As relaxing as it was to be snugged up in Mooloolaba, we had to keep moving. Another overnight was in store and we departed Mooloolaba with a goal to get to Lady Musgrave around midday the following day. We left Mooloolaba at 0640, after the obligatory coffees of course. Our only real drama was the loss of two new lures that Lindy had bought. The line itself was snapping so we put this down to lack of maintenance and didn’t risk any more “good” lures until we had replace the line itself. We did however switch back to the old faithful of VB cord with a bungy. No more success however.
Our pace was not looking good and was solely under diesel power. We rounded Break Sea Spit, at the northern end of Fraser Island, too late to make it to Lady Musgrave in the middle of the day, where we could see the coral clearly for the entry. Instead we decided to divert to Lady Elliot for lunch. While we were poking around looking for an anchorage a friendly staff member came and told us of a spare public mooring at the other end of the resort. Safely secured we went ashore and reported in at reception, as requested. No fee, they just wanted to know who we were. We rewarded ourselves with a beverage in the bar. We then went and had a chat with the island plant nursery attendant. She gave a guided tour of the nursery and told us of all the good work they were doing in providing native plants to repair the damage done to the various coral islands. This was followed by a snorkel, a quick trip back to the boat, where we decided that the resort could cook our lunch for us. We headed back to the bar for burgers and a beverage or two. Lindy and I had another snorkel while Greg went to upload his social media profile (these kids!!). Greg did miss out on some great snorkeling, including a three Green Turtles of varying age. One small (about 30cm), one medium (60cm) and a great old man/lady of the sea, nearly 1m across. The medium and large one didn’t mind some petting as they swam along. The little one was quite wary of us.
We had probably spent more time at the island than we planned. This meant that our planned anchorage of Pancake creek would have been reached quite late at night. This being the case we decided if we were going to be night sailing we may as well punt up the coast a bit. We set sail for Rosslyn Bay. OK we didn’t sail. It was motoring all the way again. Once we got in communication range again it became clear that a large front was going to move all the way up the east coast of Australia, reaching us early on Tuesday. As is usually the case the further up the coast, the weaker it becomes. With this in mind it made sense to make it a quick stop in Rosslyn Bay and continue up the coast. Greg and I fueled up Wine-Dark Sea and Lindy went shopping for esssentials. Fishing lures, fishing line, prawns and oysters.
We decided to head for Middle Percy as neither Greg or Lindy had visited what is an icon of Coral Coast cruising. Having fueled up of course the wind had now filled in and we had a cracking night’s sail up past Port Clinton and the Shoalwater Army training grounds. There was a tense moment on my watch (2100-0000) when I heard a slapping sound and though I saw a white shape ahead of me in the moonlight. I shook myself to a higher level of consciousness and observed more closely to determine there was a whale right on our line having a late night fin slapping fest. I rushed back to the wheel to alter course, trying to determine its direction of travel. I bore away only to discover that was probably the wrong way. At the last minute I decided to pull up which slowed the boat down and, from what I could tell in the dim light , we paralleled course for a while before the whale gave a great snort and descended for the deep. It definitely got the heart racing and was better the a double macchiato and kept me alert for the rest of my watch. We arrived at Percy a little after 0300 so Lindy got off Scott free for the night. We anchored in West Bay just as another boat was leaving. We wondered if it was something we said, or maybe the boat’s reputation preceded itself…