Mad dash to Mooloolaba
We had a leasurely departure from Gary's Anchorage and headed to Inskip Point with the intention of crossing the Wide Bay Bar tomorrow morning. A further check of the weather brought less than encouraging news. Cyclone Victor, which had been meandering around off Fiji, would generate a large and powerful swell along the Queensland coast. This would make it difficult to exit the Bar and also enter the Maroochy River at Mooloolaba tomorrow. As there was also another protracted period of unfavourable weather to follow, we decided to get moving straight away.
We cranked up the engines and hit the Bar at noon. It was already quite lumpy and the second waypoint provided by the Coast Guard was way off. Tony managed to guide Windana out, with breaking waves either side of us. I didn't take any photos because things were a bit hairy, but this picture sums it up nicely:
Once through, everything settled right down. We estimated that we would reach the Mooloolaba entrance at high tide tonight, but this meant motor-sailing most of the way with an easterly swell and following wind. The swell did steadily build as we headed south, but not alarmingly. We could see the river entrance from some distance, but we could also see the sun dipping below the skyscrapers to our west and twilight descending. It is quite shallow just outside the Mooloolaba entrance, so the waves were standing up a bit, which was tricky when rounding up to drop sails. Once through the entrance, we all enjoyed the relief that came with entering smooth waters behind the breakwall.
Our friends, John and Heather (Phantasia) were out on the breakwall to greet us, waving madly. We were very grateful for their updates on the state of the entrance. The next challenge was to navigate past all the moored and anchored boats in the dark and find a spot to anchor. Once secured and after a well earned cup of tea, we slept like logs!