Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cid Harbour and back to Airlie Beach - 29/06/2012

Thursday 28/06/2012

We have been in Cid Harbour since the 23rd and the weather has not been too good. Looking on the met bureau website on the observation pages show that Hamilton Island that's around the corner is getting winds of 28 - 34 knots, here in Cid Harbour we are getting bullets of wind of around 20 knots so we in a good spot. With the winds we have had rain some days just drizzle and quite cool.
(Blast from the past - This is 'Mee Too' Seawind 1000 catamaran the very same catamaran that we ever sailed, we cut our teeth with this yacht it was a charter boat in Rick and Lou's fleet when they had Fraer Island Rent a Yacht)

(One of the grey days in Cid Harbour)

Today however was fine the winds have dropped and many yachts have left and sailed to other areas we did the exciting thing called washing, took the washing machine up to the cockpit and run the generator and did the washing rigged up the clothes lines up forward. We have to make the best out of the good weather to dry the clothes. Afterwards I got the kayak on the water for Nancy and she went off with camera and handheld radio to do some photography and I stayed aboard pottering around and reading. A little while after we went over to the beach in Sawmill Bay.
(One of the small beaches at Sawmill Bay southern end of Cid Harbour)

There was an influx of very expensive motor boats arrived today not sure if it is a club or it is coincidence that they all arrived within an hour of each other but there are a few of them. The motor boats usually mean plenty of lights they always have the blue underwater lights going and usually flood lights out the stern. I think they use all the lights to load their generators up when they are running which is most the time during warmer nights to keep the air-conditioning going.
(A Cid Harbour sunset)

Well this night I think they were out done by a Perry 57 sailing catamaran 'Beachhouse' it had these bright white LED's all around the outside of the salon (front and sides), the mast and rigging were lit up and they had the blue lights on the stern shining in the water, a little over kill I think.
('Beach House' a 57' Perry catamaran a little over kill with the lighting.)

We had a nice cool quiet night, because it is cold out which has been unusual we have not stayed in the cockpit seating area we have moved into the salon so we have watched movies which is unusual for us. A high percentage of nights we sit have dinner outside and afterwards sit and talk, read and sometimes Nancy does some knitting. It is just nice being outside and have the views of that the water brings us. When there are strong winds here many head for Cid Harbour and at nigh it becomes a city of lights, late at night the anchor lights glow and shine across the water.

Friday - 29/06/2012

We were up at first light and I checked what the wind was doing before deciding what we would do. There was 10 knots of wind and looking at the forecast it shows very little wind tomorrow and Sunday so if we want to sail it has to be today. We had our usual cup of tea then breakfast and got ready to get underway. Covers rolled up, mainsail bag unzipped, things secured. There is no wind here at the anchorage so we hoisted the mainsail before weighing anchor. We motored out to the wind and unfurled the genoa (foresail) and shut the engines down. We had a broad reach with an apparent wind of 7 to 9 knots the tide was in our favour as we were going with it so we sailed a slow pace of 4 to 5 knots. It was a beautiful morning hardly a cloud in the sky and the sun shining and flat seas, just the sound of the water rippling along the hulls. This is my type of sailing, I am not a racer I am a cruiser, naturally when we have miles to make it is nice to go a little faster but if it is a day sail there is nothing better than just cruising in good weather. We are heading for Airlie Beach for two reasons one is that the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club is having a social event at Hogs Breath Cafe on Sunday and I want to help Rick on 'Neriki' to put his sails back on once they are repaired which he was hoping for them to be ready today but they won't be finished until Monday.

(Sailing past South Molle Island, this is a beautiful island manly national park however, it does have a resort although it is not fully operational. Unfortunately the place was run down some years back and it needs a major overhaul. There are moorings there which cost $50 per night but thats all you get for your money is the mooring nothing else. I find it cheaper to anchor you can still go ashore and use the walks).
(Daydream Island as it is called the charts show West Molle Island, this place is worth a visit, it is probably better to use a mooring there and also pick your weather as there are strong currents in the channel and can be rough in strong winds. The moorings cost $55 per day/night and you get the use of the facilities on the island including showers, toilets, swimming pools. It has cafes and dinning areas, as we sailed past there was a naval landing craft anchored to the north of the island, I dipped the ensign as we went past but it went unnoticed. One dips the ensign (flag) as a salute to a senior ship).

