Looped the loop!

We have looped the loop and are back on the Gold Coast! Here are the last of our passages to Southeast Queensland.

Shortcut to Double Island Point

After spending a couple of windy days hidden right inside Pelican Bay, behind Inskip Point, we exited at mid tide on Saturday with perfect conditions for a new thrill (no breaking wave, no swell, rising tide and clear skies). We decided to take the fabled Fishermen’s Channel to reach Double Island Point, instead of going through the Wide Bay Bar. It is not a well defined nor very deep channel right next to the beach, and we held our breath but had two meters of water at the shallowest so did well! No waypoints since the sandbanks are constantly changing, just a trained eye and a bit of luck. It was very reminiscent of the “fishos” channel at Port Albert in Victoria which we used to take often with our old boat Take It Easy. It cuts down the passage by about an hour, and once out of the danger zone, the screecher was up and we flew along beautiful Rainbow Beach.

Fishos shortcut at Inskip Point

Double Island Point is a handy and very scenic anchorage to shelter in, with a stunning lagoon. It is a favoured spot for catamarans, but also for 4WD who cruise along Rainbow Beach, and jetskis who for some reason love doing donuts around the anchored boats and really annoy everybody. Weekends and holiday periods are best avoided, so we failed on that front!

The Sandspit is getting broader and longer, the lagoon narrower and shallower and the deeper holes were taken so we did not anchor very far in.

The Double Island Point lagoon

First thing in the morning we took Bengie for a walk – she was not impressed with the soft soggy sand!

110 miles to the Canaipa Passage

With a long 110nm passage to Canaipa, it was a pre-dawn departure from Double Island Point.

Underway by 4.30am

We had an active sailing day – sometimes with all three sails out (screecher, jib and main) when we would thunder at 11 or 12 knots, other times slowing right down. We were constantly trimming, doing a lot of furling and unfurling of sails in response to changes of wind strength and direction. So although we were at it for 13 hours, it was fun getting the best out of Anui.

All sails out!

The Canaipa Passage is one of the two channels linking Moreton Bay to the Gold Coast waterways. It is a beautiful if shallow stretch which meanders between North Stradbroke Island on one side and a network of mangrove and inhabited islands on the other. Anchoring in a curve in the channel is delightful. It is peaceful, protected from the wind and you wake up to the sound of bird song. This is a map of the area, with Anui’s anchorage marked in red.

With a bit of time to kill and a few maintenance jobs to tackle, we decided to stay there the next day. First thing in the morning, Chris sent the drone up. We so like discovering our surroundings from the air – such a revealing perspective!

Canaipa Anchorage looking south
Canaipa Passage, looking southwest
Canaipa, looking southwest, higher up

Meanwhile, Wade was busy fixing things: anchor winch pressure arm, electrical charger, sail lug, screecher attachment… the usual stuff that breaks and takes half a day to sort out! Jobs done, we dinghied across to Russell Island for a leg stretch, top up of fresh food and lunch ashore!

Canaipa to Paradise Point

The next day, we timed our departure with a near high tide and continued following the maze of islands and sandbanks to Paradise Point. We are now officially on the Gold Coast and about to start our boat maintenance and medical chores. It is also an opportunity to catch up with a few of our cruising friends who live in this region… something we are really looking forward to after eight months of absence.

Anchored at Paradise Point

With our Reef cruising season over, Chris is busy putting together a couple of documents: one is a beautiful “lay-flat” photobook of our best underwater, aerial and seascape images, entitled Aquamarine Dreams, the other is our 2021 Reef Addiction Cruise Story. We will post a link to these in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

23 thoughts on “Looped the loop!

  1. So many beautiful views!!! Anui looks beautiful with all her sails up, so impressive. The sunrise photo is one to be framed, beautiful! I don’t know what her draft is but I’d be kind of scared of running aground. Why is the reef cruising season done? I thought this was year-round. Be safe!

    • Draft: 1.30 – you go on a rising tide!
      Reef cruising can happen all year long but cyclone season goes from November to end of April and we don’t want to be out there at that time, hence the mass migration south.

  2. Always good to travel different routes. Glad you enjoyed the swift sail. Enjoy your time on the Gold Coast. All the best with the medical checkups

      • Well lets just hope that doesnt happen. We are back at GKI (hiding yesterday) hoping for a run down the Capricorn Bunker Group before we head south. At least then we can say we got some reef cruising in this year!

  3. Hi Guys
    Welcome back south.
    Went through the fisherman’s channel hey?
    One day I will muster the testicular appendage to do it!!!!!!!!!
    How long are you in this part of the world?

    • Ah Simon – the conditions were perfect … if we did not do it then, we’d never do it! Wade was at the wheel looking out and I was calling out the depth with the tone of my voice going slightly up as it got shallower, but 2m was as bad as it got!
      We are on the Goldie for about two or three weeks. Where are you?

      • Will be down the coast tomorrow to collect a surfboard.
        Would you be up for lunch?
        Give me a call 0411 810793

  4. Sounds like a perfect sail past Rainbow to the lagoon anchorage …. words like idyllic come to mind! If you still had your PG’s you could have done some boring soaring on those giant sand dunes … looking forward to your coffee table e-book!
    Your cruise through Morton bay reminded me of a former life, midweek racing out of Wynnum Manly yacht club. Serious stuff, usually involving beer and wine!

    • Hi Elgar, we did see a couple paragliders above the cliffs at the lagoon and thought «boring soaring with a view»! I remember launching from the top of the dune at Rainbow Beach… it was a different life! Now we get those magnificent panoramic shots with less of a fear in the gut… thanks to the drone!

      • I never ticked Rainbow beach off my pg site list. Saw what an epic soaring site it was, but that was years after hanging up my canopy …. There’s a French guy, Jean Luc (I think) used to teach there, maybe still does?

      • Not sure – I remember meeting him. The launch was a fair back in the blow, bordering on where you get rotor and there were a few accidents! But if you got up and away you could fly all the way to Double Island Point – the lagoon did not exist.

  5. The Lagoon at Double Island looks very enticing. Was that a solar panel corner protector lying in the deck in the first photo?! Great average speed for the passage to Canaipa.
    Welcome back

    • Hi Graham, yes, good spotting, it was a corner protector and back on where it should have been! Good speed averages on the way down. It was active and fun although a bit frustrating!

  6. Thanks for the update, Chris. I loved the sunrise image and was absolutely fascinated by the drone shots of the Anchorage. In addition to the cool photographic perspective that you get from the drone, I can see how useful it can be in providing additional information about your surroundings.

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