2019 May – Pittwater to Bundaberg


Total Sailing time : 111h44m (6704 minutes)
Travelled distance : 1321.14 km (713.36 nm)
Average Speed : 11.82 km/h (6.38 knots)
Peak Speed : 24.42 km/h (13.19 knots) on 2019/05/12

2019-05-01 - FROM Bayview TO Morning Bay

Trip start : 2019/05/01 16:45:31 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-01T06:45:31Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/01 17:16:12
Trip Duration : 0h30m (30 minutes)
Start Point : 151.295806,-33.658599
End Point : 151.288879,-33.622669
Travelled distance : 4.64 km (2.50 nm)
Average Speed : 9.27 km/h (5.01 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.84 km/h (7.47 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 4.046 km (2.185 nm)

After giving the hulls a much-needed touch up, we floated off with the tide and made for Morning Bay. It was only a short hop across Pittwater, and there were plenty of free moorings over there to take our pick of. Moorings in the area usually belong to one of the boat clubs, but the protocol seems to be that if the mooring is free, visiting yachts can take it up as long as the boat is manned…. at least that’s what a few google searches advised me.

We hung around an extra day here as we waited for some better winds.

2019-05-03 - FROM Morning Bay TO Swansea

Trip start : 2019/05/03 08:23:44 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-02T22:23:44Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/03 17:23:58
Travelling Time : 7h54m (474 minutes)
Trip Duration : 9h00m (540 minutes)
Start Point : 151.289306,-33.622669
End Point : 151.638824,-33.086261
Travelled distance : 78.53 km (42.40 nm)
Average Speed : 9.94 km/h (5.37 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.27 km/h (7.16 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 67.908 km (36.667 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 8.60 km/h (4.64 knots)

We had a lovely run north up the coast and approached the Swansea Bar late in the afternoon. Sunsets are getting earlier and earlier but we had plenty of light available to grab one of the moorings on the ocean side of the bridge. We caught up with David’s sister and her family, tieing off at the jetty before grabbing a nice dinner at the Swansea RSL.

Dinner at Swansea RSL. Good tucker!

Dinner at Swansea RSL. Good tucker!

2019-05-04 - FROM Swansea TO Shoal Bay

Trip start : 2019/05/04 08:45:13 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-03T22:45:13Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/04 15:34:18
Trip Duration : 6h49m (409 minutes)
Start Point : 151.642639,-33.085990
End Point : 152.171829,-32.717971
Travelled distance : 77.15 km (41.66 nm)
Average Speed : 11.32 km/h (6.11 knots)
Peak Speed : 22.98 km/h (12.41 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 64.151 km (34.639 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 9.41 km/h (5.08 knots)

We enjoyed a rest day on a courtesy mooring off Shoal Bay, Port Stephens. We went for a walk ashore enjoying a kebab and grabbing some bread before some light rain hit so it was back to the boat for our afternoon cuppa.

2019-05-06 - FROM Shoal Bay TO Crowdy Head

Trip start : 2019/05/06 06:47:40 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-05T20:47:40Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/06 16:11:31
Trip Duration : 9h23m (563 minutes)
Start Point : 152.172180,-32.717910
End Point : 152.747375,-31.838499
Travelled distance : 120.85 km (65.25 nm)
Average Speed : 12.88 km/h (6.95 knots)
Peak Speed : 21.63 km/h (11.68 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 111.741 km (60.335 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 11.91 km/h (6.43 knots)

Another long day on the water, and we ended up anchoring off Crowdy Head outside the harbour. It was comfortable enough in the conditions, however there was a hell of a lot of red weed in the water. We watched the fishermen hauling in off the beach the next morning before departing.

2019-05-07 - FROM Crowdy Head TO Port Macquarie

Trip start : 2019/05/07 08:08:57 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-06T22:08:57Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/07 13:35:41
Trip Duration : 5h26m (326 minutes)
Start Point : 152.747589,-31.838769
End Point : 152.908157,-31.426059
Travelled distance : 54.89 km (29.64 nm)
Average Speed : 10.10 km/h (5.45 knots)
Peak Speed : 14.40 km/h (7.78 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 48.344 km (26.103 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 8.90 km/h (4.80 knots)

Easterlies were pumping as we approached the Port Macquarie bar, with 2-3m waves breaking all over the entrance. We waited outside for a while, observing the patterns and seeing the occasional wave seemingly break right through. Bit of a worry!

This was our first crossing where a sector light was in use. These types of signals appear as a single dot of light, colored red if you are too far left, and colored green if you are too far right. If you are too far off the leads you won’t see anything!

We were using an older version of the cruiser’s Bible (Alan Lucas’s Cruising the NSW Coast) and the leads had moved a bit since then so we initially didn’t see the light and were a bit confused.