We anchored outside the marina which most people do because of the prices they charge in there. They are not very smart, the marina is half empty and will stay that way whilst they charge what they charge, the place is in receivership and they still do not learn.
(Sunrise over Pioneer Point)
Well it was a great day today, the night is cool, but another good day tomorrow.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Whitsunday's - Airlie Beach

Wednesday 20/06/2012

I just love shopping day with my lovely wife Nancy, that's what we did today. We walked the few kilometres to the supermarket did a fairly large shop to stock the boat and caught a taxi back to where we parked the dinghy. We got it on board and started the unpacking and packing, I repack the meat and put it in the freezer then stay out of Nancy's way whilst she does the rest. In actual fact I usually find something else to do, today I went ashore again and visited the chandler and giving a sizeable donation after purchasing a portable navigation light. Why do I say donation?  The fact is I believe that part of the price must be a donation because the items really can't be that expensive, they are a third the price overseas.
(This is Pioneer Bay taken from the walkway towards the Coastguard building northern end of the bay)

The reason for the purchase of a portable battery operated LED navigation light was for two reasons, one is that it is always best to carry a spare nav light setup in case your nav lights fail and it is too rough at sea to repair them or you can't repair them.  I had this happen just off the coast of New Caledonia the nav light globe blew and fortunately I had a battery operated light at that time which has since died. At that time the nav light failed whilst we were passing through a fishing fleet, these things never happen when no one is around. The second reason is that I only realised yesterday that a dinghy or motor driven boat to put it correctly, that has a maximum speed above 7 knots is required to have navigation lights not just a white all around light or torch. I was thinking in the sense of if you travel at less than 7 knots but it is not it is the maximum speed the boat is capable of travelling. So I have purchased this very expensive light which if I had bought it anywhere but here would have only been expensive. I checked this about the lights required because friend Rick of 'Neriki' told me that the Police were pulling people up in Cairns for not having the correct lights, there are probably 99.9% of yachties that do not have lights and we have only used a torch for the past 5 years some do not even use that. I figured it is cheaper to buy the light than give the government more money in fines.
(The LED portable nav light, the centre button operates the light in different modes, all lights on, white stern light only, port and Starboard lights only or individually)

At the marina here they have a pub called  'Sorentino's' that has a special deal with pizza and pasta between 1500 and 1700 hours you get two of either for $15, what a good idea for a sundowners. So the crew off 'Neriki', 'Forever Dreaming' and us arrived there at 1630 hours had a drink and at 1645 hours we ordered the pizzas and I can recommend them they were very nice.

As we finished our cheap dinner and the cool air dropped in we headed back to the dinghy and back on board, had a quiet night watching a movie.

Thursday 21/06/2012

(Sunrise over Pioneer Point, Airlie Beach)

The plan today was to help Rick remove his sails for repair, 'Neriki' is 14 years old and has the original sails, being a 45 foot catamaran the sails are quite large. Rick has not taken the sails off before so asked if I could help, help was required with these sails just to manhandle them. We need calm weather to do the job because we have to hoist the sails before we can remove them. So this morning I look out the wind is blowing lightly but too much to do the job, then a short time after the wind drops, I hopped in the dinghy and over I went, just about to start and the wind kicked in from another direction it was a lull before the change. An hour later it dropped again, over I went again. Fortunately whilst I was over the first time I asked Rick to disconnect a few things that could be done so we had less to do when the wind dropped.

We got the headsail down in no time, it took longer to roll the big sail up to cart away, then we did the mainsail and the sail bag lowered them into the dinghy and then the wind kicked in again but we had the job done. We then carted them over with lots of grunts and groans to the sail maker for repairs.

I took it easy for the rest of the day and we had a quiet night aboard and watched another movie that's second night of movies, I don't think we have watched one since Brisbane.

Friday 22/06/2012

Getting a few things done before leaving for Cid Harbour. We had a bit of an experience with a plastic taste in our water supply and it may have been our hose from when I cleaned it at Mackay it was covered in dirt and grime from sanding the antifouling paint and I used some thinners to get it clean. So today we walked a few kilometres to the Bunning's store and purchased some drinking water hose that we will only use for that purpose hoping that this will fix the problem.

Mercedes and Gary came shopping with us and we stopped for coffee on the way back to the dinghy after the long walk there and back I was a little tired and spent the afternoon reading a book. We invited Rick off 'Neriki' over for dinner and had some nice coral trout that we caught with silver bait. (Yes we bought it).

Saturday 23/06/2012

The girls wanted to go to the Airlie Beach market day so I suggested that we go in early and get back on board and head off before the strong winds hit. Looking at the Met wind charts the winds are going to be 20 - 30 knots and possibly higher at times over the next five days and they were supposed to start around lunch time today, I would like to get over to Cid Harbour before the high winds kick in.

