Friday, 16 November 2012

SEGMENT 49: Pancake Creek to Bundaberg

SEGMENT 49:  Pancake Creek to Bundaberg
Sat. 10 Nov 2012:    70 NM.

Capt Barry and crewman Phil enjoyed a very quiet , restful nights sleep, and Capt Barry was up at 5.30 am, and Phil at 6.00am.

As the batteries were at 64% and we had decided on a good breakfast , Capt Barry started  the generator   and  the water maker,  the latter mainly to keep a good load on the generator.

It was a great morning.

Capt Barry enjoying the view from the fly bridge.

Capt Barry carried out the usual weather checks  , and confirmed with crewman Phil that he would like to get under way about 7.15 am , on the early run out tide, which by then would be about 2.0 m , before the NE wind and developing easterly  swell made the waves stand up when exiting the creek entrance.

As usual the BOM and Buoyweather sites were different on he weather predictions, but neither suggested trouble. BOM suggested 15 kt winds and 1.2 to 1.7m seas,  and Buoyweather 0.7 m seas from the E at 8 seconds and 6 to 9 kt winds from the NE.

Capt Barry noted that a southerly blow and storm was predicted for later that evening , and discussed whether to chance a run out to Lady Musgrave ( about 40 NM south east ) for a stop over for a few hours then proceed to Bundaberg ( about 51 NM ) , or just to head for Bundaberg (71 NM ) , and not chance getting caught in the blow if it arrived early. The difference was 7 hours for the direct passage versus  12 hours for the stopover at Lady Musgrave for a sightsee and swim.

As much as Capt Barry would  liked to have taken crewman Phil to Lady Musgrave, a truly idyllic coral lagoon with a cay (island ) ,we opted for the safer choice , and decided to head straight for Bundaberg.

Capt Barry had a surprise for crewman Phil, and said we were having pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast , and crewman Phil was cooking, up on the flying bridge.

After all we were at Pancake Creek, 

Crewman Phil set about the task with energy , put the electric fry pan on,  shook the ready made pancake mix and poured several pancakes.

crewman Phil ready to cook pancakes

Well,   Capt Barry took one look at the pancakes , and commented........they look a tad small Phil..... more like biscuits.   Phil responded that he did not sign on as the cook , but would make them bigger next serving.

they are a better size

We enjoyed the pancakes and coffee then cleaned up and lifted anchor at 7.15 am and were soon under way, making our way past the several anchored vessels also seeking refuge in the Creek overnight.

At 8.15 am Capt Barry logged on with VMR Round Hill ch 81/82 , then telephoned Bundaberg Harbour Marina and confirmed LAST WORD's booking for three nights. The marina was full , with boats from Vanuatu to Bundaberg rally, but the marina manager  said they would try to squeeze in LAST WORD , probably on the fuel wharf.

The seas were about 0.8m with a small 1 m swell and the winds were light, so we had a great passage.

Three hours out from Bundaberg , Capt Barry gave the order to slow the boat to idle and we trolled for about 30 mins , without success,

After that crewman Phil was left in charge of the helm, now being very proficient with the electronic equipment and setting way points  etc, while  Capt Barry blogged , sent emails and made some calls , trying to organise the  replacement stabilizer fin for LAST WORD.

LAST WORD  arrived  at the mouth of the Burnett River at 2.15 pm and we entered and proceeded directly to the fuel wharf, and took on 1850 L at $1.49.

As the marina was chock a block with boats , we were told to stay on the fuel wharf or the night , and they would berth LAST WORD   somewhere else in the morning. So Capt Barry and crewman Phil spent some time settling LAST WORD  in for the night , ie getting the ropes right , and binding the rusting bollards in rags and putting hoses around LAST WORD's ropes , so they would not fret on the rough bollards in the predicted winds , and fiddling with the busted power receptor.

We had just finished bedding down LAST WORD when the marina assistant reappeared and told us LAST WORD could not spend the night on the fuel wharf , for safety reasons, and we would have to move LAST WORD, back,  closer to the land , on the connecting wharf, between the fuel wharf and the fuel tanks.

Capt Barry and crewman Phil just looked at each other and laughed . SAFER........NOT SO SURE ABOUT  THAT.

Capt Barry then asked the depth of the berth closer to the land , and was assured there was plenty of water as a fishing vessel with a 3 M draft used to berth there without issue.

