Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NW approach buoy, Brisbane

After leaving Wide Bay Bar Reboot proceeded down the coast. Basically becalmed for 3 hours, good wind, and then on approach to the Brisbane channel becalmed again. As I am doing about 0.6 knots a fishing boat almost hits me and then starts cursing at me. Since he came up on my stern it was his problem, not mine. I decided that with all the work lights and Reboot running with a tricolor he never saw me until almost too late

I threaded my way through about 20 anchored boats, dealt with the crazy fisherman, and then was picked up by Brisbane VTS (vessel traffic services.) They worked me around a number of arriving and departing ships. It was nice that they also told the ships where I was.

Anchored for the night. Reboot is rolling like mad but that beats threading the needle in the dark.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Wide Bay Bar

This morning Reboot joined the parade to cross Wide Bay Bar. I took advantage of local knowledge and followed Chandara out. It was quite an experience. First, we (about 6 boats) had to fight the current from the incoming tide to get out to the bar. I wondered why we did not wait. As I turned onto the charted course for the bar Reboot started experiencing 8 foot rollers. Wind against tide would have been devastating. The reason for leaving just before high tide also became clear. The depth was oscillating with the waves. At the bottom I was seeing 8 feet, well below the charted depth. But wait, there's more. In addition to the knives.... About half way out I looked to starboard and noticed 12 to 16 foot breaking waves. Wow. My surfing friends need to see this place. I have the sails up in very light air and am ghosting along. If the wind does not pick up as forecast I will have to shake out the reefs in the main.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mini Transit

At S 25 48.85 E 153 02.17 Wind ENE 15 Wave N 1 ft. Sky 60% Bar 1019 - 1. At anchor north end of Tin Can Inlet in preparation for early departure tomorrow to cross the bar and head south.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tin Can Bay Yacht Club.

Steve, Shawn and I are having lunch at the Tin Can Bay Yacht Club. This is just off the public dock where Chandara was tied while Steve got his hand fixed. Nice place, reasonable prices.

We took the dinghies up to the Tin Can Bay Marina. A nice facility but not very welcoming to transients. I will go back up to buy fuel but that is it.

Stevie has gone back to the dirt world for a while.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Re: Happy thanksgiving

We're in New York.  By now it's tomorrow for you, so Happy Day After Thanksgiving.

When we get to California at the end of next week, the time zone switches so that you're five hours behind us - the same difference as New York-London.  Except for that date line, of course.  So our three in the afternoon will be ten in the morning for you, all right - tomorrow morning.

On Thu, Nov 24, 2016 at 2:46 AM, Roger John Jones <rogerjohnjones@gmail.com> wrote:
Since I think we are all in the right time zone for this to be the day, unless Ace and Sally are in California, Happy Thanksgiving from Tin Can Inlet, Queensland, Australia.

Fair winds and following seas:)

Re: Happy thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Mate!  Put some shrimp on the barbi.

On Nov 24, 2016 2:46 AM, "Roger John Jones" <rogerjohnjones@gmail.com> wrote:
Since I think we are all in the right time zone for this to be the day, unless Ace and Sally are in California, Happy Thanksgiving from Tin Can Inlet, Queensland, Australia.

Fair winds and following seas:)

Happy thanksgiving

Since I think we are all in the right time zone for this to be the day, unless Ace and Sally are in California, Happy Thanksgiving from Tin Can Inlet, Queensland, Australia.

Fair winds and following seas:)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Good Samaritan

I walked into downtown Tin Can Bay this morning to go to the store. It is about a 20 minute walk. On the way back I stopped in the local marina restaurant for breakfast. When there I had a conversation with three guys at the next table. They were in the area 4 wheeling and having a good time. Since I was carrying groceries I asked if they minded driving me back to the dinghy. Their answer was "no worries." We chat, we get back to Steve Johnson's boat and my dinghy and after a brief tour they had back up the dock. I drop my stuff on the boat and head back myself. What do a find but they are helping a guy load a full size refrigerator into his truck. What great guys.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Helping Chandara

I looked out and Chandera was gone. What? Got a message from Stevie Jane that Steve Johnson had been cut badly and was at the hospital. The Coast Guard moved the boat. I missed it all. At the moment the wind is still strong. I will take Reboot down to support them when It dies down.

