Saturday, 18 August 2012

segment 11: Great Sandy Strait to Bundaberg / Burnett River

THURSDAY  16TH  2012
We woke to a lovely sunny day with a light fresh wind which resulted in a slight chop of 200 to 300 mm.
Unfortunately, Buoyweather is predicting  NW winds 10 to 15 kts , and BOM alaso says winds from the NW, but 15 to 20 kts in the afternoon, so we decide that making for Rooney Point ( where we planned to stay the night) might be a little too exposed. Instead we decide to activate PLAN B , and head for Bundaberg.

We check the tides for arrival at Bundaberg , even though it is a deep water approach, with channel markers that stretch about 6 NM out to sea from the Burnett River entrance, and it will be a 0.6m low tide a 1.27 pm , ie rising when we plan to enter at about 4.00pm.

We lift the anchor at 7.35am ( light mud on the anchor itself ) and get under way, at 800 rpm doing 8 plus knots as we have the tide with us for an hour or so.

We decided to enjoy a light breaky of fruit after getting under way, and as we ate we watched a sailing cat cross our bow left to right and suddenly stop,  as the skipper must have realised that he was crossing a shallow patch where the bottom rises quickly which  obviously surprised him.

Maggie  , our missing crew member , appeared from down below about 7.45 am, just in time to supervise the feeding of the crew.
We passed Reef Island  one hour into our passage, and Tooth Island an hour later, and were a little expectant for the next hour or so , as we passed north of Moonboom Islands and approached Turkey Island, as we knew  the bottom would  come up to meet us with perhaps only a meter or so to spare under the props in places, assuming we stuck to the deeper channels.

Reef Island
Dream Island

Tooth Island

Due to  some recent weather conditions , there were some temporary markers in situ that we had to trust and ignore the deeper sections marked on the charts.

This is a typical screen view of the Great Sandy Strait. Remember that the Green bits are under water , and become exposed (or dry as they say in the charts ) at certain low tides. In other words the bits that are blue and green on the screen are all water when viewed from the helm of the vessel making passage. No wander people run aground.

Once we passed Sheridan Flats we knew we were over the worst of the shallow areas and increased speed a little as we had passed the half way mark and picked up  a ride on the outgoing tide.

Ray had a telephone board meeting in the afternoon and Capt Barry managed to print his board papers so Ray could reread them and mark up the more important issues for the telephone conference call.

As we negotiated  the Great Sandy Strait, we passed several other vessels, including a Riv 43 doing about 15 to20 kts and oblivious to every other vessels comfort.

no whales, but we did see a turtle
this pic shows the typical sand slide. Fraser Island is the worlds largest sand island.
this pic shows the location of  LAST WORD. We had just negotiated the shallow areas between Moonboom Islands and Turkey Island , and just after  passing Sheridan Flats. Again the green areas are under water  (some only just ) as we navigated the channels.
the Kingfisher Bay ferry
Duck Island
I cannot remember the name of this island. Of course the sand areas are under water at anytime other than less than 1/4 tide. I am sure I would recall the name of the island had we run aground. 

Capt Barry telephoned the Bundaberg Port Maria and booked a berth ( $92 per night )  and negotiated a rate for diesel, at $1.43 per L .
Once we cleared the Great Sandy Strait we did several speed runs for 10 to 15 mins each, mainly to blow out the engines ( that had been basically idling for several hours ) , and to ensure we arrived at the Burnett River entrance about 4.00pm so  we could get fuel before berthing.

leaving the northern entrance to the Great Sandy Strait behind as we hit 22 knots  during one of our speed  runs to clear the engines of several hours of just above idle revs.
where did that darn dolphin go Maggie?

We picked up te channel leads several miles out and entered the river at 4.10pm , and moored along side the fuel wharf about 7 mins later . LAST WORD  took 1269 L , then we motored around to the end of the F marina arm , where the two Capts ( Barry and  Ray ) hosed down LAST WORD  asnd we plugged into power.
We enjoyed  few drinks , planned the next several days trips ( and weather related alternatives ) then cooked a magnificent meal  lamb backstap BBQ’d , baked veggies  ( cumin flavoured cauliflower and broccoli ).


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