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29 SEPTEMBER TO 4 OCTOBER. Finally the weather improved so we gratefully departed the marina. Plan A was to head north to Yellow Patch, but the forecast for the next few days had other ideas so we returned to Pancake Creek.


On the way we deployed the heavy trolling line. Shortly after, it went limp. On retrieval we were amazed to see that the 120lb line had been sliced through above the wire trace as if by a pair of shears. We replaced the tackle and fitted a spoon lure, which took a good hit but nothing was hooked.


The forecast thunderstorms and 20-30kts arrived soon after we were settled. The wind howled for the next four days, threatening to trap us on board. Not to be intimidated, I blew up the inflatable canoe to go paddling around the estuary. Getting into the canoe off the back of the pitching boat, without falling in, was the first challenge. Getting back to Masala afterwards was a bigger challenge. Leanne sat in the cockpit and kept an eye on me, then rushed to grab the securing rope when I went screaming past, driven by wind and tide.

It took a while to get the pole set up and the sails organised. During this time our competition almost caught up. They were using the non-pole alternative technique of gybing (zig-zagging) downwind to keep the wind in the sails. It didnít work Ė Masala accelerated away until they were a white dot in the distance.


We stayed in the marina for 9 days. It blew like the clappers and threw down raining for most of the time. However, we did our boat chores and had some good walks around the town.

Above: Pancake Creek anchorage during an evening letup in the wind


Above: bulk coal loading terminal, Gladstone Harbour