May 28 - Half Moon Bay Marina, Yorkeys Knob, Cairns

Position: S16deg48.09min/E145deg43.0min We arrived at Yorkeys Knob 2 days and 6 hours after leaving Airlie Beach. This was pretty good time as we departed with overhead skies and rain, and had to motor for six hours before finding enough wind to sail, then had to motor again for another 7 hours before we had more than enough wind! It seems that it's typical to have hardly enough wind, or you're getting the stuffing kicked out of you! With winds 25-30 and gusts to 40, the only neat thing was that we were sailing behind the protection of the Great Barrier Reef, so waves were about 9-10', with spume flying, but not as bad as it would have been in open water. Unfortunately, our autopilot wasn't fixed properly in Airlie Beach, so we'll be looking for more local talent to help diagnose its issues. At any rate, we arrived at Cairns in bright sunshine to see our friend Jon and his wife Laura who live here and run a B & B ( We had a delightful lunch at the Yorkeys Knob Boating Club restaurant, and look forward to spending more time with them and seeing this area before heading north again.

May 21 - The wind...she be howlin'

We visited Dave and Mary Margaret for some more quality time in mid afternoon. The wind was up so we lifted the dinghy up and secured it on deck when we got back to Infini. Last night saw wind bullets in the mid to high 20's hitting our boat on the beam. We were moored near Leu Cat, and never trusting moorings, Sue or myself were up all night just in case a line parted or the mooring bridle broke. (We worry a lot...) this morning, we departed early from Stonehaven Anchorage (Hook Island) to make the tide going into Nara Inlet and get away from a very windy, uncomfortable anchorage. Making good time, we hit the channel and encountered 22-28 knots on the nose with 6' waves. It didn't take us long to decide to change our idea and head across to Arlie Beach. We anchored in Muddy Bay in 18', the sun was shining, the boat's not getting blasted, the internet's good, and we're just all around happier than we've been for the last 12 hours.

May 19 - Langford Island

Position: S20deg04.8min/E148deg52.6min We motored the 1.75 nm to Langford Island to get a change of scenery. We had dug out all our snorkeling gear and loaded the dinghy ready for exploration, but the water was murkey (and cold!) so we didn't get in after all. After walking a short section of beach, we returned to the boat for a leisurely lunch, then motored back to the moorings at Stonehaven Anchorage. The current was against us on our return, and the narrow area around Black Island and Langford Island saw us crawling along at 2 knots. We joined Dave and Mary Margaret aboard LeuCat for happy hour; we hadn't seen each other for a few years and it was good to compare notes and discuss plans.
Last Pic: looking down the sand spit, past Black Island to Stonehaven anchorage on Hook Island.

May 18 - Hook Island

Position: S20deg05.51min/E148deg54.40min We settled up our bill with the marina, picked up our spare Stalock terminal from the rigger (they couldn't get Hayn), and cast off the dock lines. Wind was 18-20 with higher gusts, and we sailed under double reefed main and full yankee to the northwest coast of nearby Hook Island. Boat speed was 6-7, with occasional SOG in the low 8's as we close reached across the channel. Hook Island has many anchorages, but we had picked out Stonehaven Anchorage as the guide books had pointed out there was the opportunity for snorkeling nearby. When we got there, we noted a line of mooring buoys set in about 45', so we took one for the night and settled in to a beautiful view, with wind bullets (high gusts) coming off the hills and birds screeching in the forest. LeuCat is moored nearby; we'll probably see them tomorrow. Sue made eggplant caviar, I baked date scones, and we enjoyed happy hour in the cockpit. It's good to be away from the marina.

