Having crossed the Wide Bay Bar (and giving my muscles time to recover from the battering) we set off north through the Great Sandy Strait between Australia and Fraser Island (K’Gari in the local language). It is full moon at the moment so we have tides of four meters and currents of two knots or more so sailing takes a little planning.
As the earth turns below the moon (and the sun) it causes the oceans to be deformed and the result are tides. Often a sand bar is just under water or even showing but six hours later it can have four meters of water covering it. Obviously the water doesn’t just appear and disappear – it has to flow to the sandbank and away again. This causes tidal currents which flow six hours one way and then turn to flow back. We can use these tides and currents to cross shallow areas and gain speed when running with the tide. It takes some planning but it is fun.
Off the main channel there is a bend called Garry’s anchorage. We used the current to head north and slipped past the sand bar near high tide. Out in the Pacific another storm was raging but we were sheltered behind the huge bulk of Fraser Island. We took the dinghy to shore for a walk through the rainforest to Garry’s Lake. Our first dingo was spotted on the beach and I nearly stood on a long green and brown snake who was hiding in the grass. Luckily there were no crocodiles to be seen but the warning signs have put us off swimming.
The north end of the anchorage was charted with 0.4 meters so we took the dinghy and a bamboo pole to check the reality. It was good that we did as one of the lateral buoys was wrong and would have guided us on to the sand. Armed with our “local knowledge” we crossed the bar at high tide with sixty centimeters to spare below Artemis and turned once again North.