‘Winter is coming‘ was going to be the title of this blog, but I decided it was a bit too cliched! But we continue to head north, seeking warmer weather.
This post is about our journey from Bundaberg to Gladstone, with three nights at Pancake Creek and is highlighted by this image.
As always, I seem to have a lot to say/write, so use the links below if you want to skip to specific content.
We left Bundaberg on Wednesday, 5 May after staying for six nights and filling up with diesel. Because we stayed at the marina, we received an 11c/litre discount and when you’re buying 1000 litres, that’s a bit of a savings! While we were in Bundaberg, Robert also repaired the cable that was damaged when we came across the bay from Rooney Point. I mentioned this incident in my last blog, Hervey Bay to Bundaberg, via Rooney Point.
Our plan was to go from Bundaberg to Seventeen Seventy and stay in Bustard Bay overnight bay for the night. This would have been approximately 51 NM (6.5 hours motoring). Seventeen Seventy is historic as the second landing site of James Cook and the crew of the Endeavour in May 1770, and the area is rich in wildlife and natural beauty and offers scenic vistas in every direction.
However, while the weather was perfect when we left Bundaberg, as we approached Seventeen Seventy, the waves/swell would have made it rather uncomfortable. This is more evident in the following videos.
So we made the decision to continue directly to Pancake Creek, another 14 NM (just under 2 hours motoring) and stay there for three nights, instead of the two as originally planned. It was a very good decision as there were only a few boats in the creek and a couple of available mooring buoys for us to pick up.
The photos above are a small selection, so I decided to create the slideshow below of photos I took during our cruise from Bundaberg to Pancake Creek.
Quoting from Cruising the Coral Coast by Alan Lucas…
“With its good access and fully protected inner anchorage it is popular with sailing bushwalkers, Bustard Head light being a favourite target. Previously a radio dead zone, mobile phone reception in the creek is good and repeater channel 82 is loud and clear for Rocky Met forecasts.”
Pancake Creek provided us with some absolutely amazing sunsets, and while I’ve used the phrase before, I’ll say it again…the photos didn’t do it justice. We also met up with and enjoyed sundowners with some other cruisers.
Bustard Head Light
While we were in Pancake Creek, we took the tender ashore so we could walk to Bustard Head Light. Again quoting Alan Lucas…
“After two Bundaberg youths mindlessly smashed the two ex-light keepers’ houses, ex-keeper and yachty Stuart Buchanan, restored them with the help of his wife Shirley and their many friends who, despite the endless bureaucratic interference, managed to succeed magnificently.”
This is evident in the photo below and I’m so glad we made the effort to visit. When we arrived, a tour group from Agnes Waters had just started and due to COVID, we weren’t able to join their group. For some reason, I thought we’d have an ice-cream while we waited. But note, all provisions are brought to the area via the LARC, a Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo vessel, that also provides tours from Agnes Waters across creeks to Bustard Head Light. There’s no refrigeration on the LARC, so there’s no ice-cream to purchase! If you want to see what the LARC looks like, click LARC Tours.
I think one of the volunteers, who lives onsite for a month at a time, saw my disappointed expression and invited us into the cottage and made us a cup of tea while we waited. She and her husband were an interesting couple and they also volunteer for Queensland Museum fossil digs, which are usually held in August/September, with a focus on the fossils of the Winton area. The digs are supervised by qualified palaeontologists and are attended by up to 12 enthusiastic volunteers for about a week.
Then her husband gave us a guided tour of the museum and told us some of the history of Bustard Head as well as the efforts to restore it. We also saw inside the lighthouse, which afforded fantastic views across Pancake and Mary Lund Creeks, and we visited the graveyard. All in all, worth the 5km walk there and back. And not to mention dodging hundreds of butterflies along the route.
Pancake Creek to Gladstone
We left Pancake Creek on Saturday, 8 May following our same route out and it didn’t take long until we approached the Gladstone Port area. Before entering, we had to contact Gladstone Port Control, on VHF 13, to advise them we were coming into the port. It’s a $1500 fine if you don’t do this! Then it seemed to take ages travelling to Gladstone Marina. Even though it’s not a long distance, only about 22 NM from Pancake Creek to the marina, it took us about 5 hours. But the tides run strong in that area and we were going against the tide most of the way so this slowed us up.
We agreed that Gladstone Marina has excellent facilities, including an air-conditioned lounge area, and a courtesy bus that takes you to a couple of shopping centres daily.
Here’s a slideshow of photos I took during our cruise from Pancake Creek to Gladstone.
As we heading into Gladstone, we seemed to be accompanied by lots of butterflies, which I captured in a short video.
Gladstone is known for coal mining. In fact, the Port of Gladstone is Queensland’s largest multi-commodity port and the fifth-largest multi-commodity port in Australia. It is the world’s fourth-largest coal-exporting terminal.
The Gladstone Marina is in a dredged basin off Auckland Creek. The marina is set in lovely parklands with walking tracks and near the Central Queensland University Campus. The bridge over Auckland Creek separates this area from the east shores of Gladstone.
We took a few walks while we were there and were amazed to see the large population of bats at one end of the parkland. I must admit, I didn’t feel so comfortable realising they were flying just above us!
However, one evening we were treated to see them flying out, literally thousands of bats. It was spectacular.
Where to next?
We’re off to Keppel Bay!