Mackay

Mackay marina is easily the nicest marina visited so far.
It has a very narrow entry with high granite breakwalls ensuring there is minimal chance of storms causing havoc and there are a large number of berths available.
The price to stay in the berths is very nearly the cheapest on the coast and the buildings very well fitted out.

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There is the largest boat lift I have ever seen and everything looks new and clean.
On the second day in the marina we hired a courtesy car called the “bomb-a-dore”.
Expecting some rusting heap from the 80’s we were surprised at the 5 year old commodore loaned to us.
We went and did a much needed food shop as while we had much mulloway we needed all the other stuff used in cooking.

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As we were doing that Scott organised service kits for the engines and a vacuum pump to remove the old oil from the sumps.
We spent the rest of the day just checking out Mackay, getting to know the place and enjoying the 35 degree weather.
Thursday morning saw Scott changing the fuel filters and diagnosing the source of the engine failure.

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The factors causing the problem were as listed:

1. A lack of a functioning vent pipe on the fuel tank.
Which led to the tank creating a large amount of vacuum each time the motors were run.
The cause of the blocked vent was simply corrosion and the solution a 6mm drill.

2. An air leak somewhere in the fuel system.
The cause not determined.

3. The fuel gauge was not responding correctly.
A result of the fuel tank being horribly contorted forcing the sender unit to jam into the corner of the tank.

4. Insufficient fuel reaching the engine(s).
There was so much contraction of the fuel tank that we simply ran out of fuel.
The port engine was able to run because the supply pipe was still able to reach the last 5L of diesel in the tank when the starboard engines supply pipe had run dry.

5. The fuel tank was horribly contorted.
The fuel tank was 210L when fitted but when contorted by vacuum it was barely able to hold 75L of fuel.
The solution was to remove the tank and set it in the sun for a while so the PVC would soften up.
Applying 30L of boiling water to the most contorted section of the tank and then allowing the sun time to do the rest.

Something that at first looked like it was going to cost heaps to rectify ended up costing a few dollars for a new fuel filler pipe which had to be shortened to be removed.
Sometimes a little common sense and mechanical know how and things work out well.

Scott did very well.

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Text and photos by Fingers 2015

Thirsty Sound to Mackay

Tuesday saw the swell easing to around 1 meter and the seas similar.
8 knot south easterlies were a bit light but we were ready to head north once again and so anticipated a bit of motor sailing.
The ocean wasn’t calm but was smooth, yet rippled just as you see it in day dreams and that made sailing very pleasant if a little bit slow.
We rounded Pier Head national park on the north end of Quail Island then passed Double Rocks and entered Pearl Passage between South Barren Island and Black Swan Rock.

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We had the lures out since Pier Head but had no luck however the enjoyment the perfect weather was giving us and the freezer full of mulloway made up for that.
We only had until Park Shoal until we needed to stow the rods as we would be passing thru a marine park for several hours and that was just up ahead.
Once into the marine park we passed the North Point Island group and the Bedwell group of islands
By lunch time the winds had dropped below 5 knots and were swinging all round the compass.
The sails had become just ornamental by this point.

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When we reached the Lower Rock, which was a tiny outcrop in the middle of nowhere, we knew we were out of the marine park and our lures were wet once again.
About 1pm we passed Connor Island which was surrounded by a number of shoals all of which we hoped would hold some fish but we were not in luck.
At around 1.45pm we reached Edwards Shoal and that signified yet another marine park so rods were once again stowed.
We passed quickly over Yaralla Shoal which was the middle of the park and reached the other side an hour later.
We passed Cape Palmerston to the east and wove between Phillips Reef and Irving Island where finally Scott’s reel let off a brief scream.

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A brief but spirited fight ensued and Scott caught a school mackerel of around 1.5kg, filleted it and put it to one side to eat later that night as a tasty variation from mulloway.
2 miles off Grasstree Beach, several hours later and just before the evening started I saw my 15kg trolling rod buckle and the drag began to scream.
I had been towing a lure I once thought to be great hundreds of miles without so much as a sniff from anything with fins and was feeling like I needed to change to something else to entice a strike.
It can be hard to decide whether the lure is at fault or maybe there are just no fish in that area at that time.
The fact that something had grabbed it made me feel like I had not wasted the last few weeks.

