Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A trip to Paradise

I'm sitting in the centre of a blue circle. The circle isn't solid and its watery contents rolls beneath me, some 80m to the ocean floor, there is a blue domed roof above me. A golden light peeks over my shoulder and makes the lower part of the dome blush a dull pink. A band of whipped meringue spreads like a belt across half of the dome, but it is powerless to stop the warm glowing sun to herald the new day, leaving a yellow smudged path on the blue circle.

The blue circle is a rough place to be. We are heading north, the lumpy seas are rolling east. We have the smallest handkerchief of a sail out, but we are still rocketing along at 5.8kts. The wind is an ideal 15kts, gusting up to 17kts. But the ride is less than comfortable thanks to the crossing swell and heel of the boat, pitching steeply to port and bouncing to starboard and back to port. All you can do is hang on and distract yourself. 

Track back 14 hours, the weather is glorious, beautiful beaming sunshine, we have not been given any wind, or at least not any useful wind. The nose of our boat has a notable skill for drawing wind to it. Anywhere but there! But eventually after 9 hours of motoring over the glassy water of Hervey Bay with less than 4kts of wind, some westerly wind pays us a visit and I whip out the genoa, which pulls us along at a respectable 4.8kts. 

20 hours after we set off, there she is "land ho"! Lady Musgrave Island has made her way into the blue semi-circle and appears on the far northern edge. Yet she is still 4.5 nm away. She appears like a chocolate cake rising out of the ocean, circular in shape, with no distinguishing features from this distance. With the cracking pace we have set we will be able to introduce ourselves in 1 hour and this uncomfortable journey couldn't end soon enough!

But the trip was worth the effort. Golden grains of sand laying on top of reef, light aqua water, coral reef glistening below the water and beautiful coloured fish greet our arrival into the lagoon. Popping in to visit the breeding grounds of the black bobbies was the icing on the cake to the adventure.


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Gotta see a man about a dingy

Another trip of beating upwind, but we made it to the Yamba-Illuka bar late on Wednesday, with the setting sun making visibility less than great. Competing with the fishing trawlers who were making their way east for their nights work, we made it through the bar without to much difficulty. We navigated our way through the Yamba Channel with a few scares due to the depth sounder alarm becoming more persistant as we had depths of 1.3m below the keel of the boat. As we draw almost 2m (amount of boat below the waterline), we were keenly watching the charts and the depth sounder to avoid beaching ourselves in the middle of the commercial channel!

The Krissy II
Yamba became our destination because our new mate Ken had a dingy for us. After our nerve-wracking entry, we were hesitant to go and meet Ken at low tide on Thursday, so he could show us the dingy before heading off to work at 7am. Thankfully Ken was more than happy to bring the dingy to us. The ultimate test drive! If the dingy don't go, Kev can't go to work. But it started like a dream and Hugh took it for a burn. After a coffee and a chat, we dropped Ken back at the wharf, complete with some beef stew for dinner (as our freezer is on the fritz). So at 7:30am, we had our new second hand dingy. The 'Krissy II' was launched at 9am for our self guided tour of Yamba.

Gathering strength from the wind on the Yamba break wall
The 30kt offshore wind and big swell kept us penned into Yamba, so we were able to enjoy the spoils of the town, including a beer at the Pacific Hotel while reviewing the riveting and detailed history of the break walls at the bar entry.