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Friday, December 3, 2010

Nov 8 – 10, 2010; Moving on! Mooloolaba or Bust!

We spent an uneventful day going down to the end of Fraser Island
where we anchored in VERY shallow water along with too many other
yachts and much too much watercraft traffic. Because it took us the
entire day just to travel the few miles to the bottom of Fraser
Island, we stayed the night. We felt very uncomfortable here, but it
is where boats await a good opportunity to pass across Wide Bar Bay.

The waterways in this area are a challenge for keelboats. You must
time entrances, exits and crossings over the sand bars carefully.
There are many, many shoals which actually move with the strong
shifting currents, varying tide differentials and winds. Prudent
sailors ("Boaties" they call us here), check with the Coast Guard
before making a move in or out of these areas. Weather has been
erratic and not optimum for cruising, so we must be patient.

Early Tuesday morning, we took the incoming tide into Tin Can Bay,
following Endangered Species and Wind Pony. We all went in to shore
for a nice long walk, had a fantastic lunch and then consulted with
the Coast Guard about best next moves. The others decided to stay for
another day to feed the dolphins in the morning.

Frank and I were ready to get going and had a good weather window, so
at first light we rode the incredible rollercoaster that is called
Wide Bar Bay. Oddly, you must exit at incoming tide. It was quite the
most unusual ride we have had since cruising; bucking the tide and the
wind, seeking the exact waypoints issued by the Coast Guard so that we
could hit the precise exit point out of the bay, while watching the
rollers crash toward us. It is an ominous feeling. We revved the
engine to nearly 3000 RPM, making barely ½ knot of forward movement at
times. Frank finally found the sweet spot and we made it through the
3-mile pass in just over an hour and a half. Wow, what a ride! Poor
Destiny – she looked like a hobbyhorse going through that pass! But
when we broke free we got good wind and flew toward the river leading
to Mooloolaba. We passed by several multi-million dollar homes along
the river telling us that this is where the big boys and girls come to
play, once again arriving at the anchorage just at sundown.

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