After we watched a couple of powerboats travel through we worked out the line we should be and when we approached the correct area we could finally see the sector light! Good stuff. We held the line and although there were a couple of times where we briefly surfed, XTsea was soon in the Hastings River and tied up safely to one of two courtesy moorings.

David had a bit of work to do ashore and we had to wait for a pump and EPIRB to arrive by post so we spent four days in Port Macquarie. David also managed to scrape the bottom of the keels, but kept himself in position with a rope dangling from the bow as the current really shoots through!

2019-05-11 - FROM Port Macquarie TO Coffs Harbour

Trip start : 2019/05/11 06:11:50 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-10T20:11:50Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/11 17:07:13
Trip Duration : 10h55m (655 minutes)
Start Point : 152.907501,-31.425529
End Point : 153.143829,-30.304100
Travelled distance : 131.83 km (71.18 nm)
Average Speed : 12.08 km/h (6.52 knots)
Peak Speed : 18.01 km/h (9.73 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 126.721 km (68.424 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 11.61 km/h (6.27 knots)

After seeing Avengers:Endgame at the cinema we were right to depart. The trip back over the bar was uneventful as there was basically zero swell. We raced a couple of 43 foot monos northward on the AIS, overtaking one that left a half an hour before us. They soon fell away and disappeared from the screen.

We entered Coffs Harbour just on dusk, and happily there was a free courtesy mooring waiting for us. Bonus!

2019-05-12 - FROM Coffs Harbour TO Illuka

Trip start : 2019/05/12 06:04:54 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-11T20:04:54Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/12 14:16:59
Trip Duration : 8h12m (492 minutes)
Start Point : 153.143585,-30.304090
End Point : 153.352127,-29.412900
Travelled distance : 109.75 km (59.26 nm)
Average Speed : 13.38 km/h (7.23 knots)
Peak Speed : 24.42 km/h (13.19 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 101.116 km (54.598 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 12.33 km/h (6.66 knots)

Quite a few sail changes today as the wind couldn’t make up it’s mind if it was southerly or westerly. It did decide to be strong side though, and we saw 15.4 knots on the chartplotter for an instant which is our fastest ever instantaneous speed! Woo-hoo!

One interesting sail combination we found by mistake was to run our spinnaker with a partially furled genoa pulled tight to windward. This acted as a deflector which acted to keep the spinnaker inflated when the wind came forward.

Colleen took the helm for her first crossing of a bar to get into Illuka. Conditions were mild but she still needed to pay close attention to the leads and get the feel of the boat as it was being pushed by the swell.

2019-05-13 - FROM Illuka TO Ballina

Trip start : 2019/05/13 06:41:07 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-12T20:41:07Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/13 12:45:43
Trip Duration : 6h04m (364 minutes)
Start Point : 153.352188,-29.413129
End Point : 153.563507,-28.875860
Travelled distance : 72.41 km (39.10 nm)
Average Speed : 11.94 km/h (6.44 knots)
Peak Speed : 19.32 km/h (10.43 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 63.168 km (34.108 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 10.41 km/h (5.62 knots)

We decided that we could not make Tweed Heads by dark so we pulled into Ballina. The Ballina bar crossing was a simple one in the conditions. We grabbed one of the two courtesy moorings and went ashore to pick up some groceries from the supermarket. There is a nice public jetty near the centre of town, big enough to tie off XTsea if we had wanted to.

2019-05-14 - FROM Ballina TO Tweed Heads

Trip start : 2019/05/14 06:42:25 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-13T20:42:25Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/14 15:03:03
Trip Duration : 8h20m (500 minutes)
Start Point : 153.564086,-28.875940
End Point : 153.551254,-28.186569
Travelled distance : 91.11 km (49.20 nm)
Average Speed : 10.93 km/h (5.90 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.86 km/h (9.10 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 76.665 km (41.396 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 9.20 km/h (4.97 knots)

We departed nice and early and arrived at Tweed Heads mid-afternoon. We made our way around to pick up yet another courtesy mooring for the night. XTsea was nearly back into Queensland!

2019-05-15 - FROM Tweed Heads TO Boatworks VIA Lunch anchorage

Trip start : 2019/05/15 07:59:26 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-14T21:59:26Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/15 16:22:10
Travelling Time : 4h49m (289 minutes)
Trip Duration : 8h22m (502 minutes)
Start Point : 153.551315,-28.186439
End Point : 153.335937,-27.870849
Travelled distance : 54.91 km (29.65 nm)
Average Speed : 11.40 km/h (6.16 knots)
Peak Speed : 17.83 km/h (9.62 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 40.968 km (22.121 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 8.51 km/h (4.59 knots)

The morning saw us have a lovely spinnaker run along the coast in front of Surfers Paradise. We took a little too long to drop the spinnaker when we got to the Spit so there was a bit of panic there, but we soon had everything stowed away and we were in the Broadwater. We had made good time so we anchored for a while to have lunch before making our we around to Boatworks. We waited a while for another boat to clear the slip before tying up to await the morning.