We finally got away at 1105 hours and the wind was just kicking in, I initially thought I may go out with a double reefed mainsail but as we moved into the bay the winds got stronger and we were in the lee of the main land which means it may be rough once we leave the main land and enter the channels. We also have the last 2 hours of wind against tide so I just unfurled half of the genoa, (headsail). With only this sail we were cruising along at 5.5 knots and quite comfortable with a beam on sea. As we entered Molle Channel the wind hit full force and we had 22 - 28 knots and seas around 2 metres or better. This passage is the better of the two with the second channel being Whitsunday Passage and that looked quite rough from what we could see. When we neared the northern end of North Molle Island I could see that we would not be able to sail direct to Cid Harbour with the sea conditions and wind direction so we furled the headsail and motored the 2NMS to Unsafe Passage on the southern end of North Molle Island and then a little way to South Molle Island once through the passage this gave us a better sailing line to Cid Harbour. We unfurled the headsail just leaving a couple of turns on the furler as the tide had started to change so now with wind with the tide the waves were not standing up as much although we still had green water occasionally coming over the bows. We kept the same speed which was again more comfortable than if we had used the mainsail and gone faster.
(Chart of our track from Airlie to Cid Harbour, depths in fathoms)

We arrived at Cid Harbour there were quite a few other yachts/boats anchored, we were able to get to one of our favourite spots and dropped the anchor. The wind was a lot less in this sheltered anchorage but the real strong winds had not kicked in as yet.
(This is where we try to anchor when we go to Cid Harbour it gives good protection)

We had a quiet night and watched many other yachts were heading here for shelter. As nightfall came it started to drizzle rain and the winds got stronger, although we do not get the continuous strong winds here we get strong bullets of wind that steer around the mountain and hillsides.
(Cruise Wine & Dine boat from Hamilton Island, it is not unusual to see this boat arrive around end of sunset and enter Cid Harbour and drop anchor amongst the anchored vessels and you think he would not fit there, the skipper is good and finds a hole for the evening, they usually leave by 2200 hours)

After going to bed I woke a few times to make sure all was well the wind had picked up and the bullets were swinging the boat from one side to the other, I am very pleased that we have one of the new age anchors which is a Rocna she holds very well we usually have to drive the boat forward when the amount of chain equals the depth of the water to drive the anchor our otherwise it is too much strain on the anchor winch and we have a reasonable large.

We have this wind and weather here until next Thursday so we will not be going far.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Whitsunday Islands - Macona Inlet and Airlie

Sunday 17/06/2012

As usual we were out of bed early and we got underway from Tongue Bay before the sun popped up from the horizon, being no wind we motored north to Hook Passage and then into Macona Inlet. When we arrived at Macona there were a few yachts already there but plenty of room for us to anchor.
(Turbulence of the sea in the passages between islands these can throw a small boat around)
(One of the tourist yachts 'Solway Lass' anchored in calm waters in Hook Passage)

I noticed a catamaran had gone in at high tide past the reef and onto the beach area that dries out at low tide. The other two yachts were anchored where we usually go close in the bay on the eastern side, it is a small basin with reef all around the beach. The chart plotter is quite accurate as far as the bay and reef area it is easy to see the reef near low tide it's not so easy at high tide unless the sun is high. Soon after we anchored the two yachts left so we picked up the anchor and moved closer in the bay.
(Chart of south Hook Island with Nara Inlet & Macona Inlet, there are many anchorages in both inlets)

Macona Inlet is quite pretty and not that many yachts come in here I think all the times we have visited there has been a maximum of around 6-7 yachts for an overnight stay. I think the reef and the entrance deters people from coming in. The charts show a narrow entrance to the inlet but in actual fact the whole mouth of the inlet is deep enough at high tide to cross in most areas. I always stick to the deeper water in the marked channel but I have taken a short cut at times.
(The bay from our anchorage at Macona Inlet)

Today was a day of rest, after we dropped anchor we cooked breakfast a team effort I cooked the bacon on the barbie and Nancy cooked the poached eggs and toast in the galley. We then sat in the cockpit and ate breakfast listening to Macca on the radio.

After breakfast we caught up on phone messages and emails and get some scribbles for the blog as we have not had phone service for a few days. We had a quiet night before crashing into bed.