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A sustained run of several hundred meters was followed by half an hour of pumping and winding to bring a huge barracuda to the side of the cat.
It took both Scott’s and my combined effort to lift it onto the boat.
Posing for the photo I was barely able to lift it and it wasn’t worth putting on the lie detector as it was clearly more than the detectors 25kg maximum.
A rough estimation is 5 foot 6 and at the very least 35kg.
We released it alive as we had as much fish as we could manage and barracuda is not any good for eating.

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We had lost close to an hour between Scott’s and my fish and the sun was getting very close to the horizon when we sailed into sight of Hay Point on the mainland just near the town of Hector.
Hay Point was 10 miles south of the Mackay marina and so there was still an hours sailing ahead of us.
We had begun sailing once more when the wind picked up to a steady 15 knots and with the motors running we achieved 10 knots boat speed, hence the one hour from port.
Half an hour later the starboard engine spluttered to a halt.

It was pitch black and we were in the shipping lanes of Mackay port, really not a good place to have problems.
The port engine was still running well and so it was presumed that the starboard engine had a blocked fuel filter.

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It took several more hours to reach the marina as we were only doing a couple of knots running cautiously on the port engine.
The wind was still a steady 15 knots making maneuvering on one engine tricky and it took 20 minutes of sweating to get us moored in the commercial section of the marina and preparing a dinner of mackerel.

We chose the commercial section of the marina as it was the moorings closest to the marina entry because with the reduced maneuverability we were worried we might collide with other boats or pylons.
As soon as we had eaten Scott checked the engine for blockages or any signs of damage that might have caused the engine to die.
Sadly (or maybe gladly?) none were found.
It had been a very eventful day.

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Text and by Fingers photos by Scott and fingers 2015

Port Clinton to Thirsty Sound

Sunday morning we decided it was time to leave Port Clinton and make a move northward.
The Wind was around 20 knots from the south west and the seas were 3 meters but forecast to be easing to 2 meters during the afternoon.
Around 7am we cleared the headland of Port Clinton and began to sail north.
9.30am saw us several miles north of the Clara group of islands and heading northwest towards Cape Townsend on Townsend Island.

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It took another two hours to reach Cape Townsend and the northern boundary of the marine park.
We had entered the marine park as we passed Cape Clinton just minutes after starting out that morning.
As we had not been able to do any trolling so far this morning we were keen to get our lines out.
Lures were then set out and optimism was high although there was a lot of weed floating in the water which meant frequent stops to bring in the lures and remove the weed.

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Fish don’t seem to be interested in a lure that has even the tiniest bit of weed clinging to it.
By 11.30am the wind had stiffened to 25 to 28 knots and it was time to get a reef into the mainsail.
Rounding the cape the seas got very rough as two currents were intersecting and creating many standing waves which made for a bumpy few hours.
Our boat speed had dropped from around 10 knots to only 3 as the current was running at around 7 knots in the opposite direction.

IMG_1413Ploughing on we passed Ripple Island, Harrison Island and then Holt Island barely making 3 knots across ground and yet 10 knots thru the water.
We soldiered on until we reached Mumford Island were the decision was made to turn due north and head towards Hexham Island to get out of this disagreeable current.
As we sailed northward we lost sight of land and plotted our course thru many islands and rocky/sandy shoals.

IMG_1414By 2.30pm we were in the middle of Broad Sound Channel and back to 10 knots across ground so we decided to head towards Stanage Bay as it was only 20 miles to the west and we had around 3 hours of daylight left.
The sky was clear blue, the temperature a balmy 30 degrees and life doesn’t get much better.
All around us were islands shrouded in dark clouds that looked quite out of place in such a blue sky.

IMG_1404The afternoon passed with little to distract us from the beauty of the day and the pleasure of making good time.
We had been averaging a little over 8 knots before the wind picked up and closer to 10 once the reef was in.
Around 11 hours sailing by the time the sun went down saw us just minutes out of Stanage Bay.
How it is that we sail all day and yet it comes down to the last few minutes of daylight to get to anchor I still haven’t figured out.