Sailing past Surfers Paradise under spinnaker

Next day the Boatworks staff were up and about early to lift XTsea into the hardstand. Instead of a crane or sling, Boatworks boasts an amazing submersible Sealift nicknamed ‘Ellie’. This incredible machine is perfect for catamarans, gently supporting the boat under the bridgedeck.

XTsea being taken from the water by the amazing Sealift

Staff giving XTsea a water-blast

Before the staff set us down on the blocks, we dropped the rudders out of the boat as the steering was getting quite stiff and David thought that they might need some attention. It also makes painting the hull around them and the rudders themselves a fair bit easier. They did in fact need some work, but unfortunately the rudder with the worst bend actually had an ‘S’ bend in it so a quick repair was not possible. It’ll wait until next haul-out.

The stiffness turned out to be related to the steering cables. Without the mechanical advantage of the steering gear, the cables could not be budged by hand. Time to pull them out. In what David felt was pretty silly design, the swages at the chain-end of the cables were too large to pass through the nut that secures the cable outer mounts. David had to remove the inner cables before pulling out the outers. The guys at Everything Marine quickly swaged some cut-down fittings to new, thinner cable which passed more easily through the outer. The tradies advised to keep the cables lubricated, and there was a magical improvement to the steering when everything was reassembled.

New steering cable ends. You should feel the difference now!

We spent a total of six days on the hard, but a couple of those were freebies thanks to the staff being so busy they didn’t have available time to drop us back in! We weren’t complaining as Boatworks has a great chandlery, free laundry, ensuite toilets and showers, and free courtesy cars. We took full advantage, even managing a a visit to iFly for some indoor skydiving.

Some patrons enjoying indoor skydiving. It was a blast!

Finally it was time to leave. We were dropped back in the water without a problem. Boatworks… we’ll be back!

On the way back to the water. Spic and span!

Back in her element. XTsea in her prime.

2019-05-21 - FROM Boatworks TO Sanctuary Cove VIA GCCM Fuel Dock

Trip start : 2019/05/21 13:05:24 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-21T03:05:24Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/21 14:27:25
Travelling Time : 0h38m (38 minutes)
Trip Duration : 1h22m (82 minutes)
Start Point : 153.336135,-27.870809
End Point : 153.367828,-27.849000
Travelled distance : 5.16 km (2.78 nm)
Average Speed : 8.14 km/h (4.40 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.44 km/h (6.18 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 3.948 km (2.132 nm)

We gave the diesel and water tanks a top-up at the marina just down the river, and then motored around to drop anchor just near Sanctuary Cove Marina. The boat show was on in a couple of days and we decided to hang around and see what was new in the boating world.

The VMR boys offered a pickup/delivery service direct to the show for a gold coin which was great. Happily we managed to escape without spending a couple of million dollars but it was a close thing!

2019-05-24 - FROM Sanctuary Cove TO Deception Bay

Trip start : 2019/05/24 08:33:43 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-23T22:33:43Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/24 17:38:30
Trip Duration : 9h04m (544 minutes)
Start Point : 153.367324,-27.848699
End Point : 153.110336,-27.181329
Travelled distance : 105.40 km (56.91 nm)
Average Speed : 11.62 km/h (6.28 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.01 km/h (8.65 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 78.416 km (42.341 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 8.65 km/h (4.67 knots)

It was a fair distance across Morton Bay so instead of waiting for the high tide we left early and went down the main channel. Turning left, we quickly left civilization behind and started steaming through the channels. There were patches of the modern world, but there were long periods where we felt we could be a long way from anywhere.

We were running out of daylight by the time we crossed the bay, so we ended up anchoring off Scarborough and light winds gave us a calm night.

2019-05-25 - FROM Deception Bay TO Beachmere VIA Bribie Island

Trip start : 2019/05/25 09:21:07 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-24T23:21:07Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/25 18:16:46
Travelling Time : 2h41m (161 minutes)
Trip Duration : 8h55m (535 minutes)
Start Point : 153.110504,-27.181360
End Point : 153.056716,-27.140529
Travelled distance : 31.12 km (16.80 nm)
Average Speed : 11.60 km/h (6.26 knots)
Peak Speed : 14.33 km/h (7.74 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 6.995 km (3.777 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 2.61 km/h (1.41 knots)

Next day we scooted over to Beachmere to host a visit from David’s younger sister and brother and their two kids. We motored across to Bribie Island to enjoy lunch and give the kids a swim before getting back just on dusk.

