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Thread: (non-RB) Trip Report... (long!)

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    (non-RB) Trip Report... (long!)

    For those that aren't aware, Trevor Jackson, of Welcome to the Home of Brisbanes Favourite Scuba Diving Liveabord - MV Esperance Star fame, has "retired" from chartering, and has ES on the market. He's bought a yacht (for those into those kinda things, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westsail_32 ). The original plan was to sail solo round the world, but that's been post-poned for now.

    His current project is writing another book. For those who haven't yet read his first book, it's available through his website.

    The new book is going to be titled "Diveabout" (ie, walkabout, but diving / sailing instead!), and is going to be the story of his around-Australia sailing and diving trip. The trip has already started, and this is a report of one of the early legs. The trip started at Newport Marina, on the Wednesday night before Oztek.


    Disclaimer:- This report will include some rude crude and revolting language. It also contains a part that is probably NOT for the weak stomached. Having said that, I am not to be held liable for anyone's keyboard that is ruined by reading this report. Consider yourselves warned!!!



    Ahhh, where do I start?



    Does it start back in March, when Trev asked me to help move the yacht from its berth in Newport Marina, to a mooring in the Brisbane River? A quick overnight jaunt that turned into nearly 3 days, with lack of food, water, and beer, and me missing my flight to oztek 3 times?



    Does it start a couple of weeks ago, when I had 3 days off, met Trev after work at the Redcliffe Jetty on Monday night, to sail to Tin-Can Bay, or thereabouts, so I could get back to work in time, but we only made it to Mooloolaba?



    Or does it start last thursday morning, when I caught a bus from Brisbane to Hervey Bay, and met Trev in the marina there?



    For the sake of the story, and brevity, I'm gonna start there. But I'll state now, I'm sure most of you have heard some or most of the tales that make up "the adventures of Trev, CD, and a yacht named "One Goat". (aka Flight Risk, but that names a bit boring!). You would also be aware, that when you put these three into the mix, there is NEVER EVER a dull moment.

    I'm gonna include Google Earth / GPS co-ords for the geeks amongst you, so you can, if you feel so inclined, track our progress. Marks for anchorages, marinas etc are taken from Google Earth, marks for wrecks taken from "The Bible" (aka Wreck Diving in Southern Queensland, written by some grumpy old bloke that apparently knows a bit about them, but it's got a piccy of a coupla AWESOME divers on the back cover!)



    Thursday / Friday



    1515 I arrived at Hervey Bay. 25 17 44.32S 152 54 34.35E

    Trev got there about 1535, pulls up to the public jetty, and immediately claims to be out of gas. A fact that, having spent quite a bit of time in his company of late, I sincerely doubt is a possibility. In his usual way, Trev's response to my question is "the ****** gas for the ****** stove ya ******* **** -faced ********!" geeze its great to be back!



    One LPG fill, one bag of ice (the fridge still isn't bloody working), 1 carton of what queenslanders call beer, I just reckon they call it XXXX coz they couldn't write **** on the carton, one cask of cats piss for Trev, and we're away. One-Goat (from now on in to be referred to as OG) was docked on the jetty for just under an hour. (on a max 15min parking public jetty)



    Steamed out of the marina, off into the wild blue yonder, heading north. Skirted around the shoal were Trev ran aground on the way into the marina (that happened before I got on, so technically speaking, shouldn't be included in this tale of woe, but hey, I just had to put it in!), and headed for the fairway beacon, which signified that we were in deep water, and could let the sails do their thing.



    I gotta say, OG just LOVES a 15knot South-Easterly breeze, when she's heading North. We were SCREAMING along, doing over 7knots. Trev had never had her that quick. We dipped the port rail under the water a number of times, we were on that much of an angle. Made for moving around the boat interesting. We did this for about 14hours straight! The original plan was to head to Lady Musgrave Island, 223 54 25.55S 152 23 34.35E and we were within 11nm, when the wind swung. This was about 8am. Its 88nm from Hervey Bay (Urangan Marina) to Musgrave (in a straight line, which we never seem to manage to hold!) Trev knew the wind was gonna swing to a Northerly, so we aimed East of Musgrave, so when the wind swung, we'd still be able to make it in. Nope, no hope. It swung due North, was still blowing 15kn plus, and the only way we were gonna make musgrave, was to tack, and it probably woulda taken about 6hours (80nm in 12hours, 10 in 6hours, stuff that!). So next plan of attack. Use the wind, and head into a safe anchorage at Pancake Creek, get in a quick dive on the Cetacea 24 03 04S 151 55 28E on the way. We got to the Cetacea about 1630.

