Akuna Bay Cruising Club

Latitude Dancer & Dionysus head north, VERY north !!

Tuesday 13 June, 2006

Whitsundays here we come..........

The adventure started with dinner in the Akuna Café on Friday May 12th, where we enjoyed an excellent meal with a lot of laughs. Spirits were high as the Keith and Jenny, Scott and Kim, Barry and Marcia joined David and Harry, with Brian along as support crew.

At precisely (about) 8.30am, on Saturday 13th "Latitude Dancer" with Keith, Barry and Scott aboard, fired up and headed out of the mist and the comfort zone of Akuna Bay berth D25, to be joined by David and Harry aboard "Dionysus" at the fuel wharf. Before reaching Cottage Point, it was determined that the auto-pilot on 'Latitude Dancer' was not functioning at all, what great start. Aside from this it was a comfortable run to the heads, before commencing our northward journey, first stop Port Stephens. A fairly easy run, saw us reach d'Abora Marina at Port Stephens at about 1.30pm. Attempts to fix the auto-pilot were unsuccessful, as the computer thingy was stuffed, meaning manual steering to the Gold Coast. With three 'competent seamen' on board, this wasn't seen as a problem. After topping up with fuel (at $1.86 litre) we whiled away the afternoon over a quiet little drink or two before enjoying a seafood dinner at the Marina. So far, so good.

6.15am on Sunday, saw us heading out to sea once again, this time, destination Coffs Harbour, a run of approximately 170 nautical miles. With almost perfect conditions, we berthed at the fuel wharf in Coffs at 2.15pm, damn good run. Again we topped up fuel, this time at $1.62 litre (plus $55 each boat for 'out of hours' call-out). A casual dinner at the Coffs Harbour Yacht and an early night.

Waking at 5.30am on Monday, with conditions a little uncomfortable, had Barry suggesting that if he was at Akuna Bay, he would have opted to spend the day in the marina. However, the consensus was to continue to Southport, a further 160 nautical miles north.

Whilst a little bumpy, we managed to maintain a good cruise pace of about 20-22 knots for the first few hours, but as the weather slowly deteriorated 'Latitude Dancer' lowered her cruise speed in the interest of comfort. 'Dionysus', with David and Harry on board had no trouble handling the conditions, her additional 12 feet of length and the comfortable inside driving position, on luxury leather pilot seats, ensured their comfort (bastards!).

As we approached Byron Bay, conditions worsened further, with probably 2 to 3 metre seas, with the odd 4 metre throw in, just to keep us on our toes. To make matters a little more interesting, the wind and sea was off the starboard quarter, making steering very difficult. We slowed to about 10 knots on several occasions in the bigger seas, despite this, we still had a few very uncomfortable broaches, which were a little unnerving, to say the least.

After a few hours of this it was comforting to see the Gold Coast skyline on the horizon, some 30 miles distant, which still seemingly took forever to reach. With spirits undaunted, though a little uncomfortable, we entered the Gold Coast Seaway at about 3.30pm. From there it was a comfortable cruise in sheltered waters to a very comfortable berth at the Southport Yacht club. At which time Barry and Scott promptly kissed the solid concrete walkway of the marina.

A drink or two, a laugh or three and a story or four were shared over another few drinks and a nice dinner at the Yacht Club. Barry and Scott's adventure was over as they had flights booked for their return to Sydney the next day.

Keith stayed onboard awaiting Jenny's arrival (by plane), and then a couple of days were spent at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show, with a few dinners and boutique visits thrown in, before continuing on towards the Whitsundays on Tuesday May 23rd.

Stay tuned..................