Pancake Creek, Australia
 
 April 17, 2018    |   read entry >












  




 
Sneak Peek!

Catherine graces
the May/June cover of
Ocean Navigator magazine


Sailing Aviators

Even at sea level, our new
Mavericks deliver the highest
clarity. Mahalo nui, Maui Jim!

 

 


 

   
Day 3,974 - Pancake Creek, Queensland, Australia
22:51hrs - April 17, 2018
The Kangaroo Route

We're taking the Kangaroo Route, day hopping up the coast of Australia, bouncing from one anchorage to another as we climb the latitudes. We're now at 24 south and have well and truly turned the corner. Australia's most eastern protrusion has long since disappeared in our wake, and we have begun our slow incline up the Queensland coastline towards Cape York - the continent's pointy summit.

It's a pleasant way to see the country, and if you've timed it correctly and done a little research, you'll find yourself relaxing in a comfortable anchorage in the late afternoon enjoying the sunset with a cold beer followed by dinner served on flat plates and a peaceful night's sleep.

The Kangaroo Route does require a little planning. You wouldn't want to leave, for example, and find yourself fighting head current and approaching an unfamiliar anchorage after dark at low tide with a shallow bar crossing to navigate. So distances, daylight hours, tidal flow, tidal state, wind, swell and destination really should be observed. But these are manageable and mostly predictable distractions.

Since we waved farewell to family and friends in Brisbane almost two weeks ago, we've day sailed a modest 300 nautical miles. Our shortest hop, a mere 20 nautical miles, had us anchored off the world's largest coastal sandhill. While our longest, an 88 mile record for Dream Time, had us raising the anchor an hour before sunrise and charging north with twenty-five knots of wind and a favorable current. We've spent our nights anchored in open roadsteads with panoramic views of the Coral Sea. We've found shelter in Tin Can Bay during strong southerlies that delivered two days of near perfect kite surfing conditions, and we've drifted with the tide up through the Great Sandy Straight to anchor off an island with no name surrounded by dozens of curious turtles. We're now doing donuts in Pancake Creek, a small river entrance where tidal flow and contrary winds have Dream Time orbiting her anchor. Last night while we were fast asleep, Dream Time traveled over 3.6 nautical miles at speeds of up to 2.5 knots.

But after two weeks of hopping it's time to stretch our legs and make a leap north. A perfect weather window has opened promising 15 knots of southeasterly winds and just 3-4 foot seas, ideal conditions for an offshore passage, one that will carry us 300 nautical miles over two days to the Whitsundays - a cluster of 74 tropical islands resting in the 'heart of the Great Barrier Reef'.







April 12, 2018 (day 3,969)
Quick Fix: 25° 35.5 S / 153° 02.3 E
Conditions:  Wind: 13/SE Sky: Mostly clear

Surfing The Wide Bay Bar
We've crossed the infamous Wide Bay Bar, a shallow and often chaotic, unpredictable harbour entrance known for rogue waves and carnage. And on a set of impressive white knuckle breakers that completely blocked the recommended approach which, according to the forecast (1 - 1.5 meter swell) and tidal state (one hour before high tide), really shouldn't have been there, Dream Time was suddenly and quite unexpectedly picked-up by vertical walls of water before her bow dropped alarmingly, and at an exhilarating 12 knots speed over ground, surfed down the face chased by an avalanche of white water. Our full keel easily held our course avoiding a broach followed by a potential roll and so, remarkably, by the third breaker, we actually rather enjoyed the ride. At least ten other Australian vessels crossed the bar with us, so I guess this is normal?! When the adrenaline crash came an hour later, we both snoozed in the cockpit resting inside the calm shelter of Tin Can Bay.






Apr 7, 2018     |    It's called Big Sand Hill and, yep, that's accurate. Moreton Island's sandy summit reaches 920 feet - apparently the highest coastal sandhill in the world.




Apr 7, 2018     |     Hiking the west face of Big Sand Hill.

 



April 1, 2018 (day 3,958)
Quick Fix: 27° 27.2 S / 153° 11.4 E
Conditions:  Wind: 18/SE Sky: Clear

Seasons of Summer
It's easy to lose track of the seasons on Dream Time, we choose to sail predominantly in the tropics and, as a general rule, we try not to climb too high in latitude. In fact, during 3,958 days of living aboard and cruising, excluding the passages and cold seasons in New Zealand, we've spent approximately 3,808 days in a climate many would consider summer. And even though it's April now, or autumn in the southern hemisphere, as we're sailing north it's getting hotter, and in three months time, in the middle of winter, we'll be up in Darwin and it'll be positively scorching. We're at latitude 27 already and cyclones have another four weeks before they officially retire for the season. A tropical low has developed up the coast so we've decided to slow our northerly progress and spend a week of autumn sailing in Moreton Bay, where temperatures are forecast to remain a very seasonable 80 degrees - perfect.






Apr 1, 2018     |    A sundowner worth toasting.