Fraser Island

Last night we had a moment of calm weather for sunset at Gary's anchorage, but overall, the weather has not been kind these past few days. A very strong high pressure system is lurking in the Great Australian Bight and along with an upper level trough its creating gusty SE winds with heavy onshore squally showers. We have been sitting at Gary's Anchorage for three days now. For the first day, we were thankful for the rest after the marathon 14 hour day and the stress of the crossing the Wide Bay Bar. The second day was opportune to lay in bed reading and go for a walk in the afternoon. But by the third day, we were going stir-crazy. The weather reports were not improving.

During these three days we'd made an unwelcome discovery. The high pressure line leading from our oil pump through the water cooler had started to drip oil. Signs of corrosion are evident given it's ridiculous placement right under the raw water pump! I'm sure it all looked good on paper in the engineer's office when they designed the thing but on a boat it's just plain stupid.

Site of the oil leak in our Bukh engine

Nevertheless, it has to be fixed. Cameron jumped on the phone and ordered the parts to be shipped to Bundaberg where we booked into the Bundaberg Port Marina a few days hence to affect repairs. Matching up the weather with marina booking, we needed to make a move from Gary's Anchorage and get through the shallowest and narrowest part of the Great Sandy Straits on the morning high tide. At this area, just near Boonlye Point depths get under a meter at LWS. The morning tide of 2.88m above datum was good for the transit, but anchors had to come up at first light at 0600. At the moment there is less than 11 hours of sunlight per day.

Throughout the night heavy bursts of showers fell on the deck, and by morning, the wind had picked up to a steady 10 to 15 knots in our protected anchorage. Undeterred, up came the anchor and off we set. Following the channel markers northwards in the Great Sandy Straits has you keep the port side of the boat to the starboard markers and vice versa. Having the course plotted on the chart-plotter certainly makes navigation foolproof, but having a set of binoculars to hand helps identify marks that lay off in the distance. ﷯

It was an uneventful transit except for the heavy shower that timed itself perfectly with us being in the narrowest and shallowest part of the channel. Cameron got wet while Colin went down and offered words of support, and a hot mug of coffee.

We turned into Yankee Jacks Anchorage as the rain fell and dropped the anchor in 7m of water at high tide. Throughout the day the wind picked up to 20 knots, gusting slightly higher, giving our wind generator something to get excited about. With the forecast promising a moderation in the wind tomorrow and into Monday, we plan to head to Kingfisher Resort tomorrow and push onto Bundaberg on Monday.