Monday 18/06/2012

Another quiet day today, I was a little tired as I got up a few times during the night. This is a normal thing when we have a first night at an anchorage when situations change during the night. I was aware from my checks on the weather that there was a change in wind occurring during the night hours. The winds were going to pick up to SE 15 - 20 knots then increasing 20 - 25 knots early morning. When there is a slight change in wind or movement of the boat I wake up and then the normal thing is to go up on deck have a look around and then check the anchor watch GPS and make sure we have not moved. Naturally doing this the brain wakes up and then it takes awhile to get back to sleep.

I was up and making the cups of tea at 0515 hours and then checked the weather on the internet and decided we may head over to Airlie Beach tomorrow. We need water as we are just about out of it, we have used 880 litres since we left Mackay on 5 June and we have done a fair amount of washing with the machine.

I worked on the anchor chain roller this morning, we cannot buy the type and size we require in Australia and I made one myself out of a couple that can be bought but it was a softer material and did not last long. I have replaced it with another modified roller but that is of the same material and I don't expect it to last too long. I may have to get one made. Other than this we have had a lazy day.

Tuesday - 19/06/2012

Up after day break this morning a little sleep in for me, not much of a sleep in the sun had not got over the horizon but it was light. Did the usual made the cups of tea then got on the net to check the weather. Hamilton Island is getting 17 - 21 knots wind from the SE which means Whitsunday Passage will be a little active with wind against tide. So we have decided to wait until just before the tide change before we get ready to sail.

The tide is supposed to change around 1025 hours so if we get ready at 1000 hours by the time we get to the passage the tide would be on the change and the waves will be a little less active and not standing up as much.

This we did after breakfast we got things ready and at the allotted time we weighed anchor  motored out of the bay and hoisted the mainsail with a reef in it, the wind increases as you sail around the islands so a reef in the mainsail makes it a little safer and it is not so hard on the gear.

(Reef in the sail means that we shorten the mainsail resulting in less sail area, our mainsail has two reefing points where we can lower the sail to one of these points dependant on wind strength, it is suggested to put the first reef in at 20-25 knots wind speed and the second in at 25-30 knots after that no mainsail and very little headsail.
(Sailing across Whitsunday Passage to Airlie Beach we are at a speed of 8.5 knots)

As we left Macona Inlet we changed course for Airlie and unfurled the genoa (headsail), I left a couple of turns on the furler as the wind strength was 22 knots. As soon as the sails were set they took over and the engines were shut down. We sailed along our rhomb line at speeds between 7.9 and 8.5 knots, the waves were near beam on and although film and photos do not show it was quite a lively sail.
(Keeping watch as there are a few other yachts and I believe the whales have arrived)
(Checking things out as we near Airlie Beach, wind chill factor requires a jumper)

As we neared Airlie we passed a P&O liner, 'Pacific Sun' anchored and ferries were taking passengers ashore. These ships always look as though there is too much structure above the waterline to me.
(P&O Liner 'Pacific Sun' as I took the picture they started a diesel hence the initial smoke from the stack)

We entered the Abel Point Marina and headed for the public dock where we filled our near dry water tanks and then gave the boat a good wash, unloaded our garbage and then went outside of the marina and anchored. This marina and the other two one at Port Doulas and Horizon Shores on the Gold Coast went into receivership last year. They must be suffering here as the marina has many empty spaces but that is their own fault for what they charge. Most places it costs us $60 per night in a marina here it is $128 and they wonder why we anchor out. If we need to go into a marina in the Whitsunday's we will go to Hamilton Island, it is also expensive but cheaper than Abel Point.
(Alongside the public dock at Abel Point Marina, I am putting on the mainsail cover)

There is no doubt that businesses are doing it tough in Airlie Beach but they do not help themselves with their high prices let's hope they learn before all the doors close.

Anyway after we anchored we lowered the dinghy and went ashore for a feed, a late lunch, we went to Sorentino's the pub in the marina complex and had an ice cold beer and a seafood plater for two which was very nice and plentiful, it included skewered BBQ prawns, smoked salmon, muscles, oysters and salt and pepper calamari with salad and sauces, oh what a life. Then it was back to reality we got back to the dinghy returned on board and I had to fix one of the toilets that decided to play up this morning, see it's not all wine and sunshine.

We will stay here a couple of days to do shopping and a few jobs before selecting an anchorage in one of these gorgeous islands.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Whitsunday Islands - 17/06/2012

Shaw Island continued: 13/06/2012

Today was a day of chores I brought our small washing machine out and due to the bending and lifting water drums I did the washing as it would have caused problems with Nancy's back due to a past history of damage from her gym days. So I did the washing and Nancy got busy cooking bread and a cake along with some inside cleaning. Nancy has always complained about the oven in our galley after talking to Rick of 'Neriki' he said he had a similar problem and pulled the burner out and found it partially blocked so I followed suit and found a small speck of something in the small jet so now the oven is working a lot better.

