Escape from the Sandy Straits

For a change, it has been raining… a lot! We have been stranded in the Sandy Straits for what has felt like an eternity, trying to be reasonably productive in the wet and windy weather while we could not get off the boat: documented our 2020 cruise story, drafted a couple of magazine articles, done some more research about the Swain Reefs… and luckily the Fix Tech goop has stopped the drips! But there is only so much time you can spend boat bound without going a bit loopy! So on the rare days of less inclement weather we were eager to get out. We had two of those days.

Wade was keen on catching sand or mud crabs: either would do! So he resurrected our crab pots and we dinghied up the mangrove creeks. We were full of hope and fantasizing about a tasty feast to come, but the only critter we caught in the pot was Bengie!

While the wind was light, Chris got the drone up high to get aerial images of Anui and our surroundings. The first one is at Woody Island, the next two at White Cliffs.

The good thing about unsettled weather is that you get spectacular skies. Funny really, because we have just written a story for publication about life as sea wanderers stating it is most definitely not all about beautiful sunrises and sunsets. But after such an abundance of grey, we were desperate and grateful for colour!

The plan was to sit out the bout of strong and soggy southeasterlies then as soon as the wind eased and changed to the east and northeast, head back south to The Boat Works. We made our move on Tuesday at last in the company of our friends from Sengo, although the wind never eased as forecast! We had to motor all the way to Tin Can Bay but at least we escaped and picked up some fresh food and treats there! The next day saw us sailing back to Inskip Point with the ebbing tide, and out through the Wide Bay Bar to the lagoon at Double Island Point on Thursday. This satellite image shows an overview of the area. The blue arrow is Anui, anchored at Tin Can Bay on Tuesday night.

The Double Island Point Lagoon was busy: there were already 7 boats anchored inside when Anui, Sengo and Seahorse arrived, having come through the Wide Bay Bar in indian file. It was sunny but a little too blowy to launch the drone from the deck (well actually easy to take off, but a high risk of a water landing on the way back), so since we were keen to get a few shots of the lagoon from the air, we dinghied ashore and launched from the beach. You can guess which one Anui is – the only blue boat in the middle!

Double Island Point Lagoon Panoramic

As you can see particularly from the images below, there is only a narrow navigable area. The water depth in the left image goes from 1.8m at the entrance to 1.2m of water where the last cat is at low tide. Anui is in 1.6m. The further you go in, the more assured you are of sitting on the bottom and drying out at low tide, like the cats in the image on the right which would be in less than 80cm.

Catamarans with mini keels can generally go right in, knowing they can sit flat and level on the bottom if need be because their mini keels are broad, sturdy and can take the weight of the boat. But cats like ours with no mini keels, and instead thin vulnerable rudders and daggerboards have greater draft and are more limited! We draw 1.3m and the few times we have anchored in the lagoon we haven’t gone further than where we are in the photos shown in the gallery. Anui is great for speed and pointing into wind, not so good for beaching! In Take It Easy, we would have gone right in. Any regrets?… Not really!

With only a day and a half of light northerlies, we left the Lagoon at some ungodly hour this Friday morning. The weather is really fickle and makes planning tricky. We are going south via the more protected Moreton Bay rather than the ocean way so that if the weather turns again, as it probably will, it is easier to motorsail in the relative shelter of the channels which run between Moreton/Stradbroke Islands and the mainland, rather than battle our way in the open ocean.

11 thoughts on “Escape from the Sandy Straits

  1. Morning. Fickle is a good word. We now have light winds back that could help us but on the nose. At least it is relatively flat out here!. See you at anchor in a day or so! Xxx Trish

  2. Yeah, I love the skies, what a beautiful world we live in. You have certainly had rotten weeather but it is hopefully on the improve. Good luck at Boatworks. Shame you were not successful with the crab pot. Reminds me of an incident at Elizabeth reef. 😂😂😂

    • Hiya Sue – the crab pots… gotta laugh! I had forgotten about the Elizabeth Reef incident! No meany appeared, no shark attack… nothing!

  3. Phew, must be a great relief to get the sunny weather and golden sunsets again!
    Benji in the crab pot was a laugh …… she pretending to be a (wait for it) ….. cat-fish?
    Happy sailing guys!

    • Oh Elgar we are out but were motor sailing all day! And to add insult to injury the only protected anchorage in Moreton bay for the forecast is Peel Island. We got there on sundown after 14 hours underway – the 91st Boat to anchor there! At least nobody is anchored behind us but we could not see the beach for the masts! …
      We like your play on words for Bengie, the catfish 😆!

  4. It is great to hear that you are on the move again, but you obviously have managed to keep yourself really busy, Chris–the 2020 cruise story is impressive and reflects a huge amount of work. I love the variety of shots in this posting, including the aerial shots, the panorama, and the colorful sky images. The colors are so vivid–I can’t take my eyes off of the amazing colors of the water.

    • Thanks for the feedback Mike and nice that you commented on the variety. The colour of the water in the shallows over sand is always that amazing turquoise we love.

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