Tuesday 24th September

Customs and Immigration Dealt with and exorbitant fees paid we headed back to the boats. Rain had stopped but still blowy. Started preparing the boat for sea. Went aboard Miami and enjoyed a bottle of their home brew as we said our goodbyes.

We then moved across to Colin's mooring then dinghied down to the Aore Island Resort for dinner. We were joined by Jordan and Judy from “Sea Turtle” all the way from Canada. Wind dropped out and we had a calm night.

Wednesday 25th September.

Up early. Checked the latest forecast- all good.

Pulled down the Schreecher to check out some de lamination. It was worse than we thought with the glue on the seams near the luff letting go but we patched it up as well as we could with Kevlar self adhesive repair tape.

Then set up the hookah for a dive to clean the props and hulls. Got away at 8.30am catching the last of the flood tide out of the Chanel.

Motors were soon off as the breeze built to the forecast 16-18 knot SE. It was a great trade wind sail doing 300 Nm in 36 hours without stress or being over pressed. Most of the time we carried a double reefed Main but pulled out a reef during daylight hours. I went forward early Thursday morning in bare feet to free a line and slipped on the deck. a nasty fall resulting in badly bruised ribs. Deck shoes have been pulled out of storage and worn since.

We arrived at Huon Reef at 9.30 pm much earlier than we expected so we carefully crept into the anchorage in the dark and anchored in 6 metres.

27th September 2013

Woke up to a stunning vista, lots of amorous turtles and thousands of nesting birds

We were soon ashore to explore but the birds freaked Lea out so she stayed with the dinghy.

While I went off for a walk.

Checking out Turtles and Booby Birds

 

 

Like a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock movie

But the chicks were really cute

Back on board we had a big late lunch and rested before our 5.30 pm departure. We didn't want to arrive at Chesterfield Reef in the dark.

We had a nice breeze (17knots) but more easterly than before so we changed to Screecher only before sunset.

28th September 2013

A comfortable night with the Screecher and a late 1/3 moon. Daylight revealed that the Screecher seams had parted so it was furled away and we were back to Main and Genoa.

A nice fast sail through the day even though we were trying not to go too fast and arrive at Chesterfield in the dark. Our rhumb line on the chart went straight through “Sandy Island” just east of Chesterfield. We were suspicious that it didn't even exist but we deviated around it anyway. We passed close but nothing showed up on radar. Our C-Maps backup system doesn't show the island at all.

Sunday 29th September.

By 2.00am the breeze had dropped out and we motored the last 40 Nm to Chesterfield. Arrived at the anchorage area in lovely sunshine and a light breeze.

The water was a gorgeous aquamarine. We had caught a small slimy mackerel on the way into the reef and enjoyed a lovely lunch of fresh fish and a bottle of good Australian White wine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early to bed for a big sleep.

Monday 30th September.

We were at the southern exit by 7.00am. By 7.10am we were through and had the spinnaker up. Great run all day with steady wind so we elected to break our rule again and keep the kite up after dark. Typically as soon as it was dark the wind picked up over 20knots so we changed over to single reefed Main and Genoa for the rest of the night. 205 NM in 24 hours.

Tuesday 1st October 2013

Back to Spinnaker by mid morning. The breeze slowly eased all day so by 7.00pm we were under 1 motor after 285 Nm of good sailing.

Wednesday 2nd October 2013

Motored all night but the breeze came back early morning so Main and Genoa went back out. As the breeze backed to the NE we changed to kite. We were romping along when the Australian Customs plane buzzed us and called on the VHF. It's a shame we couldn't get pictures from them as GL would have looked good from the air.

We entered Hervey Bay and changed to Main and Genoa again as the wind freshened and moved to the NW. It seemed to take forever to get across the bay and we didn't get mobile phone service back until within 20 Nm of Bundeberg. The breeze picked up on dark and the sea state was horrid so we dropped the Main and continued slowly under Genoa. Lea put up the yellow quarantine flag.

Finally entered the Burnett River leads in a washing machine sea and eventually got to the anchorage only to find it full of other boats and barges. With 20 knots blowing from the N and the E river current to deal with as well, it was a tough job to get anchored. Finally got it sorted after much yelling and settled down for a celebratory drink just before midnight. We were tired but not exhausted. Our 2 hour watches had worked well and we had got some sleep. Overall it was a great trip and the weather gods had been very kind to us.

Thursday 3rd October

Up early to monitor the tide change and see where we swung. Contacted VMR Bundeberg and they let Customs and the Marina know we were in and seeking Clearance. 8.20 am call from Port Marina to advise us that a berth was available for us and Quarantine and Customs would be waiting.

Up anchor and upstream 200 metres to the marina. They had kindly given us a berth easy to get into given that we still had 20-25 knots blowing from the north. The officials came aboard, did their stuff and left us officially back in Australia.

 

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