we gotta get out of this place!

By | July 6, 2019

We have been in the Keppel Bay Marina now for two weeks.  We originally came in for birthday celebrations and the need for a VHF radio repair.  We’ve been here ever since!

After enjoying a fantastic run of beautiful weather from Boatworks to Great Keppel Island, we are now waiting for strong winds and BIG swells to pass through … and so is everyone else!

Yes, I know.  I’ve said this many times. It’s all about the weather.  So, for those of you who are interested … here’s a bit of info about where we get our weather forecasts from …

We use two methods, the internet and our VHF radio.  For the long range and ‘out to sea’ forecasts we use MetEye (BOM – Bureau of Meteorology) and Windy. If we know we will be out of phone range, we often take ‘screen grabs’ of the 7-day MetEye forecast. For the local land forecasts, we use the app Willy Weather. We are specifically interested in wind and swell. It’s always warm in Queensland of course (ha), so we rarely look at the temperature (unlike Melbourne)! We have access to the 4G phone network in most places along the coast but if it’s a bit dodgy we can resort to hauling the iPhone up the mast, using it as a ‘hotspot’ for the iPad below. It’s not always successful because it does depend on the phone signal strength.  We can improve our 4G range by adding another gadget to our boat but it’s ‘break out another thou’ so we’ve held off.

Our second source of weather is the VHF radio, specifically the radio weather schedules. The Coastguard and Volunteer Marine Rescue monitoring along the Queensland coast is fantastic. (Victoria, which happens to have the worst stretch of open sea, should take note!) The the CGs and VMRs cover specific areas of the coast and have designated weather scheds/times each day (and we can request them too). It’s a 3-day forecast which is usually quite accurate and just enough ahead, to plan a passage.  So when we have no 4G phone coverage, we rely on the VHF weather scheds. Hence, when we were out at the outer reef with no phone coverage recently and our VHF hand-held remote played up, we wanted to get it fixed or replaced.

Here’s a few ‘screen-grabs’ from Met Eye and Windy of the swells and winds we are expecting here at The Keppels. Those of you who know me well, know I’m a big fan of ‘orange’, but hey, not when it comes to weather!!

Coinciding with this weather hiccup is a military training area closure en route to our next stop, the Whitsundays. The Shoalwater Bay area is occasionally closed to the public (including boats), due to live firing activities. I don’t think we need to be buzzed by helicopters and forcibly removed by the SWAT teams! Nor heavily fined. Unfortunately, this exclusion zone includes the last mainland overnight anchorages before island hopping to the Whitsundays; Port Clinton, Pearl Bay and Island Head Creek. The ‘hops’ to the Whitsundays from here are all day hops but without the Shoalwater Bay mainland anchorages it means a 100 nm overnight passage from GKI, dodging the military exclusion zone, to an island further out to sea. The area was originally closed between June 23 and July 27, but fortunately in the last week, they have brought forward the re-opening of the anchorages to July 8. So while we have had to sit out the wind and swells much longer than we had hoped, we can now at least day hop through the Percy island group to the Whitsundays after July 8, with no overnighters.

So … what have we been up to?  The days have passed by very easily.  Blue skies and warm days. As someone said, it’s like being on a holiday being in a marina for so long.  No anchor watch, no dinghy rides, no tide charts, no wind monitoring … no thinking!

Instead … washing, restaurants, coffees, drives, walks, shopping, haircuts, films, concerts (we saw Toni Childs in Rocky), socialising (dinners, coffees and drinks), electric scooter demos (no, no new toy on The Bossa!) and of course, jobs. I think we have actually run out of boat jobs … unbelievable … until the next one!

If you’re going to get ‘stuck’ on a boat, the Keppel Bay Marina is the place!  We have a friendly marina, with a good restaurant for brekky, lunch and dinner, courtesy cars for shopping, a bus in to Yeppoon and Rockhampton from the marina’s front door, walks, a Sailing Club with a bbq (the guitars came out), a great seafood supplier nearby with the best prawns and … everyone who’s anyone is here … new and old friends.

As l’m finishing off this blog post I should update you on today’s weather. No blue sky! A bleak threatening sky, some rain, very strong winds and while we are snug in the marina, the continual tugging of The Bossa, along with the wind roaring through yacht rigging, are both reminders that we’d rather be in here than out there!  And we won the chook raffle last night!

It’s now the next morning.  A wild ride in here last night with pelting rain and 30+ knot winds. The continual creaks and groans, along with the roaring of the wind was deafening.

ETD for the Percy Islands and Whitsundays, Tuesday … we hope!

We gotta get out of this place!





8 thoughts on “we gotta get out of this place!

  1. Julian Harvison

    Sounds like a similar time a few years ago when we all got stuck there. We have been sitting out the weather in the Clarence River. Looks like we also will be on the move Tuesday doing an overnighter to the Gold Coast.
    Cheers guys and keep having fun and posting your blogs. SV Sans Souci

    1. Amanda Post author

      Hi SS. Yes, very similar to few years back with you. This time stuck for 2 weeks! Catch you further north hopefully. Bossas

  2. john mills

    sounds like good place to stay at the moment i was up near bendigo to day very light wind clear sunny day
    great weather to be out in the bush . good luck waiting for better up there so you can move on .


  3. john mills

    sounds like good place to stay at the moment i was up near bendigo to day very light wind clear sunny day
    great weather to be out in the bush . good luck waiting for better up there so you can move on .

    it does not like this moment it seys i have already said that

  4. john mills

    hi its cold and windy in melbourne again we will be looking for better weather to be out and about again
    could finally get enough snow in the mountains for skiing but up to now non just getting some snow now
    hopefully enough when the wind dies.

  5. Deb Savin

    Hi Amanda,Neville. Sounds like you’re still having a reasonable time, despite the weather.
    Well we’ve been enjoying Amsterdam for the past nine days with a variety of weather! The last 3-4 days have
    been in the high 30’s. Bit like home. Top temperature in Holland was 40.2 C. Amazing and a lot of places don’t have air conditioning as they rarely need it. Lots of water and beer!
    It’s a wonderful city so full of history. The buildings, canals, museums churches etc. So much to see.
    The Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum we’re amazing. We did two days trips to Delft and Den Haage, then to Haarlem. Great places too. All the Museums and galleries are celebrating Rembrants death 350 years ago!
    Bit sad to leave but off to Helsinki tomorrow for 5 days then to Stockholm..
    Well we hope you set sail soon and take care. We’ll be in touch again. Deb and John
    Is this the best email to get you guys on?

  6. Amanda Post author

    Good to hear from you Deb & John!
    Sounding busy your end. Wow those temps! Not so hot here, but certainly better than home.
    You can email direct on chapmanmills@icloud.com … then I’ll know your address too!

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