Shelburn Bay to Escape River

Thu 23 Jun 2016 04:03
10:57.813 142:42.558E

Monday, 20th June - 7.00am start and we motored out to the shipping channel, sunny and hot but no wind!  Strange as 20-25 knots had been forecasted.    Enough of a breeze came up to get the ropes/poles and pulleys sorted and we sailed painfully slowly for a few miles then altered course and got both genoas on one side.  Still very little wind and soon we had the motor on again and motor sailed for a while.  The coastline here is pure white silicon sand beaches with towering dunes behind which resembled snow capped mountains.  No roads come to this coast so to be able to see it from the sea is the only way.  We have never seen so many seabirds feeding.  The wind picked up enough and the sailing angle was good so out went the downwind sailing system again and we struggled on trying to beat the light and get to our destination Escape River.  We sailed into the first bay which was charted at 12 foot anchoring depth with a warning to be aware of the many Pearl Farms located there.  The reality was an anchoring depth of 50 foot sharply rising to a sandbank and only 2 Pearl Farms.  We had no option but to put out 260 foot of anchor chain – certainly not what we expected!   Shifting sands are a major problem when entering any of the rivers up the Queensland Coast and charts cannot be relied on.