Monday, July 07, 2008

 

Cairns QLD to Darwin NT

2 - 7 July 2008 Darwin
Washed the boat down, scrubbed the cork and tidied up. Ruth and Brian arrived and then we re fueled (jerry can run-4 trips) and re-provisioned for 8 weeks. Friday BBQ ashore at the Sailing Club to say good bye to all those leaving to Kupang as we are heading to the Kimberly's. Another lovely evening. Mindel Beach markets and a dinner cruise aboard the lovely old sailing ship "Cape Diem". Water maker membrane checked and seals done, oil change done for generator and motor. Rust chasing and white paint to cover spots done. We are ready to head off hopefully Monday.

1 July 2008
Independence Day Clebrations-Darwin
Watched fireworks at Mindle Beach from the boat. Great night, people are allowed to buy and set off their own crackers and firewoprks so the night was filled with fireworks all night and the sound of popping and banging.

28-29 June 2008
Alcaro Bay to Fannie Bay, DARWIN 95nm 17 hours
Mary Eliza and we decided to head off that evening as we had to get around Cape Don four and half hours before high tide to take advantage of the currents. Black balck night we leaft at 8pm rather than the 9pm we had planned (just because we were just sitting and waiting and had nothing to do) and off course no wind (Wind all the trip was SE 0-10kn). There were lots of boats out most in front of us and we could see their nav lights sprkling in the night sky ahead of us. Quite a few large boats as well-thank goodness for AIS showing us were they were and in which direction they were heading. We did not follow channel in but went over shaols and eventually the north Channel finally anchoring in Fannie Bay just outside the Darwin Sailing Club but quite a way off due to tides. It is a long dingy ride in. Had a beer and dinner ashore to celebrate arriving. I had champagne to celebrate arriving home.


28 June 2008
Black Point-Port Essington to Alcaro Bay, Cape Hothham 28nm 5.30hours
Motored out of bay, winds gusting above 23 knots when we turned the corner. We put up genoa until the wind dropped to 15 knots then up came the asymetric. Just before Alcaro Bay the pulley on the davits broke and the dingy fell down (only the back end of the dingy) and hit the side of the boat, yes we chipped the paint but did not lose anything out of the digy or damage the dingy. Paul fixed it enroute. The wind then dropped to 3-5 knts so all sails came down and we motored into Alcaro Bay, just before the bay the winds altered almost 180 degrees in direction. Beautiful bay, white sand, blue blue water, green trees and red hills. The Cape Don lighthouse stands majestically on the point and we saw a very large croc here just floating by in the water eyeing us off.

27 June 2006
Port Bremer to Black Point, Port Essington 17.5nm 3 hours
Asymetric sail up, good pleasant sail with winds SE15-20kn. Passed reef off Smith's Point and rounded into Port Essington past Black Point (able to see why so named-the rocks are jet black). We anchored deep into the bay, it is shallow but the tides were minimal so will be fine for the time we are here. We went ashore with Mary-Eliza and walked to the monument at Smith's Point and slipped into the camp and had a lovely refreshing shower as well. Returning we walked on the beach and found large shells washed up on the shore.

26 June 2008
Cape Cockburn to Port Bremer, Danger Point 42.6nm 8.45hours
Motor sailed winds very light, seas behind and quite a pleasant sail. The wind came about 8am. Rounded South Crocker Island (Bowen Strait) the tide against up slowing us down so on came the motor. Just before Palm Bay we put up the asymetric sail as wind reduced to 10-15kn. Can see why called Danger Point, lots of reef about. We are 120mile away in a straight line or 176 via sea.

25 June 2008
Mullet Bay to Cape Cockburn 36.7nm 6.30 hours
Rocky rolly trip, winds average SE10-20kn. Paul caught a tuna en route and we saw a very large turtle floating by taking advantage of the current. We tucked into a lovely bay and everyone (Pure Chance and Mary-Eliza) came for tempura battered fish and a game of Mexican Train (dominoes).

