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.
As I mentioned in my
last post that we left Geraldton at 0930 hours there was a break in the weather
or should I say heavy weather and waves although we knew that we would be
heading into wind of around 5 to 15 knots but over the next 30 hours the winds
were going to drop. This would again be the calm before the storm as we knew
that Tuesday the high winds would be with us once again and we wanted to be
further south and sheltered by this time.
I think I mentioned that we could not do day sailing and
stop over at some of the points we had selected because they do not offer good
shelter and the problem could be getting out of those places if there is high
We have 207NMS to travel working on a 5 knot average makes
it a 41 hour journey making our ETA 0230 hours Tuesday morning into Rottnest
(Nancy soaking up some
sun out of the wind)
Once out to sea I tried to find the Leeuwin Current, this is
similar to the East Coast Current, but unfortunately it was active in August
and not so much now so we were not going to get any extra speed out of that. To
make it a little harder we had the tide against us at times, I had sails up and
used what apparent wind I could to get some extra speed and using the two
engines we motor sailed around the 6.5 to 7 knots.
(Whale passing by)
We did have slight choppy seas which buried the bows now and
again and when this happens it takes your speed but we were getting along
alright. I had noticed quite a few fishing traps along the way and noticed they
were on certain contours of the seabed so we sailed midway between any contours
and this seemed to keep us safe, we hoped this method would be good through the
night hours so as they are not that visible during the dark hours.
(Fish trap floats,
there are usually a good run of these in close proximity of each other)
We practiced the method of getting rest when we could during
the day and kept the regular watches at night, we do 4 hours on 4 hours off as
we find that one has a chance to get some sleep during the 4 hours.
(First night sunset)
Nancy had made a lamb stew in the Shuttle Chef so evening
meals and leftovers would be available when needed.
Monday - 09/09/2013
Things calmed down during the night and this day proved to
be very calm with only the rolling blue swell we also got a little wind change
to ESE which gave us better apparent wind enough for me to only have one iron
sail running to maintain the required speed to get to Rottnest Island before
(Calm before the
(The change is near)
There are still a lot of whales about amongst other sea life
and it probably benefitted us using engines through the night so they could
hear us and get out of the way, hopefully being the operative word.
We was making good time 'Banyandah' was about 6NMS behind us
and we could see Rottnest Island before nightfall in the distance but it would
be dark before we got there.
As we got closer and it got darker the lights of the island
and of Perth and Fremantle and their
suburbs lit the sky and across the water. I had looked at AIS on the internet
for ship movements, there had been two ships pass going north earlier but all
looked clear now.
As I approached Rottnest Island about 3NMS before it I could
see navigation light against the lights of the city, I watched closely through
the binoculars and could see a large tug with towing indication lights plus its
port nav light, I could also see the lights on the barge it was towing and
those I could see both port and stbd lights, I continued on course and kept a
close eye on the tugs lights. After a while I worked out that the tug had set
its course to go around behind me, I started the other engine to get additional
speed to assist in getting out of the way. We dropped sails and motored into
the anchorage area in Thompson Bay using the spot light to see where the
moorings were we anchored in a clear area. A little later 'Banyandah' anchored
We had done quite well as far as time it was 2030 hours when
we dropped the anchor and time for a beer, a beer always tastes really good
once a long sail is complete, we run a dry ship at sea no matter how long the
Just after we had got to bed the change in weather hit and
unfortunately not from the direction that it was predicted, we were due for NW
winds and the winds came in from NE and this bay was open to this, the seas
picked up to a choppy sloppy motion and we were bobbing up and down. The next
thing the anchor drag alarm went off, I had set the alarm short as I often do
on a first night anchorage. I got out of bed and checked the movement on the
GPS, we had travelled the set distance but now seemed to be stationary, we had
changed direction due to the change in wind direction. I put a waypoint where
we were and watched for a while and we weren't moving. I went outside checked
the anchor and checked land marks around us and we seemed to be stationary so I
went back to bed not that we was going to get a great deal of sleep with the
conditions. We had spurts of sleep through the night but that was all.
One thing that Nancy had found when reading about this
Island was the charges that they have, to anchor here overnight there is a
charge of$21.50 per person per night,
if you anchor during the day $16.50 per person.
Mooring buoys and pens cost $21.50 off season, $42 shoulder season and $60 peak
season, we were in shoulder season, I don't think we will be staying here long.
Tuesday - 10/09/2013
Come morning Nancy and I are discussing the options and
deciding it would be better to go to Fremantle Sailing Club Marina if we can
get in earlier than what we had booked. Next thing Glen phoned and said he had
been in contact with Tristan the harbour master of the marina and he said we
can both go into the marina if we wish, Glen said he hoped we did not mind him
asking for us, we said we are very pleased.
(At Rottnest Island,
in daylight you can see the light blue of sand bottom and the dark where there
is sea grass, unfortunately you cannot see this at night, we picked the wrong
We got ready to get going and as we started to pull the
anchor up we found that it was caught under a chain that secured a mooring, it
did not matter what we did we could not free ourselves, Glen on Banyandah came
back and we tried to put a rope around the anchor and tow it our forward but no
luck. The sea was too rough to free dive and probably a little dangerous.
(Picking up the
mooring we are caught on so we can put the chain out without weight on it)
(Chart showing where
(Chart shows where we
were when I shut it down last night and where we were this morning)
(Divers come out on
(Diver on the job)
well it cost $150)
(Watching the diver)
Glen suggested that we put a float on the chain and drop the
lot and come back in calmer times and pick it up and that's what I thought
would be the safer option. We was preparing to do this when Nancy asked if we
should let someone on the island know what we were going to do and I said yes
it would be. When she rang reception we
was put onto the ranger who was most helpful. He said that he had divers there
checking moorings he could give them a call and see what they could do. Well
they came over and untangled us so we could get away with our chain and anchor
at a cost of $150 so we was very lucky for their assistance, we thanked them
and the ranger for their assistance and we made way to Fremantle.
It was about a 10NM sail across to Fremantle and we was
entertained with whales on the journey across, we entered the marina and Glen
and Nigel were there to help tie us up.
(Alana Rose alongside
at Fremantle Sailing Club Marina)
We booked in and we are here for three weeks at this stage.