IMG_1435Stanage Bay was listed in the cruising handbook as a small town with a pub and a couple of shops and a VMR.
The VMR is the Volunteer Marine Rescue and is our contact with the mainland when we are cruising.
We log in and out as we travel to the various anchorages we find so that if anything goes wrong someone would know our rough position and would know to start a search.
The Stanage Bay we approached was on the south side of Thirsty Sound by a good few miles and showed no evidence of houses or shops.
The bay itself offered little to no protection from the ocean and was shallow and totally undesirable as an anchorage.

IMG_1426The forecast easing of the seas had not occurred and the ocean was choppy with what appeared to be two distinct swells, one from the south and one from the east.
When we logged in with the Thirsty Sound VMR we asked for clarification regarding Stanage Bay and was informed that the settlement of Stanage Bay was called Plumtree Hill and was around the corner in Thirsty Sound.
Go Figure.
We dropped the sail and motored north 5 miles, around Arthur point and into Thirsty Sound.
The anchorage was just around the corner and was easily accessible.

IMG_1445As we anchored 200 meters off the boat ramp the last glimmers of sunlight faded from the evening and once again we had beaten the clock with seconds to spare.
As it was too early for dinner we jumped into the tender and went for a look around the settlement.
On the hill by the top of the boat ramp was the now obligatory sign about crocodiles and to the other side was the VMR.

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Following the gravel track around to the east we passed the fishing/marine storage/chandlery store which still appeared to be open judging by the sound of chatter coming from that direction.

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A little further down the road was the pub/general store building which also appeared to be open with the same two people serving at the pub counter and the general store at the same time.
Over the road from the pub was a caravan park which was at least half full with a lot of fishing boats that indicated it was a popular fishing destination.
There were no patrons at the pub and the staff were just about to close the doors when we arrived.

IMG_1451We asked them if they would stay open for another hour so we could relax with a couple of ales to finish a very enjoyable days sailing and they agreed.
I love small towns.
It had been a very good day and we finished it off with a dinner of mulloway with garlic butter.
And it was good.
Relaxing at anchor that night the water was calm and the winds although strong were blocked by the hills around the anchorage.
The following morning however was rough, wet and generally miserable for sailing so we decided to stay at anchor for the day.

DSC_0152Monday evening after a day wandering around and enjoying the town was made more cheery by a dinner of mulloway with mashed potato and gravy.
More than 20kg of mulloway fillets ensured we will be eating alot more of it, good thing it tastes so good.

 

Text and photos by Fingers 2015

Corio Bay to Port Clinton

The wind on Thursday morning was around 18 knots from the south east and the seas were a very untidy 1 to 2 meters.
We were eager for some good sailing weather and that seemed to be what was on offer despite the confused seas.
After a good breakfast we raised the sails and headed round the promontory to sail due north with enough wind to get up to nearly 10 knots.
That speed was excellent for trolling and we both had a line out hoping to hook something tasty as our stocks of eating fish were starting to run low.

IMG_1305Not long after lunch Scott hooked into a tuna of just over 3kg which was quickly filleted and stowed away.
By then the wind had picked up to a steady 24 to 28 knots which necessitated a reef in the mainsail although we kept the head sail fully unfurled.
By 3pm we entered Port Clinton which sounds like a town but isn’t.

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We took an hour to find a good anchorage in behind a rock called Creek rock.
It gave us protection from the southerly winds and promised a smooth night and the chance of some good fishing.
Shortly after anchoring we both dropped a live whiting over the transom with the intent of hooking into something solid and tasty.

IMG_1315Before my bait even had time to touch the bottom something very large grabbed it and headed for the gap between the rocky outcrop and the shore.
I wound as much drag onto it as I could and held on.
Unfortunately I was using my 8kg outfit and that seemed to be way too light for whatever monster I was hooked into.
The fight barely lasted 20 minutes before the line parted and I was able to retrieve 50 meters of very frayed line.

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My behemoth had clearly wrapped my line around some coral and shredded the line to the point of destruction.
I suspected it to be a large mulloway but there was no way to be sure.
During the rest of the night there was no action on our baits and our anchorage proved to be as good as we had hoped.
Early the following morning the sky dawned overcast with the promise of storms and rough weather.

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The decision was made to stay anchored up for the day and see what tomorrow offered.
In the early afternoon Scott decided to try using a bonito fillet as bait in an attempt to lure something large our way.
Hardly had the bait got wet and Scott’s rod buckled over and something large had indeed come for a taste.

