Tuesday 27th May sunset at Whiting Beach

Wednesday 28th May

Quiet day at Iluka as the northerly blew in but not as strong as expected. Ran the rainforest walk in the morning.

Stopped to chat to Glen and Margaret from Catina a pretty Roger Hill design.

Afternoon drinks with Glen and Margaret and their friends Doug and Jeanette from Reflections another cat of “one off design”.

Thursday 29th May

We were up before Dawn and used first light to manoeuvre out of the anchorage into the Clarence River, picking up the out going tide.

We weren't the only ones. A Hitchhiker cat had left about an hour earlier and we were closely followed out by Catina and Reflections. Magic, a Spirited 380 popped out about 3/4 of an hour later. Race on!

We started with Main and Screecher in the W breeze. This soon backed behind us so we rounded up, dropped the Main and continued on under Spinnaker for the rest of the day. It was a lovely sail with about 12 knots of breeze from the SW.

It took a few hours to overhaul the Hitchhiker which was travelling with a massive masthead Kite and full Main. The other boats slowly dropped almost below the horizon. The Spirited 380 tried hard by tacking downwind, but without a Spinnaker he was handicapped.

We almost blew it by being too far offshore as we approached Cape Byron. We were held back by up to 2 knots of East Australia Current. The Hitchhiker snuck back up on us by hugging the coast.

It was a great days sail so we thought we would use the breeze and keep going on to the Gold Coast. All the other boats pulled into Byron Bay for the night. 15 Nm later the wind had dropped to nothing so we had to motor the rest of the way to the Seaway. As usual the waters around Tweed Heads and Point Danger were like a washing machine and we bounced around like a cork in a bottle.

The bar crossing was calm and we pulled in to anchor off Currigee Camp for the night by 2300.

Friday May 30

Up early for a 6.am start to catch the tide. Decided to take Whaller's Gutter and the track south of Eden Island. It was 3/4 flood tide by the time we reached the shallow section so we thought we'd be ok. No! Damm it! Creeping along gently we hit the bottom and stopped between the first and second green markers. Used the boat hook to feel off the sterns for the deepest water and backed off into deeper water. We continued carefully, noting that there were some extra markers and the electronic charts showed a recommended track on the wrong side of the marks. Combined with murky water making it impossible to see the shallows it was a stressful part of the trip. We breathed a sigh of relief once out of the maze, under the power lines and able to pop the Spinnaker for a gentle waft across Morton Bay up to Newport.

With the motors running all morning we did 2 loads in the washing machine and by the time the Spinnaker was up the boat was draped in laundry.

We arrived off Newport right on low tide. Luckily the channel has been recently dredged so we had at least 2.7 m all the way in.

We enjoyed a warm welcome from our cruising friends from last year, Dave, Isabelle and Yara off Periclees. Little Larnie was very shy but soon thawed out while we enjoyed a BBQ ashore. We were joined by Frank and Nikki who we also met last year in New Cal. Mary and Allan, the owners of my old boat Christmas Beetle, also joined is for a drink. It was a good night and great to catch up with everyone.

Saturday May 31

Up early for a foreshore run to Scarborough.

Coffee with Allan and look over CB.

Allan has had some great times racing her in Morton Bay and is slowly working through the list of jobs on CB but she is getting desperate for a new paint job. There are areas of exposed epoxy now which will soon deteriorate exposed to UV. (You listening Allan?) Inside she still looks beautiful and Allan and Mary have improved the cupboards and storage area as well as installing a second toilet on the Starboard side for the guest cabin.

The tide turned about 1100 so we hopped on the ebb and got sucked out of Morton Bay around the bottom of Bribie Island reaching on a nice southerly. Around the bottom of Bribie and all the way to Maloolabah the sea state turned to shit and the wind was too light behind us to drive us through.

We watched clouds build up behind us so we turned on the radar to see a squall bearing down on us. The Schreecher was quickly furled and just in time as we were hit by torrential remain and gusts over 20 knots. At least it flattened off the sea and drove us along for 1/2 an hour.

 

All passed a bit too soon and we were left wallowing our way under motor to Maloolaba. We arrived at the anchorage just on dusk and found it pretty full. Our first attempt put us too close to other boats so we went outside the designated area for the night.

Sunday June 1st

Up early and off in the dinghy to reconnoiter another spot in the designated anchorage area, in front of all the multi million dollar mansions.

 

Found one so returned to GL and moved out of the harbour area where anchoring is prohibited.

Visited by Oscar off Zenitude a Lagoon cat we had seen in New Cal last year and the crew of Camelot a

Seawind 1160. Noted a beautifully finished Schionning Waterline cat Elipses ( had to Google the name, I thought it was some sort of geometrical term but it turns out to be a fancy word for minimal ) Very clever we thought, must be a retired English teacher. So went and introduced ourselves to Ron and Sue on Elipses and it turns out Ron spray paints boats for a living. As Sue said, their own boat had to be an advertisement for his high work standard; and it was.

Went ashore for a walk around before a lazy afternoon in the sunshine, reading. Then back ashore again to catch up with Rod, Lea's stepson, Kirsty and little Jackson.

Monday 2nd June

Early morning run around to Alexander Head surf club. Another beautiful day.

On a mission after that; up to Kawana to fill up with deisel then back to anchorage, pressure cooked a large chook at its used by date, ashore for lunch with Rod then off to do the shopping. Rod presented Lea with a beautiful bouquet of flowers for her birthday in a few days time and gave me a few bottles of diffenent boutique beers we had talked about the night before, so we did a quick flit back to boat before shopping.

 

All loaded up we left Maloolabah on the end of the ebb tide to reach Double Island Point that night and the Wide Bay Bar first light next day. Again the breeze was good for the first few hours and we sailed hard on the wind just laying the Point. However, the breeze soon died and headed us so motors were on again. At least we topped up the water tanks running the desal unit for 3 hours. Anchored and in bed by midnight. We were not far into the bay so the swell jiggled us about a bit.

Tuesday 3rd June

Up not quite as early as planned but still safely across the WBB by 7.30am. Then motored the whole day up through the Great Sandy Straits to Moon Point. By 1500 we were settled in for evening enjoying a couple of beers in the warm afternoon sun and glassy calm conditions. Nice and quiet without the motor on.

Wednesday 4 th June

Headed out from Moon Point anchorage before dawn. Trade winds look good for a few day now so we will see hoe far they will take us. May stop at Lady Musgrave. Spinnaker was up by 0700 and as I write this we are enjoying a quiet sail. All action for a while as we had 2 strikes on the fishing lure. Lost the first one but the 2nd felt bigger.

Nice fish! Bled, cleaned and in the fridge.

Lea has prepared some for sashimi for morning tea so got to go.

 

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