Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dreamagic in the Tropics

Dreamagic in the Tropics
The weather in Bundaberg has been sunny and warm but the wind is blowing at 30 knts (approx 60 kms per hour) so we have stayed put an extra few days. Dinners with friends, entertaining on the boat, or just reading while we wait for a weather window. The only TV stations that we can get are SBS and NITV. I can watch the news in Polish, Italian, Russian, Greek, German, or Arabic. Not in English though. My research shows that the Italian newsreaders are the most attractive, nothing ever happens in Poland and the Arabs are not very happy. Crossing channels I now know that traditional Aboriginal music is extremely similar to American Country and Western (both types). Fascinating.
The sunny weather but strong winds finally gave way to perfect winds and torrential rain.  We waited yet another day fully appreciating the term “Cabin Fever”. Finally, on Monday morning we woke to sunny skies, a good forecast and good winds. At 06.30 we left Port Bundaberg and headed north.
An uneventful trip, we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn at 21.15. As is our tradition we celebrated entering the Tropics with wine (we don’t have any ingredients for Margarita left) and listened to Jimmy Buffett sing “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes”. I know it’s just an imaginary line but I swear it felt warmer as soon as Dreamagic crossed.
The wind was perfect, and at the speed we were travelling we would arrive at Yeppoon at 3.30 am, and low tide. Yeppoon is one of our favourite harbours and the Capricornia Cruising Yacht Club is definitely our favourite club in Australia but the entrance to the harbor is very shallow. Half a metre according to the girl on the desk at the office when we booked our berth. Last time we were here we grounded in the mouth and waited over an hour for the tide to lift us off. Rather than suffer that ignominy again we decided to slow the boat down and arrive at daybreak. Motor off we sailed on headsail only for the next 6 hours still reaching 7 knots. Sailing in the pitch darkness, relying on our plotter to safely pass unlit islands that ghost past is a special experience. The seas were reasonably large and we surfed down waves we couldn’t see until they broke around us and picked the stern of the boat up for a short sleigh ride. One did break in the cockpit and Rona, who was dozing lying on a cockpit seat, got a surprise and a drenching but most breakers went by with just a hiss of their power.
We arrived outside the entrance to Rosslyn Bay at 04.00 with the wind blowing about 20 to 25 knts. My calculations put about 1.5 metres of water over the harbor mouth, not enough for us. We sailed up and down in the darkness for about 2 hours making our approach at daylight, when the water level would be, by my calculation about 2.5 metres.
It’s always a tense moment as we entered the harbor mouth. What makes a harbor a great place to be in bad weather is what makes it difficult to enter in bad weather and with moderate winds, a narrow entrance, vicious looking rock walls, poor visibility  and a sudden doubt about my ability to understand the “Rule of Twelfths” when applied to the state of the tide this entry was particularly harrowing. It was therefore a pleasant surprise to see Dreamagic’s sounder never read under 6 metres. Entering the harbor I was also obliged to quickly remember whether to pass a dredge on the side the two diamond shapes or the two balls are displayed. Mostly though, I was wondering why the girl at the desk had not noticed the bloody great dredge that had been grinding out the harbor outside her office for the past month, and why I had bounced about outside the sea walls for two hours in the dark waiting for ground clearance. I had been awake for 25 hours and not in the best mood as we secured Dreamagic to her new if temporary home at Yeppoon and retired to bed. 

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