Wednesday, 15 August 2012


89 NM;

Monday the 13th blew about 15 to 20 kts, and the seas were settling from 3 to 2  M, so we decided to wait a day and leave early Tuesday 15th,

Ray and Capt. Barry spent an hour with John,  the next berth occupant and  owner of a Perry 57 sail catamaran , who  takes his boat north into the  the Coral Sea and Islands north of the Whitsundays every year for about 4 months. John had some of the latest way points and some very practicable  advice about where to visit and made some suggestions about the sequence of the visits. John also commented  that one is likely to get bored at Hamilton Island if staying for too long, and if we had three months up that way, perhaps Julie and I should consider staying a couple of weeks only at Hamilton , then continuing north to Townsville , Hinchinbrook and the more northern Islands ( that he and some regulars think are more beautiful and relatively untouched ), and then come back to Hamilton Island for a week or so of R & R  , when it gets hot up north, as part of the journey home.

We  think we will give this advice  some serious consideration , as that way we get to see a lot more , and that is the purpose of the trip. After all,it is a long way to come, just to see Hamilton Island and selected parts of the Whitsundays twenty times over a three month period.

This may mean less family and visitors joining us on LAST WORD  up north, and we will need to consider this as well.

The rest of Monday was spent shopping and reading news papers and preparing routes and options for the next ten days or so , heading towards Airlie Beach or Mackay, where we plan to leave LAST WORD  for a week or so, as Julie and capt Barry are due in Sydney for about a week towards the end of August.

The tide at Southport Tuesday morning is not that relevant to us as it is reasonably deep and wide , and the seas there are ok at present. It is  more important to check the tide, wind and sea conditions at Mooloolaba, ie  we need to work out what time we need to arrive at the entrance to Mooloolaba.

Due to a recent build up of a sand bar at the entrance to the Mooloolaba entrance , it has recently been classified as a bar entrance, with warnings to give the entrance from the south a wide berth, ie enter as if approaching from the north.

We look up the tide charts and discover it will be a 1.7 m high tide at Mooloolaba at  6.16pm, so we calculate that if we take approx. 8 and a 1/2 hours to do the nearly 90 NM, we can cross the bar at about 4.30 pm and proceed up the Mooloolaba River about 2 NM and take a berth at the Wharf Marina ( which John recommended as it is closer to town and more friendly ) or we can  anchor for the night before dark in the channel.

We were up by 6.45am and Graeme Barker met us for the last time with some essential provisions (eg milk throffer for the coffee for Ray ), and we left the berth at 7.35am and motored to the fuel wharf at Mariners Cove ( 400m south ) and took on 1,000 liters ($1.55 per L)  and were under way again just after 8.00am and through the seaway at 8.20am.
leaving Southport

The seaway was relatively calm, but  busy with several boats coming and going  , some people in boats anchored and  fishing (in the seaway believe it or not ) , and at least two kids on boogy boards crossing from the south rocks to ride waves on the northern side. We passed by the two kids about 10 to 15 m away , and they were hard to see looking into the sun, and rear Admiral Julie told them so as we passed by.
looking north from our berth towards the seaway
as LAST WORD slips through the Southport seaway, Graeme is there to say good bye and snap a pic.

departing Southport. See if you can see the two boogie board riders  in the water in the sun patch, ( they are just black specs).
Southport seaway is good to cross, with just a bit of turbulence to the left as we depart.

We were only about 400m outside the seaway when  4 waves between  2 to 3 m materialised from no where, and Capt Barry ordered everyone to hang on and sit down if possible.
Thank heavens breakfast had been cleared away, but the main fridge door had not been locked and did fly open as we went down the back of one trough and slowed quickly  at the bottom. No damage thank heavens.

The usual weather variations were given by Buoyweather and BOM .
Buoyweather predicted 1 m seas 10 secs apart with 10 knt winds from the WSW in the morning and 4 kts from thr NNE in the afternoon.
BOM predicted seas 1.2M with a SE 1.5 to 2 m swell and SE winds of 10 to 15 kts.

We made passage at about 1220 rpm with the usual speed runs every 90 mins or so ( between 2250 and 1850 rpm )  , and saw 15 whales and several pods of dolphins on route. Some of the dolphins stayed to play with LAST WORD  for several minutes, swimming around the bow.
this fellow swam with LAST WORD  for several miles . The water was so oily and calm that you could see him smiling and the reflection of LAST WORD  ( and the crew leaning over the rail )
a whale just going  about his business

We passed Cape Moreton ( between the shore and several shoals ) at 2.00pm (where there were many whale sightings ) and were off the Glasshouse Mountains at 3.00pm.
Cape Moreton
Glasshouse Mountains ( between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast )
There were parts of the passage where there was quite a large swell. Even the 650 foot tankers and cargo/bulk carriers we passed off Caloundra had a decent side roll going on, with the sides of one tanker goi g up and down about ten feet.

this bulk carrier was rolling so much that the white patch on the starboard side ( which we estimated to be at least  2 m in height , - see  approx 3/4 of the way towards the stern ) , would disappear under water.

During the passage Capt Barry shot temperatures in the engine room several times , read the papers ( electronic format ) , checked out the stock market and marked up the charts and chatted away the time. Capt Ray plotted some routes for the days ahead and blewa few ZZZZZdddss down stairs , and the girls read their books , and beaded as well as making lunch and other snacks on route.
the ladies reading books as LAST WORD  makes passage at 16 kts

On approach to Mooloolaba Capt. Barry telephoned the Wharf Marina and checked out berth availability and pricing ( $82 per night plus extra for 3 phase power )  and then radioed VMR Mooloolaba for a bar crossing /entrance report, which was ok.

entrance to Mooloolaba River

LAST WORD  crossed the bar and entered the river ( which is quite narrow )  at 4.30pm, as planned , and  proceeded up  river about 2 NM , past the various marinas and the crew elected to anchor in the channnel.
inside the entrance to Mooloolaba , and looking back outside

Whilst the channel was reasonably well populated with vessels , we found a spot for LAST WORD,  in about 3.5 m of water and ( Maggie and Julie )  anchored with 20m of chain, as only  light winds were  expected ( and space was tight).

We all commented that the river front at Mooloolaba reminded us of Sylvania Waters, with its waterfront homes,pontoons and  boats, ie lots of glass and tizz.

are we at Sylvania Waters or Mooloolaba?

While the others freshened up, Capt Barry checked the engine room etc , and then we all enjoyed happy hour , discussed the next days plans ,  then Ray and Maggie cooked a superb spicy  chicken dish.

Happy hour in the dimming light 

We all retired early , after watching part of a movie which we all voted a dud and turned off half way through.

Trip , ( including 1 hour of idle engine time ) took 8.95 hours using 614 liters , averaging 68 l/h total and 10 kts.

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