Heading South 27:30.2S, 153:21.8E
With the rally over we finally left Bundaberg on Tuesday, the strong winds had eased making it easy to exit from our berth in the Marina. An early morning departure gave us plenty of time for the 50 mile passage south across Hervey Bay and into the Great Sandy Straits area. This route south inside of Fraser Island gives the advantage of being shorter, more sheltered and has a tidal advantage over going round the outside. It was a varied trip, with thunderstorms crossing the bay when we were half way down. Luckily they went north or south of us and all we got was an increase in the wind to just over 20 knots. The rising tide comes in from both ends of the straits to meet in the middle so you go into the straits with the tide and come out the far end with the tide so getting a helping hand on the way. We were aiming for Moreton Bay as the next major staging post on our way south.
Budaberg to Moreton Bay about 190 miles.
The great Sandy Strait is narrow in places, winding and definitely shallow. We stopped for the first two nights in an anchorage called Yankee Jacks having passed by Kingfisher Resort (very open to the wind) and such wonderfully descriptively named spots such as Rocky Creek, Alligator Creek and Deep Creek. You can imagine the first settlers here using these names. The last days in Bundaberg had been a bit hectic and very sociable so a couple of quiet nights were very welcome.
Thursday and on again, this time to cross Sheridan Flats, the shallowest part of the straits with less than 2m of water at lowest tides and not enough room in the channel for two boats to pass. At high water we had plenty of depth under the keel.
Sheridan Flats a large expanse of water but little depth ..
..beware going outside the channel.
Stopping at Garry’s Anchorage was a must and we went ashore for a short walk, Dingo’s are regularly seen here and you have to be aware of this but the danger from Crocs is possibly exaggerated. Apparently they are not often seen this far south
Garry’s anchorage and the crocs sign.
This was just a very brief stop as we wanted to use Thursday’s very calm weather for our first bar crossing. A number of the harbours along the east coast of Australia have sand bars which can make their entrances dangerous in anything but calm weather. We anchored for the night at Pelican Bay ready for another early morning start to cross the bar at high water.
The route out from Pelican Bay and over the Wide Mouth Bar
After crossing the bar at 08.00 we then had a day of slow sailing and frequent motoring, very little wind but plenty of time to spend getting to Moreton Bay. We didn’t really want to arrive in the dark as there is shipping to contend with and again large areas of shallow water.
Our first stop in Moreton Bay was off Tangalooma resort where there was an attempt to make a harbour in the 1960’s-80’s by sinking 15 vessels.
The wrecks at Tangalooma
This didn’t really work but has created a popular diving and snorkelling area. Although a good day anchorage, it was very noisy both from boats and vehicles on the beach so we didn’t fancy a night there and moved further south down the coast to Lucinda Bay. Tonight we are anchored off Peel Island, at various times a quarantine station, asylum for vagrants, sisal farm (to fund the asylum), and leper colony. Now the only access is to a narrow coastal strip.
Looking out across Horseshoe Bay from Peel Island. Said to be the best anchorage in the area during northerly winds.
74 bird species have been identified on Peel Island, we just saw these oyster catchers and heard a Kookaburra.
We have arranged a few nights in East Coast Marina, Manly for a quick tourism fix and to shelter from encroaching high winds.
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