Moved to the south end of Tin Can Inlet (Tin Can Bay is the town, the Inlet is the water) to provide any possible support for Steve. Came down in slack tide in the dark. Freaked myself out a bit. I don't like narrow places especially in the dark. Fortunately the marks and ranges were good. Dropped the anchor. As i started to identify objects around me in the dark I realized I was closer than I liked to another boat. And yes, the radar decided not to work when I really needed it. That is the way with boats. Hoisted the anchor and moved. Don't particularly like this spot either but it will work for 12 hours. The strong winds that have been plaguing me are gone as this area is much more sheltered. In the morning i will check in with Stevie Jane, move the boat to a better spot, and drop the dinghy in the water. Two beers and rest.

Woke up to find that I was close to shore. Actually an OK spot for most people but I have dragged enough times that I don't like being that close. Moved Reboot again. Dinghy in the water, went in and coordinated with VMR Tin Can Bay. Heard from Steve. We will move the boat at noon.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Tin Can Bay

Chandara at Tin Can Bay. We left Bundaberg and sailed the Great Sandy Straights. The entrance to this anchorage has shoaled in so we remain in the outer section with 20+ knot winds. Unlike last night Reboot is not current locked so at least we are swing bow to wind.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Great Sandy Straight, Tin Can Bay

From Bundaberg their are two routes south: outside Fraiser Island; and through the Great Sandy Straight. Chandra and Reboot decided to go the Great Sandy Straight route. Most of the route is straightforward. There is only one section that is tricky. Passing through requires timing the tide. We set off from Bundaberg. From the onset I should have realized we were in trouble. Exiting the river was a nightmare. At one point the adverse wind and current had me averaging 1.5 knots. But heck, once out I would be able to head south under sail. Nope. The wind shifted, died, shifted again so I was motoring most of the way. Into the wind. Into the current. Finally made it to Fraiser Island Resort after a miserable passage.

The next day we timed our departure to pass through the shallows. All good except for the 25 knot winds gusting to 30. We made it through the shallows and breathed a sigh of relief. The tide turned so we would get a push all the way to Tin Can Bay. Enter the southeast 20 to 25 knot winds. When we were about 5 miles from our destination the wind opposing current had us fighting 1.5 meter swells and going nowhere. We anchored for the night.

This morning at dawn I raised the anchor at slack tide and 10 knot winds for the final leg. Within 30 minutes the wind was again at 20+ but the waves had not yet had a chance to build. I made it to Tin Can Bay and am now waiting for a calm to transit the bar and continue south.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Landing Craft

Although most of us relate this ship design to amphibious landings in WW II movies they are in fact a vital part of the infrastructure in the Caribbean and Pacific.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Tilt (2)

Note the direction of the anchor chain.

The Tilt

Reboot is experiencing the "tilt." I am anchored in a river. Reboot is under three influences: tide; wind; and current. The multifunction display chart has been keeping track of my position since my arrival. The right circle is prior to my biosecurity inspection, the left after I returned.

You can see that we swing around a lot. In absence of other impacts Reboot aligns with bow to the wind. She does have a tendency to sail around her anchor but in general stays in a single direction.

