My wife Nancy and I had a dream for retirement it was to buy a sailing catamaran and go sailing, little did we know at the beginning that we would fly half way around the world to the Caribbean to purchase and sail or beloved ‘Alana Rose’ a Leopard 42 sailing catamaran all the way back to Australia.
However, this is not what this is about, this is about what we did when we got back to Australia sailing the Aussie coast. If you wish to read about the sixteen month voyage from the Caribbean to Australia you can read this on this same site listed in the pages Sailing from the Caribbean to Australia o the right hand side of this page.
So the following pages will show some photos of places and different anchorages that we came across between 2008 and 2014.
Great Sandy Straits
When we arrived back in Australia we spent a month in Bundaberg Marina to get some modifications done and we were so pleased to get back out on the water proper. We headed to the Great Sandy Straits to clear our heads and decide what now. After the adventure we had sailing the Australian coast is a little different. We felt a little lost to what the plan would be but first was catching up with family and friends.
(Anchored at Moon Point, Fraser Island, Great Sandy Straits)
To sail the Great Sandy Straits there is an important factor that people should know, the Straits is a stretch of water between the mainland and Fraser Island and extends down to Tin Can Bay. Roughly in the middle of this stretch of water is Sheridan Flats a wide area of shallow waters, to pass through these water you have to be there around high tide. The tide flows in through the northern end to the Flats and also flows through Wide Bay Bar in the south towards the Flats. So if you wish to sail from the northern end to the southern end the best thing to do is plan your sail time to arrive at Sheridan Flats at around high tide this will allow you to pass through the Flats with plenty of water and catch the out going tide on the southern side to speed you along. You actually pick up an additional 2 knots from the tides. Naturally if sailing south to north you do the same.
(This chart shows the full length of the Great Sandy Straits, a great place to sail and learn navigation as it has every navigational marker you will experience and if you do make a mistake and hit bottom it is only sand)
(This is Moon Point the red dots that I will show on charts are anchorages that we have been to. Top of the charts point north, the anchorages to the SW of the point are alright in light conditions one to the north is better for the SE winds)
(Arriving at Kingfisher Bay, Great Sandy Straits)
Kingfisher Bay has a resort were people stay when touring Fraser Island, it has a bar/restaurant where visitors can go ashore for meal or and refreshments. It is a good anchorage for winds from the southeast or northeast winds but not good for any other wind directions.
(High and nearly dry at Kingfisher Bay)
The crew of this boat on arrival dropped anchor and headed for the bar. We made sure we were well secure before heading ashore, by the time we got to the resort the crew was enjoying the beers and cheers. We had lunch and a drink and returned to the boat and noticed that this boat above looked like it was sitting on the bottom. I phoned the resort to ask them if they could notify the crew which they did, but the crew were enjoying themselves and waited a couple of hours before they came to check, when they came out they could walk to the boat without getting wet. Always check tide heights and times and make sure there is enough water underneath you before you anchor.
(Chart show the anchorages near King fisher Resort, these spots are good for NE through to SE winds)
The following morning we picked up with the incoming tide and sailed for Sheridan Flats then onto Garry’s Anchorage.
(360 degree view of Garry’s Anchorage)
Garry’s Anchorage has always been one of our favourite spots to hide away during high winds or just having a relaxing time. Garry’s Anchorage is situated between Fraser Island and Stewart , below is Stewart Island at sunset.
(Sunset at Garry’s Anchorage looking over Stewart Island.)
(Garry’s Anchorage at twilight with other yachts with their anchor lights on)
(Garry’s Anchorage is an all around anchorage for all wind directions, one tip is that the anchorages marked in the south are better. The ones in the north are good but bad for sand flies, if anchoring in Garry’s stay a distance from the beach for the sand fly and mosquitoes I always anchored out by the starboard markers)
(When boats pass there should always be the courtesy of slowing down, many high speed motor boats did not learn this)
(Sunsets at sea and anchor are really something and from Garry’s Anchorage they are stunning)
While we were anchored relaxing in Garry’s Anchorage one Sunday morning I got up at first light as normal made a cup of tea and took one to Nancy who was still in bed when the news came on the radio and a report of a search for two sailors lost at sea, they were friends of ours we had left them in Fiji as they had to fly home for business, they had returned to Fiji to sail their yacht home and went missing in a storm 164 nautical miles east of Moreton Island, nothing has ever been found. I have the full story on my other site listed at the top right of the main page. http://jjw47.blogspot.com.au/
(Some days the sunshine is in liquid form.)
