This is not the bar I was looking for…
Well we’ve been cruising up the east coast of Australia now for the past two weeks and lots has happened since we last posted here. Are you keeping up with us on Facebook? I’m updating the page regularly with videos of dolphins, whales and sunsets! We also love to share on Instagram and YouTube if you want to do the journey with us ‘virtually’.
When cruising the east coast of Australia you may from time to time come across a few of the many sand bars to cross to get into or out of ports and to find quicker routes. Since we last talked we’ve crossed two. They are a pain sometimes but with careful planning and timing it’s just a little uncomfortable or no big deal. If you time it wrong though or have to go through regardless of conditions you will remember it for a long time and will have a story to tell the next time you’re actually in a bar..
Mooloolah bar or Mooloolaba
We needed to stop in Mooloolaba to avoid some weather and to top up the fridges again. We’ve been in to Mooloolaba plenty of times so have had experience entering the waterway which has a bar at the opening but I’ve never really noticed it, or maybe just wiped it out of my memory! Either way it’s never been an issue. This time we’d been told some horror stories just prior plus we knew there was rougher than usual swell to deal with which meant I didn’t have a proper sleep the night before.
Anyway, I decided if Lisa Blair can do it I can too so I put on my big girl panties and got ready to help the skipper drive us in. A friend moored already in Mooloolaba came out on to the spit to call us and help guide us in visually even though the skipper knows his way in. There had been some changes to the sandbar due to recent category 5 Cyclone Debbie so we were happy to have the added bonus of someone watching us from the entrance. Thanks Meg!
We headed straight for the shore as you are supposed to aiming for the yacht masts in the distance. The waves were hitting us on the side as we turned and the skipper headed for the bigger ones so we didn’t get hit too hard. Our dear friend on the phone was letting me know to turn this way, turn that and so on at the same time, all of which I was relaying to the skipper. The time came to head back towards the mouth of the river so we turned and gunned it. You can only time it so well as those waves come at you and there just happened to be a couple heading straight for us after we’d reached the point of no return. The boat handled it well and right in time before a big set came through we turned to starboard and headed in pass the spit.
Meg and the people gathered around listening in to our conversation all waved and I did a little happy dance at the back of the boat in appreciation. I then hugged the skipper’s leg and said my thanks. Great driving honey.
Wide Bay Bar
The Wide Bay Bar is a bar you have to cross if you decide to go on the inside of Fraser Island instead of the much further route outside. It also means you can get some protection from weather as it’s pretty protected. We are in a hurry so the choice was a no brainer. Again, normally this bar doesn’t bother me and hasn’t caused us problems in the past so I wasn’t really worried till I heard some negative stories about it. The more apps for weather I added to my phone the quicker the anxiety built as I realised we would be going through in a certain amount of swell again which is not entirely desirable. Oh yay!
We traveled all day from Mooloolaba to make it to the bar before dark. You can cross the bar in the dark and we have done this in the past, but when there’s a bit of swell it’s obviously better to pass during the day so you can better see the waves coming at you.
We made our first waypoint and headed in around 1730 which is right at sunset. We were concentrating on the waves and breakers crashing either side of us when we got a text message from the coast guard to say that we hadn’t called them in time and needed to call to confirm we were ok. Weird? So while waves are crashing either side of us and the skipper is trying hard to concentrate I called them back on the number suggested in the text. The lovely man that answered was confused as to why we’d called, apparently the number texted to us to call was the wrong one. He was very courteous and helpful as he ummed and ahhed on the phone pondering why we would have been sent the wrong number to call.
At this stage we are over the bar but the part after it was like being in a washing machine but on a Lagoon400, 7m wide catamaran. Not my favourite. In fact I mentioned we were safely over the bar and he was curious as to how it all went. I told him I was king of in a situation at the moment and since we were safe, could I just call him back to give him an update in a bit? I’m sure this distraction was sent to me to by my dearly departed mum because I’m freaking out at the waves lifting us up on one side and then the other, the sound of things crashing in my plates and glasses cupboard and bracing myself in the open doorway while the girls laid splayed out on the couch with their life jackets on. It’s a little more drama than I signed up for and he certainly kept me busy.
Nevertheless this part all though it went on for a good 15 minutes or so soon came to an end and we were greeted by the much calmer waters on the other side. Again, I thanked the skipper for his excellent driving and went about preparing ribs for dinner that had been cooking in the thermal cooker all day. Love it when dinner is practically ready when you need it! I could have murdered a gin and tonic but held back as I knew I’d be on watch over night and there is just a little bit of me that can be a grown up when needs arise. Oh, and nothing broken in the cupboard, next time I’ll shove a pillow in there to stop the glasses falling over. One of our tall tumblers flew off one shelf and landed on the shelf below. Lucky they are made from strong hand blown Mexican glass and didn’t break.
Here is a video I took of my view as we crossed the bar.
Anyway, that’s crossing bars and we have passed the worst of it now. We are actually in Airlie Beach!
Again, as much as I’d love to write on here every day, I can’t, so please log in to Facebook and like our Homeschool Ahoy page for more regular updates if you want to see where we are and what we’re seeing. I’m also updating Instagram almost daily and adding all video footage taken to YouTube as well. You can like and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss anything.
We are really keen to meet with other cruising boats and especially kid boats too so if you are wanting to connect get in touch!