Capt Barry was immediately wary of this info, and refused to move LAST WORD back until he could determine the depth of water, as Capt Barry was not going to allow LAST WORD  to sit on the bottom or have her props in the mud at low tide,  over the next several days.

Capt Barry contemplated launching the larger tender , which has a depth sounder to determine the depth. However,  after discussion with crewman Phil,  Capt Barry  decided he  would give option  two a go first. So  we  grabbed the two long boat  hooks and extended each of them to its full extension of 11 feet, then overlapped them about two feet and  gaffer taped them together to make a long pole ( approx 19 feet ) to probe the depth where  LAST WORD's props would sit.

Capt Barry probing the depths before moving LAST WORD  all the way back

After probing the depth,  Capt Barry checked the low tides for the next three days , and determined there would be about 200 mm of water under the props. As the  lowest low tide was a  0.2 m tide , and it  occurred about 2.00 am, a time of relative calm , and as LAST WORD  was fairly well protected in the berth from winds and passing boat traffic, Capt Barry decided to risk the berth.

Whilst Capt Barry considered putting LAST WORD on anchor for several days, due to the dickey shallow berth, , he decided it was to  inconvenient, given the blow coming , and the comings and goings with re provisioning LAST WORD's   food supplies, Phil abandoning LAST WORD the next day, Sunday , to return home   , and the arrival of LAST WORD's new crew ,  Monday evening.

So, Capt Barry and crewman Phil moved LAST WORD  back to the connecting wharf and repeated the procedure of protecting the ropes and plugging  in to the power etc.

LAST WORD berth on the extension wharf to the fuel wharf, amongst the fishing fleet

LAST WORD  was in the middle of the local fishing fleet , and we slept with our windows closed on the port side due to the noise one of the boats made running its fans.

The berthing fee was $92 per night and $33 per day for 3 phase power. Capt Barry declined the 3 phase power and made do with the twin 15 amp plug ins, which is fine for  managed / normal power loads and air conditioning, if needed.

looking across the main marina berths

LAST WORD all alone at night

Capt Barry and crewman Phil washed down LAST WORD ,  as LAST WORD  would be there for three days, tried the TV ( which almost had a good enough signal) , and made dinner. Due to Capt Barry's big breakfast,  baked beans, out of the can,  was fine for him.

That evening it drizzled  rain for an hour or two, and that is Capt Barry's first real rain ( other than small overnight sprinkles ) since leaving Sydney in mid July.

After dinner we watched a DVD , then checked the accuracy of our depth measurement , by probing the depth at the then low tide , and determined we had calculated correctly, as LAST WORD had about 0.5 of a m  to spare in a 0.5 m low  tide.

The next day, Capt Barry and crewman Phil walked the 30 mins to the local IGA store and bought supplies for the next several passages south , and wine and beer.

the path along the waters edge to the IGA store

botanist Phil

the other local marina , closer to the river mouth,  much smaller, and in shallow water.

the smaller marina

a reminder of the family at home

a typical local house , built up in the low lying land

another typical house, plus boat. Presumably the owner is working on the boat or uses it as additional accommodation , or both

the new IGA store

The local IGA proprietor drove us back to the Marina, and we packed away the supplies , then Capt Barry changed and washed the bed linen , towels and miscellaneous laundry , and we gave LAST WORD  a spring clean for the change over crew.

crewman Phil waiting to load the van  for a lift back to the marina.

We tried unsuccessfully to rent a car to explore Bundaberg and so Capt Barry could drive Phil to the airport that afternoon , but they were all let to the participants in the Vanuatu to Bundaberg rally.

The wind built from the south , about 20 to 30 kts and blew for the next several days.
LAST WORD was fairly well protected out the front of the fish co-op, so it was quite a pleasant layover for Capt Barry.

this is the hard stand area across the road from the marina. Note the howling wind.

Crewman Phil packed his gear ready for his journey home , and as he disembarked  LAST WORD  for the final time , he became mere mortal Phil , and lost his honourable crewman status.

Capt Barry walked with mere mortal Phil to the marina entrance to wait for the taxi, where we said our good byes, in the blustering wind , and Capt Barry contemplated the challenges of breaking an another new crew.

waiting for the taxi, in the building wind

Phil loading his gear into the cab for the journey to the airport homeward bound.

TRIP : 70 NM:  6.95 HRS:   340 L :   AV 10.1 KTS and 48.5 L/HR

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