(What we do on rainy days, Nancy doing her photos on computer)
(Rains gone and weather great)
Time to head south
Inskip Point and Wide Bay Bar
We left Garry’ Anchorage for Inskip Point and wait to sail through the notorious Wide Bay Bar, our friends Rick and wife Lou was going to meet us there Rick wanted to sail to Mooloolaba with us. Rick was the mate that found our catamaran for us to buy.
Wide Bay Bar has to be treated with respect many a yacht has come to grief and lives have been lost on this crossing. Before crossing it is always best to check with the local Coastguard to check on the condition of the Bar and if there is any updates on the waypoints. It is often better to phone the Coastguard rather than call them on the radio, sometimes they will add more information on the phone because not everyone is listening. (Waypoints are GPS points to head for to cross the bar safely).
(Chart showing the three waypoints, the blue areas being the sandbar shallow waters which can cause high and dangerous seas during windy conditions, the sands move from time to time and the waypoints are changed).
(Anchored at Inskip Point, some of these other yachts are also waiting to cross the bar)
Our plan is to cross the Wide Bay Bar one hour before high tide this is when the water is more settled as the tide flow has slowed and with sea still slowly entering and not going out the seas are flatter. Inskip Point is where some people put their vehicles on the ferry to cross to Fraser Island, it is also a popular camping and fishing spot.
(Inskip Point red dots showing anchorages)
(These two ferries continually work from daylight to dusk taking vehicles across to Fraser Island or bringing people back to the mainland)
(Fishing for bait fish with a throw net on Inskip Point)
(Sea Eagle with fish in it’s claw)
We had notified Coastguard and asked about the crossing at 0600 hours just then a Coastguard boat went passed indicating it was good to cross the bar now. This is the first time for us to cross this bar and we are a little anxious, however, the seas are flat and the weather is very calm.
(We are underway but have to give way to the ferry, ferries always have right of way)
(The seas are flat, no wind the crossing is easy, the bar is a pussycat. Not sure I like it this way for the first time crossing gives a false sense of security, I am sure it will liven on future crossings).
(We have crossed the bar and as you can see here the waters are basically flat and calm, the headland is Double Island Point, yachts travelling north anchor here before crossing the bar)
(Friend Rick and Nancy relaxed, seas calm no sails engines running)
(South of Double Island Point and a whale surfaces)
We are heading for Mooloolaba before sailing to Moreton Bay and then into Brisbane, we will spend a time in Brisbane, now we are back in Australia we have to find new doctors and have some check-ups, we will also see family and friends.
(Mooloolaba wharf area)
(Mooloolaba Harbour area)
(‘Alana Rose’ berthed in the middle, blue sail bag with white covers over the cockpit)
Sailing to and places around Moreton Bay
We sailed from Mooloolaba to Moreton Bay, although when we arrived we spent some time in Manly Harbour to sort out Doctors appointments and catch up with family which I will not go into here. Here we will look at some of the places on the water.
(Going south from Mooloolaba we pass Caloundra, shipping lanes to Brisbane go in different directions at this point so we have to watch for large ships coming and going)
(Car carrier coming our way and a container ship heading north)
(Shipping lanes bust today)
Moreton Bay has many shallows caused by sand bars so tide depths need to be monitored to ensure we do not hit bottom, we chose to go via Tangalooma on Moreton Island so we have to cross shipping channels along the way.
(A small ketch with a lady solo sailing going to the same place as us.)
(Tangalooma anchorage, many years ago they decided to scuttle some old working vessels to make a safe harbour, not totally successful, this is not a place to be for strong winds from any westerly direction)
(Tangalooma wrecks, one thing it has done is to make a haven for sea life, there are many fish and other sea life forms.)
(The beautiful sea turtle, it came right up to the back of the boat obviously used to people)
(Come to say hello)
(These are beautiful creatures, plastic bags have killed many of them because in the water they look like jelly fish and they swallow them a very cruel death. Another problem is speeding boats, these guys need to surface for air and fast boats have killed them so be aware of places turtle hang around keep and eye out and go slower in those areas)
(Canaipa Point, this is in the southeastern part of Moreton Bay)
Canaipa Point is the eastern point of Russell Island and has an outstation of Royal Yacht Club. This is a good anchorage for most winds as you can actually move anchorages to shelter from different directional winds.
