the resort, gave plenty of shelter against the reasonably strong SE wind, and with the wind easing off throughout the night, we were very comfortable.

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Pancake Creek to Bundaberg

Date:Sept. 29, 2017, 8:14 a.m.
Position:24 45.50 S, 152 23.05 E

We woke at approx. 0500 and got up to check the mornings forecast, it turned out to be slightly better than the forecast from last night. Forecast winds 15-20 knots from the NW and later in the day, 20-25 knots.
Made up our mind to leave Pancake Creek and make south for Bundaberg. After pulling anchor at 0540 hrs, we motored out of the creek and into a bit of chop and swell, kicked up by the northerly swell and an outgoing tide. Singita’s bow buried into the sea occasionally before we turned east to round Bustard Head.
After clearing the inner rocks, we set course to pass by close to Round Hill Head, near the town of 1770. So far, as of 0745 hrs, we only have approx. 10-12 knots true from the NNW, not yet quite enough to sail with, as we are running downwind. The apparent wind is 5-7 knots. Our ground speed is 6.7 knots under engine, getting a little assistance with the outgoing tide from Gladstone.
0830 hrs. Set Genoa out on the pole, port side. Set reefed main to starboard, boom protected with a rigged preventer forward and back to the cockpit. Still motoring for a little while, making 7 knots over the ground, course over ground 146 degrees magnetic.
0900 hrs, engine off. Making 6.6 knots over the ground. True wind 15-20 knots from the NNW. Ran the water maker and towing the Duogen for power generation.
Heard a radio call on 16 VHF regarding a vessel that was in distress earlier, called the Jenny Ray - no other information. 0936 hrs, a large green turtle has just surfaced alongside us, as we glided by silently under sail. He raised his head out of the water for a look at us, not shocked or frightened by the look of him, just curious.
Good sailing for the rest of the day, running downwind with up to 20-25 knots true from the NW. We arrived at Bundaberg at 1530 hrs and anchored on the northern side of the river, opposite the port marina.

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Gladstone to Pancake Creek

Date:Sept. 27, 2017, 8:24 a.m.
Position:24 1.98 S, 151 44.50 E

After staying over an extra day (its now Wednesday) we have decided to move on to Pancake Creek. Roger and Julie on Clawdette have to wait for another day, as they are expecting mail to be forwarded on to them.

We left the Marina at about 0600 hrs and had a pleasant run out of the shipping channel, with out any shipping interactions of note. The tide was with us, neaps at the moment, so not a massive gain in speed, but at least it was not against us!

We arrived at Pancake Creek at around 1130hrs, and found our friends Bruce and Linda there on 3rd Wish and we had a quite sundowner or two aboard with them in the late afternoon.
Thursday was spent hunting for yabbies, for a spot of hopeful fishing! Roger and Julie spent the afternoon with us chatting and generally just hanging out. Later in the evening, after looking at the oncoming weather, we decided to make our move southwards in the morning. Goodbye Pancake Creek, you are a lovely spot, one of our favourites.

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Lady Musgrave Island to Gladstone

Date:Sept. 23, 2017, 8:18 a.m.
Track to here:Download

Well, after a very short visit to Lady Musgrave, the weather dictates that we must move on out of the Cay. Northerlies of 15-20 knots are on there way, and the consensus is that we move to Gladstone. While there we will do a little provisioning as well as a bit of rest and recovery for myself - the dreaded man flu has me in its grip!
There was a NW breeze, which had us motor sailing into, hard on the breeze. No mainsail today, as we still have not patched the small tear in the main - a job for sheltered conditions (perhaps in Gladstone marina).
Still seeing a few Humpbacks along the way, getting late in the season, so we feel lucky.
On the way into the shipping channel, we announced our intentions on VHF 13 and were just advised to maintain a lookout for shipping, remain clear and keep a listening watch on channel 13.
On Sunday, we checked into the office to pay our fees, a very reasonable $38 per night. We checked in until Tuesday. The marina staff were very friendly, Greg and Katie - both lovely people, and they were keen for a Singita tour and enjoyed themselves very much.
The marina puts on a bus service, Monday to Friday, 10am departure, dropped off in town and picked us back up at 130pm. So, provisioning done, and then time for a few chores.

