Seaka's Voyage to Queensland.

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Seaka's been aground again!

Postby Phillip » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:30 am

Airlie beach.
So, in Gulnare Inlet on the eight day we weighed anchor at 0900 and set sail for Airlie Beach. As we left the shelter of Fitzalan Passage at 0930 we saw a 40 foot hire yacht bouncing around out in the Whitsunday Passage. Well, we had to expect that as the wind was against the tide. It took us 1.5 hours to cross to Mid Molle Island and the Unsafe Passage. Just after passing through we crossed paths with one of the landing barges that are the work horses on the coast. At 1200 we were on the radio to the Able Point Marina for our berth number and by 1300 we had tied up in this very tight marina. But the real shock came when I went to pay and that cost was $60 per night. We are only staying one night! Mind you, when we compare this marina with others we have been in it certainly does not rank up there with the best of them.
I immediately got the power on and started charging the batteries. Decided I would try and do the shopping today and had just brought back some ice before catching the bus to the shopping centre when I spotted Terry Green [our mechanic from Kew]. Terry and his family have a cat for 10 days. Terry brought a couple of beer over to Seaka later and we had a good old chat
Have done one load of washing tonight and will do another tomorrow morning. Then it’s a cleanup, full the water tank and then refueling on our way out. We should have enough food etc for 14 days, longer if we catch some fish!
Today we did 17.5nm in 4 hours with n average speed of 4.3 knots. Top speed 7.1 knots.
If we get away in time tomorrow I will go over to Nara Inlet on Hook Island.
Phillip.