(Chart of Canaipa Point, red dots shows good anchorages, not the red line indicates power lines that have a height limit)
(Canaipa Point, this is also the start of Canaipa Passage which you see on the left of this picture which leads to the Gold Coast via Tipplers Passage which is not a good passage for large draft boats)
(Storm front approaching)
(I have prepared the second standby anchor in preparation for the storm just in case there is a danger of the anchor dragging)
(The storm came and went 37 knot winds)
Heading south from Moreton Bay and Canaipa Point we arrive at Tipplers Passage via Canaipa Passage, not a good passage for deep drafted boats, Alana Rose only draws 1.4 metres. Tipplers is a great anchorage but weekends and holiday times it can be busy and party boats and jet skis arrive. You may also experience people that do not have a clue how to handle a boat properly. However, week days is usually beautiful and quiet.
(Chart of Tipplers Passage, red dots are the anchorage areas there are more places north of this).
(These are the commercial tourist boats which are in the area of Shangrila and McLarens Landing marked on the chart)
These tourist vessels usually arrive around lunch times and leave late afternoon, sometimes a large party boat will come night times and have a party ashore at McLarens Landing run by the Tall Ships. Many Japanese tourists come here, some for a western style wedding at Shangrila.
So if visiting do not anchor in the marked channel as at low tide these larger boats need the depth of the channel.
There is a campground for tent campers in this area and a small shop. There was a resort but it had closed down.
(In the busy tourist times this plane comes in to bring people in for a wedding or to take people on a flight tour over the islands)
(Our ‘Alana Rose’ anchored during first light in the quiet of the week days)
(Not many other boats around)
(Early morning walk on the waterfront)
(Tipplers has a few regulars at the waterfront)
(Tourist Tall Ship leaves in the afternoon rain, the crew member on the bow throws feed up for the hawks and the hawks are coming for the feed, the tourists are staying inside out of the rain.)
(The evening with the sun setting gives great colour to the sky)
(The sun sets)
(All settled in at anchor for the night)
We sailed down from Tipplers Passage to the Gold Coast The Broadwater area, the question was where to anchor? Listening to weather they first predicted a thunderstorm coming in from the southwest, then they cancelled that and said there would be strong winds from the northeast. Not having any knowledge of the area we thought we would go where most anchor, Marine Stadium, commonly known as Bums Bay due to the fact that some sailors make it there home anchorage.
When we got there it was packed so we anchored just outside with a few other yachts this would still protect us from the northeast winds.
(The Gold Coast)
(Good use for an old Army Duck, tourist boat)
The traffic was enormous boats heading north or out the Seaway go passed and at great speed so you continuously rock and roll. We soon learnt that you only come here to head through the Seaway to go south.
(Looking at Southport of the Gold Coast from our anchorage)
(Southport, clouds starting to appear that do not look friendly)
We was having our dinner in the cockpit table when I looked out and saw a nasty black cigar shaped cloud coming in, we did not have much time to do anything, I jumped up at the helm and started the engines just in case we dragged anchor when it hit. The storm hit and we had 50 plus knot winds, we bounced on the end of the anchor chain but it held. The yacht that was ahead of me out to the starboard side was all of a sudden near alongside of us but still at safe distance. The storm subsided and it was calm again.
The radio was going mad with some calls for assistance of some house boats dragging anchor and now on the beach in Bums Bay.
(Bums Bay to the right the morning after the storm)
(Bums Bay looks calm but to the right there is a yacht leaning)
(This yacht was anchored on the edge of Bums Bay, no crew on board when it happened the skipper was in Brisbane)
This yacht went passed four other yachts without hitting them or hitting anyone’s anchor chain as it dragged it’s anchor very lucky. Well I think it is time to leave this place and head north.
A little more on Moreton Bay.
Peel Island is a couple of hours sail out of Manly Harbour and is a frequent spot by most sailors for a weekend or longer, it can get rather packed on special days like Australia Day.
(Sailing to Peel Island, south of Manly Harbour)
(Horseshoe Bay, Peel Island)
Australia Day and it is starting to get a little busy but there is plenty of room.
(How to keep cool on a very hot day)
(South Passage is a training yacht and does day tours)
(I think they need a boarding ladder)
(It’s a dogs life)
(One of the party boats)
(An incredible sky)
(Horseshoe Bay sunset)
(Chart showing anchorages, red dots suggested anchorages)
Horseshoe Bay is a good anchorage for calm days or winds from W through to NE, for winds that come from SE through to SW at short notice it is best to head on the north side of Peel Island or over to North Stradbroke Island.
