Taking a breather in Bunderberg

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June 8th 2013
Published: June 9th 2013
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In the Sandy StraitsIn the Sandy StraitsIn the Sandy Straits

Naomi adjusting the main sheet
Up early Fridayand we were underway just before 7am. Headed north out of the Sandy Straits between Little and Big Woody Islands. History and lighthouse buffs may be interested to know Big Woody Island has Queensland's 2nd oldest lighthouse on it, but its no longer in use.

Got the sails up and with 15 knots of wind behind were doing a reasonable speed of around 5 knots. This was perfect sailing - small waves, clear skies under full sail. Unfortunately the bureau's prediction of 10-15 knots did not maintain itself and by around 11 am when we were now into Harvey Bay it has dropped to about 8 knots and progress was slow.

Another yacht caught us up, didn't know how he had done it under just the front sail until he was close enough that we could hear the put-put of his engine. He looked like your classic sailor, mid 60's with a bushy beard.... was only missing the pipe. He came really close by as he overtook us, stepped up to his deck near us and called out " So much for the bureau's weather forecast!"

Soon after the wind was dropping to only 6 knots at times, and with distant Bunderberg
Calm sailing in Hervey BayCalm sailing in Hervey BayCalm sailing in Hervey Bay

Naomi and Alex up front watching a passing tinnie
the nearest port we put on the engine. Not long before we overtook the old timer.

Pretty calm water but as we got further out of the shelter of Fraser Island the swell increased, only up to about 1m but it was at angle that made the boat get intermittently quite rolly.

Eventually land came closer again and we entered the markers for the shipping channel and into the Burnett River. The swell was bigger now and was worse than when we came over Wide Bay Bar!

Came to the marina about 1 mile up the river, headed to the fuel jetty but when we couldn't see the pump headed to our berth. Being built on the indent of a river I was worried about the current as it would be pushing me into the jetty which can make steering hard at low speed. As we came close the guy off the boat next to us came to catch a rope. As he took our bow line he told Naomi we had done better than the last boat which had crashed into his boat. By this time the back of the boat which was still hanging out of the pen was getting washed sideways onto the pylon about to strike our side. Got Naomi to push us off as I reversed out and tried again with success.

Went to check in the boat at the marina office but she asked that we do it tomorrow as she was about to close. We asked about the courtesy bus the marina run to Bunderberg town (about 20 kms away) and she informed us "well being that its saturday tomorrow obviously there's no courtesy bus".... obviously (!?).

This marina can catch a little swell too I think, as I went to bed I could see all the masts swinging to and fro against the backdrop of the stars, and the ropes and jetties creaking. More movement here at the marina than the last week of anchoring!

Naomi was keen to have a rest Saturday so we booked in for 2 nights. The public bus schedule for Bundy wasn't convenient but heard there was a courtesy bus for the IGA at the nearby Burnett Heads shopping centre. So after doing some washing and collecting some fuel in jerry cans we went to Burnett heads. The "shopping centre" was a little smaller than expected, in fact smaller than any suburb
Bunderberg MarinaBunderberg MarinaBunderberg Marina

at Burnett Heads
shopping centres you'll find in the Gold Coast. There was the IGA and about 4 other shops and a bottle shop and take away across the road.

Took a stroll down to the park and saw the old lighthouse, played at a playground with Alex and onto look at the new lighthouse down on the rocky beach. A stark comparison in styles. Then followed the beach to another playground and back round to the shops. After some good snapper and chips, we did our shopping and back to the marina.

Collected more fuel and got the boat ready for our long journey the next day. Met another couple heading north and the male half had a little rant about how inaccurate the BOM are nowadays, often overestimating the weather which will put yachties off. They were waiting to go to Lady Musgrave but unlike us hadn't given up hope yet. You need clear skies to enter the anchorage amongst the coral heads. A little nervous about the strong winds predicted for tomorrows trip - hoping its another overestimation.

He also told us anchoring outside 1770 in the bay would be OK if the tide wasn't right to come in the sheltered channel.

Had our
The old South Burnett Head lighthouseThe old South Burnett Head lighthouseThe old South Burnett Head lighthouse

Naomi does some exercise
last shower for a while.... that's 3 in 3 days I've had!

Up properly early Sunday and left before dawn just as the sky became light. Headed out through the swell in the channel and turned north for what became a mostly very uncomfortable day slopping around. We couldn't head exactly the direction we wanted as the wind was directly behind us and the wind wasn't strong enough to keep the sails up as we rolled over the waves & swell. So we had to jibe up the coast which of course made the journey longer but we were still rolling, and the sails collapsing occasionally.

There were times when the wind increased especially in the afternoon which made it more comfortable but Naomi and Alex suffered sea-sickness. It is hard work having Alex on board for long sails, he has to be in his secure chair and needs to be entertained or he whinges, which Naomi finds hard if she is feeling queasy herself.

We put him downstairs in front of the TV and I gave a bottle hoping he might fall asleep. Turned round when I heard a big splosh to find Alex had vomited over himself and the cabin floor! So put him back in the cockpit, I cleaned up and pretty soon he was asleep. So we discovered despite what some may say, kids his age can get sea-sick.

With progress being slow we wouldn't make it to Pancake Ck and so came around Round Head at 1770 and anchored in the bay. The VMR lady on the radio said it should be OK. We tucked ourselves behind the headland as much as depth would allow but there was a swell still coming round. With us hanging off the anchor, and the swell hitting from our side we have had a very rolley night, with Alex waking up frequently. Not the rest we wanted after 11 and half hours uncomfortable sailing. Went to bed soon after Alex. The rolling improved overnight as the tide changed and we swung more inline with the swell but this morning its bad again.

We will head to the flat waters of Pancake Creek today and not sure if I'll have internet connection for the next few days. Luke

Additional photos below
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So this is where they keep beakons

10th June 2013

old codger with beard
becarefull lukie, that old bu..er could be king neptune treat him with respect xxxginny
10th June 2013

i keep forgetting to ask you , have you seen the ad on tv about a credit card,... showing a little boy in a pirate outfit with bandino and sword,patch on eye, when a old man in his 80yrs arrived in the shop with an eye patch, the little boy draws his sword and approaches the man, his mum drags him away, he looks like Alexander, I wish his pirate outfit would fit him,I could alter it for you if I was near, keep well and warm, weather is foul here lots of love Ginny xxx

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