Friday, August 1, 2014

last blue water passage?

After 3 days at Chesterfield Reef, it was time to start the final leg to Australia. We got a weather update and established a radio sked with the oddly-named boat anchored near us "" and both boats headed out within an hour of each other. The western passage through the reef was straightforward, but we had to contend with about 2 knots of adverse current.

The passage started off well enough. The wind was out of the east, so both boats initially headed due south, hoping to make landfall at Coff's Harbour. But within a few hours, "Trybooking" hailed us on VHF and noted that a new weather forecast showed a developing low that would bring strong south winds within a few days. So we followed their example, and cracked off toward Bundaberg, about 3 days away.

The rest of the passage was uneventful. We motorsailed at times when the wind died, and to help fight an eastgoing current around one of the reefs along the way, Bird Islet. Edward was comfortable in the dinette berth with his "big red girlfriend" (the genoa).

I was getting more comfortable in my new role as cook!

As we got within 50nm of the mainland, we crossed the north-south shipping lanes, and had to dodge nearly a dozen vessels. But visibility was fine and there were no issues. For most of the last day on passage, winds were light out of the north, so we motorsailed. I had a lot to think about as we watched the sun set on the 31st of July. Over 10,000 miles of sailing behind us now.

Edward was at the helm as we picked up the lights for the Burnett River entrance. He woke me, knowing I would appreciate conning the boat up the fairway. We were both a bit dazzled by the array of navigational aids! At 5 minutes past midnight, we were fast along the Quarantine dock at the Bundaberg marina. It was five years to the day since Southern Cross had headed out across the bar at Newport, Oregon.

The next morning, two friendly and courteous officials guided us through the formalities of immigration, customs, and biosecurity. It took nearly an hour for biosecurity to thoroughly scan every nook and cranny for signs of termites! But once through that hurdle, it was time to phone Vicki and step ashore for the first time on a new continent.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Are you still sailing? Why is this post entitled "Last Blue Water Passage?"

Mark and Cindy
s/v Cream Puff