Z E N I T U D E
Blue Water Dreaming
Continuing the South Journey - The End of Season 2014
November was just a hectic month in Sydney, with Zenitude waiting very still in the Whitsundays.
Our new (temporary) life, such a contrast with our cruising time we just had left behind. But by November 23 we were back in Zenitude to receive our friends Ann and John from Leavin’ the Dream that came all the way from the US in a trip to visit Australia and New Zealand the fast way, which meant Livin’ the Dream stayed in Florida while they flew to Australia.
We first met Ann and John in the Caribbean when they were cruising in their beautiful boat. Together we survived the experience of spending a cyclone season in troubled Venezuela back in 2008 and we’ve been in touch ever since. They had promised they would fly to Australia for a month long holiday and it was great to have them for a little while with us.
Ann and John (photo borrowed from Livin' the Dream website)
On the Whitsundays just a little longer - 22 to 26 November 2014
Somewhere in the Whitsundays
We had recommended to them a trip to the Coral Reef with one of the diving operators and then come to spend some time with us in the Whitsundays on board Zenitude.
This worked out well, our experience being that we could not guarantee a trip to the reef if weather was not good, but dive operators go there all the time and they don't not need a ‘perfect’ window.
They were with us just 4 days and we took them around Whitsunday Island stopping at Stonehaven, Butterfly Bay, Whitehaven Bay and back to Hamilton.
We had a fantastic time and this was a rare occasion when our visitors actually knew what to do on board which meant very little work for us.
We tremendously enjoyed their company and would love to have them back any time again.
As I had to go back to my work commitments we had made arrangements for alternative crew to help Oscar take the boat south to Coomera in Gold Coast for the cyclone season.
On the 26 of November Oscar and crew, our son Gonzalo and our friend Phil, started the trip south with a little hope of good northerlies, which seemed to be always 2 days away as the forecast kept changing.
The trip was mostly ok but there was a lot of frustration as there was no good weather to stop neither at North West Island nor at Lady Musgrave as they were hoping to do for some serious spearfishing expeditions.
After 10 days of mainly motor sailing they arrived in Hervey Bay. The crew had run out of time and could not keep going, so Zenitude stayed in Urangan Marina for the month of December.
The Journey South - New Crew Joins Zenitude - 26 November to 6 December 2014
We did the final leg, Hervey Bay to Coomera in the Gold Coast during the week after Christmas. It was a good trip, with just one stop at the anchorage in Kingfisher Bay Resort for the first night and then down the Sandy Straight, across Wide Bay Bar more scary than ever, even in very calm weather as it seems the bar, which is tricky at best, is now even trickier, as shifting sands render much of the available navigation information worse than useless.
The journey south, some sailing but mainly motorsailing
The Journey South - The Old Crew in the Last Leg- 26 to 31 December 2014
The following is an extract describing the Wide Bay Bar situation as of December 2014:
Maritime Safety Queensland has recognised the danger and taken action, but new waypoint directions have yet to be established.
"We have to provide some sort of safety service, so if people contact us we can give them the waypoints we use, but they have to do so at their own risk.
Waypoint Two, for example, is the one half way across the bar, at Inskip, the one where you turn to go directly east. We've been telling people to stand off to the north a fair bit, about 100m, after Maritime Safety Queensland came down with the Harbour Master from Bundaberg and said the co-ordinates are wrong."
They say they will have to develop new waypoints and realign the lights on Fraser Island and Inskip Point to give accurate deep water guidance.
After this couple of scary minutes we were out the bar and well, continuing all the way in an overnight to the Gold Coast Seaway where we entered early afternoon to be ‘welcomed’ by hundreds of people in the water making all kind of silly things like falling just ahead of our catamaran from their water skis.
We made it safely to the Gold Coast City marina just a day ahead of the New Year with little time to organize anything fancy for New Year’s Eve. We welcomed 2015 in a quiet starry night with a special dinner and the very cold bottle of champagne.
A week later the friendly staff of GCC Marina took care of Zenitude and hauled her out of the water where she is now resting and getting ready for next season once summer and cyclone season are over.
Exactly at Waypoint 2 is where we got in trouble as it seems we didn't "stand off to the north a fair bit" enough and almost got engulfed by a breaking wave, what made it really scary is that even at the high tide slack we traversed areas where the deph sounder was showing less than 3 meters, too shallow for comfort when there are waves breaking off around you.
We can only hope that next time we have to cross the bar again they have worked out new safe waypoints. The alternative of going north outside of Fraser Island doesn't seem much safer either with the East Australian current coming down close to the coast.
Wide Bay Bar on a calm day