Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sandy Straits and Moreton Bay

During the Austral Winter, Low pressure areas over the Tasman Sea reinforces the Trade Winds coming across the South Pacific and give predominantly Southeast winds on the Queensland Coast.  In the Spring (October/November), High pressure over the Tasman will redirect the Trade Wind flow and come from the Northeast.  This is the time to start heading South.  These Northeast winds only last for 1, 2, maybe 3 days at the most.   This is what we have been waiting for and using to get ourselves back to the Gold Coast.

We went to Maryborough because the other option was to anchor behind Frazer Island and wait.  We left Maryborough to time our departure out of the Wide Bay with the Northeast winds.  We had a good run down the Mary River pushing tide for the first hour and had great current the rest of the run.  The outgoing current was great for the river but left us with low tide in the Great Sandy Straits.  We struggled through the shallows only bumping a few times and ended up anchoring a few miles from the Wide Bay inlet.  There is an anchorage at Pelican Point which is just inside the inlet but from the a distance there were so many boats there that it looked like the Spanish Armada was there.  For sure they would have taken all the good spots in that small anchorage.

We left at dawn (5AM) and were toward the back of a pack of 20+ boats.  We passed over 10 during the day.  The Northeast wind was forecast to last 3 days and even though most of the boats were heading to Mooloolaba, some were heading further offshore for multiple day legs.  3 days was all we needed to make it back to the Gold Coast.

We anchored in the Mooloolaba River and left early for the Moreton Bay so we could catch the ingoing tide.  The wind was forecast to built to 30 kts during the day but it would be behind us and the so would the shallow shoals of of the NW ship channel.  The thing that was interesting however was that when the tide switched to outgoing, it was counter to the winds and with the 25-30 ft depth in the southern Moreton Bay, the waves were very short period, steep, and higher than you would normally see.  It was a good thing that we were going with them.

We anchored at Karangarra Island around sunset just as the wind was dying down.  The following morning we got an early start before the wind picked  up and made it to the Gold Coast City Marina by 10AM.

We plan to stay 2 weeks in a berth and then put Tortuguita in land in dry storage until April.

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