Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 14- Homing in on Brisbane

Time: 0100 Zulu, noon New Cal, 1100 Brisbane (Wed 14 Nov)
Position: 26*35'S 153*54'E
Wind: NW 11 Seas: NE 4-ft
Avg. Course: 231-deg T
Avg. Speed: 4.5-knots
Rig: 100% jib, full mains'l
24-hr Distance noon to noon point: 109-nm
Distance to Brisbane: 40-nm (to Morton Bay entrance, another 50-nm to check-in point)

Soon after yesterday's noon point, we put up the rest of the mains'l and continued to make decent way in rather light ESE winds on the northern edge of the currently dominating High. As the sun set we discussed our approach options to Brisbane over a jaipur vegetable, quinoa, asparagus and beet dinner. The point that we have been sailing toward for two weeks now is actually the entrance to Morton Bay, which houses Brisbane. To enter the bay, a bar must be crossed, possible at any tide or weather condition, but expected strong currents it would be best to enter as the tide is flooding. Once inside the bay, is a circuitous approximately 45-nm journey to the Brisbane River. The check-in station is another 5-nm up the river, which must be navigated with a flood tide and reached, of course, during business hours. We discussed several options to try to enter and transit Morton Bay in daylight as well as getting another 50-nm to the check-in during business hours. This would only be possible if we heave-to in Morton Bay for an entire night pushing our check-in date back to 16 Nov. All plans depend on how the weather holds, if we can continue making way sailing, or if we need to enlist Yannie's services.

After our powwow, we popped open the sun roof (rolled up the sun cover) to reveal the heavens above. It was celestially glorious, with not a cloud in the sky, light winds pushing us along in the right direction. Stars and planets rose and streaked across the sky. In our cockpit, through both of our night watches we had stadium seating 360-degree views of the night-time skies. This is the perfection that we naively thought that most nights underway would be like, so we savor the moments that it actually happens. As we moved to the edge of the High, winds started to back to the E then ENE so we jibed the mains'l and ran wing-on-wing for a while before it continued to back and we jibed the heads'l as well for a full starboard tack. This morning we were treated to a solar eclipse! The winds continue to back N and even NW so at our noon point we are sailing upwind toward our destination. With mellow seas we are making excellent time even with a strong set to the south from a long shore current. We had forgotten how inconsistent conditions are near a large continental mass, and as we deal with constant variations in the winds, we wonder if we will catch a glimpse of the Australian coast before the sun sets this evening.

Radio traffic continues to increase in frequency and we were surprised to hear crystal clear Australian military aircraft hailing boats on VHF16 requesting their information. Maybe they will hail us today? If conditions hold, with excellent charts and waypoints, we plan to enter and cross Morton Bay tonight to reach the Brisbane River mouth tomorrow early morning and ride the flood tide in to Rivergate Marina check-in. It will be a long night on high traffic alert and navigating under a [hopefully] star-filled sky, as we are in a New Moon phase. Wish us well.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes wishes do come true! Landfall ahead!