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Too close for comfort…

Nearly ran into a whale…

We were still motoring off Surfers Paradise, at the start of our passage to Sydney, with the Autohelm steering. I was down below navi-guessing when I heard excited shouts on deck. I poked my head out and nearly crapped in my pants! There was a tail out the water, wide as Sunny Spells is long, probably 30 metres dead ahead!

Two leaps to the helm, Authelm off, 90 degrees to port. Hey dudes, are you nuts!!!?

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I’ve cancelled next Tuesday’s airfare from McKay to Sydney… I’m in Sydney already and it feels just like Mooloolaba, just colder: torrential rains and gale force winds, with rain forecast for the next week! At least I wouldn’t have been able to go sailing… Fortunately I had booked a flexible fare, so I was able to get a credit which covered the (cheaper) flight back to Mooloolaba. The mainsail has been repaired (and a reinforcing tape added to the leech…) and Ullman Sails in Mooloolaba is holding it for me until I get back.

I fly into Mooloolaba around midday on Saturday 28 June 2008. If the weather cooperates, we will sail for Keppel Bay on 29 June. I have to arrive in Hamilton Island by (preferably ON the morning of) 9 July as Gilli and the boys fly into Hammo that afternoon for a week’s holiday. That gives me 11 days to sail about 550 miles. This should be enough to get a window in the weather, surely…

The last leg from Mooloolaba to Hamilton Island should really be the best part of the trip (if the weather cooperates).

In the first 3-4 days we will do the 310 miles from Mooloolaba to Keppel Bay, going outside Fraser Island. Sooo… If we leave on the 29th (a lot of If’s in this post!), we’ll have 8 days to do the last 240 miles through the islands, or an average of about 30 miles a day. I’m planning 80 mile day sails, so I’m hoping that we will be able to stop at some places for two nights to chill out, scuba/snorkel etc.

Getting from Mooloolaba to Hammo...

The passage from Mooloolaba to Keppel Bay (outside Fraser Island) will be a non-stop, 24/7 sail and, if we make good time (6 knots) we’ll be sailing two nights. If it’s slow (4 knots) it could be three. I’m planning to be in Keppel Bay Marina for one night, and then do 80 mile day-sails to Hamilton Island from there, anchoring at some of the islands for the rest of the journey:

The new windlass will get a workout, at last… Not to mention the diving gear and fishing rods!

Fortunately, we have mapping these days…

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The little blue and yellow bullet images…

International maritime signal: kilo Small version of the international maritime signal flag for “kilo”, also means “I wish to communicate with you.” With one numeral: “I wish to communicate with you by; 1) Morse signalling by hand-flags or arms; 2) Loud hailer (megaphone); 3) Morse signalling lamp; 4) Sound signals.“.

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