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Sailing around Australian East Coast  Sydney — Cairns — Sydney , July-December 2007

Storm warning, albatrosses and the bay named after the bustard



It is said that albatrosses fly over the sea before the storm, as they were doing this morning. They come in at high speed, touch the wave with their wing and sear up the sky at the speed of lightning. The forecast is not too great: strong wind warning, possible storm winds.

The wind changed to south and is blowing 25 knots. As our boat is a ketch we don’t need to reef the main, in fact we don’t need to use it at all. Sailing downwind Gonzie polled out the Genoa and I raised the mizzen. It seems to be working ok.

The sea is bubbling and the waves are getting bigger. The autopilot is not coping and we are taking turns hand-steering.

In the afternoon the wind picked up to 30 knots and I’m getting worried. We are heading to Pancake Creek which seems to be well protected from southerly weather. It is a bit far so we need to sail a couple of hours in a dark.

The wind is too strong and Gonzie went up the deck to get rid of the poll and put up a Jib#2 instead of Genoa. He had a tough time doing this and the sheet from the head sail picked up by the wind, ended up in the water and tangled around the prop.

The boat pounded relentlessly in these wet humps and it seems like the last thing we needed was more problems.

With the sheet stuck in the prop we couldn’t start the engine and couldn’t use the other head sail as it was too rough and dark to make a new one. The only thing we could do was to lift up the main and sail to the nearest bay to anchor and try to fix it all next morning.

Having arrived to Bustard Bay in a couple of hours, we anchored in 8 meters of water and of course we were not sheltered from the waves. The night was a nightmare with the boat fiercely rolling from side to side and everything that was not secured was falling to the cabin sole, including us :). A few things were making annoying rolling noises. After fixing one source of that noise another would arise from somewhere and instead of sleeping we were thinking: what else could possibly be loose?



Bustard Bay was named by Captain Cook after the bustard shot by his crew. This bustard was the tastiest bird they ate since they left England. Cook had all this fun naming bays and islands. We would name it a Nightmare Bay if we were the first explorers.

In the morning Gonzie geared up and went diving to get the prop out of the rope. It was tangled very seriously so it makes sense now why all our attempts to pull the sheet last nigh were not successful. Now that the prop is set free, we felt happier. Gonzie was discovered that the water is warm and feels like diving.


We set our course to Gladstone and were surfing the waves – southerly weather has built up the seas even bigger than yesterday. The wind is blowing something close to 30 knots so we were in hurry to hide in Gladstone marina as the forecast for the next few days is rather scary.


Near Gladstone we saw a lot of tankers – we are approaching the main port of Queensland. Up until  this moment we had one lucky thing we hadn’t appreciated– it wasn’t raining. So now it starts.


P.S.: On the Photos above we’re approaching Gladstone; didn’t think about taking pictures in rough seas ...

On the way to Gladstone, in the protected beaconed channel

Tankers in the channel near Gladstone

Viking boat in Gladstone marina

Empede in Glastone marina

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