Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 28 Pancake Creek

Pancake Creek

8th February 2011

Up the Creek

The weather forecast for tomorrow and Thursday is not looking particularly good. This seems to be our luck at the moment. When we have to spend a day in Port the weather is fine and from the north, when we want to leave it swings to the south and builds.  At Mackay we had the same issue. In this instance, tomorrow and Thursday are bringing severe winds from the south to a maximum of 35 knots. Today should be fine until about 17.30 when they are due. We have about 30 miles to cover to the safety of Pancake Creek so the question is whether we sit it out at Gladstone where there is a town or get a days head start and make it to the creek, where there is nothing.

We refuelled and decided to go. The trip was motoring all the way into a slight sea but strong current and 20 knots apparent wind. None the less it was good to get back out to sea after two days at the marina. Rona tried her hand at splicing a loop into one of our dock lines. The result can be seen here but the main thing is that after an hour of staring, groaning, tip of the tongue between the lips concentrating, she did it! Well done.

We got to the mouth of Pancake Creek mid afternoon, just as the sea was beginning to build.  The entrance was a little confusing as the attached image shows. A triangle is usually a green mark and left to Starboard, or the right.  A square mark is painted red, and left to Port. The entrance to Pancake creek is very shallow and mistakes can be costly so this mark gave us some cause for concern. (It is actually a bottom lead as well as a port mark, and the top lead did come into view eventually). We navigated through and anchored in about 6 metres of water, well inside the creek. As the tide dropped we could see sandbanks surrounding us.

This isn't in Queensland Guide to Safe boating!
A call to VMR Round Hill via VHF found us logged on but with confirming news re the weather. We may be here an extra day but we decided to make that call at the morning sched. We settled down to Hot Dogs and played scrabble until late. The wind was building and there was considerable rain during the night. Another lay day is on the cards.

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