Friday, September 14, 2012

Mourilyan Harbour to Fitzroy Island

Wednesday - 14/09/2012


Around 0500 hours the VHF radio crackled it was VTS Mourilyan Harbour calling a freighter that was anchored outside the harbour informing him that the pilot boat was on its way out and to rig a ladder on the starboard side for the pilot to board. So we got up had a cuppa and waited to watch the ship come in. They bring the ship in with tugs getting in place before they get right into the harbour and then when they reach the area that is designated the turning circle they spin the ship around before going alongside so the ship is facing out to sea.

As soon as the ship was secured alongside they opened the hatches and started loading sugar but was soon halted by rain. It turned out to be a miserable day with windy light rains so we stayed inside. They tried a few times to load the ship to be halted by rain showers. It was after sunset when the weather cleared so loading went through the night.
(ship enters Mourilyan Harbour to load sugar.)
(It is not only the turning of the ship, its not a bad photo)
(Tugs at work turning the ship around)
(This goes to show one thing, there is very little to write about when your in a harbour sheltering from the wind and it is raining, so you have to put up with this ok)

I spent the day plotting a course from Lizard Island to Gove and printing off some charts, I have the large area chart that does not give close in detail but I have a program that I can print off Australian charts which is very handy, it makes one realise how far we have to go just to get to Darwin. I am full of these bright ideas in life, I have always liked challenges thats probably why we even bought a yacht to live aboard. But looking at charts and plotting the days of sailing brings back the time when we bought Alana Rose, once we had everything paid for and Oz registration and ready to sail from St Lucia in the Caribbean for Australia our first ever full over night sail to Grenada, I felt quite proud, then after having breakfast at a roadside cafe in St Georges, Grenada I went inside to pay the bill and on the wall was this mural of the  world atlas that filled the whole wall, I looked at it and could see where we were and where Australia was and I thought to myself, shit what have I done? I never told Nancy that story until we arrived back in Oz, we did it and more than I my Nancy deserves a bow, I had travelled oceans before Nancy never had. She is a gutsy girl.
We had an early night as we sail early in the morning for Fitzroy Island 43NMS north.

Thursday - 13/09/2012

We were out of bed by 0445 hours and I put the kettle on before going outside and removing the covers and getting sails ready. Nancy made the teas then came out to help, Jonathan on 'Peggy Jane' was also getting things ready to sail. As soon as the engines warmed we weighed anchor, 'Peggy Jane' had moved before us so I steered away from them into the ships turning area when I felt we had a good distance I turned to follow them out of the harbour. 'Peggy Jane' appeared to be almost stopped as we neared them and I was a little concerned their engine was playing up again so I increased speed and got up alongside and asked Nancy to ask if they were alright. Jonathon stated that he was waiting for us to pass because we are a faster boat.
(A little video as we sail and the daylight begins, we have a slightly cloudy sunrise to starboard and a rain squall of the port side coming from the coast, it was a good sail, seas were slight and not uncomfortable, its a great time of the day sunrise)

We headed out  passed the markers and then set course for north, the winds appeared to be very light but once clear of the harbour I unfurled the headsail and shut one engine down this gave us a speed of 6 knots then as daylight started to approach the wind got a little stronger so we furled the headsail turned the yacht into the wind and hoisted the mainsail then got back on course and unfurled the headsail again. To get the most out of the wind we had to alter course slightly taking us a little further out to sea but the benefits was that we sailed at a speed of 7.5 to 8 knots and as a bonus this course was taking me between two rain squalls. We continued on that course until I was sure we could change tack and maintain a broad reach this went well until we reached High Island and the wind dropped away after a large rain squall.

Just as we changed tack we saw a whale, the first one we have seen since Magnetic Island, Jonathan said he saw some south of Mourilyan Harbour so there are still some about but I think they must be close to the last ones heading south.  The whale only surfaced the once in our view so it looked as though it was on the move.

After High Island we had to motor sail for a short while, the mainsail started to flap from side to side so we turned into the wind and dropped the main and then sailed under the headsail only until 2NMS before Fitzroy Island I started both engines to give the batteries a charge and get hot water for showers. The other reason for running both engines was that a couple of the lighter catamarans were gaining on me and I wanted to get a decent anchorage.
(Fitzroy Island from our anchorage)
(North of the jetty at Fitzroy Island taken from the jetty)

(Fitzroy Island anchorage, this chart shows the two areas where you can anchor, if there are already boats anchored you can bet they have the shallow anchorages of around 5 metres, there are the usual white cone buoys that indicate the reef and you are not allowed to anchor inside of these, so you may well be in for a deep anchorage, around 12 metres at high tide or deeper, putting out 5:1 ratio depth/chain you need to make sure other yachts do not anchor too close)
 (This anchorage can become uncomfortable during strong S-SE winds and no cover from any from SW through to N)
(The jetty entrance has navigational markers, keep a clear path a number of ferries and tourist industry boats go alongside the jetty.)

We arrived at 1330 hours which was a good result, we set the anchor and started tidying up all the gear as other yachts started arriving. After Jonathan arrived he came over to make sure we had his contact details. We had showers and went ashore just before 1700 hours went to Foxy's Bar for a sundowners drink, no one else came ashore so we had a drink and returned to the dinghy to go back on board as we rowed back we called by 'Cassini' to say hello to Peter and Tania they invited us aboard for a drink which ran into dinner, I went back over to our boat to get a bottle of wine. Peter cooked a nice meal and we had another pleasant night with some good people.

We will stay for a few days as the weather is good and there isn't any wind to sail on.




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