Friday, August 10, 2012

Langford Island, Blue Pearl Bay and Macona Inlet

Saturday - 04/08/2012

Happy Birthday Nancy.
(Morning light at Pioneer Bay, Airlie Beach)
(A Welcoming Swallow, pretty little bird that puts lots of crap on boats, they arrive on board as you approach an anchorage and they usually visit first and last light in the day)

Nancy's ankle is still swollen and sore so she is taking it easy and hating every moment of it. I went into the Airlie Beach markets to do a little shopping and after running around got back on board lunch time. After lunch I went to the public dock in the dinghy and filled the four water containers to do some washing which was the afternoon job.
(Lifting a very large mast back onto catamaran 'Camira')
(I was coming back from the markets when I passed this giant task)
(After the mast was re-stepped and sails fitted)

Warwick off 'Bamboozle' came over a said that sundowners is going to be on the yacht 'Pioneer' owned by John and Marjanne there was about five couples attended and it was a good night but due to flowing red wine the next morning was a little tough.

Sunday - 05/08/2012

Today is the local Shaggers (Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club), barbeque lunch which is held every year  on the first weekend in August at Shingley's Beach so we went ashore for this event at midday and a good afternoon was had by all. Some of the members kicked on to the Hog's Breath Cafe for the usual Sunday sundowners that is held there but we decided for a quiet night aboard.
(Here I am trying to pose for a lovely photo with my wife and this is what she does when I am not looking, sometimes I think we are well matched)
(New navigation aids so one can tell which is port and starboard but be careful when using these that you do not cross your legs - each male of the SICYC gets this done at the function courtesy of Julie off 'San Susi)

Monday - 06/08/2012

Nancy's ankle was a little sore from being out on it yesterday so it was a day of resting it again for her so I went to do some shopping taking the dinghy down the bay to near the boat ramp next to the VMR building as it is a shorter walk from there to the Whitsunday shopping centre. I did the shopping and loaded my backpack and headed back to the dinghy then the boat. Then did a gas and fuel run. The marina does not fill gas bottles until 1500 hours so it made it too late to head off anywhere so we stayed anchored here another night.

Tuesday - 07/08/2012

(Early morning with the mist flowing out of the creek to sea)

We were up early which is the norm, so I checked to see if I could see anyone at the public dock, I could not see a mast in that direction so I was hoping there wasn't a motor boat alongside. We weighed anchor and headed into the marina complex to the public dock and it was free. Once alongside I started taking on fresh water and Nancy went to the marina shop to buy bread as I did not get enough yesterday. Half way through topping up another two yachts having the same idea of getting to the public dock early entered the marina, I yelled out we would be another twenty minutes they waved and stood off and waited for us to finish and move off. We left the dock and headed out for Langford Island, there has been little wind the last few days and today was no different. We managed to motor sail to Langford and all the yachts that were there had started to move off with exception to some of the maxi-yachts with backpackers and other tourists that were either anchored or tied to private moorings, this left us with the choice of all the public moorings. There was a navigation marker maintenance ship working on the markers near the three islands.

These public moorings have a 2 hour limit however, if you get on one and there are no other yacht approaches you can stay and also if you are on one around 1500 hours your 2 hour limit takes you past 1700 hours you can stay the night. Well today only one boat came through the day and there are four moorings so we stayed the day and night. Many tourists visited on the mega yachts and spent time on the beach and snorkelling and there was a boat that ferried people from Hayman Island with blue sun umbrellas.
(Marine Parks public moorings - these buoys are made from a very hard plastic and can be a problem, the buoy is attached to a rope which is spliced to the main rope that is attached to it's anchor point, the rope on the buoy is quite long some longer than others and it can normally reach around the outside of the hull with the rope passing under the hull which will rub away your antifouling paint. Not only that but the buoy will sometimes start banging on the hull with the waves and this not only keeps you awake at night it can do damage to your hulls. My fix for this is to pull as much of the rope up on deck then with a small line make a lasso and place it over the buoy to restrict it from reaching the hulls, I also attach another rope to the lasso so that I can pull that to release the lasso when we are leaving)
(The mooring rope on deck, here I have pulled up enough rope to a centre cleat so that the buoy and main rope cannot reach the hulls, securing the eye of the rope as a second securing point, in high winds I would use a similar size rope as what is on the forward cleat and run a rolling hitch on the main mooring line near where it comes over the front of the boat and secure that to the centre cleat and then place the mooring line around the centre cleat on top as it is here)
(This is how a monohull stopped the buoy knocking on the hull, may I say that it is illegal to shorten the mooring line, this one may be illegal as they have shortened the main mooring line to the point that the buoy is out of the water.)