    OG's you-beut all the bells and whistles, colour echo sounder... wasn't working... All we had to go by was a digital depth sounder, that just clicks off the numbers in whole meters. So what does the enterprising skipper do? Go 20m up from the GPS marks, and drops the pick, then sends lackey (ie me!) in to see if we were anywhere near it. Well, we were (why isn't anyone surprised?). But Trev hasn't spent that much time (ie, this was the first!) anchoring on wrecks with OG. So didn't let out anywhere NEAR enough chain. The anchor was on the sand, and zero chain, so of course it was dragging. Quickly. I had about a 20m rope to tie the anchor into the wreck with, so as soon as I hit the bottom, I tied in to the anchor, and followed the fish, found the wreck, could easily see it 10m away, but was at the end of the rope. **** **** poo bum crap! Straight back up, 4min 30meter bounce dive. Tried again, put a zip tie on where we had let the chain out to last time, let it out a LOT further than that, and then I went for another splash to see what happens. Same instructions as last dive, find the wreck, tie in, if your not back in 5, I'm coming in.


    Second dive, found the anchor 15m from the wreck, not dragging, tied in no probs, head around the corner - hull / port side for those who have dived her, fish EVERYWHERE, it was fish soup. Swam through a huge school of GT's, and absolutely shat mysefl, as a 5ft Cobia came through the school and nearly headbutted me! Worked out what it was, got the breathing back to a normal rate, and kept going round. Repeat last! Except this Cobia was even bigger! Apparently they grow to about 2m, and this one was pretty close to that. Lucky I was diving in my boardies, woulda hated to clean that mess out of my wetsuit! Anyways, good dive, viz was about 15m, but dark on the bottom, (remember we got there about 1630), so very eery. Coupla big bull-rays on the sand, some snapper, Estuary Cod, all the usual suspects. I headed up when I reached my turnaround gas, passed Trev at about the 5m mark on the way down. He mentioned that he was a bit spooked by the dive, too dark, bad time of day to be diving there etc, and had a similar story about the Cobia.



    We then picked up anchor, and headed into Pancake Creek, just in behind Bustard Head. 23 59 24.61S 151 46 49.93E This is a well-known safe haven for boats, there is a reasonably small deep(ish) anchorage there, and its dead flat (hence the name) in just about any conditions, except a northerly. OK, so we had a northerly, but it was still pretty calm. Was well and truly dark by the time we got in (no moon out), so Trev had a bit of trouble finding the deep part of the anchorage. By "a bit of trouble", I mean grounded, and managed to (just) back out into slightly deeper water. The light of day showed where we went wrong, but hey, hindsight is always great. Turns out, we went a bit further than we should have. We anchored in 2.6m of water, (OG has a 7ft draught), and Trev assumed it must have been dead low tide, as the depth didn't change for the half hour we were watching it, and he "knew" we should be in at least 4m of water. No phone coverage, so we couldn't ask Bear (thanks for all the assistance mate!) our resident weatherman and googler what the tide times were. I suggested to Trev that he get on the radio, and call Gladstone or Bundy coastguard, but "nah, I couldn't be ****ed" was the answer. No probs, we were both pretty shattered from sailing all night, so headed to bed about 2200. About 3am, I woke up to the sound of the boat creaking, and me nearly falling out of bed. My bed was the starboard side bed (for those that know the boat) coz it has an extra half foot of legroom (not that I need it!) and the boat had dropped to about a 45deg list to port. Whoopsies. I woke Trev up, we went outside for a look, the water was about shin deep! Doh. SFA we could do about it, so Trev took the port bed, I moved my matress to the floor, wedged myself into a corner, and tried to sleep. Over the next hour, we ended up with about a 60deg list. I just couldn't sleep. Musta fallen asleep for about half an hour, coz at about 0530, we woke up, and the boat was upright again. No probs, trev went back to his bunk for'ard, I went back to my bed on the starboard side, and we slept till 9am.



    Saturday



    My worst nightmare. After the "pre oztek trip", I still have nightmares about OG and her starter motor. Well, yup, I reckon I'm gonna have em again. Turn the ignition on, that irritating alarm that (apart from rupturing eardrums), apparently informs the operator that the ignition is on but the engine isn't running. I reckon if that bloody alarm wasn't there, we would have a hope of hearing that the engine wasn't running... Trev started swearing, I grabbed my book, the compressor, the tanks, and hid on the front deck using the excuse of "gotta fill the tanks" to escape the tools that were flying every which way. An hour and a bit later, all was good, and we were off. No wind now, so we motored out to the SS Nautilus 23 53 24S 151 38 65E.