What makes life interesting here is when the current and or tide effect is strong and different than the wind. Since the hull is in the water which is much more dense than air Reboot tends to align with the current. This can, as it is right now, put the wind on the beam. Since Reboot is locked in direction by the current the only thing she can do is heel. With the current winds at 20 -25 knots the heel is quite apparent. As the tide changes we will spin around to a new alignment hence the circles on the chart.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Biosecurity Inspection

Yesterday I had my first post arrival biosecurity inspection. Under the current rules I had to weight anchor and take Reboot to the quarantine dock here in Bundaberg. There Aimee Hall, the local biosecurity officer, met me for the check. She made sure that XO was still on board and took off my garbage. She was very professional and friendly. Unfortunately biosecurity charges for these visits at $200 per hour. Since they charge in 15 minute increments it only cost me $50. In the old days apparently the biosecurity officer could dinghy out to the boat but that practice has changed. At least the holding here in Bundaberg is good so I did not have problems when I returned to anchor. I am not sure how often these checks will happen but they are not a big deal as long as the weather is benign. I have, in the past had to deal with government officials that don't understand sailboats. The requirement that I immediately proceed to the customs dock in 35 knot winds in Bermuda comes to mind.

Their country, their rules.

Fair winds and following seas :)

New Jib Sheets

About 50 nm from Bundaberg my starboard jib sheet decided it was tired and split in half. I was able to tie the ends together and make it into port. Of course, it is possible to sail with one jib sheet. You just furl, put the sheet on the appropriate side and unfurl. Not necessary in this case. Swapping sheets is also a good way to move the sheet blocks from the inside to the outside of the rail for going downwind.

I replaced the sheets. Unfortunately the previous sheets were "yacht braid." It has a very soft "hand" so it is easy to trim without gloves. Not so the new sheets.

In the year (I left Norfolk, VA on 11 November 2015) that I have been sailing to and in the Pacific I have been on port tack about 90% of the time due to the easterly trades. In retrospect it was not a surprise that it was the starboard sheet that failed. Prudence required replacing both.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Monday, November 14, 2016


Port Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia.

Mon Repos

Visited the famous sea turtles nesting site yesterday. High tide and daylight so we didn't see any turnstiles except the one on the very nice interpretation center. I could not figure out why they needed an emergency assembly point. For visitors? The turtles?

Fair winds and following seas :)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

After the wind

I pointed out yesterday the the weather forecast greatly underestimated the wind speed. It peaked at about 35 knots. The big concern is of course that the anchor will drag. To a lessor extent there is always the possibility that the ground tackle (anchor, etc.) will break. We dragged a couple of times in Pago Pago with 200 feet of chain and 150 feet of rode. Here I only have about 100 feet of chain out. But the water is only 10 - 20 feet deep depending on the tide. Well, we didn't drag.

Since we are in a river we are subject to the flow of the river in addition to the impact of the wind and tide. The current is from the west. The wind varies between the NE, E, and SE. This creates a constant wind against current impact of the waves in the river. They are, in a few words, short, steep, choppy, and ugly. When the wind is light the trip to the marina is unpleasant, When the wind is up the trip is very wet. Since there is no fetch the waves don't get high, maybe a foot and one half at the peak. But the dinghy just bounces all the way into shore. Not fun.

Last night as predicted the wind dropped to almost nothing. Not good. I had forgotten to close the boat up. At 2 AM I awoke covered in mosquito bites. I did not fall back asleep for several hours.

Fair winds and following seas :)

The advantage of solo sailing

With all my crew gone I able once again to spread out!

Weather Forecast

Winds 15 to 20. Actual: Winds 25 to 35. Quality.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Bundaberg Port Marina

After a quiet night and some Civ 5 in the A.M. I fired up the dinghy and headed into the marina. I immediately had massive sticker shock. Use of the dinghy dock and marina facilities is $20 per day. I expected a developed area but the marina is reminiscent of Shelter Bay in Panama. With the exception of a small chandelier and a number of marine businesses there is nothing here and "there" is a minimum 1/2 hour walk. The prices in the one restaurant make Bora Bora look cheap. The Internet, although free, is limited in daily use. It may be solid on the docks (I don't know) but the public areas on land are limited to two tables with barely adequate connectivity. There is a nice area set aside as a "cruisers home port." It consists of a covered area, a tented area, and a barbie. Whatever party is happening is the party you bring with you. Surprisingly there is no pub. Laundry is $4 per machine. On the up side the staff is very nice.