20 15.82’S: 148 42.71’E

Airlie Beech and Blue Pearl Bay. 3/7
Up early and did the other load of washing, but missed a couple of items which will have to be hand washed on the next fine day. Now have all batteries recharged. Was rung about 1030 asking if I was leaving or extending? I said “No” and booked a place at the fuel pump, when you are ready was the reply. So much for, “We are always so busy”. I rang Derek on Silver Lady in Nara Inlet, he said it’s raining there so decided to head for Pear Blue Bay on Hayman Island. On the trip across I could see that it was raining and it stayed that way all day. So in beautiful flat conditions, compared to Friday, we motor sailed for 17.22nm over 4 hours. At Blue Pearl Bay we picked up our first National Parks mooring. The mooring rope was 100mm diameter which would have held a ship. We had no sooner got settled when a ship did turn up and anchor just to our west. They then turned on the boom boxes till about 11pm when they collapsed. No staying power in today’s youth!
In the morning had a ½ hour dive courtesy of Terry Green who came over in his ridged inflatable and took me over to the reef. After that I motored off around to butterfly Bay.
Phillip
20 03.00’S: 148 52.50’E
Butterfly Bay. 4/7
After the dive at Blue Pear bay I had a quick shower and at 0940 we were underway. This was only a 4.8nm voyage and we took a mooring inside the bay just over an hour later. I then went for a snorkel and found some stag-horn coral, the best I was to see. After cleaning up I re-established the bimini. Tomorrow we go to Bait Reef some 18nm away. I eventually set the alarm for 0530.
Phillip.
20 04.41’S: 148 55.52’E
Bait Reef. 5/7
Today we had a few new encounters!
We were under way by 0600 and once clear of the bay and anchored yachts raised the main sail and Yankee. Took me about 4nm to work out the tidal drift and the compensation required. There was no wind and eventually took the sails down some 2 hours before Bait Reef. We had a lure out and while we did see some fish, black kingies I think, we did not get any strikes. The sea was very flat and would become mirror like by 1500.
At around 1000 we were approaching the Stepping Stones behind which are the moorings. [It’s a total no anchoring area.] I got on the radio to ask the yachts present in the lagoon for advice on how to get in as none of the aids mention in the ‘100 magic Miles’ could be seen. ‘Windswift’, a cat, said they would be leaving in about 10 minutes and would show the way in as they left. While waiting for them a pod of whales turn up, one of many I would see and hear over the next two days.
Now as Windswift came out I heard “……… the swirly patches”. This I took as to avoid them. Now I had a few things against me. First time entering a coral reef, no lookout, no navigation aids [Cyclone Yasi saw to that.] and directions from a shallow draft cat using a short cut. So as I approached the sounder went from 60m to nothing and then there was a horrible crunching noise!
Yep, Seaka and I were aground on one of the Stepping Stones! Lat 19° 48.64’S: Long 149° 03.78’E.
As I realized what was happening I went into reverse and swung hard to port where I could see deeper water. We thus ended up with the full keel sitting on the bottom and Seaka would not budge, despite full throttle and me trying to sway Seaka over at the stays in the hope of coming off. Luck always comes along and today it came in the form of Simon from ‘Goodonya’ and with his additional weight and a little help from the rising tide and the odd wave we had Seaka off after a tense 15 minutes. Simon then guided us through the Stepping Stones, but the drama was not over. See Simon was with Julie and his daughter and they could not start the outboard on their inflatable dinghy. So Simon guided us out, we tied them on behind Seaka and Simon guided us back in again. So at this stage I’ve done three trips through the Stepping Stones and not one of them through the officially recommended opening! Simon then helped me moor up and after they left I checked the bilge, which was OK and then leaped into the water to view the damage underneath the keel. Well we have scratches, how else can I put it, along the full length of the keel and a few on the bottom of the rudder. The bow at the keel is a bit battered on the gel coat but otherwise OK. Oh, there is no antifouling on the bottom of the keel. I think we got off very lightly and when I found the spot where we went up there was very little damage to the reef. Under the fancy bits on top, the reef is solid coral and it would take more than Seaka’s size to damage it. In fact if I had been seconds quicker we probably would have bounced a bit but would have come straight off. Such is the luck of the draw!
My thanks to Geoff Baker for building such a solid yacht.
After lunch, and time to draw my breath, I inflated the dinghy and went for a snorkel, during which I found the grounding site. Oh forgot to mention for those that go fishing, we have two 1m long plus GT’s swimming around Seaka. No fishing allowed at Bait Reef, so forget it!
Back at Seaka for a rest and warm up before going for another snorkel, this time at the correct entrance, so I now have an underwater picture of where I should enter and leave. Most of the coral is very small and the rubble in the gutters suggests that there was a lot of stag-horn coral here before Cyclone Yasi. One of the other encounters today was hearing whales singing while snorkeling.
Two large dive boats moored up alongside Seaka this evening.
Phillip.
19 48.72’S: 149 03.86’E

The 6th July, Day One of the Return Voyage.
So today, exactly 3 months to the day, our return voyage will begin.
Went for a snorkel and when I returned one of the dive boat operators motored over in his dinghy and we had a chat. He said the 10m waves had gone through this area during Cyclone Yasi, hence all the damaged coral. He mentioned that I should dive at the Manta Ray mooring as it has better coral. So when I had all the gear stowed, except the dinghy which we will tow for the first time due to the very, very flat conditions, we motored out the correct entrance without incident around to the Manta ray mooring. On the way round one of the yachts dinghy had an encounter with two whales, one of which lifted his entire head out to have a look at them. There are pods of whales everywhere.
At the manta Ray mooring I quickly got in and found the best visibility yet but of course the water was deeper and would have made a beaut scuba dive.
At 1020 we were underway for Hook Island. With all the whale pods around I made no effort to approach any of the pods seen in the distance, but looking back maybe I should have. We only came across two whales, soon after leaving the reef, one of which appeared to be dead. It wasn’t breathing anyway! The only other thing of interest today was a sea snake with a bloated stomach.
As we approach Hook Island I look at our alternatives and decided that because of the flat conditions we should visit Whitehaven Beach tomorrow. So we headed for Cateran Bay on the north side of Border Island. We did 21.25nm today over 5 hours at an average speed of 4.2 knots. Today was hot and sunny, probably the best day yet.
Phillip.
20 09.30’S: 149 02.06’E

