Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Port Hedland to Dampier
We were ready at first light and followed 'Banyandah' out of Port Hedland, when I got up at 0530 hours there was one ship already passing us on its way out of port with the four tugs and after we had got out of the port there was one on its way in. We had notified the port authority that we were entering the channel and let them know when we had left it.
There was favourable winds again for the morning and up until mid afternoon and we sailed quite well until then although we could not quite keep up with 'Banyandah' and in the very light winds after lunch the crept away in the end we had to start an engine
It was our plan to sail to Cape Conssigny and because we were sailing so well in the morning Glen called on the radio and suggested we keep going to Depuch Island, we agreed we would follow. Later when they were creeping away from us I called Glen and asked if he was getting some wind that I wasn't, he said no unless they have strong winds they motor sail, they had been doing that all day so I was quite pleased to see that we had been keeping up with them most the day under sail.
(Chart showing track into West Moore Island's bay. Note that when coming around the small reef give it a very wide berth and it is quite shallow close to it we had to change course as we started to run out of water depth. The wreck that is marked on the chart in the anchorage area is no longer there it has rotted away.)
We ended up anchoring just on dark at West Moore Island, it used to be a pearling farm but has closed down, it now has a fisherman's lodge, (West Moore Island Fishing Lodge), the owner was very obliging and offered a mooring there which 'Banyandah' took they did offer it to us but we said no they could take it. It is very protected in the bay behind the island, it may also be worth mentioning that the wreck that is marked on the chart is no longer there as it has totally rotted away.
We had a beer and then dinner and had an early night.
Setting sail again just after first light leaving a very comfortable anchorage of West Moore Island's Bay we headed towards Point Samson one problem we were looking at was a place to anchor and Glen suggested that we may be able to go into the marina there, he had spoken to a bloke in Darwin that came from there, he said he would contact the harbour master when we were closer.
We had a good sail and as we neared Point Samson Glen made contact with the harbour master, the problem was that we had to get there before 1330 hours or we would not get in as there would not be enough water to get in. The entrance is dredged to zero datum so there is only the tide height to get in and out this we could not do so we had to look at another plan.
(Ships loading as we pass Cape Lambert)
(Some of the hardware used for the loading of ships)
We had a discussion and we suggested Port Robinson and so we agreed we would go there so we changed course to round Cape Lambert a loading wharf for iron ore and then headed down to Port Robinson. Charts indicate pearl farm on the way there but these have also been removed. We entered the port following the guide as the water is shallow and there are some reef areas. The shallowest we had was 2.2 metres and this was near low tide.
(Chart showing track and anchorage at Port Robinson, the charted pearling area is not operating)
We dropped anchor and settled down we invited the boys on 'Banyandah' over for sundowners and dinner. We had only met Glen (owner/skipper) before we had not met Nigel. Glen bought over some potatoes and onions saying he never comes empty handed, Nancy told him to take them back but he would not have it. We had a good night and a few laughs not to mention some refreshments.
Nearby is a caravan park which has many caravans parked there are also some caravans and campervans parked on the beach or near the beach, one campervan on top of the hill would have had a great view.
(A room with a view, camper on top of the hill)
(Looking across the water at the gas burning towers at Dampier)
We had a very enjoyable night, two very nice blokes.
Setting sail early again but with light winds we had to motor sail most of the way. We headed to Flying Foam Passage which conjure up many thoughts of racing waters and I believe it can be if you enter at the wrong tide times, we had picked the time of near slack water and had no difficulty whatsoever, it was very calm. The other concern we had was that the passage was choked with pearl farming only enough room for two boats to pass. Well again the pearl farms have gone, there are large boat moorings near Collier Rocks to the edge of the centre of the channel, I did see a light on the near last buoy we passed near where you have to change course to keep in the deeper water.
(This mooring buoy had a light attached and is the one where we had to change course to follow the passage and was one of the last buoys we passed on the way in)
(There are an assortment of mooring buoys in this part of the passage)
(Chart showing our track from Port Robinson to Flying Foam Passage, we had picked the tide right to go through the passage and it was calm all the way)
As we left the passage we enter a massive harbour area and the chart indicates channels to the many different docks, I got the iPad out and checked the AIS on the internet for ship movements, there was a couple of tugs and a large ship going to the salt loading wharf not near us. We called the harbour authority to let them know our intentions and they thanked us for that. We headed across all the channels making sure we stayed out of the restricted circles by the loading docks and continued to the channel that leads to the small boat anchorage near the sailing club which is right at the other end of the harbour.
