December 23

We left the marina (Bundaberg) this morning at 5am sharp. The sun was only just peeking up above the horizon. Conditions were good with partly cloudy skies and wind about 10-15k from the NE. Our goal today is the Great Sandy Strait, a series of shallow channels and islands between Fraser Island and the mainland. There are several possible anchorages within the Strait though we are not sure which we will use this evening.

We motored out of the river mouth and turned ESE on a course of 129M after clearing the first 3 set of channel markers at about 5:45am. Seas were a bit choppy the water is very shallow in Hervey Bay (pronounced Harvey even though it is spelled with an e). We raised the sails and immediately began to sail at 7.5k.

At 6:15am the wind has died to about 5-8k and is more from the North. We are motor sailing at about 6.5k over ground. Skies are clearing (there was some early morning cloud) and it is now mostly clear with about 25% cloud cover.

It is now 10am and the wind has died to almost nothing. It is about 5k from the West. The forecast predicted 10-15k from the North or NE so they are way off so far. We have about 2.25 miles to go to reach the outer channel marker to the Great Sandy Strait. From there it is another 11 miles before we are actually within the strait itself. The ride is a bit rolly as a swell from the NNE continues to roll in though the chop is gone as the wind is very light.

At 11:40am we are now entering the Great Sandy Strait, though it cant be said that it has a definite entrance it is wide and open with shoals and islands scattered about. The wind has remained very calm to non-existent and seas are now very calm with only an occasional swell reaching us. Our speed is between 7.3 and 7.6k over ground, the flooding tide going South helping us along as we planned.

We anchored at the mouth of the Susan River, behind the town of River Heads, at about 1:45pm. We made excellent time considering we covered over 58 miles. We made it to anchor about 45 minutes before the tide change, which is important when you are operating in areas of extreme tidal flow. We have about 4 days before we are booked to arrive at Scarborough Marina, just North of Brisbane. Since it is only 2 days from here that leaves us 2 days to kill. We plan to spend tomorrow relaxing here at anchor then the following day (Sunday) move down through the Southern part of the Great Sandy Strait and anchor near Tin Can Bay Inlet just behind Point Inskeep which is right at the Southern entrance to the Strait (known as the Wide Bay Bar). There are strong wind warnings for today and tomorrow for the stretch South of Wide Bay on to Brisbane, so we are in no rush. Hopefully by Monday things will calm down. Right now we have about 10-12k of wind from the North or NW which is nothing much. Of course, being here in the river with sand and mud flats all around us we are completely protected any wind direction.