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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!