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Old 05-09-2015, 17:35   #1
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Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

Hi,
Having just returned from the South Pacific in my fiberglass sloop COYOTE we are tiwe up in Burnett Heads awaiting the completion of our vessel import process.

We now intend to sail south to Newcastle, NSW. Hopefully via the Great Sandy Strait.

While studying the charts over coffee this morning it looks like it might be a little touch and go in some places.

We draw 1.5 metres. Does anyone have any recent experience taking a boat through there?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dan

https://my.yb.tl/coyote/


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Old 05-09-2015, 17:53   #2
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

OK, disclaimer - I haven't been in the GST for many years but way back then it was considered shallow in places .

At 1.5 metres, you will be find IF you work the tide in the middle. I drew 1.8 and it wasn't difficult. There is a good tidal range and it is well documented.

I know of boats currently doing this passage that draw up to 1.9 metres.

And the bouyage used to be excellent, I presume it still is???

Hopefully others with more current info will post soon
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Old 05-09-2015, 18:18   #3
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

Thanks mate,

Your info has already inspired me a little.

It looks like a really fun, albeit tricky, little passage to do.

I'm hoping to anchor at a few places on the way down and set foot on Fraser Island if I can.

Cheers,

Dan


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Old 05-09-2015, 19:01   #4
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

No problem, provided that you ride the tide making all the way to Boonlye Point (Sheridan Flats) you want to do that anyway to get the benefit of a tidal flow, Just check the tide times and look to get to the flats at high and you will ride the ebb out the other side. It floods to sheridan flats form both the north and south.

Other than that its the usual care required in anchorages etc. But the Sandy straits is magic - just take insect repellant!

Platypus Bay at the north of the island near Wathumba Creek is great. You don't go whale watching there - the whales go people watching.

Getting across the Wide Bay Bar is okay as well, just wait for the right conditions at Pelican Bay - Inskip point and only cross when very good. Its well worth the trip.
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Old 05-09-2015, 20:10   #5
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

We went through there last year drawing 7.5 feet (US) Luck was on our side there was an Ozzie boat going the same way. We fell behind and watched! Very tight in places but beautiful. After the pass, things get even more skinny be careful of the sand bars. The pass was easy IF you follow the others who have been there before. You will notice that there are a fair amount of boats preparing their way through just north of the pass. Follow and all will be good!
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Old 06-09-2015, 02:31   #6
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

Dan, we draw 2.2 m and go through there fairly often. The only bit to worry about is what they call Sheridan Flats. As others have said, go through near the top of a rising tide and you will have enough water, easily. As a general practice, if you pass the beacons around 50 feet off, and then aim at a similar distance off the next one you will ok.

Ann and I don't particularly like the anchorages in the middle areas (Gary's, et al) but Platypus bay and the area around Tin Can Bay are ok. Woody Island offers decent protection in frontal passages, and the Kingfisher Resort, while a poor anchorage, is interesting ashore, and offers some touristy attractions. Yankee Jack creek is not too bad, either. An interesting area...

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Old 06-09-2015, 04:19   #7
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

Hi Dan,
we went through the area in July/August heading north. No dramas at all. As per all normal navigation check your charts and chart plotter and ensure you read the latest notice to mariners (can be located on the net) and follow the navigations marks.
Check with the Marine Rescue at Tin Can Bay for the lastest co-ordinates for the Wide Bay Bar and ensure you cross on a rising tide and you should have few issues. Its a great piece of water, in fact we have decided to stay there over summer and explore a bit more.
Garys anchorage can be a bit shallow but at 1.5 metre draught you should have not worries at all. Many yachts go through drawing 1.8 plus metres with nil issues.


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Old 06-09-2015, 10:20   #8
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

Ah, memories of the Great Sandy Strait. I've been through it twice, though the most recent was in 2007. The first time, I met an Aussie named Pete on Tern. Great guy who took me by the hand and led me through with tips and advice. I draw 1.7 and had no issues, making sure to hit the mid-point at high tide, thereby getting favorable current both ways, and high water at the low spots in the middle. Anchored at Kingfisher without issues, and went ashore for a visit. Great birding. At the southern end, anchored off Inskip and waited for a good weather/tide window to pass the Wide Bay Bar. Don't take this lightly, as errors in navigation, bad visibility, etc., can lead to disaster.
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Old 06-09-2015, 15:14   #9
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

I am moored in the Burnett R. When going to Fraser in my Moody 425 (1.8m draft) I tend to go to Rooney Pt first then anchor off Wathumba Ck and go ashore in the tender. From there head down into the straight. You need to pick and work the tides but you will get through. Beacon to Beacon is a good guide - they should have a copy at the chandlery near the quarantine berth. Good luck with customs and quarantine. I hear Bundaberg has a reputation for the way they handle visiting yachts.