May 16 - The new backstay is installed

After recutting and reattaching five of our Hayn Hi-Mod terminals, the sixth screwed on for the dry run recommended by Hayn, then galled on the way off. I couldn't budge it...I went to one of the many shops here in the Abel Point Marina complex to find a vise to use. Lugging the entire backstay on our luggage carrier, one of the local shiprights was kind enough to lend a hand, but even with a pipe extension and large crescent wrench, the terminal wouldn't move. We were truly stuck. The only good news was that he recommended a local rigger to me, who came over from his shop to discuss our problem. He took the stay to his shop, but couldn't budge it either, so it was crunch time. I opted for new 316SS wire as ours was nine years old 302/304 wire, and found a spare new 3/8" Hayn compression eye in our spare parts kit. Yesterday afternoon, Sue and I spent hours cleaning off the old 5200 I had used in the terminals, as the Hayn fittings are reusable if the enclosed cone and crown ring are in good shape. This morning the rigger, Andrew of Whitsunday Rigging, picked me up in his truck to go to his shop, we cut the new SS wire and I installed all the Hayn fittings, sans 5200 but with Loctite. We returned to the boat, fitted the backstay, tuned the rigging, and we're ready to go. What a relief. Meanwhile, we've contacted Coursemaster Autopilot (made here in Australia) as our autopilot just doesn't work well. We were directed to one of the local electrical repair gurus here, and he's scheduled to come to the boat tomorrow to see if he can help out. We're planning departure from the marina pretty soon, so we'll see how that repair goes.... Pic: We walked past this flock of wild cockatoos near the marina.

May 11 - Abel Point Marina

Position: S20deg16.0min/E148deg42.5min We departed Shaw Island at 0630 and had a fantastic run up to APM. Winds were 20-30 knots behind us, and our boat speed was 6-7 knots with just the full jib out. Unfortunately, we discovered a shredded backstay wire on boat washdown inspection here, so it's a good thing we had decided to take a marina berth for one night - it looks like that may have to be extended! Of course, it's a really good thing we didn't lose the mast! We do rigging checks twice daily, so this was definitely something new and unwanted. This Monday we'll have a rigger down and determine where we can get SS wire, etc. Airlie Beach is a big center for tourism in the Whistsunday Islands, and there are tour boats, charter fleets, hotels, shops etc. Our Telstra dongle works great for internet, but this will be an expensive stay on the way "up and over." Btw, diesel here at APM is $1.78/liter.

May 10 - Enroute to Darwin; Shaw Island

Position: S20deg30.1min/E149deg02.8min After a brief stay of four days, we departed Bundaberg in very light air enroute to Darwin. We encountered most all wind quadrants and strengths, causing many sail changes, use of the reaching pole, and motoring conditions. Deciding to forego stopping, we sailed on and after three days and nights of coastal cruising and winding around small islands and going thru narrow channels, anchored in 30' of mud/sand in a beautiful bay here at Shaw Island, one of the southern most islands of the Whitsunday Islands. The Great Barrier Reef actually starts around Bundaberg, but we have 2000 nm to get to Darwin, and feel pressed to "bank our time" when we get good weather, hence the rush northward without stopping too often to sight see. Wind and tides are a great concern here on the coast (as they are most everywhere), and tidal ranges of up to 8 meters are fairly common around here, emphasizing the importance of transiting narrow channels during the correct flood or ebb tide. We didn't catch any fish, but did see one good size sea snake, who swam past our boat oblivious to us. In Bundaberg we had our first kangaroo encounter, as well as seeing a flock of orange headed parrots that we think were lorakeets; we've seen many other species of birds here we aren't familiar with, so need a good bird guide of the area. Of note, we also check in with the Marine Rescue Service volunteers who are found in various ports along the Australia coast (VHF channel 22, 67, 80 and 81; also HF SSB radio frequencies); it's not mandatory to do so, but it's good to let someone know where we are, and we're also able to get local weather, tide and other information from them. They're very cruiser friendly, so it's akin to filing a float plan.
PIC: It was great to see LeuCat anchored in the bay. We haven't seen Dave & Mary Margaret for a few years. They didn't have their radio on, so we were unable to contact them until we were raising anchor. They're heading to Darwin too!

