Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Port Stephens to Brisbane - The fast way to the sun (MkII)

At 08:30 on Saturday the 18th of June we set off “again” for Brisbane. The conditions were much better than when we left Sydney - 20 to 25 knot southwesterly winds and small seas. But we still left Port Stephens under the third reefed main and blade jib.

Lucey Blue hugged the coast all the way up to the tip of Moreton Island and arrived in Brisbane early on the Tuesday morning. We managed to avoid the Australian East Coast current entirely and by the end of the first 24 hours we were motor sailing in light westerly winds and a flat sea.

Ryan really seemed to enjoy life at sea – especially as he had Grandma entirely to himself. Most of Ryan’s time was spent playing in the saloon or pestering Grandma to read more of the Far Away Tree. He also won quite a few games of scrabble, but I think there must have been something untoward going on there….

When Grandma was having some timeout Ryan spent a fair bit of time checking to see if we had caught anything on our fishing line. Needless to say we had a lot of fun, but we did not land a fish on the way up the coast.

Things quieted down aboard Lucey Blue when Ryan went to bed. The solitary night watches marked the passage of time. On a still night there is often not a lot to do, but to watch the glow of the instruments in the cockpit and the stars above. If you get luckily the ocean will provide a phosphorescent light show to illuminate the trail behind.

We passed the Gold Coast just after dawn on our last day at sea. Ryan was pretty impressed by the number of high rise buildings on the coast, but before long his attention was fully occupied by a pod of dolphins playing in the bow waves of Lucey Blue.

By mid morning the wind had dropped to almost nothing and we were cruising up the coast under full main and jib with the one engine ticking over at 2000 rpm to maintain boat speed.

For those that are interested, in calm conditions Lucey Blue’s Volvo Penta D2-55 Diesel engines use 1 litre of fuel for every 1.5 to 1.8 nautical miles travelled. That is about a third the fuel efficiency of a large family car, but then again your average family car is not a 42 foot floating home.

Half way up Moreton Island we came across four humpback whales leisurely making their way north. The whales stayed with us for a while, but they were far less friendly than those we encountered previously in Antarctica aboard Najat. Perhaps they are on a schedule or just sick of the tourist boats following them about. But Ryan thought that were fantastic and wanted to report the sighting back to Grandi as soon as they departed.

We reached the north point of Moreton Island just on nightfall and decided to duck in around the headland and into Moreton Bay via the Outer Freeman Channel.

The conditions were perfect for our arrival so it should have been a low stress event. However, the Freeman Channel is not marked, there was no moon to illuminate the way and the marker bouys on the main inner channel were very difficult to distinguish from the lights on the bay and from the mainland. As we motored slowly around the headland the depth when from about 80 metres to 10 metres, then to 5 metres and at one point down to 1.9 metres.

At the shallowest point I asked Dad what the noise was off to starboard and despite not being about to see anything he responded that he though it was the sound of the three knot current running rapidly over a shallow sand bank……. Dad’s only other comment was “this is good practice”.

We made it into the bay without further incident and then slowly navigated down to the Brisbane river entrance past numerous large container ships. We passed under the Gateway Bridge at around 01:30 on Tuesday morning and tied up to our berth at the Dockside Marina at around 02:30.

With the cold weather now a thing of the past we settled down to enjoy Brisbane and catch up with family and friends......

1 comment:

Vicki B said...

Good to see you are enjoying yourselves. Love the photos!