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The Humpback Whales of Hervey Bay

Date:Aug. 9, 2017, 11:46 a.m.
Position:24 54.81 S, 153 12.68 E

Whale spotting, updates soon

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Bundaberg to Platypus Bay, Fraser Island

Date:Aug. 8, 2017, 11:43 a.m.
Position:25 7.85 S, 153 6.13 E

Whale spotting with Roger and Julie on Clawdette. Updates soon. Arch cliffs was our first anchorage. Departed 0750 from Bundaberg, HMAS Tobruk was in port.

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Pancake Creek to Bundaberg

Date:Aug. 7, 2017, 11:40 a.m.
Position:24 46.42 S, 152 22.92 E

Updates coming soon - this stop was a quick layover before heading over to Platypus bay, Fraser Island for Whale spotting.

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Lady Musgrave Island to Pancake Creek

Date:Aug. 2, 2017, 11:32 a.m.
Position:24 0.73 S, 151 44.23 E

Updates coming soon

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Bundaberg to Lady Musgrave Island

Date:July 27, 2017, 10:02 p.m.
Position:23 54.00 S, 152 24.50 E

Both myself and Sonja this time flew over to Bundaberg from Perth, to finish the anti fouling and get Singita back in the water for some cruising. A further 4 days were required to get the paint done and after launching, another two days of checking all systems over to ensure all was operational. Toilets turned into a major issue, with the forward head completely unserviceable and the aft head required converting back to a manual head to get it working.
It was a relief when we moved out of the marina and anchored just around the corner, in preparation for an early departure to Lady Musgrave Island as the weather looked perfect for our first visit to this coral cay.
At midnight, we both awoke to a calm but dark night, the moon having set earlier. We motored out of the Burnett River at 1am and set a northerly course for LMI, dressed warmly for our watches as it was a little chilly outside. There was no breeze to speak of, so the Volvo diesel again propelled us onwards, to this sub tropical cay we had heard so much of.
The journey to LMI was memorable for its incredibly calm sea, amazingly clear and bright milky way, passing a large sleeping Humpback whale within 20 meters just after first light and the spectacular view of the island in the middle of the ocean with blue skies abound.
Just before we entered the lagoon, we were hailed via radio, by an Australian customs border patrol vessel. They were collecting information from visiting vessels, vessel name, registration and home port details etc. followed up by a question, ‘Have you noticed any unusual or suspicious activity on your trip from Bundaberg?’. No, we had not…
The Cay itself is entered via a narrow channel in the reef, reputedly blasted out of the reef with explosives in the 1950’s. It is hard to imagine this happening and of course, would never have been allowed in this day and age of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef.
This magnificent uninhabited island is a coral cay on the southern Great Barrier Reef.
It's huge lagoon is 8 km in circumference and has crystal clear water with beautifully coloured coral and filled with an abundance of wildlife including turtles, manta rays, clownfish, moray eels and reef sharks. We met our friends Roger and Julie here on their cat Clawdette followed by Bruce and Linda on Third Wish a couple of days later. we also met Geoff and Gail from the catamaran ‘Dalliance’ from Sydney, a couple Bruce and linda had befriended at the Boat Works on their way north.

Together we explored both the lagoon and island, snorkelling amongst the coral Bommies surrounded by colourful fish and finishing the day watching the sun set off the back of one of our boats with a drink or two in hand. The island can be walked around in about 40 minutes. With a permit you can camp on the island which provides basic facilities. The central forest is made up with Pisonia trees, Sheoak and Pandanus trees with Buff Banded Rails scurrying at their bases.

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Bundaberg Hard stand, 2017

Date:June 27, 2017, 10:06 p.m.
Position:24 45.48 S, 152 23.70 E

After 7 months on the hard stand, (yes, I know, a long gap between the previous blog!), I travelled over to Bundaberg following Jackson’s funeral in Canberra, to have Singita lifted over to the works area for the usual preparations for having her put back in the water. This ended up taking longer than anticipated as the anti foul paint we had applied a year earlier at the Boat Works (Gold Coast) had to be redone - 7 months out of the water, the paint had dried out and had started to flake off….
After 7 days of sanding the old anti foul paint off, priming the hull and replacing several through hull fittings and valves, time ran out as I had to go off to work again. Singita would again remain on the hard stand for another month.

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