Anyway I did the washing and our cockpit looked like a Chinese laundry for the day. The rest of the day was taken up with a few little chores and a quiet night.

Lindeman Island - 14/06/2012

The weather today was sunny and the wind had dropped to 5 - 10 knots so we all decided to sail the 3 NMS across to the southern end of Lindeman's Island, I got there first and dropped anchor to the east side of the public jetty. As I previously mentioned that the resort was closed down and they do have moorings out off the beach and one this side of the jetty.  I did not use the mooring as I thought it would be good for 'Forever Dreaming' as they only have 30 metres of anchor chain plus additional rope if required, both 'Neriki' and I have 70 metres of chain being larger yachts.

Once we were all settled we lowered the dinghies and motored to the public jetty and climbed ashore. The first thing Nancy noticed on the jetty was about six fishing lines resting along the jetty's fence. Most of them looked new and unused one that I noticed had a hook on the line it looked very new and there was no sinker attached. We was not sure whether they had been set up to make it look like there were a few people staying here or the fisherman was a novice.
(The entrance to Lindeman Island at the end of the jetty)

The resort has tape and signs at most walkways stating authorised personnel only so we all walked past the resort and up the hill our intention was to walk the 3.6 kms to Mt Oldfield  212 metres  in height. We assumed that this place had a caretaker but it was obvious that they did not do much in regard to keeping the place tidy the pathways to the resort units were full of dried leaves that had fallen from the trees.

Outside of the resort is all National Park and I would assume like most National Parks the walking tracks are their responsibility. The tracks have not been maintained since the resort has closed down this has happened at Brampton Island as well being no tourist to the resort they are taken off the maintenance list. This is different to the Newry's, but the Newry's are different because they have camping grounds so tourist may still go there.  Places like Brampton and Lindeman only us grotty yachties visit and maybe very few of us do these walks.
(A Purple Swamp Hen running off as we walked past the resort)
(A Curlew in the resort grounds quite common on most islands, they can be heard in the night hours they give a mournful cry almost like a baby crying)

Michelle lead the way on the walk and grabbed a long stick and as she walked she cleared the path with the stick at the beginning of the walk there are boardwalks over swamp lands that had fallen palm leaves that had dried when she pushed these off the path it was quite noisy which stirred up the fruit bats, so if no one had seen us land they sure knew someone had now.

The tracks weren't too bad just overgrown with grass and leaves and an occasional fallen branch Michelle cleared most of it and I helped as we went along. It was a beautiful day and as were got to the top of the mountain there were great views all around. We stayed and took in the views and had a little rest before the 3.6 kms walk back.
(Looking from near the top of Mt Oldfield with the resort down below)
(Top of Mt Oldfield looking south to Shaw Island)

(Top of Mt Oldfield looking north Pentecost Island in the forefront)

(A National Parks controlled burn probably on the mainland or back of Long Island)

When we got back to the jetty we talked about what next. My suggestion was to head for Gap Bay in the north of the island, where we were anchored the swell rolled in from the SSW as was the wind so this put us on a lee shore and it was a little uncomfortable if the swell increased. Everyone agreed so we returned to our boats and weighed anchor. There was little wind to sail by and what there was would be sheltered by the island as we went north.

(Lindeman Island as we motor north on the east side)

We got to Gap Bay and dropped anchor, it was just about flat calm, just after everyone was settled Michelle came over in the dinghy and invited us all over for dinner. It was Michelle's last night before flying home for a couple of weeks for her grandchildren fix. She was flying out from Hamilton Island to go home check on the house and visit the granddaughters whilst Rick stayed with the boat.
(Lindeman Island chart showing the anchorages)

We had our showers and went over to 'Neriki' in the dinghy, we had another great night with Michelle, Rick, Gary, Mercedes and of course the love of my life Nancy. We left to go back to our boats about 2200 hours.

Whitehaven Beach - 15/06/2012

Today 'Neriki' was off to Hamilton Island to drop Michelle off and 'Forever Dreaming' was heading for Whitehaven Beach, we initially was going to stay where we were but then we changed our minds and thought we may go around to Boat Port on the NW corner of Lindeman Island, one of the reasons was that we wanted internet coverage to check emails and weather. However, when we got there the SSW wind was blowing and the wind waves and swell was rolling in on that bay so we changed course and thought we may try Fitzalan Beach anchorage north of Fitzalan Passage, north of Hamilton Island. We got there and anchored. After anchoring I surveyed the area and decided that I would not like to spend the evening there due to wind direction and the wind speed that tends to increase around Hamilton Island. Nancy got on the net and looked at the wind charts, it had changed since last night's predictions meaning the wind was on the increase. So we decided that we would head for Whitehaven Beach.