24 June 2008
Mullet Bay
Rest day, birthday started at 2pm with a shooter and a game of Mexican Train Dominoes and a lovely steak dinner. Ate early as Solan and Pelikaan arrived and we all caught up with news and drinks-very boozy night and a lot of fun.

23 June 2008
Manigrida to Mullet Bay, North Goulburn Island 64.2nm 11 hours
We decided to attend glamorous Jaqueline's birthday so diverted from our plan to head to Guion Bay and instead have dinner aboard Mary-Eliza. It was a long rocky rolly trip with the wind behind, we gull winged the sails (genoa out to one side and the main to the other side)-we motor sailed to keep speed up. Arrived at this flat island which is very barren and dry. The beach is long and beautiful white sand. There is a hut here with an antenna.

22 June 2008
Maningrida
Rest day today, buggered after long unexpected trip yesterday. No permits needed to go ashore (have been abolished) so are taking the others ashore to explore. There is a funeral on today so we have been asked not to cross taped off areas. Will be good to go for a long walk and explore this township.

21 June 2008
Bay south of Jigaimara Point, Elcho Island to Manigrida, Liverpool River 86mn 15 hours
Sailed good speed winds 20-25 knots. Planned to anchor just after Cape Stewart in Baucaut Bay but too shallow and the fetch was quite bad. Followed bay around but was all too shallow-we touched bottom a few times and no protection so decided to head to Liverpool River as winds predicted 25-30 knots. Arrived late 10pm, waited for Pure Chance to catch up, and the Mary Eliza and us all went in and anchored near townsite. We are well protected here.

20 June 2008
Refuge Bay to bay south of Jigaimara Point, Elcho Island 35.2 nm 5.30 hrs
Sails up, wind 20-30 knots gusting, reefed genoa in and had a good sail, maximum speed 7.8 and average speed 6.6 knots. Aboriginal settlement ashore. Anchored close to shore.

19 June 2008
Jensen Bay to Refuge Bay-Elcho Island 67.6 nm 11 hours
Full moon all sails up, left at 5.30 in the morning. Good winds SE 15-20knots and seas 1 mtr, a bit uncomfortable (I felt a little green). Good sail Average spped 6.1 knts and max 8.3 knots. We anchored in bay with Mary Eliza, Pure Chance, Launans, and Scrimshaw. Overcast and rainy. Paul caught a tuna on way up, 10 aboard for dinner tonight.

18 June 2008
Guluwuru Island t0 Jensen Bay-Marchinbar Islan 27 nm 5 hours
Sailed occassionally motor sailing when the wind dropped. Seas flat and we had a lovely trip anchoring in a lovely secluded bay with white sand, and green blue water. Explored Jensen Island and the next bay in the dingy.

17 June 2008
Wigram Island-Gugari Rip (The hole in the Wall) to unnamed Bay Guluwuru Island 39 nm 4 hours
Motor sailed with mizzen and genoa, light winds so we had the motor on in order to maintain 6 knots inorder to get the correct tide going through the hole in the wall. We had five yachts in front of us and we were going to be the last through. It was interesting watching all the boats one by one disappearing into a rock wall. Our turn we had a sharp turn and then we were in a small channel inbetween the islands, the tide had increased and we sped up to 10.1 at one stage (we had the motor on idle incase something happened and all sails down). Popping out the other side the winds were great for a brisk sail up the coast and we pulled in anchored alone in a small un named bay. With blue water, white sand we took the dingy ashore and went for a long walk. There were three huge crocodile tracks going up the beach (but did not see one). Whilst upon the shore the Australian Customs Helicopter hovered over our yacht and buzzed us, and then seeing us onshore they headed north. On the horizon like clockwork there were large dark rain clouds on the horizon and light rains rinsing the deck down.

16 June 2008
Elizabeth Bay to Wigram Island13 nm 3 hours
All other boats left early, Paul waited for tide and current. Put the genoa up and enjoyed a lovely sail. Rain storm clouds on the horizon anchoring before it came in delightful bay with white sand and fringing reef. We went for a long walk on the beach. Came and knocked on power yacht Jesse (Western Australian's from Geraldton) and drank a few aboard before heading back to our boat.

