19/07/2021 Day One Operation Northbound

We’d planned to rise in the dark and get going at 4am but a last minute decision was made to reset the alarm for 4.20 am.

Departing Burnett River at 4.30am is still a little eerie even though the channel is clearly marked with bright flashing beacons, paying attention for any small fishing craft is warranted as not all boaties have adequate navigation lighting.

At all but the last two channel markers we rolled out the 150% genoa to assist the engine which we left running just until the pre-dawn light provided some visibility.

A steady breeze of about 10 knots enabled a lovely reach with about 6.5 knots average speed over ground – enough to keep us very happy. 

As Hughie is wont, he waxed and waned and while we managed to maintain boat speed at times the breeze fell to about 5 knots.  Alas by lunchtime just south of Agnes Waters, the breeze was gone for good and “Grumble” the 55 HP Yanmar was put to work.

Grumble and the associated fuel tank have caused much concern from time to time (see Geoff’s blog…) and today was no exception.  I’d noticed an alarm sound when we backed off the revs when anchoring but at first had mistaken it for the squeaks and squarks from the walkie-talkie or the VHF radio.  This time there was no doubt that it was the oil pressure alarm.

Grumble was silenced and we wallowed about waiting for breeze that never eventuated.  It was decided after investigations and rumination that as long as the revs were kept up the oil pressure was maintained and just as well as Hughie never returned and our options to put in at Pancake Creek or venture upriver to Gladstone seemed counter-productive, so we pushed on through the night – Grumble never missed a beat. 

Two-hour watches from about 6pm freezing in an open cockpit is not fun, but we were determined to persevere.  The notion of putting in to Pancake at 2am was no better option nor (was returning) to Gladstone.

What did we wear?

Geoff doesn’t feel the cold quite as much as I do – I was wearing a thick pair of leggings underneath my thickest track pants, long fleece lined knitted socks with suede soles, two long sleeved skivvies under a thick knitted hoodie, as well as a knitted beanie, the Gill wet weather jacket, and a pair of fingerless knitted gloves underneath cotton gloves.

What did we eat and drink?

Lots of water!

5.30 am tea (for me) and coffee for Geoff.

6.30 am coffee (for both of us) and Carmen’s muesli bar.

8.00 am banana

10.30 am toasted avocado cheese and onion sandwich and coffee.

12.00 noon – shared the only cold beer

2.00 pm coffee and Byron Bay cookies

5.00 pm reheated leftover nachos from the night before

10.00 pm cup of soup (cheesy broccoli and croutons)

Arrived at Great Keppel Island just after sunrise, anchor down and engine silenced at about 7 am at Wreck Bay.  This is a glorious anchorage and with expected WSW to SW breezes we expected to stay for at least the next couple of days.

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