(Our home port is the Port of Brisbane, this is Brisbane and Brisbane River)
Brisbane is our home port and when we do stay it is usually in one of the marinas in Manly Harbour not in this river. There are two marinas in the Brisbane River and there are some pole moorings near the Botanical Gardens. I have never sailed in the Brisbane River due to the fact that ever time I wanted to there was heavy rainfall and there is a lot of rubbish that comes down the river when this happens. Also there are ship movements near the marinas causing some discomfort and the pole moorings have ferries that cause a similar discomfort. If you want to see the river without sailing in the river catch one of the cat ferries and stay on it for the full trip each way from the city on a nice day.
(The pole moorings)
Above are the pole moorings, you cannot book them it is first in gets the mooring, it is possible to anchor in the river as long as you do not block the ferry routes, most yachts anchor close to here as you can pay a fee to use the amenities at the landing at the pole moorings.
(Brisbane River, one of the many fast cat ferries on the right)
(One of the ladies on the river, paddle steamer, it can be hired for functions or you can do a river crews with dinner)
(First light in Manly Harbour, this is one of five marinas in this harbour)
From 2009 to 2012 we did the grey nomad sailing, going north for the winter and south for the summer, this was as far north as Lizard Island and as far south as Sydney Harbour.
So what I intend to do here is cover the different places we visited in this time showing pictures and anchorages for the whole period of this time rather than listing them in different years. We used the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club Marina in Manly Harbour near Brisbane as our home base, not that we ever stayed there for more than a month most years.
Before heading of each time we would complete maintenance and safety checks and go out and have a couple of sails around Moreton Bay to make sure all was good. This did not mean we did not have things breakdown and we often had to continue doing maintenance. As they say sailing is fixing your boat in exotic locations.
Heading north from Peel Island we stop of at St Helena Island which is not far from the Port of Brisbane at the mouth of the Brisbane River. The following are some photos taken at different times that we have visited St Helena Island.
St Helena Island started off as a quarantine station in the 1800’s and then became a prison until 1933, today it is a farm with stock grazing, the old prison is a tourist attraction and they do hold dinner nights there. History can be found at: http://www.sthelenaisland.com.au/history/
(Cattle on St Helena Island)
(Buildings on St Helena Island)
(The old lime kiln)
(Alana Rose anchored at St Helena Island)
(Jetty at St Helena Island)
(Looking out from St Helena Island)
(Not far from the jetty is the prison warden’s swimming enclosure, he was concerned about sharks, today the birds have claimed it)
(Looking out we had a dolphin moment)
(St Helena Jetty with the wardens swimming enclosure on the right)
(St Helena ruins)
(Sun setting over Brisbane as seen from St Helena Island)
(A yacht heads home)
(Twilight Port of Brisbane)
(Port of Brisbane at dusk)
(Fishing boats anchor after a nights trawling)
(Blue water, yacht approaching from Green Island)
(Tug designed to push barges)
(Barge lifting a very muddy anchor)
(Another glorious sunset)
(Chart showing the location of some islands in Moreton Bay, red dots anchorage areas)
(Chart showing St Helena and Green Islands, red dots anchorage areas)
Sailing north from Moreton Bay, each year we headed out around late April early May dependant on the cyclone season situation and weather activity. The weather forecast also dictated which route we would take leaving Moreton Bay. Most times we would sail to Tangalooma anchor for the night and leave the next morning for Mooloolaba. However, if there was westerly winds we would sail up to Bribie Island and anchor in the southern passage.
(Alana Rose anchored at Tangalooma)
The wrecks at Tangalooma were scuttled there to make a sheltered harbour from westerly direction winds but not really successful.
(On a calm day it is possible to anchor in the southern area of Tangalooma)
(Wrecks of Tangalooma)
(Flat calm conditions is great for Tangalooma anchorage)
(Tangalooma is close to the shipping lane so these monsters cause a little rocking and rolling as they go passed)
(As we sail we gain a couple of passengers)
(Shags make good use of the navigation markers)
(Barge heads to Brisbane from Stradbroke Island where they mine sand, this has now ceased)
(Tangalooma wrecks and sunlight)
(Chart showing the two different routes north)
The voyage north continued each year, so here we have some pictures of a couple of different years of these places.
