The fat lady sings

Wed 2 Dec 2009 11:51
Wednesday December 2nd
Bundaberg Port Marina,  24:45.7S 152:21.17E
Splendid sailing for my last two days. Only yesterday, it seems longer, I was up very early down in Garry's gutter, because the wind had indeed changed round to the south, and I wanted to catch the rising early morning tide as we went over the shallowest part of the Strait (if we were to run aground the tide would lift us off after a couple of minutes; with a falling tide you must wait 12 hours!). I had made a map with all the marks and beacons, and ticked them off as we went by: at some speed now with both wind and tide behind us. I don't have a proper chart for this area, and we have used a digital photo of a tourist map that we snapped in a sales kiosk. Henry the Navigator would have turned in his grave! Binoculars also came into their own. If you can't spot the next mark you are doomed. Anyway it was quite fun in the event, and soon we were over the worst bit, and indeed met the tide coming up the 'other' side (the tides enter the Strait at both ends, running up and down, and meeting at the middle). I anchored up for breakfast in the anchorage off the South White Cliffs that we had used two months before, and as soon as the tide started to ebb we hitched a ride north on it, and sailed up to Urangan in good style. There ws a lot of wind by now, and the best shelter was in the boat harbour. I could also get ashore and stretch my legs. It was difficult to park, single handed and with a strong wind blowing me down into the berth, but I managed ok. It then dawned on me that getting out again would be even worse. Fleck doesn't do backwards, especially backwards into strong wind. So, up at 4.30 again, as usually the wind is at its quietest around dawn, and by some miracle everything worked out just fine. It's 50 miles from Urangan to Bundaberg, but with 25 kts of wind dead astern Fleck gobbled up the miles, hitting 8 kts at times, and surfing down the waves life a real Aussie. By three o'clock in the afternoon we were tied up in the Marina here, and there was even time to service the engine before supper. Tomorrow there is a long list of tasks, and I also have to report to Customs: we need a new cruising permit: The Torres Strait this time!