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.


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