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  1. #1
    Newbie We Of The Boat People's Avatar
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    Gold Coast or Bust



    City to Gold Coast Trip
    Wednesday January 11, 2006
    Persons (crew) on board Brock, Nick Appleton + myself

    After much hooo har at 04:32 the mooring line were cast off and we headed under motor down the creek for the bay and our trip south to the Gold Coast. As we made our way I looked at all the boats sitting quietly on their moorings in the murky morning light. Many of them, I recalled to myself, had never been seen of their moorings. When passing the Fish Co-op, the Trawlers seem to look us with cocked eyebrows at our disturbance of the early morn. Pressing on we passed our clubhouse and headed out the channel into Bramble Bay. By 5:00am we had passed the final channel beacon, turned to the beacon know as the Fisheries Beacon. Which would form part of the finishline of the Surf to City Yacht Race on our way back on Saturday.


    The Sun now was beginning to illuminate the sky and showed us flat waters ahead. The wind had yet to wake up, but predictions suggested that there would not be much of that, if at all. The boys (Brock and Nick) sat with me in the cockpit of the boat. I wondered what these two teenage boys were thinking. Such looks of excitement and Anticipation on their faces as the shoreline began move out of view.


    On reaching the Compass Adjustment Buoy I changed course to 106 mag and headed for the section of The Brisbane River Channel called The Coffee Potts. On the approach The Coffee Potts I set the boys a task of looking out for shipping. Although the interest fell over fairly quickly, as it appeared that we were the only ones out on the water. From the Coffee Potts a heading was taken to take us down between Mud Island and St Helena Island.


    By now we had 2 hours had elapsed since leaving our berth in Cabbage Tree Creek and we were positioned between Mud Island and St Helena Island and the wind began to wake up. So issued the call to set the sails. With some lackluster movement on behalf of the boys we got the sails up not that it made any difference to our speed when I put the motor in neutral. So the motor was re-engaged to keep our speed up. As we motor-sailed down between the two islands we could see trawlers. We could see half dozen or so dolphin's diving in and out of the nets being trawled behind, having their morning breakfast. On the back of one of the trawlers a deck hand had taken up a position to witness the aquatic breakfast while using his mobile phone. Which inturn caused the boys to go below to focus on their stomachics and they attacked some of their snacks their had brought along.


    Pressing on we continued on towards Peel Island on a course of 182 mag., which was some 11.2 nautical miles form where we had set sail. This section of the Moreton Bay between Mud, St Helena and Peel is called the paddock. The only points of interest too any one that we had to pass were Hope Banks, Hanlon Light. Which are only marked by beacons, and as such one only gets to see are the beacons passing to our starboard. Although the area around Hope Banks is known to blow up and has a notorious history of the wind whipping up a swell to make life hard going. As this was the case as I made the trip by myself. At wee small hours taking the same course. In 30 + knot winds and swells to 3 meters my mind reflected on the same, but now in calmer waters.


    The time was now almost 9 bells 08:40 to exact. Some 4 hours after leaving our port we had rounded the most eastern point of Peel Island. Looking behind us one could only see a massive expanse of water. Causing one to have a sense of relief that all those open waters had been traversed and only more sheltered water lay ahead.


    The wind now began to die out so I called all hands on deck. I have wanted call "All Hands On Deck for a long time, but never had the chance. As Da Crew "the boy" were below asleep the opportunity now presented itself. They stubbled on deck and the sails were dropped and stowed. So our motor sailing had given over to just motoring. By now the sun was well and truly up, and with the lack of wind, it was broiling hot. I was advised much later that the humidity level was running at 93%.


    After rounding Peel Island a heading was taken to put us in the Pelican channel between North Stradbroke Island to our port and Pelican Banks to our starboard. This is a long channel of about 7.1 nautical mile and takes you down to Burns Point at the start of the channel that runs between the islands of Karragarra, Lamb and Macleay. This channel starts just south of Burns Point and just north of Canaipa Point of Russell Island and goes all the way through the main channel at the western end of Karragarra Island.


    It took us 1:42 hours to reach Burns Point and we were averaging 5 knots under motor. Da Crew took offence at the blistering sun and its heat. They went below and laid down under the boats Solon fans. Just after 10 bells we reached Burns Point, Da Crew still below, and with some 6 hours since leaving our home berth, with a total of 30 nautical mile had been covered. Leaving a further 26 nautical mile to go, till we arrived at our berth at the Southport Yacht Club.


    Once Burns Point began passing our port we game onto a new heading to pass through the Karragarra / Macleay Island Straight of 208 mag, or so I thought. As it turned out I had read things wrong and was heading into Krummel Passage near Kibbinkibbinwa Point just north of Ooncooncoo Bay of Russell Island. Effectively I made the error of going the wrong side of the special navigation beacon. In short I went on the port side of it instead of the starboard side of the beacon, it must have been the heat. After making a navigational correction by going back to the special beacon, but this time passing it on its starboard side.


