Day 3, Year 3: Squally Day on the Australian Coast
Date: Monday, May 12, 2008
Weather: Overcast and Periods of Rain Squalls; Wind SE 15-20
Water Temperature: 71 degrees F (up 2 degrees from Bundaberg)
Latitude: 22 degrees 26.619 minutes S
Longitude: 150 degrees 44.083 minutes E
Location: Pearl Bay, Queensland, Australia

Windbird is at anchor tonight in a beautiful little bay on the east coast of Australia. We were supposed to be doing an overnight passage to the Percy Isles, but today’s challenging weather changed our minds. We could tell before getting out of bed this morning that it was a cloudy day. When the skies are clear, the sunshine streams through the boat, but this morning there were no rays of sunshine. But yesterday early morning was cloudy as well, so we pulled up anchor in hopes of clearing skies
and we were on our way by 8 AM. By 10 o’clock we had our first rain squall. The black clouds were looming in front of us and then we started getting the fluky winds that accompany a squall. Once again the winds were behind us. We were sailing with both headsail and mainsail out to port and when the winds exceeded 25 knots, we reefed the headsail. We had no sooner done this when the winds settled, the rain stopped, and we had to pull out the headsail once again. This pattern continued throughout
the day. We went through one sail configuration after another and finally in mid-afternoon, we decided that rather than fight this through the night we would pull into an anchorage and continue tomorrow. We had read that Pearl Bay is the prettiest coastal anchorage on the east coast of Australia, so we decided to make that our destination. We are rolling a bit, but not bad, and it is pretty little bay. At the end of the day, we are once again so thankful that we have our cockpit enclosure. When
we pulled into the anchorage we were snug and dry and warm at the end of a very wet and yucky day.

This is our third day of our third season of world cruising, but we can tell already that it is going to be a very different year. Coastal sailing requires constant attention. When we were on long passages or sailing between islands in the South Pacific, we could read and relax while sailing. We sometimes had stormy weather but rarely had ship traffic. For the most part the sailing was easy. Since leaving Bundaberg three days ago, that has changed. There are ships and fishing boats out here
that we must watch out for and certainly the sailing is challenging. But we have seen dolphins and turtles, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and this morning the prettiest little yellow moth was in our cockpit. Who knows what surprises we will have tomorrow?

080512 Day 3 Great Keppel to Pearl