Pascale: We just popped into Tin Can bay town.
Wasn’t a big event, it was just to get some groceries, but there’s some pretty serious
wave action in our anchorage Troy: Surf’s up in the anchorage. I like the…
We should record some of this footage for the next time they’re making some movie in,
like, Antarctica or something. I mean that whistling; eerie wind effect. Pascale: Welcome to Free Range Sailing. Troy: Join us as we sail around Australia
visiting its wild places in our 30 foot, 50-year-old sailing boat, Mirrool. Pascale: Living off the land and sea while
sailing a yacht that costs less than a new car… Troy: … we show that it’s possible to have
big adventures with a seaworthy boat, on a very modest budget. Pascale: Time to make some power. Troy: Oh, yeah. Pascale: Because we’ve got to put the solar
panels down, because they were making the boat sail. Troy: When they’re down like this they actually
make the boat sail a bit. But that’s something to consider. I think when this boat was first
designed and they had the original lines, it had a lot less windage, but as soon as
you start putting lead cloths, solar panels, arches, dodgers, and things like that, it
definitely adds to the windage of it. So now Mirrool is surfing a little bit with the wind,
but the tide is pushing her this way, so every now and then she’ll sort of cross up. At some
stage of the tide, the forces will balance, we’ll be held side on into this, and it’ll
just be rubbish for about 40 minutes I reckon. But that’s, like you say Pascie, it’s impressive.
The land is just there. Pascale: Yeah. Troy: So in this short distance, this is the
pitch we’ve got and these are the waves we’ve got; can you imagine in a cyclone? You think,
“Oh, I’ll just go and anchor in a sort of a broad river, land’s just there, it’ll be
fine. Pascale: No. Troy: No it won’t. Pascale: Oh, try and be careful, darl.
We’re sailing. Oh. Is that our [inaudible 00:03:11]? Yeeha.
Someone tried to take a shortcut across the sand bank. Oh yes. Power to the Porta Bote.
We’re just drifting over the bank. There’s the marker. Ignore.
So we are going ashore to the Barnacles Dolphin Center to check out the humpback dolphins.
And we’re over the sand bank. Beautiful morning in Tin Can Bay. How’s the serenity? Troy: Oh. Not there. Pascale: Where? Troy: Back there. Look at the stingray. Gone.
I had him. [crosstalk 00:04:57] Pascale: We’re here at the Barnacles Dolphin
Center in Tin Can Bay, and we’re looking at the Australian humpback dolphins. They’re
an estuarine dolphin, and they’re actually unique to the waters of Australia and Papua
New Guinea. They hang out in river systems, they don’t really go out into the open ocean,
and they’re an endangered species. So this is a really special thing. The dolphins have
a habitual thing of coming in the morning and just getting a snack at the center, and
then they go off in the wild and hunt for themselves. So it’s really special. They’re
quite shy; we’ve seen them around the boat, but they don’t come up to the boat. And they’re
not like Bottlenose dolphins, they don’t play in the bow, and they’re not as active, so
it’s really nice to see them up close here today. [crosstalk 00:00:05:40].
School holidays at the moment, so it’s pretty busy down here at the center and it’s feeding
time. The dolphins get fed every day at eight o’clock, so I’m going to get a chance to feed
the dolphins soon, but we’re going to let the kids go first [crosstalk 00:05:51]. Speaker 3: Might go on the other side, might
be a better plan. Pascale: Oh, that would be great, thank you. Speaker 3: So, hold on tight. Head first,
pop it into the water. He wants that fish. Pascale: Thank you. Hi Misty. Speaker 3: See all these markings on him?
That’s from fighting with other dolphins. Pascale: Yeah. Speaker 3: Other girls. Pascale: So that’s their teeth marks? Speaker 3: Yeah. It’s called raking. So they
go over and they scrape each other. Pascale: Oh yeah, I can see why it’s called
raking. It’s been raked up. Speaker 3: So those are all teeth marks from
other dolphins. Pascale: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:06:59].
After visiting the dolphins we made our way to Pelican Bay, ready to cross the Wide Bay
Bar the following morning and continue our journey southwards. Troy: Buy ourselves a little bit of room there.
Just stay in the middle of the stream. Things have chilled out. Pascale: Go to work. You’ve got your business
shirt on, and your jacket on. Troy: Like Hugo Boss, my life jacket. That’s
how we roll. Pascale: Motor sailing through the bar. Troy: Yeah, no, just checking in as we hit
reference point three. Speaker 4: [inaudible 00:09:30] that. Commencing
your run through the bar. Give me a call at reference point one when you get through and
we’ll catch up. Tin Can Bay, out. Troy: Mirrool out. Pascale: Our plan was to cross the bar and
sail from the bottom of Fraser Island all the way down the Queensland coast to Yamba,
in New South Wales. It was a fairly uneventful crossing. However,
the sea state was definitely a lot sloppier than when we exited the bar in March. Having
our sails up for the entire crossing really assisted in keeping Mirrool stable, and improved
her performance through the water. It also provides a backup in case of engine failure. Speaker 4: Mirrool, Mirrool. Coast Guard,
Tin Can Bay, over. Troy: Yeah, mate, all right. We have passed
reference point one and we’re clear of the bar. Speaker 4: Good luck with sailing in, but
take care. Okay, that’s Tin Can Bay, over. Troy: Good on you mate. Have a good afternoon.