    With this sudden navigational correction Da Crew came up above decks to see what was going on. The boys asked a lot of question about the islands as we passed through. They were rather taken back at the level of population that resided on these islands. From Burns Point it took us 29 minutes to motor through the 2.4 nm straight. Pininpinin Point of Macleay Island marked a point in time to change course into the main Channel that headed down towards an area known as Jumpinpin. Although we had pass by Long Island, Little Rocky Point, Cabbage Tree Point, Jacobs Well Horizon Shores Marina.


    On completing our course change into the main channel of 163 mag. Much care had to be taken from here on in. As the channel become very narrow in many places, and there are many shifting sand bars that one has to keep an eye out for. It is so easy to have a lapse of concentration and then run aground. The tied was now out going and we had picked up speed to that of our normal motoring speed. We were now doing 6.5 to 6.9 knots to that of our normal 5 odd knots.


    Seeing that this part of the channel didn't present a real of difficulty I put Nick on the helm so I could have a rest. My plan was to let him follow the channel markers down the main channel from the helm by putting Nick on the helm. Despite his protests I convinced him that he would only be on the helm for about 20 minutes. Just long enough for me to feed and water myself, but he wasn't worry, as I would still be keeping an eye on things. Oh it was so nice to be off the helm, to stretch, bend and flex.


    The sun was deplorable, it burned incessantly and perspiration just poured out of every part of ones body. To be below out of the sun was delightful and to drink chilled fresh water was even better. The Saloon fans below decks blew noisy air around the cabin, which was so welcomed as it blew, passed ones face. I was tired, very hot, and so over this incessant heat, and all I was looking forward to tying up at SYC and standing under a cold shower.


    Before coming back on the helm I had a look at the GPS to see how much further to go. It showed me that there was only a further 21 nautical miles to go, and it suggested that it would take only another 3 hours and 44 minutes. The word bugger went reeling my head, but I also noticed that we had been travelling 6 hours and 33 minute's and had covered 33.3 nautical miles. So a further 3 hours could only be a doodler in comparison. Although it was almost midday and the sun had just about reached its peak, didn't that make me feel good.


    Now feeling a little more human after being feed, watered, fanned on and stretched. I had this overwhelming need to be back on the helm. Nick is a not a bad chap for a sixteen year old, and I felt pretty stoked that his father (my mate) Kevin had sent him and Brock ahead on my boat. However these were tricky waters and leaving on the helm for too long, was not a wise move.


    Returning to the helm I had a good look around. I could see Long Island on our starboard, and Nick had held a good course. Mind you Nick showed no resistance in coming off the helm. In fact I don't believe his feet used the steps to go back below. Things were back to normal, Da Crew below decks, Brock asleep and Nick no feeding his face, and my sweat began creating wet patches on my shirt.


    I looked way ahead of us and all I could see was an expanse of a waterway or channel. I suppose this point of channel was at its wides. When it suddenly dawned on me that we were the only silly gits out on the water being attacked by the sun and heat. There wasn't even the odd chap out fishing, but there again it was Wednesday and I supposed people have to work on Wednesdays, but I bet they would be working in air conditioning.


    Anyway back to the helm. Still looking forward I was having difficulty identifying the channel. I consulted the GPS plotter more closely, of which was some help. However I still couldn't find the channel markers. It is common knowledge that these waterways lack enough markers, but it is well known that makers disappear overnight. They disappear because they get ran into or the current simply erodes the seabed that the channel markers set into. To make things worse, up our end of the world the channel markers are on the opposite side to that of down here. Normally one is use to green marker to the right (starboard) and red to the left (port). However down here in this part of the world it is the other way around. So here at first I am looking for a green marker, but then the penny dropped that I should be looking for a red marker to pass on our right.


    Still unable to locate any channel markers I brought up the track that I did last year and reviewed on the GPS screen. It showed that we were not far of the mark, despite the missing markers. Making way under motor made it easy to follow the last year's track or course.


    We pressed on and passed through the area known as the powerlines. This is where the high-tension powerlines leave the mainland and cross over the expanse of this waterway and island hop, giving power to each island. Anyway as we passed under these powerlines I sat in ore the engineering that must have gone into building the bases that these huge towers sat on. Taking into account the shear weight of these towers, then tension of the cables, contrasted the pressure on them caused by the wind, not overlook the current which runs at 6 8 knots.