We hoisted the mainsail before pulling the anchor as we were facing the wind head on, after we left the anchorage we unfurled the headsail and shut the engines down and we had a fine sail of around 8.5 knots we sailed across to Solway Pass and had the wind and tide in favour to sail through Solway Pass. Solway Pass can be quite turbulent and has been known to throw yachts about which can prove very dangerous. As we got to Whitehaven we dropped sails and motored into an anchorage, I anchored a little further north than most yachts as I have been here times before and everyone including the big tourist boats want to anchor in the area where the walks are at the southern end of the beach, it also gives greater wind protection there.
(Chart showing our track for the two days from the Shaw Island anchorage through to Whitehaven Beach)
(Anchorages near Fitzalan Passage, they are good in NW to SE winds)

About mid afternoon Mercedes called us on the radio and asked if we would like to join them for an early sundowners before the sun lost its heat. How could we refuse, so we grabbed some nibbles a few drinks and ashore to the beach we went. We sat and enjoyed the sun but as soon as it was going behind the hill we all took off in our dinghies before the evening chill.
(Whitehaven Beach and anchorage)
(Whitehaven Beach anchorage, Solway Pass can be very turbulent in full tide flow and strong winds, can be very dangerous)

Nancy started to prepare the evening meal and said we had fish or was that chicken? I have to write this as I found it to be funny, Nancy will probably kill me but I had to laugh.

Nancy said she got fish out for dinner that I would cook on the BBQ which is normal I cook most nights the meat on the barbie. Maybe I should tell the whole story first. A few weeks ago Nancy pulled a pack out of the freezer to thaw for dinner that night she told me she had got some chicken pieces out. After it had thawed and it was time to cook I took the meat out to the barbie and looking at it I thought this is not chicken and when I took it out of the gladwrap it was pork. So we had a bit of a laugh about it.

Last night she said we had fish and before I got up to get it to cook, she said I am sure this time it is fish because I smelt it and it smelt of fish. I sat there waiting for her to get things ready and she opened the gladwrap and it turned out to be chicken. So again we had a bit of a laugh about it. I got up and started the gas barbie then started to cook the chicken. Whilst doing this Nancy was in the galley getting the vegetables organised and I casually said to her, "When we go into Airlie Beach I must make a doctor's appointment to get scanned as part of my check-up for the melanoma I had removed and whilst we there we may get your nose fixed. At first she looked at me questioning and asked "my nose"? Then she realised that I was having a go at her about the chicken smelling like fish. She just laughed and said "I walked into that one didn't I". That's what I love about her she can put up with my terrible sense of humour.

Tongue Bay 16/06/2012

This morning we decided to head into Tongue Bay so after sunrise and a cup of tea we motored north to Tongue Bay and dropped anchor once settled we sat down and had a nice breakfast. Our plan for the morning was to do a few chores, I dragged the washing machine out again and washed the towels and sheets whilst Nancy cooked bread and cake and cleaned inside. Being all finished by lunch time, we had lunch and had a read of our books then at 1400 hours we picked up Gary and Mercedes off 'Forever Dreaming' and took them ashore for the walk to the lookout at low tide. They had done the morning walk at high tide and we had suggested to see it at low tide to see the difference.
(Tongue Bay anchorage, you can go quite deep into the bay without much trouble although chart plotters indicate a little different.)

When we got around to the beach around Whitehaven side in the dinghy the seas had picked up and the wind was blowing which we could not feel in Tongue Bay. I suggested that I drop the three of them off at the beach and then I would go around the Tongue Bay side and walk the dinghy through the shallow water through the coral and meet them at the lookout.

When I got back to the Tongue Bay side I cut the outboard as I neared the reef and lifted it out of the water, I stood facing the bow and rowed from this standing position so I could see and make sure I did not hit any coral, I went as far as I could then got out of the dinghy and walked the dinghy as close to shore as possible. I had to walk a crooked path to ensure no damage to any of the live coral which was very attractive. I also saw stingrays darting off as I neared them plus turtles and fish. I got as close to shore as possible then put the dinghy in a clearing and secured it there before heading ashore and of up the walk to the lookout. It was quite a low tide today and Hill Inlet was almost all sand, the unfortunate part was the clouds had moved in and the sun was behind them, it is an incredible view when lit by the sun.

