Scary Bar crossing

Silene's cruising log
Jørn and Eli Nygaard
Fri 25 Apr 2008 05:43
25:37.873S 152:58.255E

From Moreton Island we headed north trough the NE channel -which showed to
be a lot more shallow and swell prone than expected, also sand had apparently moved, so depth and markers did not correspond with our charts. However, we got out OK, and in company with Blue Moon we planned to sail over night for a quiet crossing of Wide Bay Bar early this morning. This shallow sand bar must be crossed to get in on south side of Fraser Island. We went out the same bar in november -in flat calm and zero wind -and even then, I found it frightening. Passing over shallow areas with breaking waves is not my idea of fun.Anyway, we planned this very carefully, and should according to the forecast, have chosen a perfect day for crossing the bar......

The first few hours wind was not anywhere to be found, so we motored during most of the day. With sunset came a light breeze and we had a lovely sail -although working hard to avoid all the fishing vessels out there -and adjust speed so that we would arrive the bar at one hour before high tide (when there is enough water and a minimum of current).

At around five -the wind picked up and before we knew it we had 25-30 knots on the nose. We had a few hours of rough sailing getting closer to the bar. The coast guard informed us that there were brakers across the bar and the bar was a lot more choppy than expected -and a catamaran which crossed an hour before us reported to have touthced the sand being dropped down from a wave..... Not very encouraging as we need a lot more water then them (deeper keel).

Our alternative was to stay at sea trying to tack our way north on the outside of Fraser Island in 25-30 knots from NW.... We headed for the bar (with all hatches closed and lifejackets and harnesses on),........ and boy was that scary! We managed to slow down and let a series of big swell pass us before we got to the shallowest part, so we got in without any trouble and had 1.8 m under the keel at the shallowastr part. Looking back, it was not as bad as we expected having bit rough conditions at sea, but there is no way I am doing that again anytime soon (not even anytime late never again).

No we are safely anchored in Garys anchorage where the water is flat calm. We might stay here a few days as northerly winds are expected the next few days.

So long
xxx E&J