Airlie Beach

Scott took the helm once more as we left Linderman Island and headed for Airlie Beach with the same wind and seas as the last few days.
He handled the conditions well and got Just Jammin moving so nicely over the water it felt like we were almost flying.
The best sailing we had done so far this trip was definitely this stretch of water, from Brampton Island to Airlie Beach.

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The water between the islands was so calm and the winds so steady its hard to imagine sailing getting any better.
We arrived at Airlie Beach around 4pm that arvo and anchored among a swarm of boats, possibly one hundred, it sure felt like it.
The whole bay was full of boats.
There was a marina on the south side of the bay and a big muddy beach to the north.
Unfortunately the shops are to the north and it was the big muddy beach that we needed to traverse to get to the shopping center just a kilometer further inshore.

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The mud was full of sharp oyster type rocks and held together by a lattice a sea grass.
This makes it look solid until you walk on it and sink knee deep in places.
Not a good place for thongs.
That evening Scott caught fish after fish, small sharks and catfish mainly.

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He caught the smallest Hammerhead I have ever seen, barely 18 inches long but with very sharp if small teeth.
Maybe the bay is a shark nursery as that Hammerhead must only have been days, possibly hours old.
But now it is here that my story ends.
In short I fly back home and go back to a normal, ordinary life.
Scott on the other hand stays the course and over several weeks he sails Just jammin back down the coast to Bundaberg.

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It is here that the next lucky sailor gets his shot and joins the boat.
Scott gave me a once in a lifetime opportunity which I will remember for ever and be ever thankful for.
From this point on Damien will take over my duties as they sail Just Jammin down the coast to Sydney.
Good luck fellas and fair winds.

leaving

text and photos by Fingers 2015

Linderman Island

We wove our way thru the islands with a steady 10 knot southerly breeze and no swell to speak of, in fact the water was quite like glass.
The sailing was easy until we passed between the islands.
There was a channel between the islands that channeled not only the water but the wind as well.
Sailing along at 6 knots there was a line across the water where the wind went from 10 knots to 28knots almost instantly.

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There was no reef in the sail as I wasn’t expecting the sudden increase in wind speed and so just held my course while the boat lifted her tail and boogied along at about 12 knots.
I say 12 knots but that is a guess as I was so worried about damaging the boat as a result of not reefing that my mind was on everything but boat speed.
After a few minutes the wind was still steady and nothing had broken so I held on and hoped for some good luck.

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It was here my lack of experience showed, I think I got lucky that no damage was done in that half hour ride.
I wasn’t to stay lucky tho.
As it was my day to solo the boat, Scott had done so many times by now, I needed to anchor up and stow the main sail before calling it a day.
I pulled into the bay in front of the also defunct Linderman resort and got up on the boats canopy.
There was a little rocking of the boat and the boom was being unhelpful so I became the first person to step on the canvas.
Scott took it fairly well, better than me if the situations were reversed I suspect.
The canvass had broken all the stitching along one edge, about 4 foot or so, but was undamaged otherwise.

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As it was my fault it was damaged I had to stitch it back together.
I have rather limited sewing experience and none regarding canvas so Scott showed me the way to stitch and I got into it.
It took around 4 hours to make good and it was as close to invisible as luck would allow.
For the second time that day I got lucky.

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Linderman Resort was hit by a cyclone, same as Brampton, but had been derelict one year longer.
Time had not served the resort well as it had been cleaned out of valuables so only the empty villas remained.

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Text and photos by Fingers 2015

Brampton Island

In the morning we got up early and were treated to a school of baifish just off the back of the boat and they were being torn to shreds by a school of tuna.
The water was dead calm and glassy so it made quite a sight.
Unfortunately I looked away just as an enormous tuna lept several meters straight up into the air and arched back into the sea.
Scott saw the whole thing but wasn’t able to get a photo as it happened so fast.
Bugger.

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This bay was so nice it was tempting to stay for a bit but the wind was forcast to increase from the south during the day and prove ideal for heading north thru the islands.

Text and photos by Fingers 2015

Eimeo to Brampton Island

The winds were about 15 to 18 knots by now and the seas were increasing at around 2m.
It was an easy sail north and on the way Scott caught another School Mackerel which he released as we already had one filleted for dinner.
We arrived at Brampton Island mid afternoon and anchored in a bay between the jetty, now defunct and the resort, also now defunct.

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The anchorage is very pretty and well sheltered in any wind with some south in it.
There were already several boats anchored in the bay but plenty of room for us all.
A short hop in the tender took us onto the beach in front of the resort so we could have a look around.

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The resort had been abandoned several years prior after a particularly bad cyclone and was looking very unloved.
There were coconuts in piles under every palm and all the doors were open or unlocked making a very picturesque scene.
While Scott went wandering thru the resort I took the opportunity to get some photos as I was fascinated by the ghost town feeling.

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It looked like the staff had just walked away without locking up or even storing away the many catamarans and water craft.
I suspect in the very near future the resort will be cleaned out by some less than honest folk.
But somehow it had not been touched and there were all sort of watercraft including jetskis that looked in surprisingly good condition given the circumstances.

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Text and photos by Fingers 2015

The Eimeo pub

By now it was mid morning and the seas were still calm but the wind had died to 4 or 5 knots and so we we motored north to Eimeo.

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The Eineo pub was an old building on a headland that held good memories for Scott as it was his watering hole when he was in his 20’s and working in the area.
On the way Scott caught a School mackerel which was filleted and put aside for dinner.
The water around the Eimeo pub headland was very shallow and stayed that way quite some distance.
We ended up anchoring a long way from shore and took the tender into the beach.

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It was a long walk and all uphill.
The pub has been turned into a cafe but still bought back a lot of memories for Scott and we spent an hour or so reminiscing and then walked back around the bay to the headland where there was a nice looking resort.
The manager of the Dolphin Heads resort had no problem with us sitting around the pool and so we kicked back and enjoyed a fruit platter before heading back to the boat.

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text and photos by Fingers 2015

Mackay to Pioneer River

After a prolonged stay at the Mackay marina we decide to head up the pioneer river for some fishing and maybe get a few mud crabs.
At around 6am we left the marina, the seas were calm and the wind 13 knots from the south west so we motored south the few miles and then anchored just outside the river mouth.
It was about mid tide and so Scott decided to take the tender for a quick explore of the sand bars in the river mouth to see if we had enough depth to get the cat in.
We had been told that the sand bars moved constantly and to be careful.
we were, but the entrance was almost completely blocked with only a small channel a foot deep or so.
It was decided that it was too shallow as the tides were fairly low and even at high tide we wouldn’t have enough depth to pass comfortably.
Decision made we up anchored and headed back north.

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text and photo by Fingers 2015

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