On Friday morning we got up early to make the best use of still having the Ute for provisioning. We managed to fit in a visit to the farm produce shop, Coles, OPSM in Sugarland to pick up my contact lenses, a trip to the courthouse for Pete to get a stat dec signed for an invoice he needed to submit and just be back at the marina in time to return the Ute. We had agreed that the weather looked ok for a Sunday departure to Pancake Creek, so we spent the rest of the day preparing to head back to sea. After 10 days in port, there was a bit to put away, but not as much as I expected. I got a couple of loads of washing done, cleaned the Galley, Pete fixed a leak under the Galley sink and we checked that everything that could go away was stowed.
As Marquise and Koonya were heading to Pancake on Saturday, we invited Janet, Mark, Ruth and Steve for sundowners on board, and Ruth brought some delicious crab and Sprouted loaf from Yamba. We managed to clear away 2 beers, 2 bottles of Champagne and a bottle of white – so a quiet one for the six of us! Pete and I then headed up to Cruisers Corner for the Friday BBQ.
This week was jumping, with the Corner packed out. Many boats had come in during Friday, so there was a big turn out, and we were pleased to see Rowan and Nadine with Amelia and Harvey from Wakanui, back from repairs at Hervey Bay. Ono did some great steaks and there were many different salads, and a very enjoyable evening passed in conversation with a number of different people.
On Saturday we decided we would take the Goon Bag for a spin and see if we could find a lunch location. So off we went about 11, heading up stream. We passed the Tobruck, and a commercial ship loading up with sugar, then the sailing club with a number of yachts anchored off. Plenty of fishos all the way up the river, on the banks and in boats, cast netting and line fishing. Once away from the port, the banks are either mangrove or agriculture, with a surprising number of waterfront homes, some of which had deep water pontoons. It was quite fascinating. Before we got to town reach we had to negotiate some shallow patches, but it was well buoyed and we also had the iPad with us running iNavX, to make the navigation easy.
As we drew up past the distillery, moorings became abundant and we were surprised how many boats were variously moored and anchored in the town reach. We went under the bridges, then decided to head to the Rock for lunch, which was next to the rowing club, so we could leave the Goon Bag on the pontoon. We had a great waterfront lunch, looking out over the river and boats, with one eye on the Goon Bag. It was very pleasant to sit and relax in the sun, enjoying great pub grub and a decent glass of wine.
Our trip back down the river was much less lumpy, with very little wind over tide, and very pleasant indeed. On arrival back at the marina we picked up our seafood platter and some outboard fuel, finished sea prep, then headed over to Wakanui, which was anchored just around from the marina. Rowan and Nadine had invited us for sundowners and we were keen to have a closer look at their 84′ ketch. We took the prawns from our platter and a bottle of champagne, and had a lovely couple of hours chatting with them and having a tour of Wakanui. She is a well appointed boat, and Rowan and Nadine have done a huge amount of work to her so they can live aboard comfortably with the kids and one or two crew, but there is still a lot to do. However, we were very impressed with the parquet floor and the massive saloon and galley. We parted hoping to meet up at Lady Musgrave in a day or two, or failing that to see them again further up the coast.
Once back at WDS we got the outboard off the Goon Bag and on to its stand on the push pit, and got The Goon Bag secured on the foredeck, so we could just get going in the morning. Pete and I ate one crab and the bug from our seafood platter, then headed to bed for an early night as we were intending a 7am departure in the morning. Last check of the weather showed it still looking good for a quick trip to Pancake, and Tuesday as a likely reef day.
Sure enough as we headed out of the Burnett River, conditions looked excellent with 15-20 knot southeasterly, already pretty settled. We waved to Rowan and the kids as we passed them at anchor, hoping to see them again at Musgrave, then powered up the channel before getting the main up. It was dead downwind across the swell until we reached our first waypoint, but then we gybed, had a comfortable 140 degrees apparent in the same direction as the swell, and rolled along comfortably, seeing some great average speeds when the breeze picked up above 20 knots in the puffs. We were racing Billabong, which left Burnett Heads with us, as well as Supertramp and Kando, who had both left at least an hour before us. Everyone was headed to Pancake, so the race was on!
So easy to race AIS targets, we had a competition for top speed as well, with me taking the crown as usual, because the breeze always comes up when I am helming. Top speed of the day was 16.3, which Pete tried very hard to better all day! Current ETA at the Creek is around 3.30 pm. We plan to spend tomorrow climbing Bustard Head, Tuesday to Musgrave, then aiming to get to Gladstone for Wenesday/Thursday, as Pete needs to make a quick trip to Sydney. Stay posted for pics of the Creek.