|Up and away in the dark.|
|We always love sunrises at sea.|
|All very nice to be able to get this from the Government but it's a pity that if you follow these instructions you'll|
have a better than fair chance of coming to grief at Waypoint B as the sand bank moved about a year ago.
|This photo of a yacht crossing the Wide Bay Bar displayed in the Royal Qld Yacht Squadron Clubrooms was enough to make sure we took every precaution to make sure our passage over the bar was as sedate as possible.|
We ‘d heard that the sandbanks have moved on the bar and that the good volunteers of Tin Can Bay advise that to cross safely you need to steer 100 metres north of the “official” waypoint and not make your turn until 100 metres west of it. Tin Can Bay VMR confirmed this to be the case when we called and said they were still working on Marine Safety Queensland to change the official waypoints. Apparently the wheels of Government turn slowly.
|We were lucky enough to spot our first whales for the trip in the early morning light.|
|Passing this yacht that had just exited the bar boosted our confidence that conditions would be fine.|
|Rob keeping Our Dreamtime on the straight and narrow surfing down the swells.|
|Swells breaking on the Wide Bar Bay shallows|
What didn't work.
After checking ALL our lights before we left Brisbane, we found our starboard navigation light had blown when we upped anchor at 5.00am. We used the tricolour at the masthead instead.
What we did right
Did our research and used the assistance of the Volunteer Coastguard
How we screwed up
2nd day in a row we didn't - which is still a good thing.
|Our short but far from boring passage today and a satellite view of the bar below|
|Our first anchorage in the well named Great Sandy Straights.|
|Wonder why it's called Pelican Bay|
|Good night from Pelican Bay!|
Since writing this blog back in August 2015, we have made another four crossings of the Wide Bay Bar, two in each direction. The most recent was in February 2017. The sand bar clearly seen in the satellite photo a few above showing our track has continued to extend northwards. We ALWAYS consult Tin Can Bay Volunteer Marine Rescue for updates before transiting the bar. Each of our subsequent crossings have involved moving further and further up. On our most recent we never had less than five metres of water which was great. On outward crossings be aware that the strong incoming tidal flow of at least two knots makes the journey out to the bar from Pelican Bay very slow. You need to take this into account when planning to cross at the optimum time of two hours before the high. Cheers and safe sailing.
ing to indicate a safer track across the Bar.
Last Thursday evening, we took an officer from MSQ Urangan out onto the Wide Bay Bar to carry out checks on the realigned Hook Point sector light. This task has now been completed, RESULTING IN A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE TO NAVIGATION OF THE WIDE BAY BAR. This change has seen the seaward Reference Point 1 move due north by approximately 0.5 nautical mile onto a new centre line bearing to the Hook Point white light of 269.6 degrees True.
MSQ have issued a new Notice to Mariners - NtM 153/2017 (which replaces the short-lived NtM 152, which replaced NtM 149, which replaced NtM 112, which replaced NtM 101! If you’re using any of those NtMs to navigate the Bar, you can discard them as the information they contain is no longer current.) A link to download NtM 153 can be found at the bottom of this post.
The content of NtM 153 is a bit thin on the ground as it only advises of the new bearing from seaward to the Hook Point light (i.e., the bearing from Ref Point 1 to Ref Point 2 inbound crossing) so please don’t shoot the messenger! However, it also includes an amended chartlet derived from the hydrographic survey (see photo but DO NOT use this for navigation purposes) which indicates the new track across the bar and the extent of shoaling on the previous track. The new track may result in a few raised eyebrows, but again, don’t shoot the messenger.
Revised reference points for crossing the WBB have been derived from the amended bearing. The set of reference points also includes the old "WPT 3" in the channel off Inskip Point, which has become Reference Point 3. The information/fact sheet for crossing the WBB has been amended, so if you have an old fact sheet, discard it and please call into the base or email us to obtain the updated fact sheet.
WE ADVISE ALL MARINERS WHO HAVE THE PREVIOUS AND NOW OUT-OF-DATE REFERENCE POINTS TO PLEASE CONTACT THE RADIO ROOM AT COAST GUARD TIN CAN BAY TO OBTAIN THE UPDATED REFERENCE POINTS.
Due to the new track now crossing a sandbank, we recommend that vessels with drafts exceeding 1m should cross the Bar in the last two hours of the incoming tide and preferably at high tide. When strong wind and sea conditions prevail, crossing the Bar is not recommended. Mariners cross the Wide Bay Bar at any time at their own risk. If in doubt, DO NOT CROSS.
We advise all mariners navigating the Wide Bay Bar to:
• Check in with our Radio room to obtain the latest information BEFORE commencing a bar crossing
• LOG ON before you commence a crossing (even if it is only for coverage while crossing the Bar)
• AVOID crossing the Bar at low tide and in the bottom half of an outgoing tide
• Exercise due care, caution and attention at all times while crossing the Bar
• WEAR LIFE JACKETS while crossing the Bar regardless of the type and size of vessel.
Using the old reference/waypoints to cross the Bar now has considerable risk, so please share this information to any for whom it is useful.
Safety by All Means.
Please note: The Hook Point light is a FIXED WHITE LIGHT BY DAY, not a Isophase 4s (day) as recorded on the chartlet accompanying the NtM.