Monday, 5 August 2013

The Sandy Straights and Running Aground....

My apologies to everyone for my tardiness on providing updates on our recent progress..

So the crew left Mooloolaba very early Thursday morning with a steady wind and swell wasn't a perfect forecast for the 'mad mile run' but the crew all agreed that the pod could handle those conditions without a problem. 
In actual fact there was very little concern until one of the boats about an hour ahead of the Pod reported that they had been knocked down by two rogue waves on way point 2 - the poor fellow was very distraught when reporting into the VMR.  This particular boat reported they would need to spend the next few hours mopping up water and putting their boat back in order. 
The VMR did report that the second way point should be taken about 50 meters to the North of the marker as the bar had moved around a bit further since it was put down - unfortunately this boat may have taken the waypoint a bit to finely as there was significant swell and waves breaking on both sides of the Pod when we entered.  The crew even took the precaution of putting in the storm boards and of course all the crew (including Miss Charlotte) put on our life jackets just in case.  We navigated the bar without mishap and the Pod handled the confused seas like the gem that she is.

The crew studying the 'cruising bible' for the best anchorages after the Mad Mile 
Note the life jacket

The crew then spent the next few nights at an anchorage called Pelican Bay - I particularly like this anchorage as the water is clean with a nice sand spit for exploring and there is many boats coming and going to peruse from the cockpit. 

Charlotte attracts attention at Pelican Bay on the Stand Up Paddle Board
(as she does at the Lake) - the crew are never allowed to leave without her aboard.
Due to the high tide times (early morning and latish afternoons) we decided on the spare of the moment to proceed down the straights (this is behind Fraser Island) late one afternoon headed for a very popular anchorage known as Gary's Anchorage.  We had planned only to stay the one night before continuing the journey through the straights, but a very slow moving morning fog prevented us from leaving for two days.  Gary's anchorage is very well known for the Mud Crabs that can be caught but alas we didn't have mud crab for dinner that night - however we did enjoy the two nights free of midggies (the other thing this anchorage is well known for!)
So this is when it got interesting - due to the fog in the morning the crew decided to run the gauntlet on the afternoon high tide.  In order to get to the next anchorage (White cliffs) before dark we would need to leave Gary's about an hour after the turn from low tide (tides run roughly in 1 x 12th in first hour, 2 x 12th second hour, 3 x 12th 3rd hour and then it reverses itself for the 4 to the 6th hour to give you some idea)
All was going well until faced with a buoy that is a bit odd on the GPS and due to the water clarity not possible to visually confirm - so we ran aground.  The Pod was very high and dry on a -.7 feet reading on the depth sounder.  The crew put the anchor out to prevent the Pod from coming adrift onto the buoy as the tide rose, but it didn't take long before we were afloat again (about 45 minutes) - the problem however was it was now very, very dark and finding your way through the sandy straights in the dark is...well interesting to say the least!  Eventually the Pod found the anchorage but we decided to stay out wide as judging the lights on other boats at night is actually quite difficult.

The crew running aground - only kidding I will explain this later!
The next day the crew sailed out to Platypus Bay.  Now this is what I signed up for - a very long stretch of sandy beach, crystal clear water and a turtle or two to keep us entertained. On the second afternoon, the crew decided to meander down the beach a bit further to find an anchorage called lagoon anchorage.  After a little while - the captain says...
Captain: That mast you can see down about 1/2 a mile must be a boat in the lagoon. 
Me: Mmmmm...looks more like a small catamaran pulled up on the beach to me
Captain: No cant be - it has two spreaders - it must be a bigger boat
Out come the binoculars - imagine our surprise when we realise the boat in the picture above and below was very, very high and dry on this magical expanse of sand.  I have googled the yachts name to find out the story behind the grounding but have yet to find anything.  The boat appears to be approximately 35 foot long, a centre cockpit ferro yacht(cement for those not sure what that means).  It is actually really eerie as there is still a main sail attached, a furler for the headsail and when you look inside there is buckets and life jackets just sitting on the sand inside!

This was certainly a different way to spend our last afternoon in Harvey Bay before heading over to the Port of Bundaberg.  The crew headed off mid morning with a heavy weather forecast of 30 knots plus in the next 24 hours - we needed to provision and refuel so Bundaberg was the preferred port of call.
Bundaberg - is quite interesting both for the setup of the marina and for the history relating to the flooding experienced twice in the last 2.5 years.
The marina itself is quite a long way from the town of Bundaberg so we hired a car to do the provisioning (and the captain had sprained his wrist so a quick visit to the hospital for a check up were on the cards as well) but also enjoyed a delightful meal at the dog friendly cafĂ©/restaurant located in the marina building.  It was very interesting to talk to the shipwright and other locals regarding the damage the floods have caused - in the hardstand area, we noticed that there was heaps of boats just sitting there not being worked on.  Upon investigation, the vast majority of the boats are sitting there severely damaged after the floods - they are divided into two groups - those insured and those not insured and most are up for sale.  Certainly if you are after a cheap boat to rebuild this is where you should head!
After a few days at Bundaberg waiting for the front to go through (and again enjoying a sunset with the crew from Allusive) we headed off to Pancake Creek....but you will have to wait for that instalment till tomorrow



  1. Great to read your blogs again Nic. Very familiar experiences to our trip. Enjoy!

  2. Hi Nic. Your Blog just keeps getting better, would love to know the story behind the Yacht you found aground, very mysterious. Sounds like Pete ,you and Charlotte are having the adventure of a lifetime, I do envy you. Keep the updates coming can't wait for the next chapter.Tony H xx

  3. Hello there! Very jealous of your fabulous adventures!