This blog is about my wife and I sailing our 13m sailing catamaran around Australia during 2012 2013 and 2014. We will sail from Brisbane at the end of April 2012 and slowly head north anticipating that we will arrive in Darwin for the cyclone season and head west when safe to do so and complete the circumnavigation.
This morning the wind was still blowing around 25 to 29
knots and bullets of wind was swinging the boat a little so we decided that we
may go back to May's Bay, I thought it would be a good test for conditions as
after being at May's Bay before I considered it to be the better anchorage in
S-SE winds. We motored over there as it is only a short distance and we had the
selection of anchorage spots as no one else was anchored there. The anchorage
was just about dead calm with an occasional wind gust but not bullets like in
A little while later another yacht sailed in and anchored, I
quite like this anchorage although it can get a swell roll in from time to time
manly in more easterly winds so it is an anchorage for S-SE winds or calm
conditions only. The place is quite pretty it has coral reefs that you have to
watch out for when anchoring but it also has a number of resident turtles one
being a very large fellow. Dolphins also swim the area looking for breakfast
around early morning.
(Turtles coming up for air and checking whats around)
These windy days slow things down as it has a wind chill
factor that keeps us inside in the warmth. We have been doing a few chores
cleaning and a few repairs, there is always something to do in these areas.
Sunday - 29/07/2012
No Australia All Over on the radio this morning as the
Olympics is being broadcasted so no Macca today. We had our usual Sunday
breakfast of bacon and eggs on toast and waited for the sun to warm us through
we had a lazy day listened to the Olympics for the time it was on but after
that we did little else other than play on the computer doing our photos.
(Sunset at May's Bay)
(The head with a view, this is the view I had whilst having a shower)
Monday - 30/07/2012
Another very cool morning which does not entice anyone to go
outside until the sun has warmed things up, I started off doing a few repairs
and then a yacht came close by, it was David and Jan on 'Moonglade' they said
they would anchor for a short while and asked if we would like to go over for a
cuppa, we said that we would.
We lowered our dinghy and went over to their yacht, David
had been wanting to catch up and talk to me about HF radios, he stated that I
transmit very loud and clear and wanted to know what my setup was. He was quite
surprised when he found out that my grounding is not in direct contact with the
sea. My system is that I use 75 mm (3 inch) wide copper strap that has two
strips 70 mm apart passing through a void space at the stern from one hull to
the other and fore and aft in the hull within the lazerettes, I explained that
the only downfall was that because all the equipment is aft I have a
directional problem, if a distant station is calling and my stern is pointing
away from them I can hear them but they cannot always hear me. It was good to
catch up with David and Jan and we will do more whilst in the area and at the
SICYC meetings. After we left them they weighed anchor as they were heading to
another anchorage and only called by to see us.
Tuesday - 31/07/2012
The wind has eased and it is warmer so it is time to do some
outside work and tackle some jobs I have been avoiding. We have some of the top
deck hatches leaking a small drip during the rain, mainly the small hatches in
the heads. They are Lewmar hatches and although some friends explained how to
repair the seals these hatches are different to what they had worked on. These
hatches are split frame type and uses a full seal without sealant or should I
say they did not because the only way I can repair them now is with a sealant.
I started with the starboard aft head hatch which we changed to a storeroom as
we had four heads and showers we removed the head (toilet) and installed
shelves and we also store our small washing machine and this hatch leaks the
worst. I pulled the hatch completely out to reseal the area between hatch and
deck, first cleaning the old sealant off on both surfaces. I then cut around
the Perspex and alloy frame to remove what I had been told was sealant. It was
then that I removed the screws at the join in the frames which allowed me to
remove the Perspex and seal, it was then that I realised that the part that I
had cut was part of the seal itself. Time for modification. The lower part of
the seal was in good condition, so I cleaned the seal and frame with alcohol
(not the type you drink), I then used the sealant to replace the top section of
the seal between the frame and Perspex. It was then left to dry overnight
before replacing the whole unit in the deck, I had sealed the hole with a piece
of clear plastic sheet taped to the deck to keep the night moisture out.
(Cleaning the old sealant from the hatch)
Wednesday - 01/08/2012
After the morning had warmed I tackled the port aft head
hatch but left the hatch in the deck and split the hatch frame and removed the
Perspex and seal and did the same as the other hatch using the sealant to
replace the top part of the seal that I cut off.
Whilst I was working on the hatches Nancy set off on her
kayak to take photos and look around the bay, I always make her take the
handheld radio just in case something goes wrong.
I refitted the starboard aft head hatch resealing between
hatch and deck once this was done I then cleaned up the gear and where I had
As I was cleaning up Keith and Patti off yacht 'Speranza'
that had anchored earlier in the day came over in their dinghy and invited us
over for sundowners at 1630 hours. Sundowners has been set at earlier times the
last month or so because of the cold nights.
