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Captains Log - Leg 2 - Brisbane to Bundaberg

Date  Events
22 March '02 Cleared the Brisbane River at 13.00 and set a course for Bribie Island and Bongaree, the township named after Flinder's loyal Aboriginal interpretor. As we left the Brisbane River, the wind increased to 25 - 30 knots with gusts to 35 knots. This rapidly built a steep and sloppy sea and caused some concern at negotiating the shallow and winding channels into Bribie Island.
Consultation with the local Coastguard told us that the waves at Bongaree were were 1 meter high at the wharf, preventing us from brthing there, and considering the two crosswind channels to be negotiated through the sandbars, where the risk of a grounding was very high, a decision was made to proceed to the other side of Moreton Bay and anchor in the lee of Moreton Island. There followed an introduction to shipboard life and an early night in anticipation of a 04.30 start.


23 March '02 Sailed from Moreton Island , weighing anchor at 0530 and again threading our way through the sands, headed for Mooloolaba in a constant 35 knot SE wind.
Standing as close to the coast as possible we cleared Caloundra and romped north arriving at Mooloolaba harbour at 14.00 to a very warm welcome. The sail to Mooloolaba was under upper and lower tops'ls, jib and main stays'l only.
We had on board the pleasure of the company of Rob Reardon. Rob was a longtime volunteer when the ship was being built and put in many a long hour at crucial times when it was most needed. We were pleased to be able to have Rob and his daughter Courtney on board from Brisbane to Mooloolaba. He was to be able to tread the decks at sea of the vessel he saw coming together.
Whilst in Mooloolaba, several significant things happened, the most significant being the arrival, via Rob, of a small wooden box made in 1883 from timber cut from the 'Investigator' tree. The tree was on Sweeres Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria and the ship's name was carved into it during the visit to the island by Flinders in 1802. The tree eventually came to Brisbane where it now resides in a museum.
The box was made from Timber retrieved from that tree. It was an amazing find indeed. One of the nice things that is happening with these port visits is the amazing amount of Flinders material surfacing from odd places.
Sadly, we lost two of our voyage crew while in port, one because he could not face being seasick and was worried about several more non stop days at sea and the other because she basically wanted to "chill out" with a book and realised that if she was here she would have to work, even if it were her own conscience that made her. To use her words," it's a working ship, I can't not work."
We sailed from Mooloolaba after refuelling at 16.00 on Sunday 24th after being held in port an extra 12 hours due to the bad weather forecast. We sailed through the night setting all plain sail and at 22.30, the wind died and swung to the North east forcing us to set the "Iron Topsail".
From 22.30 to 08.00 we ran under power, 6 NM of 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island. Seasickness prevails with two of our student crew, Tim from Cairns and Jessica from The Mathew Flinders College at Buderim. They will recover, although at the moment you can't convince them.


24 March '02

 

 

A quiet 24 hours passing up the outside of Fraser Island on what has been a relatively uneventful day with a nice 15 knot SE wind driving us north. However at 2230, the wind died and a Nor'easter set in forcing us to, reluctantly, set the iron tops'l. We then encountered the strong offshore current first reported by Flinders. We had to contend with both the strong southbound current running at 4 to 5 knots and the sideways setting current running west to east across the Breaksea spit. At 0545, we were forced to haul off the coast to seaward to escape the latter.
Trim took a dim view of all this and retreated to my bunk where she spent the bulk of the day curled up asleep


25 March '02 0800 found us well offshore at 23deg 33.5 min S x 153 deg 20.5W and still with a northeast wind. We set all sail and bore away for the coast and at 12 noon we were off the northern tip of Fraser Island running parallel to the shore. The most striking thing to observe was the apparent lack of change to anything, apart from the remains of sand mining. Where Flinders saw campfires and natives on the beach, we sighted campfires and four wheel drives tearing along parallel to us. Again we set the Iron Topsa'l to offset the southbound current threatening to take us south.
And again, Trim took a dim view at the lack of progress and ceasing to be interested in checking my calculations, retreated to my bunk.


26 March '02 All during the early hours we remained under power due to the N/NE wind and the counter currents.. However, a wind shift at 0600 meant we could sail again and shut down the engine.
At 1200 with all hands busy about the Ship, we used the change of watch, set the Nock stays'l, and wore ship to a new course of 200 deg, sending us deeper into the bay. We spent an uneventful afternoon with very light winds, however at 2300 we were surrounded by an enormous pod of dolphin who played with us for an hour, and very tired gannet that landed on the bowsprit and curled up asleep on the Flying Jib, much to Trim's evident disgust.


27 to 31 March '02 At 0430 we dropped anchor off Fraser Island Lagoon in waters very familiar to Flinders. We spent the day at anchor pondering his diaries and trying to visualise what it must have felt like to be here 200 years ago.
At 1900, we sailed off the anchor and set a course for Bundaberg 45 miles across the bay. Predictably, during the night, the wind died and swung in from the north, necessitating again, the iron tops'l to be set. However, during the night the wind freshened and we were able to arrive off Bundaberg under full sail, to be met by the 'Rainbow Gypsy' and a cannon salute. Met also by the Pilot, we entered the river and berthed at the new International Marina to a very warm welcome. The facilities are excellent and the local people are outstanding. We are passing the Easter weekend entertaining a continuous stream of visitors and under the care of the Bundaberg Sunrise Rotary group.


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