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.
We were up before the sparrow passed wind this morning and
we did not have that much to do to get ready to sail as I did most things
before going to bed last night, all we have to do this morning is top up one
water tank to replace what we used yesterday, disconnect the electricity and
single up lines ready to slip from the dock. So we had time for a leisurely breakfast and cup of tea, check the emails and
the weather and hope the wind is in our favour as predicted yesterday.
We started engines and slipped the lines at 0630 hours and
we slowly motored out of the marina whilst Nancy put the ropes and fenders away
in the fwd hold. I had the sails ready but there is no wind. The predictions
are for SE 10 - 15 knots . We motored with both engines to Double Island then I
shut one engine down still no wind. It is 31NMS to Low Islets and running with
the tide on one engine we motor at 5.8 knots (10.4 kph). The winds did not
arrive when we were around 8NMS from the island we had a little wind that I
unfurled the headsail which increased our speed by 0.5 knots.
(A wave rider buoy, this measures the wave height and frequency and transmits the information, this one is just near Double Island)
After passing Double Island I put out the fishing line, new
stronger line than what we had before having lost one reel, and two lures. It
was not long after when we had a hit and it was strong. I asked Nancy to put
the engine in neutral as it is not good having the drag of nearly 6 knots.
Whatever we have on the line is a fighter it kept diving and then go loose then
dive again, after some time we got it to the stage of landing it on board when
the lure let go of the fish and there was a big splash and it was gone, it
looked like a tuna mackerel. We set the line again and continued on motoring.
Late we had another hit and did not fight as hard as the last this one we
landed it was also a tuna mackerel of around 60cm a bit smaller than the one
that got away I think, I bled it cleaned it and cut it into fillets, Nancy took
them into the galley and washed the fillets and cut them into meal sizes which
ended up being three meals for us. So we put the fishing line away and when we
have nearly finished these fillets we will troll the line again.
(Coming, coming, going - gone, the one that got away and my lure ended up on the roof of the cockpit after it let go with such force)
(Now this is better, a 60cm tuna mackerel)
We arrived at Low Isle at 1130 hours and entered the
anchorage area to find one of the moorings free so we picked that up rather
than anchoring. Since anchoring the wind has picked up but we thought we would
stay here as with tonight's predicted winds the this is the better location
this side of Cooktown.
Low Islets are attractive islets with coral and nice beach
there are many tourist boats that come out from Port Douglas and it is a major
stop over place for yacht sailing the
coast when going north and returning south. Today though it looks like there
are only local yachts as they have headed out during the afternoon for the
coast as did the tourist boats.
(The main part of Low Islets, there are three islets but this is the only one with a beach and where you can land)
Just after getting here we were welcomed first by a large
bat fish that probably came to get some food from us and then it was joined by
a reef shark that had three sucker fish attached to it. The sucker fish keeps
the shark clean of parasites. Each time we come here we have the same welcoming
committee. Nancy fed the fish some bread and those sucker fish are incredibly
fast, they would race away from the shark grab the bread and race back to the
shark again. Reef sharks are considered harmless to humans many people swim
amongst them here and other places.
(The first visitor, a bat fish)
(Reef shark with the bat fish)
(Reef shark with the three sucker fish)
The anchorage is good holding here and is sheltered for any
wind from SW to SE, there are three public mooring buoys and a number of
private ones owned by the tourist companies. Although the charts show a 1.8m
depth we have 6.6m depth at high tide and around 4.0m at low tide. You do have
to look for any coral bommies in some of the anchorage areas and when you go
ashore in the dinghy.
(Low Islets anchorage with a storm on the left, it went north and missed us, the main islet is on the right the other two are covered in mangrove)
We will have an early night tonight and get going early in
the morning heading for Cooktown some 65NMS to get there so it will be a 10 or
12 hour days sail depending on wind.