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The fish put up a solid fight with the regular thumps on the line that signaled a good sized mulloway.
His light baitcaster was tested to it’s limits as it was only a 6kg rig and Scott needed to keep his wits about him as he kept the fish away from the anchor chain and all the rocky outcrops under the boat.
For 30 minutes the fight was waged and then up came a mulloway that the lie detector revealed was 15kg.

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I was impressed with the fight and the fish and surprised when Scott re-baited his outfit and tossed it overboard to the same spot he had caught his mulloway.
I thought that we had solved our food shortage and didn’t see the point of trying for another.
While Scott cleaned and filleted his mulloway another large fish took off with his freshly baited line and unable to fish and clean fish simultaneously he generously passed his baitcaster to me to deal with.
The fish shook and thumped just like a large mulloway and headed for the horizon.
Unlike Scott’s fish this one took off on a very long and powerful run that threatened to strip all the line off the spool.
A decision was made to try and turn the fish and save some line by using extreme thumb pressure and that appeared to be working until the leader snapped.
The fish was lost but a spool full of braid was saved.
Scott was still cleaning his fish and I decided to have a go with my slightly heavier 8kg outfit.
Just moments after casting a bonito fillet to the same place as the previous 2 hook ups my bait was picked up and the fight was on.

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Suspecting my fish to be a mulloway of similar size to Scott’s I played it as aggressively as I could and not having changed my frayed line from the last nights battle I held little hope of success.
None the less luck was on my side and not much more than 15 minutes saw a silvery beast of a mulloway the same size as Scott’s flopping on the deck.
I would have liked to release it but the fight on light line had taken all the zest out of it and it was in no state to be released.
Now we had as much fresh mulloway as we could handle and as much bait as we needed from the tuna caught the previous day.
But that wasn’t the end of the excitement.
A large fishing boat towing a 20 alum boat that was also towing a 15 foot tinny was having trouble in a small but messy following sea.

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As we watched the tinny being towed last in line was swamped and rolled over.
In an effort to recover the swamped and now upside down tinny the other alum boat towed it to the shallows not far from our anchorage.
They towed it around for an hour or so and seemed to have no idea how to rectify the situation.
Beaten they towed the tinny turtle back to the large boat and tied it up.
That night we had Scott’s specialty, minced mulloway thai fish cakes and they were good.
When the morning came we were entertained by the attempted salvaging of the tinny by the previous nights methods and once again it was a failure.

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This time instead of tieing the tinny to the other boats the owners just cut it free and left it to the currents.
An incoming tide briskly dragged the now abandoned tinny across the shallows and into one of the far reaches of the port.
The large fishing boat and it’s now diminished conga line left the port and headed south into a choppy sea.
An hour after they left we spotted the tinny bobbing around with just it’s nose above the water.
The decision was quickly reached to see what effect we may have on the situation.
Our tender was launched and we went off to survey the scene.
We approached the bobbing boat and quickly agreed we could not tow it with the mighty 8hp yamaha.

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A plan was made to get the cat and see if we could tow the tinny into the shallows and right it.
Over the next few hours we dragged that tinny across the bay from potential rescue point to point and had no more luck than the boats previous owners.
It was challenging to tow that tinny behind the cat as the tide had as much control over the boat as we did and there were more than a few moments when we thought we were in scuppered.
That tinny was more than we could handle and was of no use to us should we salvage it but we could not resist the challenge.

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The analogy is a puppy dragging around a large bone between it’s legs, it doesn’t have the teeth to adequately deal with it but it just can’t leave it alone.
That was us with that tinny.
By lunch time we accepted our defeat and towed the tinny to a spot where it wouldn’t be a risk to any other boats and set it free.
Over the hour we watched it drift away and pondered it’s situation.
We spent the afternoon tidying up the cat and preparing for our next northward trek.

 

Text and by Fingers photos by Scott and Fingers 2015

Corio bay to Yeppoon and back to Corio

As Wednesday morning progressed the wind eased until 10.45am when we docked in the Yeppoon marina in less than 10 knots.
As we prepared to dock on the hammerhead of the visitors wharf a kindly lady offered to lend a hand.