May 6 - Mysteries solved

Further investigation of our "radio problem" revealed the following: the VHF aerial on the masthead had broken/blown off! Small wonder we weren't able to hear Marine Rescue Bundaberg! After replacing it with our new, spare Shakespeare VHF antenna, I called MR Bundaberg and they heard me loud and clear. Allright! Meanwhile, after extensive investigation, it turned out that one of our solid state, SS water tank sensors had gone out. They're WEMA brand, and, fortunately, I had a spare of the exact length which solved that problem. All right...we're on a roll....Another example, if room is available, that you can't carry too many spares. We're planning departure tomorrow (Mon), and the weather looks pretty benign due to a high pressure system that's sitting south of us. I suspect we'll end up motoring part of the time! But...with 2000 nm to get to Darwin, we have to take advantage of all weather conditions. We'll miss the hot showers here at the marina (unlimited hot water showers - free!) as well as good provisioning opportunities, but we're ready to head out, four days after arrival!
Pic: Flat open fields around the marina; miles and miles of sugar cane fields.

May 6 Passage summary (Opua, NZ to Bundaberg, Aus)

Total nm: 1560
Average speed: 5.7 kn
Total time (anchor up to anchor down): 11.5 days
Frontal boundaries encountered: 2
Highest recorded wind speed: 31.5 knots
Highest wave height: 12'
Engine hours: 28
Fish caught: 0
Discussion: Our avid readers know that I count "Total Time" inclusive of when we up anchor and motor out to where we can shut off the engine, to anchor down; thereby inclusive, in this case, of motoring up the Burnett River, at night, and circling around until we found a spot to anchor in the quarantine area. In other words, you could easily knock off 4-6 hours of motoring time for the "Total time" value. Overall, it was a pretty good passage, with the exception of a few hours here and there, mostly encountered after passing thru those frontal boundaries. Staying N-NE of those fronts definitely enabled us to encounter less strong winds and waves, and I think our route and strategy were good ones. Team Infini arrived with very little passage related "to do" items, no major problems, and in good spirits. What more could we ask for?!
PIC: We were excited to see our first kangaroos on a morning walk near the marina. They were watching us; they're bigger than I imagined!

May 4 - Port Bundaberg Marina

We've had to use VHF radio relays from our friends on Georgia J as well as Marine Rescue Bundaberg to contact Customs as well as the Marina, as our VHF radio isn't working on channels 22, 80 or 81, which are the working channels for these folks. Actually, I used the SSB radio to make initial contact with VRB, and then worked out the fact the VHF was funky. Don't know what's going on, as all other channels appear to receive and transmit fine...another boat mystery. At any rate, we upped anchor and moved over to the Q dock at 0830, and the Customs people came shortly after. They were professional, friendly and informative, and when they departed we awaited our visit from Immigration. Again, another fine experience with a very competent, informative official, and we were told to take our quarantine flag down - we're officially cleared into Australia! Kim, Sharon and Harold (Georgia J) came over with welcoming mimosas after they helped with our lines as we docked across from them in a marina berth. We finally dragged ourselves off the boat to go look at the complex here; I visited the chandlery and sailmaker, and Sue went to the small store and laundromat. The marina office extended a warm welcome, and it felt good to take a hot shower again.

May 3 - Team Infini is safely anchored in Bundaberg

We arrived to the Quarantine anchorage area at Port Bundaberg Marina at 10:30 PM local time last night. All's well aboard. More to follow. Position: S24deg45.538min/E152deg23.319min

Day 12 - We're in the home stretch

Date: 5-2-12
Time UTC: 0000
Lat/Long: S24deg16min/E153deg25min
Course: 270 T
Speed: 5.5 kn
Wind: SE 15-20
Seas: SE 6-8'
Cloud cover: 50%
Barometer: 1021
Sails: 2nd reef main
Day 11 miles: 134
Avg speed: 5.6 kn
Last night brought drizzle and E-ENE winds, necessitating many changes of course and adjustments (sounds like a familiar refrain...) But, the good news is that we're abeam of the Sandy Cape light (our position is S24deg20min/E153deg10min) and have about 48 nm to the marina! If the wind holds, we should be there around 10-11PM local Aus time. We both need a good night's sleep, and expect to see Officialdom tomorrow morning. More later.