Sailing to the Swain Reefs

Swain Reefs (Google Earth)
Swain Reefs (Google Earth)

We slipped our lines at 5:30AM, leaving Keppel Bay for Island Head Creek where we’ll overnight tonight. The plan is to stop off at Pearl Bay for lunch and a swim. If the anchorage is not too rolly we may sleep there tonight, otherwise we’ll go into Island Head Creek on the flood tide at sunset. We managed to sail about 4 hours this morning in a gentle easterly, but now we’re motoring with about 10 miles to go the Pearl Bay.

Tomorrow we’ll head directly out to the Swain Reefs via Bell Cay. It’s about 60 miles and i want to get there with the sun still high in the sky so we can see the reefs. The forecast is perfect – winds light and variable and clear skies for the next 7 days. Locals tell me this weather pattern can linger for a fortnight or more!

Tuna! Gladstone…

We left Lady Musgrave before sunrise this morning, heading for Gladstone where we will sit out first a string northerly, followed by strong southerlies, all kicked up by the nasty East Coast Low heading for Sydney.

Having thus far been spectacularly unsuccessful on the fishing front, I had replaced the line and lure (blaming my equipment!). Around 10AM we had a bite, and a fight on our hands. Sitting under the dinghy hanging from the davits, I finally landed the beast, much to the boys’ excitement. Redeemed myself! My ego was further boosted hearing Oscar tell his friend on the phone later “and you know what else is awesome about my dad?”!

Trials and Tribulations in Trial Bay

I should’ve gone with logic… Am anchored in Trial Bay, facing the open ocean as the tide is too low to get into Macleay River. It’s pretty uncomfortable as it is still blowing 25 knots and there is a big swell, occasionally breaking. Not a restful place!

At least the anchor is secure and I’m facing into the wind and swell. Scary to see the 3 metre long 14mm nylon snubber stretch to about 4 metres every time a breaking wave lifts the boat. At least it is acting as a very effective shock absorber, but it is unnerving to work next to a line with that much load on it. Can’t imagine what would happen if should let go.

Hey ho, live and learn! Wind is meant to change/ abate after midnight so another 6 hours before it gets better.