Aground, Sheridan Flats

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 25 Oct 2019 04:12

Position: 25 32.356 S  152 55.584 E
Aground Fitzroy Island Channel
Wind: SW  F1 light air
Sea: calm  Swell: nil
Weather: warm, sunny
Day’s run:  15 nm

Today’s goal, with light winds forecast, was to motor through the Great Sandy Strait behind Frazer Island and through to Pelican Point to anchor for the night so as to be able to transit Wide Bay Bar at the top of the tide tomorrow morning and be clear of the bar in time to use the forecast freshening northerly wind to continue on our way south. Unfortunately, the tides are all wrong for negotiating the shallow bits of the channels with low water in the middle of the day. But, I thought we would see how far we could get and if we touched bottom then we could just wait for the tide to turn, float off and continue nudging our way through.

So, sure enough, at 12.30, an hour before low water, we have touched bottom on the falling tide and are now firmly aground in the vicinity of Sheridan Flats. There is not much more tide to run out, nonetheless, I am surprised how much water we have lost in the last twenty minutes or so.  Sylph is heeled over to starboard some ten degrees in a bow down attitude. According to the chart we should not have run aground here as we have over two meters charted depth plus about 0.3 meters of tide. The really shallow bit lies ahead.  Presumably the sand bars have moved since my chart was published, which admittedly is not the most up to date edition, and likely the navigation marks have not been changed to track the shifting bars either. Still, the plan holds, the tide is turning as I write and Sylph is starting to stand up again. So, we will soon be afloat. We will then continue to nudge our way through the shoals with the rising tide. If we touch again, which I expect we will, at least we won’t have to wait long to float off.

In the meantime, Kate still manages to laugh, at least most of the time.

All is well.