We had a good sundowners and also met Mike and Glenda off
yacht 'Mim'another very nice couple
that come from Yeppoon. When the cold wind got too much for us sitting in the
cockpit we all decided it was time to head off to our own yachts. We are all
leaving this anchorage tomorrow Mike and Glenda was off to Cid Harbour to do
the Peak walk, Keith and Patti was off to Windy Bay and we had decided to sail
to South Molle Island. Our decision was made due to two things, the winds were
dropping away to very little wind by the weekend this gave us the opportunity
to sail to South Molle Island before the wind totally disappeared and that
would also get us closer to Airlie where we have to be for the weekend and it
is not that windy at that anchorage as when it is windy the bullets come around
the hills and can be uncomfortable, plus it will not be that windy to do the
Thursday - 02/08/2012
After breakfast we got ready to sail, 'Speranza' had already
sailed, we hoisted the mainsail before weighing anchor as it was dead calm in
the anchorage, we then weighed anchor motored clear of the reef area and then
set the headsail. Mike and Glenda waved as we went passed and they were getting
ready to leave also.
We had a good steady sail across to South Molle Island
sailing at around 6.5 to 7.5 knots on arrival we checked a couple of places to
anchor to the west of the island but found that there was a lot of coral reefs
in the area so we decided to head just to the east side of the jetty leaving
space for vessels to come and go from the jetty. Holding is very good in this
area, there are moorings that cost around $50 per day but knowing that the
resort is not operational as a resort and is run down I am not sure what
condition the moorings are in, they could be fine many people use them but I
know when I anchor it is secure.
(Sailing from May's Bay to South Molle Island)
We had an early lunch and then we went ashore to do one of
the walks, we decided to do the Spion Kop walk which is just over 4 kms return
this is the rocky knoll on the most eastern point of the island the degree of
difficulty as far as the walk is less than moderate.
When we go ashore for walks I like to keep walking mostly
taking the occasional photo this is a little different to Nancy she often stops
for long periods taking photos so I have got into the habit of going ahead but
if I sense that I may be going too far ahead I stop and wait to make sure she
is alright. The walkwas great as far as
views, I like this island it is very pretty island has a good beach and the
views are wonderful, it is a shame that a previous owner let the place run down
so now mainly backpackers come here. Outside the resort grounds is all National
Parks so anyone can come ashore for the walks.
(View from shore along the jetty with the resort beach)
(Alana Rose anchored at the end of the jetty)
We got to the Spion Kop and the views were great you can
view two sides of the island from here. Looking at the time I said to Nancy we
will not have time to do one of the other walks it will get too late. We headed
back down the walk and as usual Nancy had stopped a number of times to take
photos and I would stop occasionally and wait for her to catch up. I was close
to the end of the track near the golf course which is kept in good condition,
when I heard Nancy yell, "JOHN", I thought she may have seen a snake
or had something interesting for me to look at but as I got in view of her
there she was on the ground with a twisted ankle, she had stepped on a rock
awkwardly and twisted the ankle falling to the ground. The first thing she said
was she had hurt her ankle the second thing she said was check my camera and
make sure it is alright. That's my girl. We rested the ankle for a few minutes
then she tried standing on it and she limped back to the dinghy and we returned
to the boat where we ice packed it and had a cold beer. After she had rested it
for a while with the ice pack she had her shower then I strapped the ankle. So
my plan of doing the other walk tomorrow before we leave was out the window.
Later I cooked dinner and then we relaxed and watched a movie.
(The view from Spion Kop of Bauer Bay looking towards Pioneer Point in the distance)
(Nancy at Spion Kop lookout with Whitsunday Passage in the background, Hamilton Island in the distance)
(Whitsunday Passage from half way up the Spion Kop track Planton Island in the foreground with Dent and Hamilton Islands behind)
(The walking track)
(Is it a UFO? No it is a Northern Jewelled Spider in it's web)
(South Molle Island)
Friday - 03/08/2012
Nancy's ankle is a little better but still sore and she
needs to keep her weight off it. So we relaxed for the morning and after lunch
we weighed anchor for Airlie there was a little wind but not great, we motored
through Unsafe Passage before unfurling the headsail and shutting down the
engines. It was a slow sail of 3.5 to 4 knots and I think much of that speed
was due to the outgoing tide.
We arrived at Airlie around 1600 hours and anchored just off
the marina wall, there are a few from the club already anchored here, we
anchored near 'Bamboozle' and Warwick yelled out a G'day so I asked if he
wanted to come over for sundowners. Warwick and Judy came over in their dinghy
and we had a nice sundowners. The cold of the night started to hit and we had
dinner then watched another movie.