Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 31 1770 at 12.15

Round Hill Creek 1770
Australian Mainland North of Bundaberg

11th February 2011

Pancakes in Pancake Creek

Arose at about 6 and the wind was still fairly strong but after waiting until 8.30 it was showing signs of easing. The weather had improved and its funny how a sunny day always makes things look better so we decided to give it another go. However, before leaving we felt it only fitting to have pancakes for breakfast, this hopefully being our last day in Pacake Creek. Out to sea the waves were flatter and we picked our way carefully through the three marked rocks, Inner, Middle and Outer that guard the Southern entrance to the creek. We also picked our way with a bit more trepidation beside the un named rocks between Inner and Middle Rock that frighten those who don’t zoom in enough on CMap. There is a lesson to be learned there.

Out to sea we called VMR Round Hill, told the our intentions and asked for local knowledge of the entrance to Round Hill Creek and the town of 1770. It seems the local knowledge is that our draft at 2 metres is too big for the channel mouth even at high tide. Next stop is Bundaberg, 62 miles away.

The wind is still blowing at 20 -25 kts and although the sea is calmer, it is far from flat so we are punching into it at a steady 4.5 kts over the ground. The wind is absolutely on the nose, not even favouring one tack or the other. This is going to be a long day.

With little else to do I got Lucas’s Guide out again and reread it. I stared at CMap for a while and read and re read the Queensland Tide Tables. Trying to remember the rule of twelfths, apply the 73% ratio to the high tide at Gladstone, I think we should be able to get in an hour before high tide with about a metre to spare. Rather than push into this for 16 hours we decided to give it a try.

View of the pub from our anchorage
Except for a senior moment when I suddenly doubted which side of the lone green that marks the entrance I should pass, unfortunately when we were almost upon it and in the middle of the surf, we made it with about 2.5 metres to spare. The creek got much shallower inside but we finally made it up to 1770 and anchored in a deep water channel just opposite the pub. A short dinghy ride and we were having a cold beer on a sunny day at a beachfront pub overlooking Dreamagic.

View of the boat from the pub
The people here are unbelievably friendly. As we walked in we met a young couple, Dave and Jane who were sitting by the steps. “You have a great life” Jane opened. We chatted with them for a while. They live in 1770 and own a Tahitian lime farm here. Dave is also the local tree surgeon. We then met the barman, Bruce who has a boat at anchor just in front of ours. Bruce offered to drive us into town when he finished work at 4.00. We didn't need to provision, but it was a nice guesture.

We were happily letting the afternoon drift by with these people when a voice muttering about feral yachties was heard behind us. Steve and Dulcie from the SY Monique in Rosslyn Bay walked in! They had driven down for a weekend camping with their son. Bruce finished work and wondered if we wanted to join him and his girlfriend for dinner at the restaurant that evening. We accepted and had a splendid evening, meeting Penny, who is very active in conservation in the area. Bruce never mentioned it until asked but at one time he was actually Englands greatest surfer winning a title. He still surfs and makes surfboards when he is not tending bar.

All in all a great day. To anyone who we met who may be reading this, Thank you! We had to leave early because we are tring to catch the high tide out at 5.00am tomorrow, but please get in touch via this blog and when we come back we would love to catch up.

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