Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lloyd Island to Portland Roads to Cape Grenville

Tuesday - 09/10/2012

(The significant light near Chapman Island south of Lloyd Island, it is the junctionof the two shipping channels)

This morning we did not rush about to get underway for the simple reason we were only going to Portland Roads some 15NMS north and there was no wind so we knew we had to motor. We both busied ourselves getting our scribbles for our blogs and getting the photos organised. Looking at the tides we knew we could not get ashore at Portland Roads until about 1400 hours as we need 1.3 metres of tide to get the dinghy ashore over the reef in front of the beach at Portland Roads.

We weighed anchor just after 0900 hours and to our surprise when we rounded the island the wind kicked in enough to sail. The barge that was anchored nearby also left just behind us and called another ship on the radio 'Trinity Bay' one of the SeaSwift ships that service the coast and Torres Straits. This ship also takes passengers for the journey north and return. A friend of mine did the voyage some years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it they have a top chef aboard and it is a cheaper way of taking a cruise and seeing the real stuff not tourist stuff. A short time later we passed 'Trinity Bay', by passing I mean it was going the other way, we are not that fast. The barge was also a SeaSwift vessel named 'Temple Bay'.

We had a reasonable sail all the way to Restoration Rock where we had to change course and the wind was no longer useful. Kicked in one of the iron sails and away we continued only a few miles to go. As we neared Portland Roads a yacht was leaving and when it was abeam of I called them on the radio but without reply. When I looked again through the binoculars I said to Nancy that is Steve's yacht 'Vallina' (not sure of the spelling), he is a friend of ours. So Nancy called by using the yachts name and Steve came on the radio. It was a shame that we did not make it to Portland Roads the day before to catch up with him, but that's sailing, he has to continue because of the expected weather heading south as it is harder than heading north. It is not like being in a car where you can pull over for a chat.
(Restoration Rock near Restoration Island a little south of Portland Roads)

As we approached the anchorage at Portland Roads a great looking motor yacht was leaving the skipper came out and gave us a big wave as he passed, yes we have this affect on some people, we arrive and everyone leaves. We selected where we would anchor and dropped the pick then we had lunch once all was secure.

At 1400 hours we lowered the dinghy and went ashore, let me say that many people told us that there is not much here at Portland Roads and they were right, however, it is a very attractive place. In the height of the season where grey nomads and others take the adventure of going to Cape York I believe there are many visitors and I also believe that the cafe/restaurant 'Out Of The Blue' caters for them very well with Greg and Sheree being the proprietors since the 1970's, however, I am not sure what Steve and his crew got up to but there was a sign out the front stating 'Closed for R&R open again tomorrow'. We actually never saw a sole whilst we were ashore not that there is many houses close by.
(180 degree view of Portland Roads anchorage)
(The sign at Out of the Blue Cafe - I am told that if it is a nice day Greg prefers to go fishing)
(Another memorial to Edmond Besley Court Kennedy JP)
(Portland Roads)
(Nancy having a seat at the rest area)
(The water tank)
(Rememberance of past local identities)
(Portland Roads Beach with 'Alana Rose' anchored offshore)

As far as facilities there is a pay phone box that will take cards, just a little way up the road towards the boat ramp is a water tank where you can top up with water , just passed that is public toilets and a covered picnic table with bench seating. We took a walk up the street to stretch the legs the only movement we saw was three bush turkeys running across the road. We returned on board a little disappointed that we did not get to meet Greg and Sheree and thought we may get ashore tomorrow if we stay. On board we relaxed and over a wine or two watched the magnificent sunset.
(A great sunset)
(Nancy waits for the sunset to get some good pictures)
(Who stole my galss of wine, this was a great sunset)

We cooked dinner had another wine and watched a couple of red eyes off the back of the boat, we better get used to seeing these crocs. I then started working on the blog which was very slow uploading as the Wife internet service is from the Aboriginal settlement back at Lockhart River and it is only that we have an external antenna that we are picking up a weak signal. It was around 2300 hours when  I finish uploading photos on the blog.

Nancy and I talked about staying another day to get ashore and meet some people and thought it would be a good idea. But many good plans change.