2019-05-26 - FROM Beachmere TO Bribie Island

Trip start : 2019/05/26 15:12:59 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-26T05:12:59Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/26 16:20:00
Trip Duration : 1h07m (67 minutes)
Start Point : 153.056762,-27.140369
End Point : 153.156204,-27.079370
Travelled distance : 13.10 km (7.07 nm)
Average Speed : 11.73 km/h (6.33 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.01 km/h (8.65 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 11.953 km (6.454 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 10.70 km/h (5.78 knots)

After lunch at Belinda’s, we motored across to Bribie Island. Taking a rest day, we walked into town and visited the supermarket and restocked an melamine foam – the best product for boat cleaning bar none. Nice little town!

2019-05-28 - FROM Bribie Island TO Noosa Heads

Trip start : 2019/05/28 07:54:15 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-27T21:54:15Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/28 15:50:00
Trip Duration : 7h55m (475 minutes)
Start Point : 153.156326,-27.079359
End Point : 153.092712,-26.383499
Travelled distance : 94.71 km (51.14 nm)
Average Speed : 11.96 km/h (6.46 knots)
Peak Speed : 17.35 km/h (9.37 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 77.634 km (41.919 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 9.81 km/h (5.30 knots)

Next morning we raised anchor to head off but found a large coral anchor stuck in ours when we did. No biggie. Then a few minutes into the trip we spotted a fisho valiantly trying to row his tinnie back to Bribie Island against the tide. We steamed close by and asked if he wanted assistance. He wanted a tow so we dropped our tender down and David towed him back to shore. Another +1 on our karma score.

Dinner at Swansea RSL. Good tucker!

Rescuing a fisho with a seized outboard off Bribie

The trip to Noosa was dreamy. We anchored just off the surf club.

2019-05-29 - FROM Noosa Heads TO Great Sandy Strait

Trip start : 2019/05/29 07:36:34 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-28T21:36:34Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/29 14:23:46
Trip Duration : 6h47m (407 minutes)
Start Point : 153.092864,-26.383329
End Point : 152.996566,-25.742889
Travelled distance : 87.12 km (47.04 nm)
Average Speed : 12.84 km/h (6.93 knots)
Peak Speed : 15.06 km/h (8.13 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 71.860 km (38.801 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 10.59 km/h (5.72 knots)

Today we crossed the dreaded Wide Bay Bar. Maybe we are getting used to bar crossings. The leads were so far away we needed the binoculars to spot them, but otherwise there wasn’t a drama. We anchored a little way into the Great Sandy Strait.

2019-05-30 - FROM Great Sandy Strait TO Scarness

Trip start : 2019/05/30 08:17:28 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-29T22:17:28Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/30 14:10:45
Trip Duration : 5h53m (353 minutes)
Start Point : 152.996704,-25.743129
End Point : 152.848663,-25.276039
Travelled distance : 75.57 km (40.80 nm)
Average Speed : 12.84 km/h (6.94 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.15 km/h (8.72 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 54.021 km (29.169 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 9.18 km/h (4.96 knots)

We managed to get through the Great Sandy Strait without scraping off any of our new antifoul, but we needed to be vigilant in following the leads and channel markers as there were a couple of spots where following the chartplotter would have had us run aground. We anchored off Scarness, spotting our first glimpses of coral as we were dropping the pick.

2019-05-31 - FROM Scarness TO Camp Island VIA Burnett River Fuel Dock

Trip start : 2019/05/31 07:30:33 (Adjusted Local) (2019-05-30T21:30:33Z UTC)
Trip end : 2019/05/31 17:15:20
Travelling Time : 9h17m (557 minutes)
Trip Duration : 9h44m (584 minutes)
Start Point : 152.848846,-25.275819
End Point : 152.158828,-24.629749
Travelled distance : 112.92 km (60.97 nm)
Average Speed : 12.16 km/h (6.57 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.90 km/h (9.13 knots)
Straight-line Distance : 100.000 km (53.996 nm)
VMG Average Speed : 10.77 km/h (5.82 knots)

The last day of the month saw us pop into the Burnett River downstream of Bundaberg and visited the marina to refuel. We also picked up our starboard trampoline, which had been expertly repaired by Gordon Myers. We still had a couple of hours before dark so we sailed a few miles and anchored off Camp Island. The sunset had a delightful purple tinge which Colleen admired.

Dinner at Swansea RSL. Good tucker!

Admiring a purple sunset off Camp Island

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