Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 26 A Narrow Escape

I was putting off explaining how the Narrows work until we had actually navigated them. Obviously we have or I would not be writing this!

The Narrows is a stretch of water between Curtis Island and the Mainland. Most of it is easily navigable but about 6 miles of it actually dries out at low tide, and part of it dries to a 2 metre sandbank. Normally one would not attempt to take a keel boat over this, but it cuts a day off the trip compared to going around the Island, and of course we will be out of the weather.

To navigate The Narrows one has to study Alan Lucas's guide and use the tide. The high tide has to be at least 2 meters deeper then our keel, which is also two metres. So we need at least a 4 metre tide. We also need to time it so that we are going over the shallow bit at exactly the time of the high tide.The consequence of not doing this is that if we get caught, the tide will go out and leave Dreamagic lying on her side 2 meters above the water. Should this happen, it is very important that te next high tide is higher than the previous one so she will float free. If the tide is lower, then she will still be stuck.

White channel leads need to be kept in line to find deep water

Easy! Well our highest tide is 3.95 metres at 10.46, and the next high tide is 3.90 metres that evening. Tides from  tomorrow then get progressively worse for the next week. This is all not looking good for us, but there is TC Yasi. The after effects of that blow is that there is flooding at the moment and more water than usual. If I am right then we should still have a margin to play with over the shallows. We motored up and sure enough, more than an hour before the top of the tide we came through with at least a metre under us at all times.

By lunchtime we were berthed at Gladstone Marina and visited the very famous Gladstone Yacht Club for a bite and celebratory ale. Galdstone has always held a special place in my heart as I have competed in 4 Brisbane to Gladstone yacht races, the last being in 2009 in Dreamagic. This club is the Oasis , the 19th hole and it's always good to finally get here after the trial of the beat from Scarborough.

It's like sailing down a country lane!

Our plan is to be here for two days so that Rona can catch up on some work. Of course the weather, which has been blowing steadily from the South East for all of this trip is forecast to swing to the North for the next two days, before swinging back south on Tuesday, which is when we leave. How lucky is that!

We held court at a window seat overlooking the boat ramp all afternoon. If you are ever in need of cheering up go and find a boat ramp to watch one weekend. this one didn't disappoint as we watched divorces blossom,  and friendships fail as people swore, shouted, kicked their boats, trailers and cars as they struggled to get boats on and off the ramp.

Cattle Crossing. At low tide this is 2 metres above water

All good things come to an end and we finally ran out of trailer boats to watch so made our way back to Dreamagic for tea and bed,

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