Tuesday, 29 September 2015

On to Pancake Creek – underway again at last.

September 21-22, 2015

After a stay of 29 days in Port of Bundaberg Marina due to our recalcitrant transmission, we finally slipped the lines and moved away from the dock late morning on Monday the 21st. It was a very short trip though as all we did was drop anchor in the river just outside the shipping channel ready for an early departure just predawn next morning. It also provided us with a relaxing afternoon which we both enjoyed.
Dutch friends we made in the marina motored past  on 'King's Legend' on their way out to sail around the outside of Fraser Island and down to Mooloolaba before heading further South to contest this year's Sydney Hobart.
We did say we anchored 'just' outside the shipping channel.

Bundaberg turned on another stunning sunset over the river shortly followed by a short but spectacular sugar cane fire as they burnt off a field ready for harvest.  A huge ball of thick, acrid smoke rose about eighty to a hundred metres vertically into the still air until a very slight wind arose unfortunately blowing the dark pall directly over the river and our boat. We closed every porthole and zipped up the cockpit enclosure and watched helplessly as black leaf ash rained down all over the decks. So much for the nice clean boat we left the marina with.

Another stunning Bundaberg sunset

This sugarcane fire was spectacular but we could have done without all the ash falling on us.
We arose in the dark next morning and did our final preparations before upping the anchor as the Eastern sky began to lighten. Both the chain and anchor came out of the water caked in dark mud to join the previous evening’s black ash. Despite giving the deck hose on the bow a serious workout we knew we’d just have to live with the grime on the decks until later.

 After clearing the channel we motored out into clear water, headed up into the wind to raise the main and mizzen and turned onto our course North towards our destination of Pancake Creek. The genoa was unfurled and at last we were underway again.

The early wind was a fairly light South Westerly but was strong enough to keep the sails filled and provide a little boost as we motor-sailed in the early light with a one to one and half metre following swell. The sun gained height in the sky and  things got a little messy as the breeze swung through the South and then directly aft from the South East as predicted. Fortunately the weather guys got it wrong and it kept swinging more to the East giving us a reasonable wind angle for a long, uneventful run up to Round Hill Head.

It's so good to finally but under sail again heading north.
Swells splashing up on the rocks of Round Hill Head

It was here that the monotony was broken by a nice school mackerel taking our trailed lure. It was quickly aboard, cleaned, filleted and in the fridge for the next morning’s breakfast. Thank you fish.

First fish of the trip.

We would have liked to have been able to stop in 1770 but the entrance is very shallow which would only allow us to cross on the high tide and we had been told that there is now very little available room to anchor in any reasonable depths in the creek.

1770 certainly looked as crowded as we'd been lead to believe.
Crossing the bay from Round Hill Head to Bustard Heads we sailed through yet another huge patch of disgusting sludge that we have been coming across all too often. We believe it’s ballast water discharged from bulk carriers before they take on their loads of coal etc but whatever, it’s awful.

Yuk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It stretched for hundreds of metres on the other side of the boat.
Bustard Head Lighthouse
We carefully picked our way through rocks off Bustard Heads. They are clearly marked on the charts and quite visible in daylight particularly with a decent South East Swell breaking over them. Down came all sail and we motored in through the narrow channels of Pancake Creek. Three boats were anchored not far inside the mouth but, as we were planning on staying a couple of days, we went further in and were rewarded with a very flat, peaceful spot to anchor off a palmed lined, white sand beach.
We were able to anchor in good holding just off the beach. Very nice.

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After securing the boat we relaxed with our traditional after passage cold beers.  Karen then produced an amazing Asian Duck Breast Noodle Salad for dinner with a nice cold bottle of Sav Blanc while Pancake Creek provided a stunning sunset.  

We normally treat ourselves to a cold beer once the anchor goes down after a passage.
Yum!!!! You can see many of Karen's recipes on the Our Galley page of the blog
We may not quite be in the tropics yet but it’s starting to feel like it.

Burnett Heads to Pancake Creek: 65.0 Nautical Miles – 10 Hours 32 Minutes
Average Speed 6.2 Knots – Highest Speed 7.5knots
We’ve said all along that this was to be our shakedown cruise although we never expected to get shaken down this much. Here’s the report card

What Worked

The rebuilt transmission, new water pump and aft head. Yay!!!!!!!!!!

What didn’t work.

Nothing – touch wood.

What we did right.

Went to Pancake Creek. It’s beautiful and very sheltered in most conditions.

How we screwed up.

It’s nice to report no screw ups for this chapter of our blog.

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  1. Nice story a ref of which continent / part of the world would be nice as I've never heard of any of these places. A lake sailor.
    Hate the sludge did you try to avoid passing thru it or just too large to miss?

    1. Mark we are sailing North up the East Coast of Australia to the Great Barrier Reef Islands in our Whitby 42 Ketch. It certainly is a long way from the lakes. Hope you enjoy our travels. Cheers

  2. Nice story a ref of which continent / part of the world would be nice as I've never heard of any of these places. A lake sailor.
    Hate the sludge did you try to avoid passing thru it or just too large to miss?


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