When we got back to where the dinghy was the tide had started to come in but we had to wait for more depth before we could put everyone in the dinghy and not hit bottom. Gary opened up a coconut that he had for Mercedes but it had already started regrowth and when he opened it there was a seed inside.
(Hill Inlet at low tide)
(Tongue Bay anchorage, probably not showing its normal beauty with overcast skies and a very low tide showing the mud and dead coral)
(Mercedes with the split coconut with the seed inside)

We eventually had enough depth to get the dinghy out and return on board and after showers Gary and Mercedes came over for sundowners. Whilst we had sundowners we sat and watched a dugong swimming and diving between our boats and like most magical moments when we got the cameras ready he/she did not surface as soon as the cameras were put down up it came again, so you will have to take my word for it, it was magical. Another splendid day.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Goldsmith and Shaw Islands

Goldsmith Island - 11/06/2012

(Sunset Beach at Newry Island)

This morning at 0645 hours we weighed anchor to sail across to Goldsmith Island only a short sail of 16 NMS, one wished it was a sail, however, the wind was not with us and motor sailing was in order. I was not overly concerned as the distance not being that great it gave the batteries a good charge and gave hot water in both hot water services.
(Underway leaving Newry Islands, you can see the shadow figure of Concertina Rock on the port side)
For those that do not understand the yacht life, our catamaran has two hot water units 25 litres each, one off the starboard engine that supplies hot water to the starboard showers and the port side that supplies hot water to the port showers and galley. Whilst at anchor we heat the water via the generator as each unit has an electrical element. I digress.
At 0800 hours when Mackay VMR came on the air we registered with them and shortly after 'Neriki' called us to say they were leaving Brampton Island and 'Forever Dreaming' was following and they would catch up with us at our destination. We arrived almost at the same time and anchored.

Well we motor sailed most of the way before the wind decided to drop out completely and it was motors only for the last 4 NMS. When we arrived we first anchored in our normal spot in the southern end bay but this proved a little uncomfortable with the SSW winds causing a swell to roll in and in turn rock the boat. So we motored up to the northern end bay which was more comfortable in these conditions.
(Goldsmith Island anchorages)

We had not anchored in this bay before so it was something new for us to check out, so we lowered the dinghy and went ashore. This place is very picturesque and today's weather made it more so as the sun was shining and the sea was a perfect bright blue. We had a good walk along the beach on the way along a retrieved a plastic bag from the sea that someone had lost or discarded. Plastic bags in the ocean can be mistaken for jelly fish at sea and sea turtles thinking they are jelly fish will eat them and naturally will die because of it. Plastic bags at sea come from different sources, careless sailors, people on the beach that leave their rubbish behind but mainly from storm water drains. Thos loose plastic bags that you may think you have secured in a park rubbish bin after a picnic or BBQ have the chance of blowing away into a waterway (drain in the park or street) then through the drains into either river, creek and then the sea. Please be careful when discarding plastic bags people. I digress once again.
(Anchored at the NW bay of Goldsmith Island, 'Forever Dreming' and 'Neriki' anchored close by)
(Goldsmith NW Bay anchorage from the beach)
Well we had a good walk along the beach checking things out, they have a long drop toilet here supplied by the National Parks, that I may say I used, I noticed inside the toilet that they had a broom in the corner so I thought one good turn deserves another so I gave the long drop toilet a sweep out of the dust and leaves that had blown in.
(The long drop dunny, translation for anyone oversees, this is a toilet with a difference when you lift the seat there is a very large deep hole there is no flushing required.)
(There was a broom in the dunny so I gave it a sweep out)
(Blue Tiger butterfly, brilliant blue colouring)

(Mother nature is a wonderful thing, here is a hoop pine tree that has come to an end but it is playing host to new growth of other species)

After our little excursion we got back into the dinghy and went by 'Neriki' on the way back and had a cup of tea with Michelle and Rick and organised sundowners on our boat for 1600 hours then called by 'Forever Dreaming' and invited Mercedes and Gary over for sundowners too.

The anchorage: (1) - 20 41.062 S 14908. 460 E this is the southern bay, this was very rollie with the SSW winds and waves all anchorages at this island can be uncomfortable majority of the time.

(2) 20 40. 220 S 149 08. 966 E This anchorage was better under these conditions however, during the evening the swell got a little worse and the evening was a little uncomfortable.