(In Mooloolaba marina at sunset)
(This is the entrance to Mooloolaba Harbour in March 2009)
In March 2009 Cyclone Larry hit Innisfail far north Queensland, this created heavy seas all over the east coast of Australia, as you can see by the next few photos it was not a good time to leave harbour or be out at sea.
(When entering this harbour it is the norm for the seas to be on the port beam)
(Man standing at the end of the breakwall watch the huge waves pass)
(A pilot boat has to go out to meet a ship entering Port of Brisbane)
(Waves breaking at the beach caused a lot of damage)
(Damage to the walkway and a lot of beachfront damaged.)
(Surfers taking on the big waves)
(The storm has settled and the harbour is calm)
(Leaving port, who would have thought a couple of days ago it was like the pictures above)
(There is still a little turmoil once out of the harbour this yacht leaving with us)
Things got back to normal and Mooloolaba has the beaches back in order, these pictures are the following year.
(Mooloolaba waterfront shops the following year)
(Beach is back to normal)
(Common sight here are beach beauties)
(Relaxing just floating around)
(Riding the waves in more pleasant seas)
(Dolphin moments near the beach)
(Sunset in Mooloolaba Harbour)
(Marina at night)
(Leaving Mooloolaba once again)
(A Sea Hawk glides above)
(Chart of Mooloolaba)
The Mooloolaba chart shows the entrance to the harbour, on entering it is always best to get on the leads from a good distance from the entrance, this gives you time to judge the way the current and waves are pushing you and gives you a good look for any other boats coming out as some do not give you much room. The red dots show a couple of places where you can anchor overnight, it is a very strict harbour, do not do your washing and hang it around the boat. Consider the houses around this harbour range from $3m upwards, so show some respect and the authorities may not visit. Transit used to be able to stay seven days not sure if this still applies, but they do not like yachts anchoring here
More photos of The Great Sandy Straits taken at different times, a previous post has some photos of the area and ones where we crossed the Wide Bay Bar and it was calm, it is not so calm here. We continued to head north as we did each year around April.
(This is the first part of the bar crossing, photos do not really show the correct size of waves as they are only two dimensional, they are actually a lot larger than what you see here.)
(Our friends on another catamaran ‘Walk On Water’ at the start of the crossing of the bar)
(The second section of the bar crossing)
As I have mentioned before the time to cross the bar is one hour before high tide. Always check with the coastguard before attempting the crossing to see if the waypoints have changed and the condition of the bar.
(Wide Bay Bar, blue identifies shallow waters on the sand bar, this sand moves from time to time)
(Morning light at Snout Point)
(Great fisherman, Cormorant commonly know as a Shag)
(One of our favourite places Garry’s Anchorage)
(Garry’s Anchorage at night other boats lights)
(Alana Rose anchored at Garry’s Anchorage)
(This was my little joke, they had croc traps set near Garry’s Anchorage someone reported seeing a crocodile in the area)
(Sunset from Yankee Jacks anchorage near White Cliffs)
(Wreck Ceratodus near Deep Creek)
(Wreck Ceratodus near Deep Creek)
(A River Kingfisher near Deep Creek)
(McKenzie Jetty Fraser Island)
(Alana Rose anchored near McKenzie Jetty)
(Anchored at Kingfisher Resort)
(Anchored at Kingfisher Resort)
(Moon Point Fraser Island)
(Alana Rose anchored off Moon Point Fraser Island)
(Thing you find on the beach at Moon Point)
(Sailing to Lagoon Anchorage north Fraser Island)
(Whales near Lagoon Anchorage)
(Mother and calf)
(Calf playing with mother)
(Ashore at Lagoon Anchorage)
(Inside the Lagoon )
The Lagoon is part of a creek system and we have anchored in the lagoon in earlier days, it is a little tricky getting in there, no official markers for entry on some person has put makeshift markers.
(Lagoon markers, 20 litre drum and tree with a white stick as leads, only enter at high tide)
(Makeshift markers sticks at yellow arrows, red shows track in)
(Arch Cliff anchorage, this is between Moon Point and Lagoon Anchorage)
(Anchored at Arch Cliffs, good protection from southerly winds)
(Anchored back at Moon Point looking at sunset and clouds over Urangan, Hervey Bay)
(Sailing north of Great Sandy Straits, storm cell ahead)
(Great Sandy Straits, early post article has anchorages identified)
(Chart showing anchorages red dot on north Fraser Island.