IMG_1256Boaties do seem to be the nicest people and it would have been impolite to refuse the offer even though we could do with the practice.
Scott needed cigarettes so he headed to the petrol station in the south east corner of the marina.
I followed him thinking I might get something tasty as being away from grease, sugar and salt for days gets the mind thinking about junk food.

IMG_1255On the way to the servo I spotted Noddies patrol car and that gave me a good laugh.

The servo scalped Scott and I couldn’t find anything nice to eat.
On the way back to the boat the same lady that helped with the docking called out from her boat to stop and say hello.

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Once again it would be rude to refuse and so I met Diane and John.
They were relaxing on the rear deck of their sailing cat Elan, a boat that she and John had built.
It was a lovely boat and took them 5 years to build.
Elan is around 40 feet long and has a spacious bridge deck and a great rear deck under a fiberglass roof.

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I spent an hour or so chatting to them before Scott walked by to be introduced and then the boat comparisons began.
“Mines longer”, “but mines got more head room” just the usual sort of thing.
Elan and Just jammin couldn’t be more different but both boats were exactly what the respective owners wanted.

Diane also identified my mystery shark as a Grey Reef Shark.

DSC_0129A little after lunch we left the marina and headed north back to Corio Bay with an east south easterly of a steady 15 knots and seas of less than a meter.
By 2.30pm the wind had once again died off and we had to motor the last few miles.
As we got closer to the bay we began to notice many dead pilchards floating around the golden algae swirls.

IMG_1276The swell was slight and the tide reasonably high so Scott was able to motor across the sand banks with little trouble.
Once round the promontory we anchored and kicked back to watch some “Survivorman” episodes to pass the night away.

 

Text and photos by Fingers 2015

[edit: I needed to edit to give credit where credit was due, Diane and John both built their fine boat Elan]

Corio Bay

After up anchoring and heading north around North Keppel Island it was decided I would be skipper for the day and solo the boat.
Scott has been doing most of the sailing to this point and has proved he can sail Just Jammin by himself if he needed too.
Less than 2 hours of sailing saw the wind drop and become variable in direction and strength.

IMG_1129Another hour saw the wind drop all together so I dropped the sails and switched on the motors.
The destination was Corio Bay and it was only about 13 miles away which at our motoring speed of 6 knots was little more than 2 hours away.
One hour in and we noticed a golden dust or algae covering the water in long and thick waves.

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This algae was prevalent all the way to Corio Bay and began to contain dead pilchards in huge numbers as we got closer to the bay.
The mouth of the Corio Bay is strewn with many mobile sand banks and on an out going tide has standing waves of more than a meter.
As I was skipper for the day I made the decision to enter the river by hugging the rocky promontory on the north side of the opening and sneak in around the banks.
Once I was in the river proper I could see the drying areas marked on the map as they were sand banks standing more than a meter above the water level.

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I chose to anchor just around the north promontory in several meters of water on a sand bottom with the idea of doing a little whiting fishing as our collection in the live bait tank was starting to run low.
After the boat was anchored my job as skipper was done and it was time to fish.
During the afternoon and evening we could not give away a whiting bait or a bait of whiting, I blame the golden algae and the dead pillies.
The following morning we set off motoring to Yeppoon at 7.30am with light winds and a swell of about 1 meter.

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By 8am the wind picked up and we had a south south easterly at a steady 18 knots.
Little more than an hour saw the wind pick up to more than 20 knots and Scott decided to put a reef in the sail.
At 9.35am we sighted a pod of 3 humpback whales not more than 300m off the shore in 3 meters of water.

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Scott put the nose of Just Jammin into the wind and watched the whales as we sat still not more than 50 meters away from them.
As we were to be informed later the whales frequent the shallow waters to scrape their bellies along the sand to remove barnacles or irritations.

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Text and photos by Fingers 2015

North Keppel Island

North Keppel Island is very rugged and fringed by reef.
We approached the island on the south side just before the sun went down and looked
for an anchorage out of the prevailing south easterly and the predicted northerly.
There were reefs that were just under the surface at mid tide when we arrived and
bombies all over the place.

