A bug in Morton Bay

Fri 18 Sep 2009 12:12
Position 27:11.6S 153:06.294E  Scarborough Marina, Morton Bay.
Friday, 19th September
A day of Rand R today after the small traumas of two days ago when Fleck set off in the late afternoon through the 'Mad Mile' over the bar guarding the Great Sandy Straight. In fact this wasn't a bad experience, although I'm not sure if Mark and Charlie had seen such steep and close packed waves before. Whatever, the sea sick pills and wrist bands worked for all of us, and we feasted on a supper of baked beans and bread and butter! At nightfall an easterly breeze enabled us to sail down the coast and we made excellent progress such that at dawn the next day we were off our intended destination of Moolalaba. An executive decision was made to continue down into Morton Bay, at the mouth of the Brisbane River. Unfortunately the wind promptly died away leaving our poor boat wallowing in the lumpy sea. During an an effort to control the slatting mainsail and boom a rope slapped my middle finger against one of the stanchions that support the guard rails that run round the boat. By chance there was a sharp projection that worked like a potato peeler. Fortunately it is only one side that is a bit missing, but it is going to be awkward to pull on ropes for a little while. My mood was further affected by a curious event a few hours later, when the afternoon onshore breeze had sprung up, and we had rounded the headland into Deception bay: the northern part of Morton bay. A late lunch of cheese and biscuits was interrupted by a sudden bump and a grinding halt to our progress. Obviously we were sailing our correct, finely judged course over the shallow sand bars, and so we had to conclude that our ship had, extraordinarily, hit one of Morton Bays most famous seafoods, a bug. It seemed strange that such a small ugly creature should have so stuck up in our path as to stop us in our tracks, but I could think of no other explanation for our misfortune. As this being stuck on the ground thing has happened to me in the past I resorted to trusted techniques such as turning on the engine at full power, and squaring the sails to the wind to heel us over and reduce our draft. But damn and blast (and all the other little words) this ship was going nowhere. It was only then that I remembered in this part of the Pacific we had tides, and that this one was coming in, not going out. Therefore I dropped the anchor and its chain overboard, and persuaded the very doubtful crew to brew a pot of tea. All became well, Fleck lifted off the bug after a few minutes, and dropped downwind onto the anchor warp. After tea we retrieved the anchor, and were on our way to Scarborough Marina. We were all very tired, and after a good nights sleep we have enjoyed a lazy day (although the nearest supermarket turned out to be several miles nice seafront walk away). Tonight I extracted my revenge on the Morton Bay Bug, I had him for supper, fried in crumbs from the harbour fish and chip shop.