    Same as before, no sounder worth mentioning, so just pulled up on the GPS marks (taken straight from "the bible"), and dropped the pick. Different instructions this time, go down, search and find it, use the rope and your spool if you have to, but find it, tie it in, then come back and tell me. If anywhere, it should be off to the left, but just sit at the anchor, and follow the fish. I hit the bottom, viz was only about 5 meters. First thing I saw was a volkswagon beetle. Ah whoops, nope, that'd be a huuuge Queensland Grouper wondering wtf I was doing invading his personal space. He was followed by a school of barracuda. Then came a school of GT's, schools of just about everything else, they were just surrounding me. The pick was wedged in the sand, and not moving, I couldn't see the wreck, couldn't see where the fish were coming from, as they were surrounding me. Did a 5m loop, couldn't see the wreck, so figured "Trev reckoned it was left, so I'll head left to the end of the rope, and then do a loop". Did that, and the wreck was directly to the right of the anchor. HAH, Trev got it wrong! Probably the first time ever, but hey, I can say I was there when it happened! Found the wreck, tied in, and bolted up to tell Trev to get his arse down there. Wasn't on the surface long enough for the computer to register it as a second dive.

    The viz was only about 5meters, there was a slight current (ok, yeah, the knitting club members probably woulda bailed ) heading bow to stern, but that just made it a better dive. We all know the current brings in the good fishlife! I'd rate this dive as "Yongala-esque"... The life had to be seen to be believed! I know I said the Cetacea was "fish soup", but this just took it to the next level! And EVERYTHING was bigger than the previous dive too. Had a huuuge bullray following me for 5minutes, yet another brown-pants moment when it got VERY dark, all of a sudden, I turned around, and ALL I could see was the underside of the biggest ray I've ever seen. But he was cool, just coming in for a look. Saw absolutely without a doubt the biggest Barracuda I've ever seen. (or looking at the austmus website, maybe it was a giant seapike?) This thing was well over 1m long, and rather round too. Huuuge. Pack of 6 cobia, EACH bigger than the ones we saw on the Cetacea. Squadron of half a dozen HUGE eagle rays, each as big as any I've ever seen anywhere. Honeycomb Moray the size of my arm. Half a dozen Barramundi Cod, plenty of big Estuary Cod, school of really really big fish that I'm not sure what they were. Snapper, GT's, Tarwhine, etc etc etc. You name it, it was there. About 20mins into my dive (including the intitial search and bounce to the surface) I finally saw Trev. Hung around for a while longer, finally headed up, did a safety stop, and hopped outta the water after 45mins.



    Both agreed, it was an awesome dive. Give it another 10meters viz, and I would seriously have started rating it amongst my best EVER dives... I've seriously only seen fishlife close to that about 3 or 4 times!



    After the dive, we just chucked the gear on the front deck, didn't even bother starting the engine, I lifted the pick and raised the foresail, while Trev raised the main, and we just sailed off. That was pretty cool. (you had to be there!).



    Headed into Facing Island 23 52 37.55S 151 22 15.30E, just off Gladstone, and anchored there for the night. As a side-note, just a bit of commentary as to the state of shipping / wharves in Australia, there were TWENTY-THREE ships (not boats, ships, like massive ore-carriers) anchored off Gladstone, waiting their turn to go into the harbour to be filled, so they could head out to wherever they were taking it. Saturday night was rather large. For whatever reason, we finished off the beers (hadn't drunk that much the previous two nights) and hit Trev's cats piss pretty hard too. Trev dropped a grogan, and blocked the dunny, decided ****it, I'll fix it tomorrow. Got to bed about 1am, slept till 11. Yup, it was a rather large night.



    Sunday



    When we finally woke up, the water was like a millpond, zero wind, so Trev decided it was to be a "book and movie day". Yeah, no probs. He then had a piss in the already blocked toilet, and when he went to flush it, remembered it was blocked. Doh... Trev spent the next two hours pulling the dunny apart, getting himself covered in his own piss, and last nights grogan. It wasn't pleasant. Lucky the bloke can't smell, but unfortunately, I can. :-( I was kept busy filling the bucket with salt water, and grabbing tools for him, and trying my hardest not to laugh at his predicament. He jumped in the (very green) water to wash off, decided it was "****ing freezing" so got out pretty quick. About half an hour later, I needed to drop a "grog-bog" to eliminate the evils of the previous evening, no probs. 20mins after that, it was Trev's turn to drop a grogan. Yup, you guessed it, the dunny blocked again... So picture this. My **** was blocked in the pipes of the dunny, Trev's was still in the bowl. What happened next is NOT a story for sensitive stomachs.....



