25 expressions of interest were received for this years “Cruising North” including several from Wynnum-Manly Yacht Club (WMYC) and in the final countdown 16 yachts and 1 powerboat (Rumbler) left Moreton Bay bound for Wide Bay Bar(WBB), the Great Sandy Straights, Bundaberg, Lady Musgrave Island, the Keppels, the Percys and more.
The weather forecast for the departure week was not particularly great for crossing the WBB so 4 boats left 5 days early (including Sante with Nick Cameron sailing solo) & 2 left later than the planned 1 August. The majority of the fleet crossed WBB in very benign conditions and we were able to catch up with a couple of the boats that had left earlier. Whilst the early boats were waiting for the rest of the fleet to catch up they managed to get rendezvous and enjoy several sundowners together.
Apart from one boat who wanted to do some whale watching at Rooneys Point the majority of the fleet caught up for dinner at Bundaberg. The Bundaberg Marina staff were exceptionally good to us offering us not only discounts on berthing but fuel as well.
In rather bleak weather, most of the fleet departed Bundy for Lady Musgrave. Luckily the weather the next day at the lagoon was kind to us and we all enjoyed the lovely environment followed by sundowners that afternoon. Whilst 1 or 2 boats stayed some extra time at Lady Musgrave, the others went to Pancake Creek. Here we enjoyed a guided tour of the lighthouse followed by a cold sundowners that afternoon.
With the weather looking like setting in for more northerlies, only 5 boats continued on to KBM where we spent a couple of enjoyable days and a delicious sundowners at one of the local restaurants. A particular highlight was having lovely cordon bleu meal made for us by Kris on Polaris – it was incredible!
Two of the five boats decided to go to Great Keppel Island and three went north to Pearl Bay. Unfortunately the weather conditions were very uncomfortable en route to Pearl Bay so two of the boats decided to return to KBM the next day. Both boats experienced damage that day whilst returning. Wizard Of The Wind left for Middle Percy, initially in rainy conditions, and spent a couple of days there and were lucky enough to have the famous goat stew with a number of other cruisers. When we left the island, we even managed to rescue a yacht that was in danger of going up on the rocks with a broken gearbox.
The remainder of the fleet spent several days enjoying a leisurely sail south through the great Sandy Straits and, judging by the Facebook pages, had a number of enjoyable sundowners. The majority of the returning fleet crossed the Wide Bay Bar on Sunday the 25th of August on their way back to Moreton Bay..
In spite of the difficulties the group encountered with the weather, I believe that everyone enjoyed themselves and a number of new friendships came about as a result.
At times, looking after the group was a little like hearding cats but I would be the first to volunteer to do it again!
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