Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Keppel Bay marina

Well, who would have thought this sailing bit could be so difficult. After out stopover in Bundaberg, we were back on the high seas and a lovely sail up to Pancake Creek. Anchored fairly close to the mouth of the creek as those sand bars we could see made us very nervous and didn't want to get any closer than necessary. A pleasant evening followed by a good night's rest could almost make you forget the prop shaft issues. A leisurely day spent relaxing and decided to head off for a night sail up to Great Keppel Island. The stars and moon were out with a gentle breeze, it looked good. That was until the lightning started up in the distance to the north. A quick check of the BOM showed a large storm cell ahead, but we hoped it would pass out to sea before we got there. We made our way along the line of container ships anchored off Gladstone, some giving off more light than the moon itself and headed closer to the storm. A lot of sheet lightning around us then a couple of massive streaks that turned night into day, followed by almighty crashes of thunder. Some squalls of rain and it was all over - thank goodness.
Daylight saw us approaching the islands off  Yeppoon and Great Keppel came into view. We finally anchored at Long Beach on the southern side of the island with the place to ourselves. Ashore for a walk along the beach and a swim in lovely clear water. Gentle breeze from the north made it a lovely sheltered spot. We opted to stay put for the night and would go across to the other side of the island when the expected southerly arrived. That happened around 3.00am so we up anchored and started to make our way around. After about 15mins, we realised our oil pressure was dropping so cut the engine, hoisted the sail and went to investigate. Level was low so we topped up and continued to motor, keeping a careful eye on the gauge. 45mins later just as we were arriving at the north side of the island, the pressure dropped again. This time as Pete was pouring oil in the top, it was gushing out the bottom. This is not good. Thankfully it was now daylight and we raised sails again and we quickly anchored to investigate further. After bending and twisting to get a hand under the sump, Pete could feel a hole. This meant there was no oil in the engine and no engine to motor anywhere. Our plans then had to change, to get to a marina ASAP and get it fixed. After sailing across to Keppel Bay marina (about 7 NMR), we met the Coast Guard who kindly towed up in through the leads and onto
a safe mooring.
The next step was to get the sump repaired/replaced but firstly off from the bottom of a 650kg engine for a good look. That was a feat in itself. There were lots of phone calls and asking of advise from various friends and family of what to do, and how to go about it. 
Next day saw our son arrive from Brisbane with blocks and chain, slings, shackles, support beams, all that was necessary to get the job done. I had to leave the boat and do some grocery shopping - I couldn't bear to watch as Pete and Chris hoisted the 650kgs to a level high enough (about 18 inches in the air) All safely lifted, the sump taken off and who would have thought a hole so small (in my female opinion) could cause so much trouble. New gasket ordered and on its way from Brisbane. Sump being sandblasted, welded, painted and promised back to us as good as new with 48 hours. Things suddenly don't seem so bad.
Next instalment due shortly.

1 comment:

  1. Bloody hell! Did you guys run over a chinaman or something? I was wondering why your AIS trace had you at Great Keppel for so long but as long as you weren't enjoying yourselves, it's OK. Poor buggers.