Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Through the Great Sandy Straights and on to Mooloolaba.

December 10-15, 2015

Transiting the Great Sandy Straits on the inside of Fraser Island requires planning if you want to avoid running aground or battling strong adverse currents. Regardless of whether you are travelling north or south, we have found the ideal strategy is to time your departure so that you reach the shallow and skinniest channel north of Tooth Island on the high tide. This gives you no adverse current but rather quite a favourable flow all the way.
Eleandro and Pappa Joe on Wahina were our traveling companions to Mooloolaba.
Looking at this photo it's hard to believe most of the water pictured is less than a metre deep. The yacht on the right is about to turn the mark at the narrowest and shallowest part of the passage through the Great Sandy Straits.
With Eleandro and Pappa Joe on Wahina following along, we left Kingfisher Bay about 90 minutes before the scheduled high and motor sailed south in calm conditions riding the last of the incoming tide the 10 nautical miles or so down to the pinch point of the passage. We turned the mark and within minutes the current began running south as the tide flowed out towards the Wide Bay Bar.

You can see the strength of the tidal flow around this marker
These guys can make things uncomfortable in the narrow channels of the Great Sandy Straits. They smile and wave as they blast by with no idea of the mayhem rolling they inflict on yachts.
This approach provided a trouble free and quite fast passage down to Pelican Bay inside Inskip Point where we were anchoring for the night before heading on.

Kingfisher Bay to Pelican Point – 31.3 Nautical Miles – 4 Hours 35 Minutes
Average Speed 6.8 knots – Max Speed 8.3 knots
We enjoyed a relaxing day at anchor entertained by the prolific bird life in the bay. We also had plenty of company as there were a number of boats there waiting to cross the bar on the morning tide.

The BBQ got a work out again. Yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Karen preparing to tuck in.

The Army provided a chopper fly past for us.

Just a few of the boats waiting to cross the bar.

Pelican Bay provided another awesome sunset to add to the collection we'd experienced on our trip.
At dawn the next morning the anchorage was a hive of activity with boats everywhere preparing to head south. The conditions were near ideal with very little wind and virtually flat seas a conga line of yachts made their way over the bar at its best. Once again with Wahina following behind, we simply followed the track we had come in on back in August and had plenty of water under us all the way.

Heading out to the Wide Bay Bar in perfect conditions for the crossing.

Wahina stayed close as we followed the GPS track from our last crossing

Here we are mid bar with no inkling displayed of how treacherous this spot can be.
Passing by the coloured sands of Rainbow Beach

We then motor sailed across to Double Island Point as the wind slowly built from the north. By the time we rounded the point and set our course for Mooloolaba we were able to silence the engine at last. Then it was a full day of downwind sailing in the strengthening breeze.

The boys on Wahina flew their kite before the conditions picked up past Double Island Point

Approaching Double Island Point
After a slow start to the day, Our Dreamtime really began to pick up her skirts and recorded a highest speed of 10 knots as we surfed along. It was a lot of fun, unless you were Karen trying to prepare lunch in the galley in the spirited conditions. She still managed to produce an outstanding effort as always much to Rob and Marc’s delight.
The wind picked up nicely for our run down the coast

Karen emerging from a very bouncy galley with fresh baked bread and goodies for lunch

Surfing downwind with full poled out genoa and full mainsail at up to 10 knots was lots of fun.
We left the mizzen sail in the bag in these conditions
Approaching the breakwaters at the mouth of the Mooloolah River, we turned the boat into the wind to drop the sails. Marc was on the stern lowering the mizzen as Karen furled away the mainsail. Rob at the helm when about halfway through the process he spotted a huge set of freak swells bearing down on the boat almost beam on. Shouting a warning to Karen and Marc to “Hang on!”, he pushed the throttle all the way forward and spun the boat and only just turned in time to meet the waves bow on. Our Dreamtime climbed the first like George Clooney’s swordfish boat in Perfect Storm before dropping straight over the back into the trough behind. The bow punched into the front of the second wave which ran over the boat reaching all the way to the cockpit before her buoyancy lifted her to meet and ride up and over the third and final of the big set. Nothing like a bit of excitement to end a day.

On our zoomed in track you can see where we turned to wind and had some excitement.

Pelican Point to Mooloolaba – 62.0 Nautical Miles – 10 Hours 9 Minutes
Average Speed 6.1 knots – Max Speed 10.0 knots.

It was a very tired and relieved Our Dreamtime crew when we cracked our post passage beers after dropping anchor inside the river half an hour later.

Mooloolaba is Rob’s old hometown and we were very happy to spend a few days here enjoying the vibrant resort town it’s now become before moving on closer to the end of our shakedown cruise to the tropics.

The Christmas boat parade sailed by on our first night in Mooloolaba.

Lunch at the Mooloolaba Surf Club brought back great memories for Rob

Rob, Karen and Marc at the Mooloolaba Sailing club

Officially live aboards are limited to four nights in the Mooloolah River but some stretch the point.
Karen with Linda Frylink Anderson and Erica Hammond enjoyed a 'Women Who Sale Australia' mini get together.

Good night from Mooloolaba
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Watched someone give birth


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