Welcome to Zenitude’s blog where you can follow us while we travel slow in our Lagoon catamaran. We update this blog frequently when we are cruising to let family and friends know where we are. Check the complete story of our adventures that started in 2006 when Zenitude became our home and cruising our way of life. Graciela and Oscar

Sunday, 4 February 2018

From the Great Sandy Strait to Bundaberg

05/10/2017 to 14/10/2017

Tin Can Bay

A day after crossing Wide Bay Bar and after a very restful night at anchor in Pelican Bay we headed south this time, through the inlets, towards Tin Can Bay marina, just 8 miles away. The scenery in the inlets is beautiful and the marina surprised us as well.  For some reason we were not expecting such a great modern marina and wondered why we hadn’t visited before.

Tin Can Bay Marina

Just a short walk from the marina is the Norman Point boat ramp. This is the place where humpback dolphins visit daily. At around 7:00 to 8:00 AM, almost every morning of the year, the dolphins come to claim their fishy breakfast. A team of volunteers runs the operation and allow people to feed the dolphins. They are careful to limit the amount of fish they offer so that the dolphins don’t become dependent.

Needless to say next day we were arriving at the dolphins’ feed encounter just before 7:00 am. There we found the Barnacles Cafe, strategically positioned to serve the small crowd that was already queuing for the event. At that point we found many people, Zenitude’s crew included, anxiously watching at sea where there were no dolphins in sight. Lots of birds were gathering as well to participate in the fishy feast. It was not long until one by one the dolphins started to arrive.

In the meantime we decided to buy a fish each to personally feed one dolphin and yes, it is just 1 fish allowed per person as this is the way they control how much food the dolphins get, letting everyone that came to have a go. 

We were instructed to keep a hand on top of the bucket, soon we found out why. A bird, obviously a first timer for the event, decided to give a go at stilling a fish from a bucket and he (or she) was immediately caught by one of the volunteers and taken to jail (a bird cage at hand). It was an impressive skill by this lady volunteer. All the other birds knew better and stay put just watching the fun.

It is all very well organized with the dolphins in mind, first you quickly sterilize your hands, then you get the fish bucket, then you are directed into the water where a volunteer is waiting for you, finally you feed a very gentle and polite dolphin that carefully takes the fish from your hand. What a notable experience!

The Birds

Just caught!

Going to jail

 Feeding the dolphins

Great Sandy Strait

After doing all the little chores you do in a marina we left to continue our way North. It was all slow going as we did three short legs up Fraser Island coast until we arrived at the King Fisher Resort on the other side of the Great Sandy Strait. 

We did a strategic stop at Gary’s Anchorage. This strategy has to do with tides. There is a very shallow area in the Great Sandy Strait as well as strong tidal currents that change directions where the shallows are. So the best strategy is to go with a rising tide, cross the shallow area close to the high tide and then keep going with the changing tide on the other side. This all works pretty well as long as you don’t run aground in the high tide. 

All quiet in Gary's anchorage

The sail on the Great Sandy Strait was uneventful, not so the King Fisher Resort stopover. About one hour after dropping anchor, very black clouds were fast approaching from the south west. A quick look at weather warnings confirmed what seemed to be coming towards us: a strong wind and dangerous thunderstorms over Fraser Island. 

We were too close to shore for comfort on strong south westerlies and decided to raise anchor and ride the squall in deeper waters. So did the catamaran next to us who instead anchored in deeper waters away from the coast. We waited to see what the squall was doing, nothing good by the sound of thunders but luckily it just passed to the east. It seemed to have passed just on top of Gary’s anchorage and we were happy to have missed it. 

King Fisher Resort on the background


Next day we left at first light, which is just 5:00 am this time of year. We left without having decided whether to stop at Bundaberg 55 miles away, just a day trip, or keep going to Great Keppel Island arriving sometime in the middle of the night. 

By noon we were getting close to Bundaberg when Zenitude made the decision for us, port engine was behaving quite weird, claiming to be overheating when clearly it wasn’t. As the engines were still under warranty a quick call to Volvo Penta confirmed there is an authorized representative in Bundaberg. If we missed Bundaberg, next one is either Gladstone or Mackay. Just in case it wasn’t a case of a bad tempered engine behavior we ended up in Bundaberg marina, where we arrived early afternoon having navigated Hervey Bay from the south to the north end without having sighted a single whale. Another sign we were kind of late in the season.   


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