We had lunch before heading ashore ourselves to get a little exercise and take photos, Langford Island is a long island but at high tide the sand spit and coral become separated by the sea the depth varies naturally depending on tide levels, (spring or neap tides). At times you can walk through the water ankle deep and at others times it can be over your head.
(Langford Island anchorage showing the narrowing of the sand spit between the main beach and main island section)
(Nancy at the end of the spit Stonehaven in the background)
(Dried coral as the tide went out)
(The sand spit with tourists from Hayman Island)

(I had a couple of photos of the Navigation Marker Maintenance Ship but for some reason this one looked the best)

('Solway Lass' sailing near Langford Island)
(Walking towards sunset along the coral sand spit that is patially under water)
(This young lady left the group on the sand spit and walked to the main island she did a little posing for photos)
(Walking back to the sand spit in the glow of the sunset)

We spent the night there with one other yacht the only other vessels around was the maintenance ship and a motor boat over at Black Island. The maintenance ship had a load generator running and bright flood lights going all night which did not bother us due to the distance but the motor boat at Black Island was stuck with it close by and because it was a charter boat and they are not permitted to sail in the dark hours.

We went to bed around 2200 hours but I had a sleepless night at around 0200 hours Nancy got up to go to the toilet and although she tries hard not to wake me I often stir, I just rolled over then I heard Nancy quietly saying "John", I asked what was wrong and she said I can hear whales come here and listen. I got up to listen and could not hear a thing, I went and put my hearing aids in and still could not hear a thing. Nancy has very good hearing complete opposite to me.

We went back to bed and she was laying there listening and occasionally she would sit up and listen which did not help me sleep. Finally we rested until around 0400 hours and the whales came that close that I could hear them without my hearing aids. We got dressed and went up on deck it was a cold morning. We scanned the sea in the moonlight but we could not see any movement. First light came and we could still hear them but could not see them, then when it was quite light but the sun was still below the horizon Nancy had gone inside to warm up and I had relaxed and then the whales surfaced ahead of us, unfortunately I did not get a photo, they did not surface again until they were in the distance near the NW corner of Hook Island I could see the water spray from the mother whale leaving a light cloud of water drifting over the sea.

I went inside and put the kettle on and made cups of tea to warm us up and reflect on my sleepless night. However, it is special to listen to the sounds of the whales through the hull of the boat. We had breakfast and I started these notes but did not get very far. At about 0930 hours other yachts started to arrive looking for moorings so we slipped our mooring and sailed slowly away towards Blue Pearl Bay.

We had a light tail wind so as soon as we were clear of the mooring a set the headsail and shut the engines off, we sailed at around the 3.5 knots and it was pleasant with the nice sunshine. We arrived at Blue Pearl Bay and picked up a mooring our intention was to just go out in the dinghy and row around to view the coral from there as Nancy could not snorkel with her ankle but we were surprised at the amount of wind that was bulleting around the island stirring the water that made it difficult to see the coral from a dinghy. We had smoko break (morning tea), and then slipped the mooring and sailed around the north of Hayman Island hoping to see some whales but we were out of luck. The wind had actually kicked up a few knots around 15-20 knots from the south. We decided to go to Stonehaven and see if we could pick up a mooring there, however, just as we were approaching the moorings Nancy spoke to 'Forever Dreaming' Garry and Mercedes, they had just left Langford and was heading to Macona Inlet for the night so we changed plans and headed for there to meet up with them once again. They have been away for a few weeks to Bali for a wedding and Darwin on the way back. This meant that we had to motor straight into the wind to get there but it was only about 6 NMS. The waves stood up a little with wind against tide so we did a bit of slamming into waves.

We caught up with 'Forever Dreaming' and entered Macona Inlet just ahead of them. A short time after anchoring Garry and Mercedes came over to catch up which ended up being sundowners. They are nice people and it is good to see them again.

Wednesday - 09/08/2012

Today is a maintenance day with the fine and not so hot day I tackled the other two heads top hatches resealing them to stop a couple of drip leaks when it rains. Whilst I did these chores Mercedes came over with her computer for Nancy to show her a few operating things and photo stuff. Mercedes then invited us over to their boat for sundowners and dinner. We had another very nice night with them.
(Yours truly, working on the fwd stbd head hatch)
(My sun shade to keep me and the hatch out of the sun)

Tomorrow the wind is coming back for a few days so we will head back to May's Bay for this period, I want to tackle the large Starboard Cabin hatch and reseal that as occasionally in long periods of rain we get a small leak, we need to get all these fixed before the wet season in the north.


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