Flood! Storm! Lightning!

The [Mary] river level may exceed the major flood level from Sunday morning. Further river level rises above the Major flood level are possible.

Queensland Flood Warning Number: 14

HEAVY RAINFALL which may lead to flash flooding is forecast. INTENSE RAINFALL leading to dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding. DAMAGING WIND GUSTS with peak gusts in excess of 90 km/h .

Queensland Severe Weather Warning 1

Mary River … will move to RED ALERT from 2200 hrs

Marine Rescue Hervey Bay

Australian weather is a bit like Australian Fauna. You get the impression it wants to kill you.

Day 1:

On a buoy in Maryborough surrounded by the damage from the floods six weeks ago. The marina owner warned us we should move down river as a minor flood was forecast. By the time we left the warning had been updated to a moderate flood.

A tree heading downstream on the Mary River

Sailed downriver. Following a “local” as we guessed he knew the best route. The local crashed in to a sandbank that was not charted. A second local boat crashed next to him. We went round the bank and turned the corner. We were immediately hit by one of the “damaging wind gusts” and could make no progress against wind and waves. Turned round and anchored.

Day 2:

Rain, rain and more rain

Woke to find trees passing us in the flood water. The warning had been updated to a major flood. Lifted anchor and passed another uncharted sandbank which five local boats had hit the previous day. Navigated very gingerly to the river mouth and then out in to the Great Sandy Strait.

Only three miles from the safety of Fraser Island we were lashed by a storm which drove us backwards. Hemmed in between sandbanks we could only turn back towards the mainland.

The wind meter went crazy with the static charge of an electrical storm. We are pretty sure we did not really have 99 knots of wind. A lightning strike next to the boat destroyed the electronics leaving us with no wind speed or depth meter. It also electrocuted Heidi who was below decks. Luckily she recovered – unlike the electronics.

Against the outflow of the Mary River we could barely make one knot despite the storm from behind. The sea was “crazy” with the boat turning in all directions. We made it back past the river mouth and – guided by the marine rescue – found an anchorage in the Susan River for the night.

Day 3:

The river was running strong all night. The marine rescue and the Queensland government suggested it was not the place to be as the River moved to “Red Alert” so we sailed through the drizzle to hide behind Fraser Island and weather the “strong winds” forecast for the next three days. Luckily we have a handheld depth meter to find the anchor spot.

Sailing! Never boring.

3 thoughts on “Flood! Storm! Lightning!”

  1. Oh my God ! Heidi hope you are ok and what a terrifying experience all round ! Hope you are both safe and the weather has improved . You are such a brave pair indeed and your experiences are amazing to read . Have to say , glad I wasn’t there Xxx

    1. Hello Jill! No worries, I am absolutely okay 🙂 We had talked only ten minutes before, that it is nice that neither of us is frightened about thunderstorms. But when I felt the lightning directly in my body I was a bit shocked.


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