Thursday, June 7, 2012

Newry Islands - 05/06/2012

So we have a clean bottom now, actually it was not too dirty when we first shown it in the daylight it hardly needed washing but we washed it with a high pressure washer then we scraped and sanded it and gave it a few coats of antifouling paint which should keep it clean for quite some time. Alana Rose looks pretty with her freshly painted bottom and polished hulls.
(Playing the dib-dab, applying antifouling paint)

(Spit and polish)

The red wine taste wonderful after a great days sail from Mackay to the Newry Islands. It has been a hard four days doing the necessary stuff of the maintenance of preparation and antifouling the bottom of Alana Rose. First stage is sanding the old antifouling paint to ensure a good bonding surface for the new paint. Naturally whilst doing this we will find some problem or weak spots that have to have a little more special treatment, that's the norm in owning a boat. Normally we have stayed on the hard for seven days to achieve the same work, prices going up encourages us to work harder and smarter and we have achieved the same results in four days. My back and other adjoining parts are complaining about this but red wine fixes all.

I was quite pleased with our progress over the time on the hard, what really helped was the antifouling paint from last year was in good condition it seemed a shame to sand off some of it. I put two new coats of paint all over the hulls and then a third coat along the waterline and on a the areas that have turbulence as these areas the ablative paint will wear faster. Areas around the propellers and leading edges such as the forward surfaces of the bows, rudders and keels got a forth coat of paint. We are hoping that this will last for two years.

On Monday Nancy, Michelle and Mercedes hired a car for the day and went shopping to stock up the boat with food and a few other things whilst I continued to paint the hulls of the boat. By late afternoon I started to prepare the boat to go in the water and clean up our work area. With all this done we were ready to go back in the water.

(Waiting for a lift)
This morning (Tuesday) I stowed all my equipment and tools I had been using and then went around with the paint brush touching up the areas with a forth coat of paint then gave the decks a good wash to get rid of dirty footprints and the yard dust that you always get out on the hard.

At about 1015 hours the boys came with the travel lift to put us back in the water as soon as they lifted the boat I had to paint the bottom of the keels where they had sat on the ground. All this done then back to the water.

As soon as we had the boat in the water I got aboard and checked first the through hull fitting that I had changed then all the other through hull fittings to make sure there were no leaks. We then started the engines checked forward and reverse worked alright then the travel lift operator let the slings drop and we were out of there.
(Going down, back in the water)
We motored out of the port of Mackay which was busy with ship movements, one ship docking one leaving and tugs going from one to the other and the pilot boat going out to pick up the pilot from the ship that was leaving.
(Underway with a bit of movement in the port)

Once clear of the port we hoisted the mainsail then unfurled the genoa and shut the engines down, we had a brisk SW wind blowing which had a bit of a chill factor once we were out at sea. The direction of the wind put us on a nice reach and we sailed between 6.5 and 8.5 knots. The wind coming off the land was sometimes blocked by the hills or islands and slowed us down but not for long. It was great to be back on the water even though the wind had a chill factor that made us grab more clothing. In mid afternoon the wind dropped for a short time changing from the SW to a NE afternoon sea breeze changing us to a starboard tack still on a good reach and we sailed at the same speed once again, we passed a number of fishing trawlers along the way just south of the Newry's, it must be a good spot for fish.
(Chart showing our track from Mackay to the Newry's)

We headed for Newry Islands, we have never visited this area before as we like most people gone to Keswick, Brampton or Scawfell Islands which is the normal route for people not calling into Mackay, the most common is from the Percy's through to Scawfell Island.

The Port of Newry of the Newry Islands was originally going to be used as Mackay's main port, they considered constructing a jetty off Acacia Island then land filling a track from the mainland to this island and the ships would have used this jetty to unload their goods onto a train that would then go to Mackay. Now that we have visited the area I am pleased they did not go ahead with that plan, this area now being national park. It is a very attractive area and the anchorage between the two Newry Islands is very good and protected from all winds other than a NW wind.

We will stay here for a few days and relax and have a look on these islands, Mercedes and Gary on 'Forever Dreaming' arrived here just before us and Rick and Michelle on 'Neriki' go back in the water tomorrow morning and will be heading here also.

Anchorage:  20 51.028 S - 148 55.812 E This is not a large area anchorage and care needs to be taken on the lee side of Newry Island as rocks and bommies come out a fair way. Depth of anchorage is 5 - 7 metres at low tide and the tide differences can be up to 6 metres with a full moon as we had the other night.
(Chart showing the anchorage, depths indicated here are in fathoms, for those that cannot remember 1 fathom is 6 feet or 1.8 metres)

Wednesday 06/06/2012

 So what has today brought, one historic event and that was the eclipse of Venus and the Sun which is very difficult to see without the right equipment. We watched its progress with the use of the sextant, naturally because we use the sun to get our readings it is equipped to look at the sun through filters. We could see this little black dot which seemed to be the size of a pin head in relation to the size of the sun. We tried all the different ways to get a photo of this event and finally after two hours and filters upon filters Nancy got the photo. Although I cannot take credit for this photo I must get some credit for the patience and tolerance for Nancy cursing when she cannot get the photos right in that first two hours.
(Yes that little speck on the sun is Venus, this photo taken by Nancy took two hours before she got it by using 3 filters on the camera lens and 3 other filters held in her had in front of the others because they were smaller and would not fit the lens. So after 2 hours of frustration swearing that would make a sailor blush she achieved this, well done Nancy)

Looking up this event on the internet I find it is more of a significance than just a happening between hundreds of years. It is very significant to Australia because Captain Cook was tasked to take scientist to Tahiti to witness this same transit in 1769 which led him to discover Australia in 1770.

The transit happens in 243-year cycles, with two pairs of transits separated by eight years. The next one we'll see is in 2117.

After fulfilling this mission we decided to go ashore Newry Island to have a good look around and a walk for the exercise. The tide here drops around 6 metres so we have to time our going ashore with around high tide.
(On Newry Island looking across Nwery Passage towards Outer Newry Island)

We went ashore and met Mercedes and Gary and we started the 2.8 km walk around the island what a magnificent place it would have been in its time. It is very pretty now but its history as a small resort and place to visit must have been wonderful in that day considering in the 1930 to 1970's not many people travelled very far on holidays. In those days it would have been special. It may have been that those days only people that were well off came here I do not know but it would have been special.
(Notes from the notice board on Newry Island)

Today it is a national park and may I say well looked after, there are camping grounds, walking tracks and toilet shower facilities and it is in good shape. The historic buildings that are in ruins give some indication to the different owners that worked hard to build them. It is a shame to see that most of our island resorts are disappearing  due to the fact that overseas holidays are more popular and probably cheaper which make them more attractive.

As we returned to our dinghy's to come back on board 'Neriki' had just come in to anchor so it was sundowners on our boat with the crews of 'Forever Dreaming' and 'Neriki'.


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