Sunday, September 15, 2013

Abrolhos Islands to Geraldton

Wallabi Group.

Saturday - 31/08/2013

(Pigeon Island with the fisherman's houses and jetties with the sun trying to show through. These houses are only used during seasonal work, however, some fishermen are on the island and go out daily)

(Full view of Pigeon Island)
(Little Pigeon Island and Alcatraz Island just in front)
A very windy day and the waves are crashing out on the reef we are lucky to be where we are. Had a relaxing day not doing very much. Glen and Nigel off 'Banyandah' came over for sundowner's and stayed for dinner. No sooner we had sat down for a nice beer we heard the sound of a large boat, I had seen it coming in and was hoping that the mooring I had picked up was not theirs but just had a feeling it might be, Well it was so we quickly got organised and started the engines and instruments before releasing the mooring and anchoring a little away from where we were. The boat was 'Island Leader II' a charter fishing boat.
('Island Leader' coming in to the anchorage)
(Waves breaking on the reef)
After anchoring we put the covers down and returned to the more important stuff of having a beer followed by a number of red wines, Nancy told the boys they were staying for dinner and she would not accept any argument about it. So the night went on and we had a very good night.
(Chart showing anchorage, waypoint as per chart)
(Chart showing track in, electronic charts were accurate, beware of moorings after passing lateral markers.)
The following website gives information from the Department of Fisheries in relation to what you can do at these islands.
This website gives information about Pigeon Island.
 Wallabi Islands to the Easter Islands

Sunday - 01/09/2013

We thought we would head down to Rat Island today as the high winds had ceased although the seas were still up around the 3 to 4 metres and at sometimes 5 to 6 metres which are the usual run of three waves after six or seven of the smaller ones, however, they were not bad as they were around 12 to 15 seconds apart which means you just go up and down waves a lot.

(Rough seas against the island as we were leaving the passage)
It was only a short distance of 16NMS but this makes tomorrows sailing a little shorter when we head to Geraldton.
As we neared the Easter Island Group we headed towards Rat Island, again this is another island that has houses and jetties for the fishing season and is private property so we cannot go ashore here as like the islands yesterday. 'Banyandah' was ahead of us and they checked out the anchorage near Rat Island but was not happy about it so we headed for the public moorings on the inside of White Bank to the north of Rat Island and 'Banyandah' followed, we both picked up the moorings although later 'Banyandah' let theirs go and anchored because the mooring buoy kept knocking the hull.
As we approached White Bank which is a small white sandy island with reefs all around it I noticed sea lions on the beach so I called Nancy to get her camera. There are five or six on the beach and it was quite funny that after we picked up the mooring they came around our side of the island to see what we were up to then they started romping around and swimming.

(Sea Lions on White Bank)
We did not leave early this morning and arrived at lunch time so after lunch I had to go to work as one of the heads water inlet was blocked and after a couple of hours swearing I finally retrieved the piece of seaweed that was the cause of the problem. These items are not easy to work on because they are in small spaces and below in the bilges.
(Chart showing anchorages and moorings near White Bank and Rat Island, White Bank is the small island just to the north of Rat Island)
The moorings at this place is in very calm waters although you can see the waves crashing on the reef not that far away, around White Bank there are four moorings two on the inside waterway and two on the outside. There are more moorings around Easter Islands placed in strategic protection areas.
We had a quiet night as we will be leaving at first light for Geraldton as the winds and seas abate a little tomorrow. The swell will be up still but there are no wind waves.
(Pleasant sunset near White Bank)

Monday - 02/09/2013

Easter Islands to Geraldton

We slipped the mooring at first light and motored out through the Easter Islands via the Rolland Passage the water in the islands were flat calm and I noticed quite a few moorings for public use through the passage. The islands are very attractive but to go ashore you need written permission from the Fisheries Department in Geraldton and then you are not permitted to go near jetties or dwellings as they are private property.
(Two crosses on the end of Campbell Island)
We noticed a few graves on the islands as we went by these islands having quite a history and makes for some interesting reading, the main topic being that of 'Batavia' that ran aground and what happened to the passengers and crew, and later the 'Zeewijk' which was the last Dutch ship to sail near the west coast as the Dutch has lost many ships of this coast. The following websites tell the stories of both ships a must read.
As we left the East Passage moving away from Easter Islands the swell rolled in but not heavy as the islands tend to protect the waters between here and the mainland.
We were able to sail at a close reach to start with but later as we progressed the wind died and we had to motor sail, the swell was basically behind us a little to the starboard side, height of around 4 metres but around 14 seconds apart so it was not giving us much of a problem.
(These whales surfaced off the starboard beam they continued to play and totally ignored our presence)
As we neared Geraldton I noticed that there were fish traps set and quite a number of them about 4 NMS off the coast. The fish traps have a set of three small round floats two white one orange or green these can cause a problem when night sailing they can be a problem if you pick one up on a propeller.
(The large swell crashing in the shallows near Geraldton Harbour)

(In the channel it was a lot calmer but not without swell, it was the first time I had seen markers like this one actually pivoting and rolling with the waves)
As we neared the leads into Geraldton we could see the waves breaking on the reef each side of the channel, the waves were huge and rolling in. As we entered the channel to the harbour the waves just rolled, 'Banyandah' was about 200 metres in front of us and they would almost completely disappear  behind a rolling wave ahead of us. When we turned starboard to follow the channel into the harbour the rolling waves were on the beam which made us roll a lot but the waves had been reduced in height by them breaking on the reef. We exited the channel just before the main harbour and steered to the anchorage near the sailing club and boat ramp. This anchorage is well protected from the swell as it has the harbour walls and a breakwater. The only time we had a bit of wave action was when the wind came around to the northern sector.
There are two entry channels to the harbour, there is the northern channel , not advisable to use this one in such conditions, if in doubt call the duty pilot he is very helpful, we phoned him from the islands and he even suggested that Monday would be the better day to go in.
(Chart showing the track in the southern channel)
(Chart showing anchorage, a marina berth can be organised through the port authority if there is one available)
The following website is Geraldton Port Authority, if you copy and paste this address then click on the weather tab it will give you the report for Geraldton including wave heights etc.
The anchorage area is not that large and is around 3 metres in depth it is good holding in sandy mud.


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