We have made very slow headway southwards. The weather has not been very cooperative. So no dazzling reef nor exciting snorkeling this week, just hard yakka to get south!
We left the reef last Monday, headed for the coast and made a two nights’ stop in the very pretty 1770 settlement. It is an odd name for a little village on the edge of the Round Hill Creek, but this relates to the year 1770 when Captain Cook landed there for the first time. It is said to be the birthplace of Queensland.
From there, we battled headwinds to reach the Burnett River at Bundaberg where we sheltered from strong conditions for several days. Very strong easterlies and south easterlies were forecast to last for days. Floating around in a river with not a lot to do is not exactly our idea of fun in the tropics, especially since we are on a schedule. But we used the time well: re-provisioning (lots of treats to console ourselves), laundry, repair to a leaky toilet and bilge pump replacement, and of course plotting our escape to Fraser Island. It was this or an extended stay at the rum distillery to drawn our sorrows!
So why are we experiencing so much trouble with the weather? The combination of predominant SE at this time of year and the direction of the Queensland coastline running NW to SE means we are struggling to get down and around the border into NSW. Once in NSW we should be fine. Their prevailing wind in summer is more evenly spread between NE and SE and the coastline angles back NE-SW! In previous years we have enjoyed long tail wind runs under spinnaker along that stretch of coast.
We dream of tail winds. Sailing to windward sucks. But waiting around sucks even more! We were hoping for the strong SE to switch or at least lighten to enable us to leave Bundaberg and hide behind Fraser Island, but after 3 days of waiting with no change in sight we decided our only chance to move on was to do a dash across Hervey Bay under motor-sail in the dead of night, having noticed all is quiet after dark! The things you have to do to make progress! We are now at Fraser Island and probably will be floating at Platypus Bay for a day or two!
So to cheer us all up, we thought we would display a gallery of pretty skies, sunrises and sunsets we have enjoyed during our last week. We suggest you do like us and enjoy these with a gin and tonic or rum and dry, a favourite way to end the afternoons on Take It Easy.