Monday, May 25, 2009

Manatee seeks shelter from the storm

The trip up the broadwater, via Main Channel, to Jacobs Well was beautiful, quite an amazing waterway. They do say there are 2 types of boaties up here....those that have grounded in the broadwater and those that haven't, yet!
Our first was near Tuleen Island. AK was helming, so tried reverse...nothing. Finally the wake from a plastic fantastic (luckily you don't have to wait too long up here for one to pass!) gave enough depth to move Manatee.

The shoals charted near Woogoompah Island show a dredged depth of 2M is currently 1M, but Marg managed to avoid a grounding here. But didn't avoid it at Jacobs Well near the moored boats where we waited for the rising tide to give us depth.

Jacki, tired from assisting
We anchored further down the channel off Kangaroo Island where it was sheltered from the forecast 50kts winds. We spent 2 days with horizontal rain and wind that made it difficult to walk on deck. Idgi put on her grumpy face. Jacki got clingy. Ruby took great delight in sleeping downstairs. Pearl slept through it all. AK and Marg took turns in keeping watch. Our instruments showed only 37kts but it was scary, a real test for our anchor. Although our rode was only 4X depth it held beautifully but it was a strain on the winch when it came time to up anchor, it was buried so deep.

Our view for 2 days
We then headed for Moreton Bay when it was calm enough to continue, but due to dusk and another grounding near the OH wires at Russell Island we anchored between Macleay and Kangaroo Islands for the night. The warning went from gale to strong wind so it was a reasonably pleasant night.

Yahoo, waking up to blue skies
We awoke to blue skies so headed on up to Moreton Bay.

Another dimension? Nah just the Gold Coast!

We spent a couple of weeks anchored at the Marine Stadium, also known as "Bum's Bay". I now believe every Queenslander must own a jet ski, most appear to like speeding and doing donuts! After the first night anchored off Seaworld (where we could hear the commentary from the tourist aquaduck that launched from a ramp 20m away...."Those boats mostly come from down south, stay here for a few days and then go further north. Look there's one from Tasmania"- does one wave or what?) we moved further down into the bay. Marg went jetstar to Newcastle for Greg's 60th birthday on Saturday and returned on Monday. Happy Birthday Greg!

Manatee in the bay

On Saturday night the winds (SE) came up and the bay got a good rolling swell. Manatee tossed all night and AK was concerned about the anchor dragging so the alarm was set for numerous anchor checks. It was the first time AK felt that if anything went wrong, she could move Manatee on her own - a real breakthrough.
The bay is fairly shallow but clean and it was a pleasant walk to public transport. Probably best avoided on weekends unless one likes rowdy bucks parties (houseboats) and bbq pontoons. Blissful during the week.

Oops a little shallow!

Marg's brother Peter and his partner Michael came up from Murwillumbah for a visit the following weekend and it was great to catch up.
We decided to go further north early the next week after we received a delivery of stern tube oil, from Lismore of all places. It turns out it has the same specifications of gear oil, but we weren't to know. The oil turned up on Monday, so we took Manatee down towards Southport Yacht Club to pick it up. The rain then started and pelted down making visibility zero. We quickly picked up a Dept of Transport mooring near the Nerang River bridge and waited out the rain which didn't clear until the next morning - a sign of things to come!

Idge sitting in the rain checking out the city

On Tuesday the weather was clearly going to get worse with 40kt winds forecast so we headed north into the broadwater and found a safe anchorage at Jacobs Well in a bay surrounded by mangroves.

Goodbye Gold Coast

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Moonlit night, calm seas, where else would we want to be

On Thursday we awoke to good weather so on the flood tide we left Iluka/Yamba bar at 1500hrs - destination the Gold Coast Seaway.

Once we passed over the swelly bar we had a wonderful time with a moonlit night, calm seas and our dolphin friends for company.
Sunset over NSW
We spent our off watch hours mostly asleep in the wheel house where we can stretch out on a mattress. It was a beautiful uneventful night and we averaged around 5 kts for the journey.
Sunrise over the Gold Coast
Ruby napping after crewing all night
The Gold Coast Seaway (bar) was wild - surfers on boards paddling across, a yacht at anchor, barges dredging sand and the inevitable jetski riding the swell. Marg managed to navigate through without colliding with anything- a wonderful feat!

Down the river to Iluka

On Sunday Marg returned from Murwillumbah so we headed down to Harwood for a 1600hrs bridge opening. After watching the antics of another boat (who appeared determined to pass under the bridge first) for 40 minutes the bridge finally creaked upwards.

We settled on to Harwood public jetty for the night to give Idgi a chance to dig in some dirt and eat grass. The jetty (depth about 3M LWS) is concrete with two wood pilings so it was a disturbed sleep due to fender adjustments. Idgi had a good time until she was visited by a local moggie, when she announced it was time to go!

Manatee goes country

The fishing boats were very active here so we spent a while the next morning drinking coffee and watching them.

Nets out

We set out for Iluka Harbour mid morning and enjoyed the slow cruise down. Coming into Iluka our tender which had been trailing behind broke loose and was brought into the harbour for us by a very kind fisherman.

We anchored in the harbour amongst other cruisers for 3 days waiting for the weather to improve. We took the tender across to Yamba for provisions once but otherwise spent a relaxing time at anchor.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Up the Clarence

We left Yamba and headed up river, anchoring at Maclean. The trip up was uneventful and the girls enjoyed the scenery. The river was murky all the way from the constant rain.
Standing in the rain to watch the fields go by

We swapped sides of the river at Harwood bridge with Pelargic, a yacht from the northern hemisphere.

Pelargic under Harwood bridge
We got out our spare anchor (bruce) and chain which lived under our anchor locker and found water had not been draining properly from the bottom of the locker. So we made use of the council jetty and cleaned off the chain and repacked it. The bruce now lives on deck. It feels good knowing we have a decent spare anchoring system.
We also had a slight electrical problem at Maclean, with the fuses for the charger melting. After mucking around ourselves we eventually enlisted the help of the local auto-electrician who charges us a whole $12 to fix the problem-gotta love country areas! We had been planning to slip Manatee and do her anti-fouling, but as the Harwood slip was booked out for weeks we decided to slip her up north...Maryborough maybe.
It rained and rained and rained. Marg caught a few catfish. We decided we were sick of the cold (we almost got out our winter woolies) so Marg took the car back down south to Peter and Michael at Murwillumbah while AK prepared Manatee to head back down the river.