Bundaberg to North West Island

I had been weighing up a few options for this next leg. Do I do a short hop to Pancake Creek or Lady  Musgrave? Or a longer leg directly to North West Island. Frankly it came down to not wanting to spend any more time with my keel in the mud at Bundberg. At its lowest, the depth gauge showed 2.1m for my 3 metre keel!!!

After Doug, Sascha and I rested up we took the courtesy bus from Bundaberg Port Marina into Bundaberg, a trip of around 30ks. Doug and Sascha were hiring a car to drive back to Maroochydore because the flights from Bundy were so expensive and elusive. Thankfully the courtesy bus driver dropped us off right at the hire car, saving us a 3 k walk from downtown Bundaberg.

Armed with a car where else would we head… STRAIGHT TO THE DISTILLERY!!! I stocked up on rum and “diamonds” neither of which I reckon will see it back to Sydney.

The compulsory photo

Then it was on to serious provisioning. From now on it would seem I would be on my own so it was pretty easy and the quantities were small. I still had plenty of frozen meals from Sydney so it was really just lunches and breakfast that I needed to sort. Easily done at the Burnett Heads IGA not far from the marina.

Doug and Sascha headed off around 3pm as I was getting into some boat jobs. I had found a small leak on one of the coolant hoses. Luckily Bundy Port Marina has an excellent chandlery and they had just the hose I was looking for. It did however take a while for them to find it in their system and figure out how much to charge me. Then there was the eerie glow that had been coming off the saloon lights, even when off. After a bit of examination I found it to be a stray current from the switch panel lighting circuit, feeding back through the indicator light wire. It probably just a fault in a 20 year old PCB. None of us are quite what we were 20 years ago.

I had an early dinner and put my head down for a few hours before getting up at midnight to ride the tide out and direct to North West Island. I motored until dawn before setting full sail and running before the wind all day until I arrived at North West Island at 1630. I poured myself a healthy “anchoring” rum and coke before a sunset dinner and an early night.

North West Island

Wednesday (3/8) morning I cleaned the hull which I had been neglecting during Sydney’s cold winter. Upon entering the water I found it wasn’t much better up here in the reef. I’m sure the trip up helped loosen everything and it wasn’t too bad. Once I had finished the tide had risen enough for my pilgrimage to the Island.

Sunset at North West Island

Armed with a bottle of Sarah Goddard-Jones favourite champagne, Craig Smith’s ashes and a note to mark his grave site I headed in. After a short ceremony I buried Craig’s ashes next to Sarah’s, near the existing grave site. I poured them each a glass of bubbles and sat down to catch Sarah up with all the goings on of the last three years. I rebuilt the coral cairn to mark the grave site.

Sarah’s Cairn

On departing I ran into some park rangers who were on the island preparing for the influx of campers that come on the September school holidays. I mentioned why I was there and asked if they needed any help. They said they were ok so I putted back to Wine-Dark Sea in Goon Bag. As I was preparing to leave for Great Keppel they came past because they just want to check for sure that all I was burying was ashes!!! I’ll let your mind boggle as to what they thought I might be doing!!!

Cheers to the Little Welsh Dragon

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