Flat out at Pancake Creek and onto the tropics

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June 13th 2013
Published: June 13th 2013
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After our uncomfortable night near 1770 I had to wrap up the last blog quickly as Naomi got desperate to get off the boat. Climbed into the dingy with difficulty as it rose and dropped with the swell and headed to the sand banks to look for a way through to the sheltered channel next to 1770.

As we got closer it occurred to us that there may be no way through as the swell seemed to be breaking right across our way. Headed toward the beach as I thought I saw a gap. As small steep waves were mounting behind, Naomi suggested it might not be safe to go further but a few moments later it became clear we had come through he breakers already.... phew !

Motored over to a beach and just as I had wanted found the spot marked where Cook landed within 30 metres. The birthplace of Queensland.

Strolled south to the tiny marina and got a sausage roll, via a playground. There was a model boat there on springs that would rock... strangely Alex loved it, thought he would be sick of the rocking motion by now.

Headed north to Monument Head where there was another monument to Cook. Then headed back to the dingy and onto the boat before the tide dropped further and our pass through the breakers disappeared. I really liked 1770, a quiet place with small protected beaches, also surf beaches, good weather and some palm trees hinting at its tropical location.

Anchor up as soon as possible and headed north. Another rolley passage but only 3 hours before we came around Bustard Headland and its lighthouse and the next headland and into Pancake Creek. Tide was just on low and as the entrance to the better anchorage is shallow we stayed in the outer anchorage, which in contrast, was flat as a pancake, but still a little rocky at high tide when the protecting sand spit was covered.

Enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the water.

Tuesday was a mostly sunny and we took the dingy up the creek and then up Chinaman Creek. Did have some showers on the way but enjoyed exploring the creek right up to a dead-end where we could take the dingy no further.

After lunch and dragging the dingy over the mud to the beach as the tide was low, we took the path for the 2.6 km walk to Bustard Head Lighthouse - the oldest in Queensland!

A nice walk and passed Aircraft Beach viewpoint and could see some more yachts heading around the headlands to Pancake Creek. Got the climb the lighthouse to see the awesome views of the coast down to 1770, and Pancake and Jenny Lind Creeks. There was an old couple staying at the lighthouse who showed us around... apparently they have spent a month each year for the last 3 years doing this for visitors.

Wednesday was another early start with undecided plans. If the weather forecast was correct it could make finding a good anchorage difficult unless we were able to get all the way to the Keppel Islands.... it was not and we did anyway.

It was a day of all weathers, but not much in the way of wind. Headed out the entrance of Pancake Creek at 6:30 am with the main sail already up, only to put it down again when we realised there was still no wind out in the open sea.

We motored all day, mostly with the main
Entering the tropics !Entering the tropics !Entering the tropics !

passing Cape Capricorn
sail up to make it less rolley, and soon were passing the many waiting tankers outside Gladstone. It was warmer than usual but did get hit by some rain. As we huddled out of the rain under the dodger, Naomi praised our autopilot for allowing us to stay dry.

By midday we were passing Cape Capricorn marking our entrance into the tropics!

An hour or so later with the wind still coming from the south east we came around the top of Hummocky Island to see if we could stay here the night. However we could see from the swell entering the small rock lined bay that we would be very uncomfortable, so turned around and headed northwest again.

The afternoon was beautifully sunny and warm... T shirt weather for the first time as we got closer to Great Keppel Island, which is where we anchored at around 4:30 pm. As always I was surprised by how clear the water is as I could easily see the anchor in the 4m of water as we came to rest off the old resort beach along with about 15 other boats. We recognised a couple from Pancake creek including
Anchored at GKIAnchored at GKIAnchored at GKI

Luna Ray on far left
one that had been within view all day, and a couple more from Garry's Anchorage, way back off Fraser Island.

Today was a chance to rest before our short push to Yeppoon tomorrow to stay with Naomi's family. Went over to the beach and walked to the shop for ice-creams and some bread (15$ !).

It was a lovely warm sunny morning with the crystal clear water lapping on the clean sand. With no wind to unsettle the water it was easy to see a turtle on the seabed from the dingy.

Back on the boat, Naomi had quick wash and swim and after lunch tried some fishing with some old steak cutoffs as bait. She got a strong bite as the line went tight. After a small fight she brought the fish close to the boat to reveal a small shark about 70cm long. Then it ducked under the boat and we couldn't pull it back!

Had to get into the dingy around the side of the boat to see what was going on but it wasn't until I dipped my head under with a mask on (as Naomi had just washed her hair) to see the shark was just under the hull and must have got the line wrapped around the propellor shaft or perhaps the cable we have below it that's supposed protect the prop. Not wanting to wrestle the hook from its mouth we broke the line to set it free.

Soon after this it started to rain until dark so spent the rest of the afternoon tidying up the boat.

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22



our dingy on the left

how can you want to be on another rocking boat!?
calm waters in Pancake Creekcalm waters in Pancake Creek
calm waters in Pancake Creek

entrance on the left
a stop on the beacha stop on the beach
a stop on the beach

at the entrance to Chinaman Creek Rainbow on right
swamp crossingswamp crossing
swamp crossing

on way to lighthouse
Aircraft BeachAircraft Beach
Aircraft Beach

some boats coming around the headlands
Home for NaomiHome for Naomi
Home for Naomi

Approaching Great Keppel Island

13th June 2013

good to hear you survived the high seas, weather here foul, bad storms, loved the photos Alex the pirate great, you may win a travel photo award, the blog gives them, you should start a book Luke, maybe you have ???? Luke have you been to watsons bay Sydney. SOUTH HEAD SIGNAL STATION LIGHTHOUSE! My mother in law was born there , her father was Captain Henry Gibson, first signal master for SYDNEY HARBOUR, they named GIBSONS BEACH At Watsons Bay next to the WATSONS BAY famous HOTEL, my sons placed my Peters Ashes on the beach this year, and they floated in the Harbour to the Pub, that\\\\\\\'s where you will find me when I pass, they have tours thru the Signal Station it is still manned by volunteers, but not used anymore. By The way I won\\\\\\\'t tell It is almost your Birthday.....HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUKE XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Have a SUNDOWNER for me xxxxxxx
13th June 2013

Sounds like an interesting leg that one, made for interesting reading Luke. Love the photo of Alex on the rope, so cute. He should make a great little sailor when this trip's done.

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