Mooloolaba to Fraser Island
15 August 2012, 63 NM.
As the leg from Mooloolaba to Fraser Island is only 55 NM ( plus the distance we decide to progress up the Great Sandy Strait , approx 8 NM ) Captains Barry and Ray ( Gent ) decide that the best time to cross Wide Bay Bar is about 4.30pm. this decision is based on the knowledge that it is high tide ( 2.2m ) at Elbow Point (which is the tide reference for the southern tip of Fraser Island ( Wide Bay Bar ) ) at 7.23pm , and we do not want to cross the bar in the dark, but want to cross as close to high tide ( for slack water ) as practicable , but with enough time to still have light to navigate about 1 hour north , past Tin Can Bay, up the Great Sandy Strait , and look for an anchorage for the night .
Working backwards , we calculate about 7 hours for the passage of 65NM , and decide that a departure time of 10.30 to 11.00am will be about right.
To fill in some time, we launch the bigger tender ( JABN ) at 8.15am, so the ladies can go shopping , whilst the Capts ( Barry and Ray ) explore the immediate area .
|wharf marina ( the second marina inside the entrance bar|
|looking across the marina|
|a Watson called Big Bud from Georgetown (we are reliably informed by a Watsonfanatic (Phil ) that she is 72 feet long|
After about 45 mins of exploration the boys decide to moor the tender and go for a walk, and assist the ladies with the grocery shopping.
|picking up a takeaway coffee on the way back to LAST WORD . The ladies use the NANNY trolley and two back packs .|
Ray inquires at the pub whether we can leave the tender tied up there for about 20 mins as it seems to us a slow morning and nothing happening there at that time , but they are most unhelpful , and flat out refuse, even though the pontoon is about 30m long and all but empty.
An inquiry next door proves more positive, so we park the tender next to the local whale watching boat and set off in search of the ladies.
After assisting the ladies with the shopping we are all back at LAST WORD and the tender is stowed by 10.15am and we lift anchor and set off for Wide Bay Bar at 10.35AM.
|off we go, into the wide blue yonder once again|
As we exit the bar there is a fishing trawler entering , and as we have the right of way, the trawler skipper stands off until we clear the entrance bar.
|leaving the Mooloolaba River|
The various weather predictors give the usual reports and we are expecting 1 to 2 m seas and variable winds between 10 and 20 kts.
After exiting the bar we log on with VMR Mooloolaba , reporting an ETA for Wide Bay Bar of 4.30pm.
We sit on between 8.8 and 10 kts ( 1200 rpm ) with the usual speed runs ( 2200 to 1850 rpm ) for 10 to 15 mins every 90 mins or so to clear the engines, and are off Noosa Point at 12.30pm, and Cooloola Beach at 2.30pm.
There were many whale and dolphin sightings along the way.
|a whale waving LAST WORD on its way north|
|we were all having a little kip along the way ( just joking ) when this whale lept out of the sea calling ....." JULIE....LOOK AT ME..."|
|Julie .... do you think this necklace is big enough?|
We checked with the VMR at Tin Can Bay for bar crossing conditions before entering the bar and were told it was ok to cross. The crossing proved uneventful, and we proceeded about an hour north up the Great Sandy Strait, and anchored just north of Brown's Gutter.
|the turbulent waters of Wide Bay Bar, and it is well behaved today|
We selected a suitable anchorage , and Capt. Barry nearly ran LAST WORD aground, checking out the immediately surrounding depths as the bottom rose from 7 meters to about 1.8m in a matter of seconds about 150 m off shore. Capt Barry had to engage reverse in a hurray, when "0.0" registered under the boat.
Capt. Barry backed off about 50 m and put down 28m of chain in 5 m of water.
It was a timely reminder that the depths are all over the place and shallow areas are every where, and the bottom can rise extraordinarily quickly. In some places the depth sounder showed the bottom as a series of saw tooth ridges about 5 m apart , with 3 to 4 m between the tips and bottom of the high and low ridges.
After setting the anchor , Capt Barry inspected the engine room , and we gave LAST WORD a quick hose down , enjoyed a few drinks as the sun set , cooked a fabulous dinner and watched a DVD.
|the sun slowly sets|
|the wind kept up a steady 5 to 7 kts after dinner well into the night|
|a massive dish of pasta and veggies with plenty of pine nuts and citrus flavours (next to the fresh fruit bowls )|
The trip was approx 63 NM , took 6.9 hours and used 215 liters , averaging 54 l/hour total and 9.13 kts.