(Coming to the end of the passage the Dampier infrastructure stands out)
'Banyandah' entering the harbour)
(Entering Dampier harbour, there are many channels marked to the different jetties, they have a turning circle and or a restricted area that we had to stay outside )
(Nigel and Glen concentrating as we pass them in the harbour)
When we arrived we noticed that the anchorage areas was quite full of moorings many of them are used by working boats for the mines and gas and oil rigs, we anchored on the outside edge of these although we could have gone closer in near the beach where Glen went.
(Chart showing anchorage area, looks confusing with the channel markers but it is not confusing although going to the anchorage there is a cardinal marker that was not on the charts)
(Again the anchorage in a closer view)
Once secure we thought we would go ashore and see where things were we wanted to get a few supplies, fuel and water. We went to the Hampton Harbour Boat & Sailing Club where the office was open and spoke with Lyn, a really helpful person, she explained that they only have a small supermarket now with limited supplies as all the big shops have moved to Karratha, diesel fuel and water is available on the dock but ULP fuel is from the Truck Stop or Karratha both quite a distance away.
We headed up to see the supermarket and checked what they had to sell and did the shopping whilst we were there. They also have a bottle shop there and their prices are reasonable not that we needed anything there.
After checking things out we headed back to the boat to get some chores done. I started with a water run taking all our containers ashore which totalled 160 litres, Nancy operated the tap whilst I filled the containers in the dinghy then once back aboard I transferred the water into the starboard tank which near filled it. By the time we did this and had showers it was time to go ashore for dinner.
There is the Mermaid Hotel which has a nice restaurant, although we were told the main bar can become rather rowdy and they have girls come from time to time showing quite a bit of skin, we missed out on that. We had dinner with Glen and Nigel at the restaurant which was very pleasant, when we first arrived at the hotel for drinks then dinner we bumped into the manager and he made us feel really welcome explaining where things were and what's on.
At dinner we discussed what we was going to do we wanted to head out to the Montebello's which is due west about 63NMS sail, Glen and Nigel said they would like to see them also, looking at the weather we were not sure if we could fit it in, my concern was the wind direction when we had to head back to the mainland. After much chatter we decided we would go the plan was for another day in Dampier then leave.
It was unfortunate that the Sailing Club only opens a few nights a week and we were leaving before one of the open nights.
The Sailing Club has a great complex with a double boat ramp with floating docks, a dinghy dock for dinghies less than 3.5 metres opposite this dock is another dock that some of the smaller working boats use, very large tinnies which they use to ship crews out to the larger working boats, this dock has a water tap and hose where you can top up water containers. These docks are well protected with a rock wall around it. Outside this dock is the fuel dock that is very busy, you have to book phone Shirley on 0400 238 724, she is a bit of a character and not backward of telling you off if you do the wrong thing. Diesel prices are quite good at $1.85 per litre same as the service station in Exmouth.
As soon as I was up I went with all the water containers and topped them up and used this on board to do the washing. The sailing club has one washing machine and we knew the boys wanted to use that so we used our own on board. I did the washing and Nancy did the hanging out after that was finished I did another water run which was enough to fill the tanks and have our normal 60 litres reserve.
(This is the Sailing and Boat Club's boat ramps with docks and the dinghy dock on far left and workboat dock on the far right)
(The dinghy dock on the right as you enter the enclosure from the harbour)
(The workboat dock which is opposite the dinghy dock and there is a tap and hose for water at the inside end of the dock, be careful at low tide it gets shallow near the tap)
(Filling the water containers)
(Returning to the boat with the water)
Glen contacted us and said he was organising the fuel run so I asked if he could tag me on the same run and I would meet him there at the awarded time. This he did and we had to go to the dock at 1000 hours, this is when we both got into trouble with Shirley, Glen got told off for organising me to come along I got told off because I did not ring her and give her my details. Actually she was alright but she was pointing out how things should work. We filled our containers and said we needed to return for more so she organised 1400 hours for us.
Later Glen contacted us to tell me that Shirley would be a little later and that he had talked to a local bloke who suggested that we sail out to Enderby Island this afternoon, around 10NMS which would make our trip shorter to the Montebello Islands. So after fuelling up we readied for sailing and set off for the island. Between the port and the island there are a lot of moored barges and working boats some are lit at night some are not. I had a good sail out there until the last mile when we ran out of wind. We had an early night, 'Banyandah' was going to set out at 0200 hours in the morning we decided we would go later.