Many of the islands during strong winds and heavy swells can suffer the same as these anchorages however, they are beautiful places to visit and sometimes you have to put up with a little discomfort.

We returned back on board had a little lunch and a rest.

The people arrived at 1600 hours and we shared the sundowners with them and of course a few refreshments and nibbles' and it was a lovely sunset. We discussed what the next plan was and after me checking the weather on the net we have decided we sail for Shaw Island in the morning at around 0800 hours.

I love this life.

Shaw Island - 12/06/2012

 The sleep last night was limited as the anchorage got a bit rocky and once woken by having to go to the head it was difficult to go back to sleep, I nodded off a few times but when I woke at 0400 hours Nancy was not alongside me, I called out to see if she was alright and she said yes she was in the aft cabin reading as she could not sleep.

I lay there for another hour before getting up and making a cup of tea for us both then I checked the weather on the internet and the wind was up a little which is good for sailing. We had said we would leave at 0800 hours with the others so we sat around waiting for them to start moving, at 0730 hours 'Forever Dreaming' was underway, I would say they had enough of the rocking. 'Forever Dreaming' is a Peter Snell design Easy Catamaran, and is a very light performance catamaran which would rock a lot more than us. Gary and Mercedes built it themselves over a 4 year period. I must say he they have done a wonderful job it is very professionally finished, Gary being a builder by trade obviously helped.

We started getting organised at 0745 hours rolling up covers and opening the mainsail bag etc, we weighed anchor and motored out in a clear area and hoisted the mainsail then unfurled the genoa (headsail) and shutdown the engines and we were up and sailing around 6.5 knots. The swell was beam on but with good wind it did not rock us enough to shake the wind out of the sails. as we sailed out of the islands shadow we picked up speed and at times we sailed at 7 - 8.5 knots. With only 13 NMS to go it was not going to be a long sail. "Neriki' sailed soon after us and I had a feeling Rick was determined to catch up with us this did not bother me as he being a larger cat with more sail area and probably lighter than us he should be able to do so. I like sailing and like to look at the islands as we pass them so I am not in a hurry to get to our destination. 'Neriki' was just behind us when we arrived at the entrance to Shaw Island and we entered together.
(Sailing from Goldsmith and heading for Shaw Island which is one of those islands ahead, the first large island is Thomas Island, it would be too much swell to anchor there today)

We dropped sails and motored into the anchorage, this is a better anchorage for the conditions we have been here before under 30 knots of wind and other than the bullets of wind the anchorage has been reasonably comfortable.
(The anchorage in the southern end just around from Burning Point)

The anchorage: 20 30. 274 S 149 02. 813 E there is room for a good number of boats in this anchorage at present we have 9 yachts and there is plenty of room for treble that amount.
(The red dots identify anchorages around Shaw and Lindeman Islands)

After we had anchored and settled the boat we lowered the dinghy and went ashore to have a walk and look around as we went towards the beach turtles raised their heads out of the water to see what was coming then dived away from us. It is nice to see them around yesterday we saw some at Goldsmith Island along with dolphins.

We had a look around a couple of the places ashore before returning for lunch and a little rest about a 20 minute nanna nap.
(Looking at the anchorage from Burning Point, at Burning Point many people collect rocks and make small rock cairns as a rememerance of their visit)
(Shaw Island anchorage from the front of 'Alana Rose')
(Shaw Island anchorage from the southern bay beach)
(Mangrove Creek at the southern bay beach)
(Mangrove creek spilling out at low tide)
(Look closely and you see a small crab claws up going to defend itself as we walk by)

(Some civil engineering by some very small sea creature, could be a crab not sure)
(A sea snail and there were many of them very active at low tide and so were the birds finding them)

Just across from the this bay at Shaw Island is Lindeman Island to the north, last time we were here we anchored on the north side of this island and went ashore and walked to the resort and had lunch that we can see from our present location. I looked through the binoculars and could not see much movement so I thought I would check on the internet and found that Club Med had closed it on January 31st this year due to decline in tourism mainly because of the value of the Oz dollar and aftermath worries over the cyclones that had hit north of the area.

I also found that the place was sold in April to a Chinese-born mining investor William Han for $12m whose family runs one of China's largest advertising enterprises. William Han is the Chairman of White Horse Australia and a non-executive director of Western Australia's Padbury Mining. Mr Han said that he would like to get the interest back to the island.
(Sunset from the anchorage at Shaw Island with 'Neriki' in the forefront)
(Our track from Newry's to Shaw Island via Goldsmith Island)
We had a quiet night and a good nights sleep.