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.
Early morning start with the radio sched with SICYC, since
we have had some internet service we found that they had changed the time to
0745 hours (EST) due to the American group that transmitted at our normal time.
So we have to get on the radio 0545 hours (WST).Straight after we weighed anchor and were
going to go to Sunday Island however, we went on to Cape Leveque as it made for
better sailing with the tides.
Unfortunately we are not spending much time there just anchoring
as now we need to get to Broome to get the anchor winch fixed as we need to
start looking at getting to Geraldton around mid August to get the weather to
go down the west coast.
(Our first whale
sightings for this season.)
We had a good sail during the day a little motoring at first
but the wind kicked in and we sailed until we neared Eastern Point near Cape
Leveque it was at the shoals there that we spotted our first whales for the
season. We were lucky enough to catch a big eye tuna of 62cm. I say we as first
of all Nancy stated that she catch it. Let me tell you how Nancy catches fish.
After I manually lift the anchor and then get behind the helm and take us out
of the anchorage I ask Nancy to put the trolling line out, which she does, then
when the line rips our with a fish she yells John, John the line. So I go over
and slow the running of the reel then I start hauling it in, Nancy goes on the
helm and turns the boat out of the wind to slow us down, she gets the gear
ready for me sharp knife glove and gaff. After me fighting with the fish for
some time and get it on board, I hang it in a small bin and bleed it. I leave
it for a while then I go to work and cut the two full length fillets and give
them to Nancy to pack and place in the freezer. She tells me that it is just
that she has a mechanical rod winder and that's me.
(We anchored a little
further out than the anchorage listed in the cruising guide, waypoint 0069, we
had calm conditions and the wind in the right direction)
(Cape Leveque lighthouse and campgrounds)
We anchored at a suggested anchorage abouttwo thirds of a mile from the campground, this anchorage was fine for us but we were in very calm conditions I would think it is good for sheltering winds from SW through to E, but if there is any swell it could roll in.
Saturday - 13/07/2013
We left again just after the radio sched and I asked Nancy to set the trolling line as we left and as we turned the point around Cape Leveque we had a fish on the line, unfortunately as I was landing it, it broke free, I should probably word that differently as we had three dolphins hanging around whilst I was trying to haul in the fish so the fish probably got caught anyway.
About 15 minutes later we had another, again a big eye tuna this one stayed on the hook and was a little bigger 81cm. We don't usually fish straight away after getting a fish we usually wait until the first one is just about gone before we try again but considering we will be in port for a week or two we thought we would get another fish if we could.
We do have another problem with fishing here and that is in WA if you catch a fish you are to leave it whole after cleaning it until the day you eat it or part thereof and you must then cut it into 300 mm fillets and leave the skin on so that fisheries can identify it. We have to cut it up into 300mm fillets straight away as we do not have a freezer big enough to fit a fish of the sizes we catch.
We had a great sail down to Beagle Bay, one thing that stands out on the shoreline is the coloured sands there is brilliant white sand for a stretch then it turns red and alternates this way all down the coast.
Beagle Bay indicates pearl leases but all has been removed, talking to fisheries the other day there is only one lot left about half way to Broome and it is well marked. So we have not seen any pearl lease marker since the northern end of Rogers Strait.
(We used the above anchorage rather than go further in and have to sail the additional distance, it is good holding but like a lot of the WA coast the beach shoals out quite a distance)
(There are plenty of places to anchor in this bay, waypoint 0070 was the original place we were heading for but conditions were fair and we elected the above)
Beagle Bay has a few anchorages and we selected the first on the south west end about a mile in from Sandy Point there was another yacht there 'Capers' a monohull, we were a bit tired to go over and socialise and they were probably the same.
The anchorage was good as the good book stated don't go too close to the beach as it has grasses and weed, we anchored a little way out in shell/sand good holding and around 6.4m at low tide. The wind kicked in during the night from the SE but there was little fetch at that time but I would imagine for prolonged periods of SE strong winds it would be better to go deeper into the bay.
Sunday - 14/07/2013
It was intended that we have a rest day at this anchorage but looking at the weather and having some winds today and tomorrow and little after we decided to make a move. The other yacht started to move also. The next anchorage was only 20NMS away as the next day would be 60NMS into Broome.
I manually weighed anchor and after the twenty minutes it took me to retrieve the 60 metres of chainwe hoisted the mainsail and sailed out of the bay and then jibed and then unfurled the headsailand we were off on a good close reach. We had a good sail and arrived at Cape Baskerville at 1355 hours, the other yacht had done the same. We had worked out the other yacht was named 'Capers' and was returning from Bali after being in a race from Fremantle to Bali.
(Cape Baskerville with the sands glowing in the sunset)
The swell from the sea stopped us from going ashore as the waves were breaking quite hard at the beach. We enjoyed an afternoon of relaxation and watched the sunset which we never get tired of, most days they are very different.
(Anchorage at Cape Baskerville offers protection from SE to NE winds, good holding, if going ashore beware of rocks on the shores edge)
(Sunset at Cape Baskerville)
In the later hours of night the SE winds lifted a little and with the SW swell we had a bit of a rock up not uncomfortable to sleep with but the change of motion did wake us and then it took a while to get back to sleep. I got up before light of day and put the kettle on and then started to get the covers rolled. We had to wait until we had some light having to haul the anchor manually it is hard to see unless there is some light and holding a torch, manually hauling and signalling to Nancy to move the boat is a little difficult, can be done if absolutely necessary but let's leave it simple I say.
Monday - 15/07/2013
We motored out of the shallower water and then hoisted the mainsail then unfurled the headsail and again we sailed under good winds at a close reach at times we sailed at 9.8 knots and the slowest was around 6.8 knots until we neared Broome a few hours out we had to change course and the wind was basically on the nose so we motor sailed with the mainsail.
The sail was a delight with the amount of whales that we saw. At one stage Nancy had a fit as she looked out the port side to see a large whales tail disappearing under the port bow. We had been seeing whales since Cape Levequebut not as many as what we saw on this stretch. We had a number of them that came close to the boat and swam under us and there was many more that breached numerous times but in a distance that made it hard to get decent photos. In addition to this we had dolphins not in the same numbers but we had them visit alongside.
(These whales were all different sightings and unfortunately not close)
The other difficulty we had as far as trying to get a decent photo was the fact that we were on a close reach and heading into waves along with a western swell which made our platform for taking photos very difficult.
(HMAS Maitland anchored off Broome)
We motored into the mooring/anchorage area just south of
Cable Beach, the mooring that we have permission to use is the one closest to
the beach and Cable Beach so it was easy to spot and we went straight to it
Nancy picked up the line with the boat hook and I went out to help secure the
(Old lugger now sunset tour boat sailing passed at sunset)
(This is the anchorage area for SE to NE winds which are prominent up to mid August. There are a large number of moorings here but plenty of places to anchor, note that many charts do not show the northern cardinal marker where the reef starts.)
So here we are in Broome on a good secure mooring and my main thoughts now turn to getting the anchor winch electric motor fixed, however, that will have to wait until tomorrow.