IMG_1112Had we arrived an hour later it would have been nearly impossible to find a safe
anchorage.
We anchored in 3m of water and set out a pair of live whiting, mine on the bottom
and Scott’s under a float.
As the evening progressed the winds eased and the black night engulfed us.
Several hours before sunrise the anchor alarm went off to tell us the boat had
drifted and I spent an anxious hour confirming we had not dragged the anchor so
much as swung around on an extra long length of chain as the tide changed.
Because we had anchored in an area that would have been disastrous had we dragged
the anchor we set out an extra 10m of chain which in turn confused our drag alarm.
Chalk that one up to experience.

IMG_1121The morning showed us that we were safe at anchor the night before and that we
would be sailing later that day.
The wind once out of the protection of the cliffs was a steady 12 knots from the
north north east and promised a relaxing sail.

 

Text and photos by Fingers 2015

Yeppoon

Monday lunch time saw us tieing the tender to the quay in front of the Yeppoon yacht club.
We both had a bag of laundry to do and were trying to do a ninja wash.
I was looking forward to having a shower but had no desire to spend a night in the marina just for the privilege.

IMG_1089The laundry was behind the club house and cost dollars not tokens so that was easy to just pay and run.
The shower room wasn’t locked so I just ducked in and showered in record time.
By this time the wash cycle was done and we just needed to dry it all without getting seen.
That wasn’t too hard either and so we sat out on the lawn in front of the club and enjoyed the view.

 

 

IMG_1069Yeppoon itself is north of the marina and a very long walk so we didn’t stray that way instead we packed our clean laundry and headed back to the boat.
On our way east to North Keppel Island we stopped 300m offshore of a creek barely knee deep and took the tender in and followed it round behind the main street.
The creek was quite amazing as it was very shallow, less than 10m wide and yet there was a veritable boating graveyard for it’s entire length.

How these quite large boats got there is anybodies guess and it was eerie in a horror movie sort of way.

IMG_1105We returned to Just Jammin and then headed east to North Keppel Island at a steady 6 knots.

On the way we caught several grinners on our lures.

They are evil looking fish and were returned to the water post haste.

 

Text and photos by Fingers 2015

Great Keppel Island

 

IMG_0952Saturday morning on The Narrows river the morning was clear with a light breeze from the south.
After lifting the anchor we set the sails and zig zagged towards Division Point searching for a steady wind.
Unfortunately the wind was fluctuating in strength from almost zero to 8 knots and varying in direction from south to west.
This made navigating the sand bar strewn river mouth quite difficult and so we inched along at 3 knots until we made Keppel Bay.

IMG_1368Once in the bay the wind strengthened to almost 10 knots but it wasn’t to last.
Within half an hour the wind dropped off to nothing and we decided to motor.
Out in the bay we set out a lure each to see what might be interested.
No fish hit the lures and when we reached the marine sanctuary around Peak Island we pulled the lures in and stowed the rods.

IMG_0988Being a marine sanctuary meant no fishing and the fines are huge if you are caught.
On the other side of the sanctuary we once again set our lures and only minutes later Scott (aka Slapper) caught a bonito.
It wasn’t large and came aboard with no struggle what so ever but was a welcome addition to the bait bin.

IMG_0998No other fish were caught.
Around 2pm we arrived at Great Keppel Island and set anchor in the bay in front of the resort with around 20 other boats.
The resort bay was smooth and crystal clear with white sands meeting palm trees on the low coastal dunes.
The Great Keppel resort was unoccupied and had been seriously damaged by a cyclone not too long ago.

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However the Hideaway pub towards the north end of the bay was still running and had quite a large patronage.
The Hideaways well groomed lawns run from the dunes to the verandah with large mature trees to give shade and somewhere for the noisy birds to perch.

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Saturday evening while live baiting for something tasty an unfortunate squid happened by and was quickly nabbed and dispatched.
Scott appropriated it and zoomed it off to Hybreasail before I had the wit to say “who’s dinner?”.
No other squid came by that night, nor fish for that matter other than one unlucky remora Scott caught.
By Sunday morning the resort bay had even more boats anchored and was looking fairly well packed.

IMG_1013While I didn’t count them I suspect there would have been more than 30 boats by Sunday afternoon.
That afternoon Scott and I went over to the Hideaway to have a quiet bevie and upload the latest installment of the Just Jammin story.
Sunday night was calm and warm and not at all remarkable.

