It’s been a very hard passage so far, and not being wound down and relaxed to start with has taken quite a toll on me. Even though conditions were easy at the start, watch system by night means a lack of sleep, which always results in a cumulative tiredness you can’t get rid of. Our Marina stops were also busy, even though we could catch up on sleep, it was a mad rush to cook meals, and then a really full on night of steering in hard conditions, with an inability to sleep enough. Result – over tired Sa, unable to sleep because I am worried about not sleeping! Our overnight respite at Pancake Creek has completely revived me. An anchoring gin and tonic, dinner of cottage pie and a glass of red wine, bed by 7 and a good sleep all the way through to around 1 am. After that short, deep sleeps through til around 6 am when we started preparing for sea. Hopefully back on track now.
We glimpsed turtles last night at Pancake Creek and saw flying fish yesterday on the leg in from Breaksea Spit.
We made a sacrifice to the Sea Gods as we departed Mooloolaba, pouring away the banana milk which we felt had been jinxing us. We contemplated also ditching the juice that we bought which had some Banana in it, but Pete argued for keeping it as it was only 1% banana!
We got the news about Khaleesi being dismasted just a couple of hours after it happened and then followed their progress to Tin Can Bay practically in real time. Whilst it’s cool to know what is going on elsewhere, I kind of enjoy the simplicity of being self contained. I have no choice really since my phone has stopped receiving email! Pete spent about 3 hours trying to get it working through Telstra, but to no avail, and now I have no mail! I am receiving it on my iPad, so it’s not all completely lost.
Finding and stopping at Pancake Creek was awesome. Thanks heaps to Paul and Clare for pointing this out to us a great stopping point. It was a delightful haven after 36 hours of damp, smelly discomfort, and even though it was chilly we could open the windows, dry off and get some air through the boat. There are good leads into the entrance to avoid the sandbar that extends out to sea, and once in it was absolutely sheltered from the swell. We dropped anchor in about 5 meters of water just beyond the inner lead, and had about 20 meters of chain out. We had a very comfortable night, despite tidal motion taking us over our anchor.
There were many other boats moored up further upstream of us, but a couple of yachts came in after us and moored in our vicinity. Everyone clearly after a rest from the incessant wind and rolling swell. When we got up in the morning, one boat had already left, another had arrived after we were in bed and the big catamaran left just after we departed. The breeze was lighter and sailing not really feasible with wind directly behind, but we poled out the heady to try to help counteract the left over swell which kept on quartering us and made for a rolling ride. We had set ourselves a target of 107 miles to Pearl Bay and another overnight stay, but as I was feeling ok this morning, we have talked about maybe keeping going tonight. We will see how the day progresses.
It was a lovely day to be sailing, the breeze stayed below 15 knots and in the SE to E, allowing us to sail all day. Our speeds were 7-8 knots, keeping us on track for our landfall, though late at night. We were able to relax, with the auto helm steering, allowing time to absorb the view and the warming sun.
As sunset approached, we decided to keep going overnight and aim for Scawfell instead, another 80 miles up the track. As we were preparing our sundowner drinks and nibbles – WHEEEEEEE! The fishing line sang into action. Head sail put away, we turned the boat into the breeze and Pete started reeling in the catch. He had to fight really hard to pull this one in, so we thought it was big, but when Choppa finally landed him with the gaff, we could see it was a 6-7 kilo yellow fin tuna. An absolute beauty, fresh sashimi, ceviche, and steaks for two days at least!
Bled and gutted, he was hung from the stern to drain until tomorrow, and we returned to our drinks, only to have a couple of whales put on a short tail show as they passed us heading south.
We had curry for dinner by candlelight, then settled in for a lovely nights sail, and switched to rolling watches. This meant that instead of two people on for 2 hours, we each staggered our watch an hour. I started at 8 pm until 10 pm. At 9pm, Choppa went down and Snowy came up for my last hour. At 10 pm, Pete came up and I went down. At 11 pm, Snowy went down and Choppa came up, and at midnight I came up to start again. It worked well, being more interesting to have a change of person part way through and helped the time pass more quickly.
We did end up motoring around 2 am, but were sailing again by dawn, ready for filleting the tuna! Lunch of sashimi followed by Eton Mess, then motor back on to try to make Brampton by 5 pm. We are motor sailing pretty fast, but wind directly behind us so again it’s a bit rock and roll. But the sun is out, it’s warm enough for shorts and Snowy, Choppa and I have been challenging each other with planks! Just checking a recipe for ceviche for dinner, so we can have another meal of yummy fresh tuna on arrival. I will post some pics after this.
oh, and my phone seems to be working again, quite out of the blue!