    Pressing on following the old track on the GPS we made our way south to pass Cabbage Tree Point of Pimpama Island. As we passed Cabbage Tree Point which was 6.2 nautical miles and 1 hour and 10 minutes since we came out of Karragarra Straight. I noticed that tied was now really on its run out, as our boat speed had picked up to 6.7 knots. This was awesome to be almost of the way through our trip, and being sucked along by an outgoing current. Regrettably there was still no wind and the sun was still making is presents known. So we had to maintain the use of the iron (motor) wind.


    The channel now narrow and we came to a fork in the, one went left towards Tabby Tabby Island. The other was ours that was for intents and purpose's was the main channel. This took us down pass Horizon Shores Marina (where I had bought this boat from 3 and a half years ago) and Dinner Island. Now the channel markers were more evident and came along more often. Which made following the channel way easier, just as well as the channel was getting tighter and shallower. One could see the shoals more so now on either side of the marked channel. It was no 40 minutes since time had rung 12 bells and as we passed Dinner Island I could see the Jumpinpin north cardinal, "Yes". This cardinal marked where we had to turn to starboard for the final leg to Southport. I went to sing out to Da Crew how good things had become, but they were very horizontal below decks.


    Finally finally, at 13 bells we rounded Jumpinpin north cardinal and came onto a course of 163 mag. Just as quickly as coming around the markers our peaceful trip down was launched into the noise, fast and busy waterway of the Gold Coast / Southport. I looked up ahead of us, only to see two huge powerboats the size of and apartment block. Travelling as fast as they could, creating a massive wash behind them. These waves or wash was so great it made the waves from a storm look like a ripple in a pond. I tuned into these waves, and as we were engulfed in these man made Tsunami Da Crew scrambled on deck to find out what was going on. At the same time I was yelling rather un-seamen like words at them over the roar of their motors. All of which fell on death ears, as the nearest boats skipper was busy taking to one of the tow busty bikini clad lass on his left. When out of what seemed boredom the other lass looked in our direction. I responded with a middle finger salute, not that it did any good. I had forgotten that this level of arrogance existed. This was to be the first of so many similar count of tsunami's to come. So many so I lost count, but there were to odd one or two that slowed down to ease their wash for us.


    I took the opportunity to advise Da Crew that we would be coming into our Southport berth in just over a 12 nautical mile or in about 2 hours. So it was to be for the next two hours we battled many tsunami's created out of arrogance. I had no idea that so many people on the Gold Coast didn't work on Wednesdays. By far this way the hardest part of the trip. Following confusing channel markers and negotiating tsunamis. I suppose the only high points of this final leg was to watch all the eye candy going by on boat that I would never be able to afford or on jet ski's. At one point another one of these block of flats blasted passed us, and leaving a huge wash, behind it. As I was dealing with this huge wash Nick suddenly leaped to his feet, turned to me and said. Did you see that, did you see that? As it turned out after he had regained his composer. The female folk whom had been sitting on the back lounge seat of this boat. Apparently were all sitting there without their tops on. Bugger I missed it as I was busy dealing with some of the tsunami's their boat had created.


    Finally after 56.5 nautical miles and 10 hours and 39 minutes since leaving our berth in Cabbage Tree Creek At 11 minutes after 15 bells we made our last turn on the helm and turned into the Southport Yacht Club Marina. Once tied up in our berth my mind created a quick relief list.

    1st on the list was a call to the landlubbers head
    2nd was to visit the bar and have a very cold drink with an welcomed level of rum(s) in it,
    3rd was to have a long long cold shower and a change of cloths,
    4th was to sit down in a nice air conditioned restaurant and have a nice meal on a table that didn't move,
    5th was some more large cold rum based drinks, 6th was have a lovely sleep under the fan in the forward v-berth.
    o O o

  2. #2
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    poolcleaner's Avatar
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    When are you due to arrive in thailand?

  3. #3
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    Dougal's Avatar
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    That looks entertaining. I will print it and read it on the train home.

    Can I request a bit of background. Are you aiming for somewhere in particular? Where did you start from and so on? Size of boat. Apologies if that is all in the text but I am just windong up for the day here at work.
    Lord, deliver us from e-mail.

  4. #4
    Newbie We Of The Boat People's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    That looks entertaining. I will print it and read it on the train home.

    Can I request a bit of background. Are you aiming for somewhere in particular? Where did you start from and so on? Size of boat. Apologies if that is all in the text but I am just windong up for the day here at work.
    Sorry Dougal

    The boat is a 23 foot Sailing Boat, and the blog is in respect of our trip taking the boat from Sandgate in Brisbane down to Southport on the Gold Coast of Queensland, and the boat was being taken down to compete in a Yacht Race on the following Saturday. There is a map of showing our trip at the beginning of the blog.

  5. #5
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    *sound asleep*

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