15 June 2008
Gove to Elizabeth Bay 26 nm 4 hours
Left on rising tide to enable us to get the best ride on tide and current through the channel. We had a rain squall which passed without incidence, we did reef the gonoa in the wind only getting as high as 22 knots. We passed Cape Wilberforce rounding Point William inside the island (which the guide says is uncharted) Paul found it very deep and anchored in a lovely protected bay with yellow sandy beach. There is a large pearl lease here and we viewed them working on the barges during the day. Paul caught a huge tuna on the way which Solan smoked and we (all five boats) came aboard Solan and shared dinner.


14 June 2008
Gove
Went to art display -Galupa Art Group today. It is rainy and overcast. Don picked us up at the Sailing Club beach and took us around in his tender. This community is just on the outskirts of the refinery and is a small community which has an open day every six months. Shown were paintings, digeridoo's, spear making and weaving. Very interesting and the group was open and were interesting to talk to and engage with.

Returning late morning to find Paul working on securing items in the workroom and the finishing up on paperwork. We are leaving tomorrow.

13 June 2008
Gove
Danielle's birthday, rang her and the girls. All are fine and doing well. We went to Gove townsite, the locals pick people up of the side of the road and will take you to town so we hitched a lift in. Town a typical mining town very clean and had woolworth's and a variety of serviced and shops. I got a few supplies. We called into the likbrary and they had second hand book so of course I collected a few (Paul carried them and they were heavy-more ballast for the boat). We met other yachties in town and it was a real social time. Mary Eliza got a liquor permit (free) as one cannot purchase liquor with out one here.

Got a lift back to the Yacht club and had happy hour up at the Club and dinner (a gigantic hamburger-what a treat a change from boat food). Lots of indigenous people here. Must have permit to enter thier land.

10 June 2008 - 12 June 2008
Seisia QLD to Gove Northern Territory -Gulf of Carpentaria 354.4 nm 56 hours and 45 minutes (3 days and two nights)
Pulling anchor we left Seisia in darkenss at 5.30am (no moon) following our track we left and headed to Gove. We put up main sail, mizzen and asymetric after we passed over the shoals just out of Seisia/ The first night it blew up to 30+ knots and the seas were up to 4 metres making it a bit uncomfortable and us feeling very green around the gills. Charmar had given us a motion sickness bracelet that gave accupressure electronically and we share that on watch and that held off the worse of it. The pulley on the Aysmetric broke with a huge bang (waking me up) thank goodness we were able to get it down at night and it did not go in the water (oh I do not want to think about senario at all!). We did shifts three hours on and three off, which took a bit of getting use to but by the end of the trip it was routine and we were handling it fine. Also on the second day the auto pilot went bung and did not work (on my shift of course) so Paul was woken up and I hand steered while he had his head in the engine room soldering wires and fixing the problem (a connection had got hot and the ends had fused together). Poor man he was so ill for quite a while after having to work in three metre swells. Makes one very thankful for all the work the auto pilot does-it would have been hard work hand steering all the way. Things happen in three-as they always do- and the C-Maps maps disappeared, of course marvellous Paul was able to fix the problem as this is our main method of navigation.

Anchored at 2.30pm in daylight outside the Gove Yacht Club. Had drinks aboard Solan and then dinner with Pelikaan and Solan-Paul making his famous battered fish dinner. We slept very well that night.

9 June 2008 - Around the northern tip of Australia
Escape River to Seisia 40.3 nm 7 hours
We had a marvellous sail, our average speed was 6 knots and our maximum speed was up to 9.3 knots. We left at 9.30 the sun shinning and the river calm, upon nearing the entrance to the bay the wind picked up to a good 25 knots and we turned left heading for Albany Passage. It is between the mainland and Albany Island that we we pass when the tide turns there is a rush of current that carries one through. Tide picked for 12.48 and we arrived on time. Upon arrival and eying off the passage-guess what there was a huge ship south bound coming through at the same time. We passed port to port at the southern end leaving Charmar and us to pass through on our own. We got good speed on our way though and the scenery was lovely, we passed another pearl lease in the passage.

