Bundaberg to Brisbane - Day one (Tuesday)

Mike and Liz Downing
Wed 31 Oct 2012 06:12
On our way again; this time heading south. At least we hope to be going south at some point - we left Bundaberg early this morning and have been traveling north east all day. Fraser Island is in the way. The options are to go via the inshore route through the Sandy Straits between Fraser Island and the mainland or take the offshore route and go round the north of Fraser Island. The inshore route would mean at least 3 days as you have to work the tides (the middle section is 50 miles full of shallow sand banks) and anchor each night. The offshore route is a lot longer, but you don't stop and sail through the night, so you get there in about 36 hours or so. 'There' is Mooloolaba, the next main stopover before Brisbane, which is another 50 miles further south.

Having worked out the tides we had planned to go via the inside route last weekend. However, while the tides were right, the forecast was for light winds (needing the motor) for the passage through Hervey Bay, then SE 25-30kts over the next 2 days while navigating the channels through the sand banks. We didn't want to motor if we could avoid it and the 25-30kt winds weren't a great prospect while navigating through the sand banks in a place we have never been before. Particularly as it's spring tides at the moment and we need high tide to get over some of the shallows. The possibility of going aground at high water springs could mean being stuck on the sand for a couple of weeks! So we decided to wait for a better forecast and go via the offshore route, which is what we're now doing. The forecast isn't brilliant, giving a lot of light winds from here there and everywhere, but on Friday they reckon it's going to come back to more strong south easterlies, barring the route south again. So we have to make what we can of any period where it's not strong from the south, and so far this year they don't seem to be having many of these.

We started with light winds from the SE, going round to ESE, but were pleasantly reminded of how good Aurora B can be close hauled with our big outer genoa up and full main. With an apparent wind of only 7-8kts we've been making around 5kts through the water, and with current the SOG has been 5.5 to 7kts. A lovely sail when we thought we would probably have to resort to using the engine. We hope this continues! The current plan is not to stop at Mooloolaba, but spend a second night at sea and head on down to Brisbane.

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