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Old 06-09-2015, 15:18   #10
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

Hi Dan
I lived in the area and have sailed (without motor) my then 34 foot yacht with a 5 foot draft, heading southward, without touching bottom. I love Garys anchorage as it is only boaties that can get there. Try walking the south track to the creek you can wash in the teatree brown fresh water. turn right after the bridge, bush bash about 20 meters, the track has got overgrown as this little gem of a spot was used by the loggers long ago, and the recent visitors have forgotten about this.
One serious consideration is there is little shelter from northerlies. Garys is good and sometimes I have gone into the Mary River at Riverheads to escape the bad weather, it can get some heavy but short storms through there. So watch the weather and the coast guard are always very helpful. So go with the tides and if you do go aground, it is only sand, make a cuppa, and wait the the tide.
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Old 06-09-2015, 16:12   #11
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

Hi,
A great part of the world. Majic.
It's all about timing Sheridan Flats for high tide.
So you can find a good anchorage at Kingfisher while you wait the tide.
If time permits go ashore for a tour.
If you stop at Garry's take plenty of Mozzie repellant.

If you are rushing thru then you'll find a good anchorage at Inskip otherwise Tin Can Bay has a Marina or if you like a very safe anchorage.

Mooloolaba is another good must stop.

You can only enjoy this.

Cheers Woody
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Old 06-09-2015, 16:43   #12
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Factor View Post
No problem, provided that you ride the tide making all the way to Boonlye Point (Sheridan Flats) you want to do that anyway to get the benefit of a tidal flow, Just check the tide times and look to get to the flats at high and you will ride the ebb out the other side. It floods to sheridan flats form both the north and south.

Other than that its the usual care required in anchorages etc. But the Sandy straits is magic - just take insect repellant!

Platypus Bay at the north of the island near Wathumba Creek is great. You don't go whale watching there - the whales go people watching.

Getting across the Wide Bay Bar is okay as well, just wait for the right conditions at Pelican Bay - Inskip point and only cross when very good. Its well worth the trip.
We've been through the GSS many times including in the past month, albeit with only 1.2m draft, but the Captain's also done it in a previous life (delivering vessels) with up to 1.9m.

All the above is spot on. The only modification might be to consider Rooney Point instead of (or in addition to Wathumba Creek) along Platypus Bay. Rooney's a nice sail from Bundaberg and just that little bit further out that it usually offers a bit more seclusion; that, plus what our experience suggests without exception is an amazing array of whale displays, even all around your vessel (listening to the whale songs through the hull at night!) on anchor.

At the risk of stating the obvious, you should note the tide works both directions in the GSS. It floods from both the top and bottom of the Strait...and then ebbs going back both ways of course. So if you time your southbound passage to reach Boonlye Point (Sheridan Flats) at high tide, you will then enjoy both plenty of water below as well as the tide pushing you along in both directions!

One final tip is to not even consider doing Wide Bay Bar at night. As others noted, it is certainly passable, but it also earns its reputation as a casualty-maker and thus deserves real respect. Speak to Coast Guard Tin Can Bay to ensure you have the latest waypoints -- They changed in August this year -- and then use both the flood tide and as calm a weather as your voyage plans allow (especially avoiding the end of a long sou'east set) and you will have no problems.

Leaving aside the bitey insects (of which there are plenty, unfortunately) the whole area is really beautiful...plenty of fish and crabs and scenery.
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Old 06-09-2015, 22:27   #13
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

In a light northerly it's pretty well an all day sail from Burnett Heads, across the bay and down into the Straits so I sometimes anchor just to the S of the S8 marker to the south of the Moon Point Bank for the night. There is an anchorage to the south of Big Woody Island if you make it that far. You can anchor any place along the shore of Fraser Island S of Kingfisher Resort but it shoals up pretty fast if you are creeping up onto the shore in the dark.

The three shallowest spots are about 1.5m at chart datum so you would probably pass through the Straits on most but the very lowest tides at low tide without touching. The shallowest spots passing south are just after the red S24 red marker at Sheridan Flats and just before the S33 green marker towards the bottom of Stewart Island.

There is a fresh water stream flowing into Yankee Jacks Creek but you need high tide to get up to it, I often go up there to take a bath and it is an interesting trip winding up the lower creek through the mangroves.

The anchorage off the mouth of Snapper Creek at Tin Can Bay is pretty good in most weathers but is getting a little crowded, there is a public jetty about a half mile inside the mouth where you can tie up your dingy but it is a couple of kilometres from there to the shopping centre. You can catch a bus into Gympie but there is only one in the morning and return in the afternoon.

If you want to do a big resupply or go down to Brisbane on the train Maryborough is very convenient as the town centre is only a short walk from the marina and their rates are fairly moderate.
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Old 07-09-2015, 00:52   #14
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

G'day

On you way south drop in Boat Cub Marina I can show tracks I have used between Tin Can Bay and Hervey Bay. I have been sailing many times on low tides and never had problems. I live at B7 at Marina.

Cheers
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Old 07-09-2015, 04:30   #15
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Re: Calling all Queensland sailors, Fraser Island info needed.

I camped on the west coast of Fraser some years ago. Magic spot.

I got smashed by the mozzies, sand flies or whatever they were. Tea tree oil to stop the itch was a lifesaver. When I ran out I went to a super market at 10pm and was putting the stuff on my legs in the shop, couldn't even wait till I got to the counter lol.
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