Whitehaven Beach. 7/7
We were underway by 0800 and motored [no wind] the 5nm to Whitehaven Beach. We anchored at the northern end to start with. First job today was to sort out the Starbord locker in the cockpit. A heap of unused rope was ferreted away in the forward bilge. This now means that we only have stuff we use on a regular basis in the locker. Before lunch I made a visit to the beach and took some photographs. See the Photo Gallery. After lunch I jumped in the water and gave the hull a clean down to remove all the marks the mooring buoys make when they bang against the hull. I also took the chance to wipe off the fur on the hull, so we should be faster now. After having a fresh water shower I moved to the southern end of the beach where Goodonya [our savior from Bait Reef] is anchored. I will visit them in the morning.
Phillip.
20 17.44’S: 149 02.93’E

Cid Harbour. 8/7
This morning the black mould got the better of me so it was all hands to clean down the inside of Seaka using sugar soap. This was soon completed, looks a heap better, and by 1000 we were underway for Cid Harbour. The tide had changed to a flood tide so with only the Yankee sail we ripped out through Solway Passage at around 6 knots into a SSE wind of around 12 knots and 1.5m seas. This meant getting into sailing gear and punching across to Hamilton Island. Because of the wind I decided it would be easier to go through the Fitzalan Passage, rather than go around Hamilton Island, even if we had to go against the flood tide. So by the time we passed between Fitzalan and Hamilton Islands the current was up to 3-4 knots, which meant a slow bumpy passage. At about now the phone went mad as we have had no reception since leaving Airlie Beach.
Our last hurdle was to get into Hunt Channel, between Cid and Whitsunday Islands, with the flood tide going full bore against us. We were down to 2 knots at one stage with the little old Nanni going full throttle. We also had the dinghy on behind, with the bung in mind you, and it was taking the odd bit of water over the side and getting heavier. After about 15 minutes we force our way into Hunt Channel and motored up to Cid Harbour. Initially I anchored halfway between Sawmill Bay and Hughes Point but soon moved closer up into behind Hughes Point to get out of the swell generated in even that short distance.
In the bay is that Cat that has a New Zealand flag flying [Fist saw them at Pear Bay] so went over to swap some books. Had a very nice chat with Martin and his wife and got the book ‘Crossing the Ditch’ to read.
Phillip.
20 15.89’S: 148 56.48’E
Phillip.
SEAKA
A 1969 Mark 1
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka
http://skipr.net

Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
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Phillip
 
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Re: Seaka's Voyage to Queensland.

Postby Shaun » Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:15 pm

Shame about Cyclone Yasi taking out many nav aids.
Phil, I find it remarkable you have been able to do this cruise without any overnighters so far(unless you have & I have forgot?), it is a credit to your thorough planning.
"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

Order of the Albatross - 2011
Order of the Tipping Dinghy

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Someone's random Youtube comment
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Re: Seaka's Voyage to Queensland.

Postby Phillip » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:06 pm

Shaun,

I cheet.

I start at 0300. Like tomorrow morning, starting then will give me the flood tide for about 5 hours.

Phillip.
Phillip.
SEAKA
A 1969 Mark 1
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka
http://skipr.net

Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
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Phillip
 
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Re: Seaka's Voyage to Queensland.

Postby Shaun » Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:48 pm

G'day Phil,
Did you consider going Sth in a zig-zag type fashion, ie from the mainland to the Islands then back again working tides & winds?
I dont know anything about sailing Sth from Whitsundays, just curious as to your decision to back track 150+nm to Airlie?, could think of worse spots to hold-up for a while I suppose.
You while have to check out my fav anchorage "StoneHaven", there is 2 public mooring tucked into a little break in the coral, very sheltered from SE & plenty to look at & Do(snorkelling etc).
You mention rolly anchorages a lot, I presume you have tried some sort of "flopper stopper"? http://books-for-sail.com/diy-projects/ ... ducer.html

cheers
"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

Order of the Albatross - 2011
Order of the Tipping Dinghy

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Someone's random Youtube comment
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Shaun
 
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Re: Seaka's Voyage to Queensland.

