We left Lady Musgrave with the forecast of strong winds and high seas. Passing through the channel in the reef, we were careful to avoid the turtles who seemed to be enjoying the swell.
We had originally planned to head for the Town of 1770 as AK had read a great review of the town in a Hervey Bay local paper. The journalist had boasted that the town held everything you could possibly want.....supermarket, tattooist, liquor store and 'new age shop'. We were eager to visit! Due to the forecast we aimed instead for Pancake Creek which has an all weather bar.
The seas were horribly rolly outside of the now placid reef, so we unfurled our headsail, kept our motor on and gunned it hoping to cross the 34nm in record time.
Once we came within 15nm and in sight of the mainland, the seas calmed and we were able to relax (a little). We were both very tired and having one of our moments of "this is too hard." Of course, our headsail furler again decided to go on strike, so we handfurled the genoa in as much as we could.
We entered the bar of the creek and found we could only scrape through the shallow bits, but decided to get up the creek as far as possible to the "second anchorage." The relief of our anchor setting brought tears of relief/exhaustion. We certainly slept well the first night! The storm didn't appear that night.
Pancake Creek is under the lee of Bustard Head, famously named for the bustard birds shot and eaten by the crew of the Endeavour in 1770. It was recommended to us by Jacki Moore (Slocum Spray Society) as it was her favourite spot in her travels. It became our refuge as we waited out days of very nasty weather.
nasty weather..view from Bustard Head
The next day we were all eager to get off Manatee and stretch our legs, for the furry girls it was the first time on land for days. The strip of beach was gorgeous and at low tide a sand bank that was the size of a football field appeared and became our backyard. Dolphins visited and we kept our eyes open for crocs!
Day 2 saw the wind pick up and of course our headsail flogged and unfurled. The wind increased and it became very nasty on deck as we struggled to fix the problem. We were fighting a losing battle as we didn't have the necessary strength and the halyard was jammed making it impossible to drop the sail. Thoughts of a cottage on a beach were conspicuous!
An inflatable came hurtling across the frothy seas and a couple jumped on deck offering to help- gotta love the generosity of cruisers. Kerry and Lyn had been watching our attempts from "Fayaway" a beautiful Swanson 42. Kerry's muscles couldn't move the furler either, which did make us feel better. We eventually hoisted him up the mast with a knife to cut the halyard, brave man in the wind with the mast swaying. It took the four of us to control the genoa and get it tied down. Hours later they introduced us to cask wine in the comfort of their beautiful saloon...thanks guys!