We’re all going back to channel one sets. It’s sort of expected to get, just based on
what the weather reports was, there’s a high, and we were expecting to get an easterly,
and maybe even a north-easterly, but we’re going to have to wait. It should come eventually,
but at the moment it’s blowing south-south-east. So we’re just going to make out easting. We’ll
go out to a bit deeper water, and we should pick up the East Australian Current and that
will help us go down south a bit faster. But in any case, because we’re sailing, we’re
not just going to motor punch into it, it’s just too hard on us, isn’t it Pascie. Pascale: Yeah. Troy: We don’t like it. So we may as well
just sail out with the whales, we’ll go and have a look. And that’s it. About 240 miles
to Yamba, but it depends on what the weather does. It might be more; might be less.
Well, it’s day two of our northerlies, and we can’t even hold south because the wind
is coming from the south-south-east. So I think we’ve got a long way to go before we
can predict the weather. When we looked at the weather when we were making this plan
about three days ago, I was thinking maybe the northerlies would be sort of light by
this stage. And then one day before we were leaving, it looked the northerlies were going
to be easterlies, but as it turned out, the easterlies actually turned into south-south-easterlies.
So yesterday afternoon we actually got east-south-east, so it still hasn’t cracked, hasn’t gone round
into the north just yet. So early this morning we had absolutely no wind whatsoever, and
I sort of expected that, but I was hoping that it would come somewhere close to north.
But nah, we’re still tacking our way down. So if you work in the Bureau of Meteorology,
just throw all those computers away, stop modeling on those things, and get some humans
back in there. It’s just not working. Northerly, yep. Whatever.
Here’s Pascie fresh out of bed. How do you feel? Pascale: Sleepy. Troy: Well, I’m about to go off watch. I might
just go and grab three hours sleep. Pascale: Yeah. I had a good sleep. I guess
the engine running was a bit of white noise. Troy: We got to sail into the night, so that
was something. Pascale: Yeah. Troy: All right. Let us know if there’s any
ships… Pascale: Rogy. Troy: Or anything. Pascale: Rogy. Troy: Keep us close on the wind so we can
clear that headland to our… Pascale: Doesn’t look like we’re going to
clear it. Troy: … to our south-south-west. Pascale: I don’t think we’re going to clear
it. Troy: Unreal. Pascale: So I’ll just… Are you happy for
me to do a tack? Troy: Are you happy to do a tack? Pascale: I think so. It’s not that crazy. Troy: All right. I’m happy for you to do anything
you like. Pascale: You’re just going to go to bed. Troy: Yep. See you. Pascale: Oh no, [inaudible 00:15:01]. Pulling
the wrong rope. Thought I’d turned the autopilot off, too. Obviously not. Troy: It gets easier with practice.
Okay, a quick look at the weather. It’s still… What’s happened, that high pressure system
instead of rolling off shore and the winds following it around, it looks like it’s pushed
a ridge up the coast. And so it’s very, very hard to… Where weather systems interact
with land and sea boundaries it’s often very hard to predict, and tongue in cheek I can
give them a hard time, but I guess being a weather forecaster would be a pretty thankless
job; no one really thinks much about it when you’re right, and they’re cussing you when
you’re wrong, like what I’ve been doing. But in any case it looks like the winds are
set to just keep bashing us through the night. So I could take the option of staying out
all night and doing that, or 18 miles away is the Gold Coast Seaway, so we might just
duck in there. I’ve looked at the tides and we can go in there on a flooding tide, which
is important because any of these entrances into rivers or ports, if you’ve got an ebb
tide, it can stand waves up in the entrance and make things a bit dangerous. I haven’t
been in there before, and we’ll be going in there at nighttime. There is a moon, and there
is good leading lights, but these conditions shouldn’t present any problem for Mirrool.
I’m sure we’ve done worse all around the coast. So you’ve got to stay flexible; that’s the
updated plan. We’ll just head in there, we’ll let two high tides go through, and then we’ll
scoot back out and we’ll keep heading down; and by that time hopefully the high will have
moved off, and those northerlies that we were keeping our fingers crossed for, they’ll actually
arrive. And then we can actually have a comfortable journey like this, rather than just spray
going over the dodger and wearing out the poor old boat. Pascie’s happy about it anyway,
and that’s the important thing. Pascale: As we got closer to our destination,
we were surprised to see plenty of whales hugging the coastline.
He’s got both up. This one got particularly close to Mirrool
and was continuously rolling around on top of the water.
Rolling around. Troy: Having a totally phat time out here.
Don’t come to Queensland if you’re scared of whales. That’s cool, he’s just rolling
over. That’s amazing. Pascale: Thanks for joining us this week.
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Join us next week as we depart the Gold Coast and continue our journey southwards, downwind
sailing to New South Wales. I think the wind has jacked to 30 knots. We’re
fully reefed and we’re still going eight knots downwind, and it was a little bit scary putting
the reefs in.