Wind 10 -15 increasing to 20 in the afternoon N 203 nautical miles
The night was calm and peaceful, the only disturbance being Morgan wanting to come inside. John let her in through the fly screen and she settled till morning. Only two boats in the anchorage last night, quite a difference from our passage north.
We departed Port Clinton at 6:30 and were outside in very little wind at 7, heading on a course of 140 degrees. The forecast is showing strong SE winds kicking in Saturday lunchtime so we are going to try and go the whole 200 nms to Hervey Bay in one stretch otherwise we will be stuck in Gladstone or Pancake creek for 2 or more days.
The going was slow only 5 knts but picked up later in the afternoon as we neared Great Keppel. Going down the side of Curtis Island we managed 8 knots at times.The wind strength didn’t really last , the forecast 20 knots from the north never eventuated. We had steak, chat potatoes and salad for dinner before the sun dropped over Curtis island as we motor sailed on into the night.
We were a fair way off shore by the time we reached the Gladstone harbour channel entrance so there was no need to worry about ships anchored or moving along the channel. The lighthouse on Bustard head flashed on a regular basis surrounded by thunder storms. The lightning was quite spectacular lighting up the surrounding hills, I was hoping it didn’t come our way.
We split the night into three two and a half hour watches – Jenny 9.30 – 12.00, Friz 12.00 to 2:30 and John 2.30 to 5.00. It didn’t quite go that way as John laid on the cushions in the cockpit and slept then got up and joined us at times as the wind was fickle and sails needed adjusted or changing. When the wind died furtherJohn turned the motors on and the SB engine low battery light stated flashing. Upon inspection John found the belt had loosened and piles of black dust were sitting below it. We turned it off and waited till Friz got up and went in search of a new fan belt as the current one had almost worn through . Typically the replacement ones were in the crew quarters in the forward port bow buried under lots of other stuff . To make things worse once we found them and replaced the worn belt it was slightly too big. In the end John and Friz tightened up the worn one and vowed to keep an eye on it.
The wind kept swinging round until our heading was putting us in a line with the outside of Fraser. We had to keep the motors on to give us a direction that would get us inside the Sandy straits . By 5.00 the next morning we were 10 miles north of Bundy and hoping the southerlies wouldn’t come in till late. Unfortunately the wind couldn’t help us we had nothing for a few hours then and at 10:00 it turned to the SE with vengeance. The rain pelted down, the wind howled and the seas shortened .
Each time we dived down into a trough Ovive lost momentum. We averaged 3 knots for 35 miles, at times dropping down to 1.3. Finally at 6 pm we arrived in the marina tired and worn out from the perpetual movement and noise.
Friz treated us to a meal at Balenas cafe up on the boardwalk while the wet towels and clothes washed and dried in the laundromat. Early to bed as we were all stuffed and had a six hour drive to Maclean in the morning.
We are leaving the boat here for a few weeks then in January we will come up and take it the next few legs to Yamba.