Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat
It would be nice if the BOM forecasts were reliable. Lately they've been far from it.
True, they seem to have become very conservative since the disastrous Sydney/Hobart race
One of the problems is that the forecasts tend to be for fairly long stretches of coastline so local effects can have a large effect on wind
and wave conditions. The Shoalwater Bay area is a place where you can experience strong winds when the forecasts predict light, maybe something to do with a large area of comparatively shallow water
I have found them to be pretty good regarding onset times and wind
directions which I find the more important aspects since you really should not go out for anything but short hops if you feel that either you or the boat are not sea worthy for bad weather.
Life gets a lot easier once you get north of the Tweed, and particularly once you cross over the Wide Bay Bar. There are a lot of anchorages
to cringe in and about the longest hop without an anchorage is the one between Burnett Heads and Pancake Creek, which is a fairly long days run.
The Shoalwater Bay area is also the telephone/internet comms black spot, you can expect to lose bars not far north of Keppel Bay and not get them back until about Prudhoe Island. However you will pretty well always have VHF
comms with the various volunteer rescue
folks even through this stretch.
Life does tend to become difficult comms wise between Cooktown and Darwin and hopeless any further west. Your phone may work at Portland
Roads, Will work at Seisia, Weipa and Gove and occasionally near some of the remote
aboriginal communities. Internet
is generally slow and only at the big towns. This is where your HF comes into it's own for weather reports.
I have considered a sat phone a number of times and have friends who were keen on them for a short time after purchase
, however they tended to go quiet on them fairly quickly and they appear to be an expensive option.
In the long term I think it best to get folks to understand that there will be times when you are out of comms areas and consequently they should not worry. It's actually nice to have short holidays from ubiquitous comms, seeing whose there when you get them back is a bit like opening presents.