    ** SKIP THIS BIT IF YOU ARE IN ANY WAY SQUEEMISH!!! **

    The way the dunny works, it has a pump handle, that pumps the contents of the toilet out. If its blocked, and you keep pumping, it builds up pressure. Now, having spent the previous 2.5hours getting closely aquainted with the workings of said toilet system, Trev knew exactly where to go, to unblock it. Problem was, the afore-mentioned pressure build-up....... As soon as Trev removed the pipe, there was, literally, an explosion. I heard it, thank christ I didn't see it. It made a half popping half slurping sound, as my **** was projected out the pipe, spraying Trev, and the entire dunny cubicle in liquid brown gravy. I was almost in tears, both crying out of guilt at what I'd subjected Trev to, and laughter at his predicament. Trev thought I musta been a bit squeemish coz I ran out onto the back deck, but in reality, I have a stomach of iron, it didn't bother me, I just didn't want him to hear me laughing!!!



    After many more buckets of salt and fresh water, we had no option but to flush most of it into the bilge. We flushed a fair bit (like the proverbial ****load) of water through, so it shouldn't be a problem, but there may be the occasional dregs lying around. I drained an entire can of deodorant in there, in a vain attempt to disguise the smell.



    ** OKAY, YOU CAN CONTINUE READING NOW! **





    After that episode (and another swim in freezing water for Trev), we sat down and watched Sin City, Bravo Two-Zero, the ABC docco "Cricket in the 80's", and "The Perfect Day" (Steve Waugh is THE MAN!!!). By this stage, the batteries were getting flat, so we crashed out about 10pm.



    Oh, and halfway through the 2nd movie (which Trev had seen plenty of times), he starts messing around in the engine room. I didn't know what he was doing, and was enjoying the movie so didn't ask. He then got me to make him a coffee (the bloke didn't make a single coffee the entire trip, and I don't drink coffee, in fact, I can't handle the smell of it. I'd rather smell my and his faeces sprayed over the walls of the dunny cubicle than coffee, but I'm digressing). So, went to fill the kettle, and bugger me, we're out of water.



    What Trev was doing in the engine room, was measuring the size of the fuel tank, and dipping it, so he could calculate how much diesel we had left. 12liters. And no water.



    All through the trip, Trev had specifically stated... "The LAST thing I want to do is go into that ****ing ****hole of a town that is Gladstone". Well, guess what we had to do?



    Monday



    Monday morning, we put the compressor back inside, packed away the tanks, started the motor (eventually, bloody starter motor...), and steamed into Gladstone. The debate was wether the weather was gonna screw us up, in our plan to have me at Rosslyn Bay or Great Keppel Island by Tuesday lunchtime, in order for me to get back to work by 1500 wednesday. We decided it was too much of a risk, so I had to hop off in Gladstone. No problems, except that Virgin don't fly to Gladstone. So after MANY phone calls, and a LOT more help from our resident googler (thanks again Bear!), we worked out that I'd already missed the train, the bus only runs at 5am and 5pm, so I didn't have a hope of getting to Rockhampton to catch my flight. Hire car was gonna cost me $160 (even WITH Virgin Blue staff discount), or I could catch the 5pm bus to ROK, stay the night in ROK, then make my way to the airport in the morning. That was looking like the best option, till I decided to clutch at a straw, and call Qantas, to see what it would cost me to fly Gladstone-BNE. $129 later, and I've now taken my first flight on Qantas... Plane was a Dash8, noisy bug-smasher, but hey, it got me there...



    And so ended an "interesting" trip away. Ended a day and a bit earlier than I would have liked, but hey, wadya do? Was definately enjoyable, a nice break away from reality, and absolutely worth it!




    FOOTNOTE!


    I spoke to Cath the night I got back, and she mentioned that Trev had to unblock the toilet AGAIN after I left. I can categorically state that this one WAS NOT caused by me!

    SECOND FOOTNOTE!

    Since I wrote this report, Trev left Gladstone, and sailed to Keppel. There, the starter motor finally died for the last time. He waited it out for some wind, and finally left Sunday morning, sailing for 62hours straight, till he got to Bowen, where he is currently sitting, and getting the starter motor and fridge fixed.

    Stay tuned for some more updates, and look out in about 18months for the book.

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    Re: (non-RB) Trip Report... (long!)

    For anyone who is interested, the 2nd and 3rd editions of this tale can be found in the news section of Welcome to the Home of Brisbanes Favourite Scuba Diving Liveabord - MV Esperance Star

    I didn't write these, they were written by Captain Trev himself, and detail the trip from Gladstone to Bowen, after I hopped off the boat.

    Enjoy!

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