Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cairns, (Yorkeys Knob) to Low Islets

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.




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