After exiting Albany Passage with no incidence we approached Cape York, the northern most tip of Australia entering a very small narrow entrance we rounded making sure that we missed the rather large rock that is on the northern part of the channel -there were people on the tip and we were so close we could have had a chat with them if we were so inclined. Passing through with no incidence we were suddenly hit with strong bullets of wind and of course touched slightly (but what is new). The wind was so strong we reached 9.`1 knots at one stage. Paul altered course as I was not too excited about the one he chose between sand banks and shallow spots with this wind and we travelled futher out into deeper water. Saw lots of tinnies and aborigines collecting fish and oysters as we travelled.

Passed shallow shoals on the channel into Seisia and found Mary Eliza at anchor here. They are leaving tomorrow for Gove and we will go with them. We had a beer aboard Mary Eliza-sundowner and then took the rubbish ashore and explored the township of Siesia, very small and remote place, lots of red sand. They have a tourist boat that takes people to Thursday Island which we would have loved to do (we were planning to go there by boat but the quarrantine regulations re fresh meat and vegs made it not attractive to do so).

8 June 2008
Shellburne Bay to Escape River 66.5nm 11 hours
Good Sail, mizzen, main and gernoa up speeding along at 6.5 knots average. There is a strong SE 20-30Kt plus and swell 2.5 metres. Entering Escape River we made sure we missed the uncharted rock that Pelikaan hit a couple of days ago. We entered safely but not before we jibbed the main causing the lock on the track to pop off the track. Paul got the main back and locked it in and then we got the main sail down. There are lots of oyster pearl leases here, not marked very well and one had top keep a good eye out. The conditions are windy and overcast with light occassional showers. We get internet and phone here. The river is wide and has huge mangroves on the shore. Dinner aboard Charmar tonight- I will keep a watch out for crocs as we get home at dark time.

7 June 2008
Margaret Bay to Shellburne Bay 10nm 1.30 hours
There is a strong wind warning up to 30 knots. Genoa and mizzen up and motor sailing (to charge the batteries). Doing this small trip will save 10 mile on the one tomorrow to Excape River. Rounding Point Round we bumped into an unmarked shoal hitting ground and thankfully it was a rising tide and Paul got us off. It required lots of sail, wind and motor to get us off. The mizzen ripped (where the stitching had rotten) so once anchored we got the sewing machine out and sewed it up. Took the dingy ashore (me keeping a watchful eye out for crocs) and glued things onto the dingy - (oar storage straps, a d rings to secure it underway).

We had a sundowner on cat next door anchored here and Paul fixed their auto pilot-clever man. Had dinner aboard returning in dingy at night.

5 - 6 June 2008
Bathurst Bay to Margaret Bay 170 nm 29 hours
Left Bathurst Bay after a leisurly breakfast heading to our destination Flinders Island, apon approaching we were getting good winds and decided to continue on and do a long run up the coast (the guide book says it is a long and untinteresting coastline anyway). We pulled the asymetric down over night (as we do not like to have it up at night unless absolutely necessary as one person has to go to the front deck to pull it down and if they go overboard at night-well that is it). So with the main, the mizzen and the genoa we made good speed the winds increased to 30 knots and the seas to 1.5m. It was no moon and pitch black -we were in the shipping lane and only passed three fishing trawlers. We also travelled through the reef, passing very very close and finally anchored at Cape Grenville just before we did Paul caught a large tuna. Anchored we had a long hot shower and invited Hyrsail aboard for fish dinner.

4 June 2008
Lizard Island to Cape Melville, Bathurst Bay 68.5nm 12 hours and 30 minutes
Left early am, pitch black, no moon shinning lights on anchored boats (one boat with no anchor light) and left with good strong winds A symetric and mizzen up (to steady roll from swell). Listened to the Sheila-net on HF radio and called in our position. heard Mary Eliza and Pelikaan who were at Escape River (Pelikaan had hit a rock on the way in).

