Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Time to move on

As I mentioned there is a weather change coming. We have decide it is time to move on and with the appending weather we think it's best not to travel along the reef areas. Heavy winds and seas are coming (in the next few days) and we wouldn't be able to move through the area without stopping for a night or two. We are on our way back to Kepple Bay area as this is where our cars are stored, and we have a road trip to do. We set off to move towards the mainland for Pancake Creek for the evening and then make our way along the coast north with a stop or two planned (anchorages). At 11:40 am the updated weather forecast is broadcast on the vhf radio, and now there are talks of strong wind warning for the following day. Not wanting to be holed up in the creek as we are on a time schedule we look at our situation, and make a decision to travel through the night to Great Kepple Island. The conditions were calm seas, clear skies, and picture perfect day except we had wind on our nose so we were motoring. We called the Volunteer Marine Rescue service to log on with them for our overnight passage. As mentioned in earlier post we are not fond of overnight passages, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do given the conditions. Well as the sun was starting to set the clouds started to move in. I made us some dinner early on as I knew I had the calm conditions at the time, and didn't want to deal with cooking later in the night. Needless to say it was a night FULL of ADVENTURE, and experiences we hadn't yet encountered!
First we had shipping encounters that were too close for comfort with not just 1 ship but 3 and we were the monkey in the middle. We were being sandwiched by these ships and we needed to think quickly for a way out, so with full throttles and a drastic change of course our only option where there wasn't a ship we moved due west, and just made it out of harms way! Our hearts a PUMPING we are back on course now.
Next encounter was a wicked weather change as it turns out a trough moved through our area giving was gale force winds and whipping up the seas. Which luckily wasn't too bad for us as we had the winds on our port quarter, (left rear side), so we just surfed along with the seas. The skies are very dark not just because we are in a new moon phase but because with this trough is rain clouds as well.
As we got slammed with this weather so did a lot of other boats and a few of them were close to the reef. TOO CLOSE, as we are listening to the radio, as we do, a MAY DAY ( a vessel in grave & immediate danger) call is made. We responded to the call as the boat was calling for the Coast Guard office that was closed, and we gave him the correct contact station and Coast Guard, and we also took down his co-ordinants in case we needed to relay to the Coast Guard. At the same time another vessel grounded itself on another reef further South. Okay now I'm wide awake and nervous about our passage through the channel that is border by rocks.
We managed to down the sails in the heavy seas, and make our way through the channel to the leeward side of the Island. We found a spot and anchored the boat. Glad to be out of the seas, and wind. We arrived shortly after 2 am. We did a bit of a tidy of the boat and hit the sack! We will remain here for a few days until weather clears and we can make our way into the marina.

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