Monday morning we tidied up the boat and set out for Yeppoon.
Light winds of 10 knots or less from the south west but quite variable made sailing hardly worth the trouble.
It only took 2 hours to get to Yeppoon and we anchored on the north side of the marina in 2m of water.

IMG_1039On the way Scott caught a spotted mackerel of 55cm, just a little under the legal size.
We photographed it and then released it unharmed.
Once anchored off the beach we took the tender along the marinas breakwall and followed the beacons into it’s center.

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Text and photos by Fingers 2015

Things I have learned so far

I haven’t really been sailing long enough to do this list but I shall do it none the less.
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1. You can’t have too much money.
Both Slapper and I have found that every time our feet touch the land there are queues of people  ready to bleed our wallets dry.
Landing in a marina incurs berthing fees, key deposits, laundry and transport to and from the many stores needed to be visited.
The stores for equipment, food and anything else will extract every spare cent and a little more for good measure.
Rather than bemoan the extent of the wallet lightening it’s better to just accept that the cost for living the dream is high but totally worth it.
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2. Comfort is everything.
At night once a tiring day is finished its so important to be able to relax and recharge oneself for the coming days.
There is also the comfort of travelling to be considered.
Running with the swells rather than wallowing across them can definitely make for a comfortable sail even if it does require more changes in direction and also makes for a longer trip.
Sailing flat like you do in a cat is also far more comfortable than sailing a traditional mono and spending life at 45 degrees.
Sun protection is an important factor in comfort as being sun burnt will limit ones activity in very short order.
Don’t get sunburnt, I can’t stress that one enough, pity I fail to heed it.
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3. Sea sickness is serious.
As a sufferer I can suggest that there are few situations worse than sea sickness as there is nowhere to hide and it can last for days.
Maybe food poisoning is just as bad but surely there is little else.
I have found that being sick takes away the will to live and makes even the simplest tasks insurmountable.
I dread sea sickness.
My solution is to take an avomine tablet on the rough days and also to spend less time navel gazing at all times.
Keeping an eye on the horizon is one solution with another being to focus on a part of the boat that is fixed in position.
When I have been feeling poorly at the end of a rough day I switch on the TV and wedge myself into the couch and focus only on the TV.
That and sleeping get me through 95% of the rough stuff, avomine does the rest.
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4. The call of nature can’t be ignored.
While there are great toilets on board this cruising cat my hull has a pump out version not a storage type.
With a storage toilet you get 50L or so before you need to pump it or dump it.
This is enough for several days.
My toilet just pumps to environment and has no storage facility.
When one needs to obey the call of nature and you are in a river, close to shore, within a mile of a reef or in any of the designated effluent free zones you are in  a world of trouble.
Like sea sickness you are in a situation where strength of will avails you little and things are going to happen whether you like it or not.
The only solution is to plan your way around the problem because you won’t master it.
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5. Most of the stuff you packed you won’t need.
I packed a huge amount of stuff I still haven’t used and it doesn’t look like I will any time soon.
I could list all the unused things taking up space in my hull but I will leave that to your imagination.
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6. You can’t know too much about sailing.
There was no chance I was going to know too much.
Every day I learn at least one new piece of information and revise other things I thought I knew.
I can see years of learning ahead just to be competent and many more to be a master.
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7. Know your charts.
I wasn’t aware of the many varied zones up and down the coast until I started chart watching.
There are blue zones that allow regular fishing, with yellow, green and pink zones as well.
Yellow zones allow fishing with a limit of one rod per fisherman and or 3 if you are trolling.
Green zones prohibit any form of fishing but you can go snorkelling or diving.
Pink zones are strictly off limits with no boating, diving or fishing.
Failure to adhere to these requirements can see boats confiscated and huge fines applied.
These zones are all over the place and are very easily entered without any visual cues.
Knowing your charted zones is vital and then there is the sea hazards as well, they also need ones full attention.
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8. When stuff breaks as its going to do, have a back up plan.
Enough said.
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9. Be nice to everyone.
So far on this trip I have made friends with unexpected people and have been shown much I had not known by these people.
Sailors are a friendly breed and no-one I have met yet has been anything less than friendly and helpful.
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10. Don’t sweat the little things.

Things will go wrong and nobody is perfect.

Trust needs to be maintained so that  you can move past problems and focus on the bigger picture.
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Text and photos by Fingers 2015.