Great Barrier Reef

CR and KN Williams
Wed 4 Aug 2010 12:58
Wednesday 4th August, 23:00
We are at last inside the reef, a day later than anticipated, and the sea is delightfully calm.
When the wind got up on Monday it was 20-30 kn SSW. This meant 2 very bumpy days sailing upwind depressingly slowly and heading to hit the bottom end of the Barrier Reef. Before dark yesterday we had to decide whether to carry on and hope for the predicted wind shift to S.E. to allow us to turn S,or to tack. I couldn't face going 70deg off course for 4/5 hours [Keith seemed keen] so we took the cruising sailors option and furled the genoa, turned on the engine and headed 30 deg S.
In fact the wind did shift overnight but we would only have been 4 nm off the reef in the dark and close to a shoal. There are plenty of stories of boats hitting rocks round here that weren't on their chart so we are a bit wary. We have 2 electronic charts: Cmap and navionics and they both differ in detals which is not very encouraging'
A school of dolphins came and played round the boat this morning which was lovely and I have cleared up some of the tip we get into when it is rough
Emptied 30gall fuel from bladder into tank, the bladder is fantastically easy, hardly a drop spilt. The true cause of the failure adequately to charge the battteries with engine revealed itself when the fan belt disintegrated. I now have only 4 spares! Genoa now u/s because split in 4 places; time for a new one?