On route a customes plane buzzed us very low and then called us up on 16 asking our registration number, home port and destination. The shipping lane is very close to the reef here and the reef is so close as we sail.

Rounding Cape Melville we still had the asymetric up and there were huge bullets coming down. The winds were pushing the sail and boat over and rounding us up, the pressure so great it bent the stainless steel railing on the pulpit. Anchored in Bathurst Bay, lovely anchorage with hige grantie boulders (beware of crocs say the guide book) and lots of mangroves. Weather overcast and blowing. It was a long trip but a good one. Paul caught a huge wahoo on the way in.


1 June 2008
Cape Bedford to Lizard Island 33.8nm 7.30 hours
We had a good night sleep-the whole boat to ourselves. Eggs and bacon for breakfast. Wind a bit cold and we put the asynetric up. Did two loads of washing and hung on the rails to dry as we sailed along. Passed Cape Flattery with sand mining and the large ships loading. Paul caught a fish on the way, blood splattered over us and the boat but we soon washed it away. Approaching the beautiful Lizard Island, very impressive and can be seen from miles away. This is the sailing yacht's mecca and we are here!! White sand, crystal clear water, beautiful reefs to explore, stunning.

Huge hills-which Cook climbed to see a way out of the reef-we hope to do that tomorrow. White sand, crystal clear water, we could see the anchor drop on the bottom. There are 8 other boats here. Lizard Island has a very exclusive resort on the island- apparently over $3,000 per night. to think we have anchored here for free. We went to the Lizard Island Research station and had a very interesting tour, it was low tide after the tour and we walked around the island amongst the reef and past the resort back to the boat.

31 May 2008
Cooktown to Cape Bedford 17.3nm 3.30hours
We touched bottom overnight on low tide-thud thud. Awoke early and dropped anki and Dieter off at 6.30 to catch bus (bus drive meant to pick them up at 6.45 but slept in-they got on the bus at 7.30!!) We checked the markets out as they were setting up. Captain Cook's reenactment is being held here on the 6th June bummer will miss it. Pulled anchor at high tide and motored out, there is very little wind so motored to Cape Bedford and anchored. Very sheltered spot with beautiful coloured sand hills. Cape Flattery is next bay and there is silica mining there. Shipping channel close by and we watched large container ships passing by.

30 May 2008
Hope Island to Cooktown 21 nm 4 hours
Good sailm Asymetric up. Entering Cooktown was rough over shallow entry but channel well marked. Tight area to anchor in. Town lovely and very rustic and a lot of history. Wandered around and check out the museum. Anki and Dieter's last night as they are catching bus home tomorrow morning.

29 May 2008
Port Douglas to Hope Island 44.7nm 8 hours
Anki and Dieter aboard we pulled anchor and headed out. Light winds but we put the Asymetric up. Arriving at Hope Island after 8 hours in the afternoon. There are a few bombies but easy to spot. Beautiful island, very small with white sand and tropical rainforest. Wind strong now 25 knots and gusting. Anchor holding well. There are two moorings but there are 5 other boats here in this little bay


28 May 2008

Cairns-Trinity Inlet to Port Douglas 34 nm 5 hours


David Henderson and Rob came aboard after Paul checked the Post Office for mail for the last time and we pulled anchor and headed out from Cairns and off to Port Douglas. We motor sailed in the morning as there were light winds, passing a large P&O Cruise liner "Pacific Princess" anchored off Yorkie's Knob. Then on the winds increased to 20-25 knots and we sailed with the asymetric up. Good sail, I felt a bit seasick and had a sleep after lunch leaving the boys to do the sailing.



We pulled into Port Douglas, a delightful little anchorage with buildings lining the river, anchoring in the river way up past the settlement . It was a tight fit with a narrow river, mangroves either side and boats filling the river, but Paul did it. Anchored we had a glass of wine to celebrate our arrival before heading off to the Port Douglas Yacht Club to drop Dave and Rob off and pick up Anki and Dieter.





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