Day 1: It was probably a good thing that Sunday turned out to be a false start due to constant and miserable rain as this gave Shep and I a little more time to recover from the trip up and make final preparations. It also gave us more time to get to know Rapala Street Team member Rhett Thorne and his parents Les and Sheila, who were kind enough to put us up for 2 nights and fed us like kings the entire time. Weather cleared up Monday as predicted and by now I was itching to get out there, despite ominous predictions scheduled for the following day. I was pretty optimistic about it all as Les, Rhett and Shep saw me off as I launched from the marina at Yeppoon at around 7:45, right around the turn of tide (to out-going). At first conditions were pretty good, with moderate seas and southerly winds varying from around 5 - 8 knots.
An hour or so into it conditions gradually started getting rougher, with winds licking up a little and seas picking up a lot. Swell was rolling in from the south east, passing under the boat at an angle, often throwing it off course on larger waves. Due to the tight precession of waves (approx 5 second intervals) constant forward momentum was difficult to maintain. The boat would lurch forwards as waves picked up the stern and unless I surfed the wave for some distance (in which case fin cavitation would start at around 13kmph bursts and cause difficulty in steering), the boat would roll back off the wave as it passed underneath and lowing dramatically until the next wave came along and picked it up to rinse and repeat. When the bow wasn't burying I was often recovering position and due to this I failed to make the estimated 60km crossing to reach my ideal landing point (A1) for day1. Instead I managed to cover around 44km before the tide turned and I was forced to make for an emergency landing at my designated 'plan C' landing point, which I'd marked as 'C1' in my GPS systems. 'C' for plan C, '1' for day 1. C1 also goes by the name of Five Rocks on the Capricorn Coast. 22°47.868 - 150°48.434
I used Google Earth to source this waypoint and while it never really looked all that accommodating via satellite it turned out to be worse than I expected. Not only was the surf landing more like what a surfer (rather than a kayaker) would hope for - resulting in a broken rudder pin on landing - there was pretty much no ideal position to pitch a tent. At first it looked very much like I might have to lay out the emergency bivy and sleep on the Adventure Island's tramp on the very first night! It was a little daunting at first as I observed evidence of how high the tides had reached previously, noting that at best I had a couple of metres of dry sand to work with at high tides. Again, there was me being overly optimistic as I found the flatest patch of sand I could banked right up against the steep hills and pitched my tent. Wind was gusting hard at the time, sandblasting me and all my gear as I worked. After arranging the tightest camping area I've worked with in memory, I then sat back on the tramp and treated myself to a red wine before cooking up dinner (pre-dehydrated spaghetti Bolognese). As I watched the sun go down behind me I also kept a watchful eye on the ocean in front of me, paying special attention to the tide as it rolled in. It came up within about 4 metres of the tent, which is about where I'd guessed. Confident it was safe to call it a night I crawled into the tent and crashed, dreaming of better weather tomorrow.