Postby Phillip » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:05 pm

Shaun,

Its a matter of supplies and staying long term without paying marina fees
and as this area is so sparsly populated Airlie beach is the only option.
I dont really mind rolly anchorages unless they produce sharp rolling of Seaka.

I think I went to Stonehaven I'll have tocheck :oops:

Phillip
Leaving Airlee beach on Sunday for 2nd attempt to go south!
Phillip.
SEAKA
A 1969 Mark 1
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka
http://skipr.net

Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
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Phillip
 
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Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:18 pm
Location: Laurieton, NSW.

Re: Seaka's Voyage to Queensland.

Postby Shaun » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:22 am

Sounds like your having a good adventure mate!
& really getting into night sailing aswell...Do you sleep while night sailing?
Do you reckon a rigid fibreglass dinghy is the way to go in hindsight?...for quick deployment to aid in kedging off sandbanks, or the inflatable for its ease of storage?
really enjoying the details in your logs,
cheers
shaun
"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

Order of the Albatross - 2011
Order of the Tipping Dinghy

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Someone's random Youtube comment
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Re: Seaka's Voyage to Queensland.

Postby Phillip » Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:54 pm

Shaun,

If i posted a 30 hour sail there was no sleeping!!!!!!

As far as a dinghy I think an inflatale is the answer, got to store the darn thing somewhere.

Did 60nm today, 2am start, to say the least I'm buggered. 30nm tomorrow then the Wide bay Bar again.

Phillip.

Anchored in the Great Sandy Strait near Kingfisher Resort.
Phillip.
SEAKA
A 1969 Mark 1
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka
http://skipr.net

Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
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Phillip
 
Posts: 1521
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Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:18 pm
Location: Laurieton, NSW.

Re: Seaka's Voyage to Queensland.

Postby Phillip » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:43 pm

Good Evening All,

The adventure continues, but we leave Iluka tomorrow [Wednesday 14/9] for Coffs Harbour, then on Thursday from Coffs to home at Camden Haven, eta before the 1000 hour high tide.

We have had dramas today, see the blog at:

http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka/

Phillip.
Iluka Basin.
Phillip.
SEAKA
A 1969 Mark 1
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka
http://skipr.net

Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
User avatar
Phillip
 
Posts: 1521
Images: 152
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:18 pm
Location: Laurieton, NSW.

Re: Seaka's Voyage to Queensland.

Postby Shaun » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:53 pm

Hi Phil,
Haven't seen you down at the boats for the last couple of weeks (then I haven't been there often myself)....you spent what 5 months aboard Seaka?.....im wondering if you were glad to get off the boat or now after a couple of weeks ashore, are you missing the ocean vagabond lifestyle?
Also any idea when your going to wrap up the cruise with your observations & stats etc, on your blog?

cheers
"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

Order of the Albatross - 2011
Order of the Tipping Dinghy

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Someone's random Youtube comment
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Shaun
 
Posts: 839
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Re: Seaka's Voyage to Queensland.

Postby Phillip » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:20 pm

Shaun,
I'm cleaning and sorting out the rubbish/stuff not used on the voyage.
I'll then have to clean the lockers [next week] an then move everything back on board.
Should be ready to sail again in about 2-3 weeks, but will have to slip in November
as the bottom of the keel has no antifouling!

I will be doing the last blog over this weekend :D

Phillip.
Phillip.
SEAKA
A 1969 Mark 1
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka
http://skipr.net

Home port is at Dunbogan on the Camden Haven Inlet, Laurieton NSW
User avatar
Phillip
 
Posts: 1521
Images: 152
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:18 pm
Location: Laurieton, NSW.

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