I discovered that the local IGY market had a free shuttle bus. They picked me up and took me to "there."  The market was small but adequate to my immediate needs. Two big surprises: they don't sell liquor in the grocery stores and cigarettes are $30 per pack! My guess is that a lot of poor kids are going hungry so their parents can buy smokes. When will these governments figure out it is an addiction?

With nothing else to do but sit on a bench by myself I headed back to Reboot after an expensive and mostly unsatisfying lunch. It was a serendipitous choice as the wind picked up to 20+ knots and the chop in the river made the 3/4 mile dinghy ride uncomfortable. Fortunately Reboot is riding pretty well so I am not that uncomfortable. If it dies down I may go back this evening but I expect most people spend the evening on their boats.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Arrived Bundeburg

Arrived in the middle of the night (as usual.) Anchored out from the entrance channel. In the morning I contacted the volunteer rescue shore radio station. They act as a welcoming gateway and put me in touch with the necessary government officials. I was instructed to bring Reboot to the quarantine dock. It is pretty cute. The one dock in this big marina has an extra fence, gate and warning signs.

Biosecurity was waiting for me. They boarded and we started the long process of dealing with XO. Lots of paperwork, lots of rules, I have to purchase a t-shirt that says "unclean." Actually they were very nice. The net is that I must not make landfall with Reboot, there is a notice on the boat about a quarantined animal, all his waste must be disposed of by biosecurity, I need to notify them when I change ports, and of course pay fees. Not so bad. I am so far in the financial hole after all the unanticipated repair costs that not being able to use a marina is a blessing in disguise. The agent even brought treats for XO. Very sweet. Customs came and was a non-event.

I headed further into the river and anchored in about 10 feet of water. The tide here is about 9 feet so one must be careful where one drops. I took the dinghy into the marina. I had taken a nap after getting everything sorted so I missed the office deadline. It is a big place so tomorrow I will go in early and explore. I was able to get a burger and chips. Now if I get ice cream I will be all good.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Underway 3 November 0438 utc

Just to the south of Bundeburg, Australia there is a peninsula that encloses a large bay. I have crossed over from the ocean into shallow (80 - 150 ft) depths. I am still 38 nm from Bundeburg and can not yet see land. I should arrive at the harbor entrance tonight. I will anchor nearby. It is rarely a good idea to enter a new harbor at night.

Yesterday was a bear of a day. A front passed over Reboot. The wind clocked 270 degrees from north east to south east over an 18 hour period. We also had 30 knot winds, rain, and 8 foot seas. Far from a fun day. Frequent trimming and reefing was the agenda. The wind would pick up and then die and then pick up again. Reef down in high wind, reef up to keep underway in the calms. For about 12 hours there was no good route to my destination so I just tacked back and forth and lost 17 nm of progress. Eventually it passed through and I was underway again. So far the only really trying day of the trip.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Underway 1 November 0755 utc

Reboot is about 175 nm from Bundeburg. Yesterday the winds got light and we slowed down for about 12 hours. After sunset (of course) the wind freshened and shifted to the north. For a while we we going up wind. This was actually nice as the apparent wind shift gave us some more speed until the wind filled in.

In the middle of the night XO retrieved a 12" fish that had landed on the deck and brought it to me as a prize. It was still alive and filled the salon area with scales as it flopped around. One retrieved he lost interest so, still flopping, I consigned it overboard.

Radio communications have been very poor. Apparently there is a magnetic storm. This has made getting weather charts and forecasts impossible. Fortunately I also have a satellite telephone. I keep my shore staff apprised of my position. They can notify me if I am heading into bad weather. The down side is it is very expensive.

Only a couple of more days.

Fair winds and following seas :)