Wednesday - 10/10/2012

I was up ridiculously early since I did not go to bed until 2330 hours which is late for me unless we are sailing. I did the usual made the cups of tea then hit the computer and waited for the weather update on the wind charts with the BOM, which are very good. The general text comes out first so I read that. The text can paint a good picture or bad picture but the real problem is that it may give something like SE winds 25 - 30 knots for the area between Torres Strait and Cooktown. Now that is a large area, when you look at the wind charts that are updated around 0500 hours and 1800 hours daily they show where the winds are and what speeds, so that 20-30 knots that just scared the you know what out of us is 100 NMS south of us. This is the beauty of the electronic world whilst we have internet we have the accurate picture as far as what can be possible.

Well looking at those pictures told us that over the next three days we are going to get those 20-30 knot winds and we want to be passed Cape York before that happens as we have this dream of having lunch at Cape York on land, not good anchoring and getting ashore there with 20-30 knot winds. We also looked at the fact that if we wanted to go ashore today we had two options re the tide requirements. We could go ashore at around 0830 hours when the water depth would let us land the dinghy and have to return by 0915 hours or go ashore as said before and stay till dark. Not an option when I have seen crocs in the water of being in a rubber dinghy at night. They call rubber dinghy's 'croc's teething rings'. We may buy a tinnie before we go to the Kimberly's.

So with all this we decided at 0830 hours to sail for Cape Grenville only 40NMS away, which I thank whoever is up there for, as the winds were not with us today, sometimes only sailing around 4 knots.

It was an easy days sailing, well let's say not too strenuous although there was a lot of sail adjustments to keep going. We also had a number of large ships today, we stayed on the outside of the shipping lanes but did have to cross them on a number of occasions.
(One of the large ships we encountered, they look top heavy, more imports coming in)

The major thing about sailing through this area we have to pay respects to Captain James Cook and many of the earlier Captains and surveyors of this area. These reefs would be a nightmare without the modern technology we have today with GPS, chart plotters and now the electronic I pads which I do not have and if I spelt it wrong that's why.
(Some of the reefs and Islets throughout this waters)
(Kay Island National Park, the sign makes me smile, its the usual National Park sign with no camping, no fires etc. This would not be the easiest place to get to and as far as boats and yachts there is only one island in this group mentioned for only good weather anchorage and it is not this one).

The areas we sailed today I don't think I would have been very comfortable sailing it at night, as I have said before electronic charts are great but sometimes not always accurate. With some of the reefs here unless you put your yacht in the middle of the shipping lanes and play Russian Roulette with the big guys, forget it. Don't get me wrong I do not have any fear of the big ships I have sailed many shipping lanes, but I do like that they answer the VHF radio when you need to talk to them or that there is someone looking out for other vessels that are travelling in the same space. (Sir we are trying to get the anchor ready but it appears to have a yachts mast caught up in it). Not a good thought.

I said to Nancy today that Captain Cook would have had to anchor at night and have a man in the crow's nest permanently in the day and possibly a long boat with lead line out front. However, in mention of these hazards what beauty around us, the reefs with the light blue waters and sand spits  is incredible.

We anchored in Margaret  Bay near Cape Grenville, a picturesque area itself with a number of islands around it and reefs. Sunday Island just a little way north of this bay is where Captain Bligh, (No not the ex-Premier), had his second mutiny attempt where a crewman in the long boat that they were in after the original mutiny challenged Bligh on his decision to keep going after experiencing unfriendly natives here. Apparently Bligh tossed the man a sword and said let us see who us the better man to lead, to which the man backed down.
(Chart showing anchorage with waypoint and our track in and out of there)

Our anchorage position was not the same as indicated in the Alan Lucas guide book, I think his anchorages are sometimes just a general position rather than the exact good position. We anchored closer to the beach area in 4.5 metres of water which offered us greater protection from the SE winds which can be seen as the land form is higher in the SE direction.

We had a good sleep but not long enough we had set the alarm for 0345 hours, we have 72NMS to go to the next anchorage and not good winds to get us there so the day may be motor sailing.

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