The Narrows

By | July 6, 2018

Let’s mix it up.

We think some of our blog ‘followers’ might enjoy this little side story.

We are a sailing boat, so yes, we always want to sail. If we need to, we motor-sail, which is a combination of sailing and motoring (usually because there’s no wind). And then there’s motoring, which we don’t really want to do…

… but there’s timing, tides, current, wind, weather and … The Narrows.

The Narrows is a calm mangrove lined waterway separating the Gladstone mainland and Curtis Island.  It links Gladstone with Keppel Bay.  It is deep for most of its length but dries at low tide in the middle area, known as the Cattle Crossing. Most mono yachts take the outside route, bypassing Gladstone and The Narrows because of its depth.  Monos generally draw 1.6m plus.  Too risky taking The Narrows.  But we catamarans draw around the 1.4m mark, give or take.  So The Narrows is do-able.

Our path through The Narrows, starting in Gladstone then north to Keppel Bay.

Neville loves it … the challenge, the flat water and forgetting about the wind for 5 minutes. It’s such a contrast to our ‘normal’ routine.  And we have to think!

After a night at the Gladstone Marina and assisting a Johnny Depp lookalike repair a massive tear in their headsail (as if), we were on our way.  We calculated the tide, the distances, the track we’d take and our departure … at least 5 times!  Is that because we 60 year olds are getting a tad forgetful?! It was a bit daunting when a fellow cat called Seranno (who had never been here before) wanted to follow us. Heebie-jeebies, hope we get it right!

The plan is to reach the ‘middle’, the Cattle Crossing, right on high tide, thus motoring with the rising tide to the Cattle Crossing. Remember, the Cattle Crossing dries at low tide. A rising tide is a must as no yacht wants to ‘run aground’ and be stuck!  It’s another 12 hours before the water returns. Once through the Cattle Crossing, motoring with the falling tide the other side, is a breeze.

Distances, timing, tides (which are not an exact science), speed and gumption all come in to play.

We are now anchored in Mosquito Creek (hope it does not live up to its name) after a successful passage through The Narrows. We came through on a 3.1m high tide and would not want any less.  We saw a 1.4m depth at one stage.  Our depth-sounder measures our depth from our waterline so knowing we draw 1.4m, that little ‘bleep’ was close enough.  No damage would be done … just 12 hours stuck in mud … waiting! Did I mention a depth-sounder is a must?!

It is so calm here we feel like we are on land.  A flat water anchorage is heaven!


One thought on “The Narrows

  1. JA

    Sounds like you have nailed it once again! I hope that the yacht following and using your expertise shouted drinks that night!
    We only have a couple of days left and I’m already thinking about wher to next? I think Johns ready to kill me!
    Great spending time with Lize here although we haven’t really seen much of Vietnam – just Ho Chi Minh and Vung Tau.
    Talk when we get back
    D x

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