We’ve crossed the border!

We have gone past the distinctive outline of Mt Warning, past the Tweed River and Point Danger and crossed the border into Queensland! Although we still have a way to go to get to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, it is a relief to have reached this milestone.

Truth be known, it has been a long slog, an 800 nautical mile slog (1500 kms) from the Gippsland Lakes to here. Even with the nice interludes with friends, there is no denying that getting up the East Coast of Australia is a bit of a chore.

Nevertheless there are some nice spots to stop at, and Iluka-Yamba was certainly scenic as you can see from the photos.

Mid North Coast - Yamba


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Iluka – Yamba from the Bluff shores

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The lone tree at Iluka

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Surfing the Iluka breakwall wave

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The other side of the Iluka breakwater

We spent 4 days there and left Yamba a day later than planned, having had to take my laptop to the IT doctor (a Windows 10 update failed, corrupting systems files in the process). We are so dependent on our devices!

We got underway again on Friday 22 June. Crossing the bar was tense. With 2m swell still out there, we were not sure we would get out, but ended up sneaking around the southern end of the bar, rather than following the leads northeast where feathering waves were breaking. When we reflect on all the bar crossings we have done, the Clarence River bar is the most temperamental and can really turn on some foul conditions. But we managed our way out and were rewarded by a jaw dropping sunrise.

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Early morning sunrays offshore of Iluka

We had a great 55 nm sail, passing BallinaLenox Head, rounding Cape Byron, the most easterly point in Australia, and throwing the pick in at Byron Bay, our last stop in NSW. This is an open anchorage which was quite swelly but tolerable. The funny thing was lumping about at anchor with Balinese cooking aromas and music wafting by from town!

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Lenox Head in two meter swell

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Cape Byron Lighthouse

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Distinctive Mount Warning

The next 50nm hop was a spinnaker run in light conditions. We wove our way through numerous migrating whales, some of which were rather close for comfort. We are typically going at twice their speed, and thus have to keep a keen eye out to not ram into the back of them. Around Kingscliff, it was a bit scary, such was the number of them frolicking! This pair was very close on our beam, may be two boats’ length, and wisely decided to dive!

Dive! Dive!

Another one, which had been mucking about for a while, did a spy hop to take a good look at us as we were sailing past at a respectable distance. It obviously thought we’d be fun to play with and decided to chase us! OMG, go Big O, go!

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This one is giving chase!

We reached the Gold Coast Seaway, the main navigation entrance to the Gold Coast Broadwater and Southern Moreton Bay, on Saturday afternoon.
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Gold Coast skyline – not quite our beloved wilderness!

We checked Bum’s Bay, a protected inlet just inside, but it was so horribly crowded that we ended anchoring in the shallows behind Wave Break Island, in the company of one other cat instead of hundreds of boats packed like sardines. We won’t stay here for long, just enough time to do a few errands early next week!

Into QLD

18 thoughts on “We’ve crossed the border!

      • We have had grest weather…I think the high pressure system is helping us. We are unfortunately stopping in Melbourne for a few minor, but necessary repairs, otherwise we would have kept going to Sydney (or at least Eden where we have had to restock the larder). The forecast for Bass Strait was almost idyllic. We actually sailed more in this 600nm stint than we did in the last 600nm stint (across the Great Australian Bight)!

      • We have been watching your progress on Marine Traffic. Let’s hope the repairs in Melbourne are quick and you can be on your way again.

      • Yes. We hope so. This wont be a social visit. Skipper is grumping about the single figure temperatures!

  1. Beautiful photos as always! Those whales are scary. A six foot swell is a bit rough is t it? Australia is a huuuuge country! 😳👍🏻👌🏻😎

    • Six foot is fine out at sea, but when crossing bars it can be a bit dodgy. And yes when you sail along the coast, Australia is very big. We are only half way up the East Coast! Thanks John 😊

  2. You were in our thoughts yesterday, when a gentle 10kt southerly existed at Narooma! It obviously assisted you to pass Chris’s mountain namesake, and cross the border !
    Still travelling in ‘vicarious’ mode with you. I appreciate Wave break Island for a stop, too.
    Huskisson today for us, by road and camper.

    • The weather seemed to change when we crossed into QLD: southerly breeze, perfect for Big O, swell dropped off, sunshine, off came the layers! Enjoy Jervis Bay, Doug!

  3. Enjoy Qld and the warm weather. Have fun with the various things you want to do on the Gold Coast. Do not get too excited having arrived there and you are not allowed to stand at the bow with excitement. Great achievement. Love the whales.

    • It is so nice to be in shorts and t-shirts at 9.00 am! Amazingly quick change. I guess it helps that we are inland rather than out in the ocean. No secret meetings at the bow yet! 😉

    • The swell is not too bad, and after months at sea, we are used to some movement on the boat. You get affected if it is big AND beam to the boat, but otherwise it is fine. When it is 3m+ we generally don’t go.

  4. I like your photos very much Chris! You’ve made quite a long way. How many more nautical miles to the reefs? 🙂

    • Thanks HJ. It’s another 300nm to the Southern part of the Great Barrier Reef and another 75 beyond that to the Swain Reef. But from here on we can take our time – we have our winter and spring to enjoy the tropics before we need to head back down South of Bundaberg.

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