Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fremantle to Albany via Bunbury

Tuesday - 01/10/2013

We left Fremantle late afternoon and headed over to Garden Island, yes Garden Island WA, many people have heard of Garden Island Sydney as the Naval dockyard well so is the one in WA. Going back many years I can remember this Garden Island being on the drawing board, the big plan was to building the naval dockyard here get it up and running and employ ex-service personnel to do the ships maintenance because they were fed up with the strikes and hold ups from the dockyard workers in Sydney. The intention was to close the Sydney Garden Island down. In the end of the day I suppose  politics played the game and therefore it stayed, not sure if it was related though as Cockatoo Island was closed down as the submarines are now over here.

The we anchored on the NE side of the island and had to have a couple of goes at getting the anchor to set in the sea grass, I have worked out that to set the anchor through the seagrass (our Rocna anchor), is to hold the boat still until the anchor touches the bottom and only let the boat move very slowly back on the anchor, if you pull the boat back too fast the anchor will slide across the top of the seagrass  and will not set. Naturally it does help if you can see the ocean floor and pick an area where the grass is not so heavy but anchoring in late afternoon  this is not always possible. It does not always set the first time a couple of tries maybe required.

I believe there is an article in one of the Cruising Helmsman magazines that have covered this in regard to using modern day anchors and the fisherman's anchor in heavy grassed areas you can have trouble with both.

I had the usual first night out on anchor waking and checking all during the night, the wind had changed to the south which caused some small fetch causing a different noise and movement of the hull which always wakes me. As we had a couple of goes at setting the anchor in heavy grassed seabed I wanted to make sure we were secure which we were. We always set the anchor alarm to ensure if we do drag for some reason we are alerted straight away. Well I think I have mentioned before if we go over our set limit the GPS anchor drag alarm beeps Nancy wakes then she nudges me and tells me the anchor drag alarm has gone off. I then check, most times it is because I have set the alarm distance tight and the tide or wind has turned us 180 degrees and the alarm is triggered, but if we are dragging its all hands on deck and we re-anchor.

Wednesday - 02/10/2013

We set sail before light and headed out through North Channel north of Garden Island, when we cleared the island we headed out to sea to reasonable depths to 30 to 40 metre areas, in shallower depths you tend to get waves breaking or raised as they move through the shallower contours. We had good winds and sailed most of the day, we had to use the engine when mid afternoon when we got the wind on the nose, this happens most afternoons I think it is the usual sea breeze.

We contacted Glen on 'Banyandah' via VHF radio, they had left the marina at 0600 hours this morning which meant at that time we were around 10NMS ahead of them. They had changed their plan they decided they would sail straight to East Point which meant they would be doing two over night sails. We told them we would still be going to Bunbury for the night.

Just before going into Bunbury we contacted Glen to see how they were going, they said they were down to 3 to 4 knots heading straight into the wind, we said we would see them in Albany where we intended to hold up for the bad weather forecasted.

As we entered Bunbury we contacted ACRM (Australian Coastal Radio Monitoring), we had signed on with Sea Rescue in Fremantle and they had passed on our ETA and details to Bunbury. A lady by the name Rae answered and took our details.
(Anchored in Bunbury and a great sunset)
We anchored near the sailing club left of the moored yachts and started to investigate where we could get fuel in the morning, the service station was quite a distance and we wondered if it was possible to dinghy up the waterway which is not that far from the service station. I suggested to Nancy that she contact Rae and ask. Nancy called Rae and then contacted her by phone, Rae said she would check it out with the boys and get back to us. Within a few minutes she rang back and gave us a name and number for  Gavin who is a Sea Rescue volunteer. Nancy rang Gavin and he said meet me with your fuel containers on the beach near the sailing club in an hour. This we did and Gavin drove us to the fuel station and then gave us a tour of Bunbury, after he returned us to the beach I asked if we could give him something for what he had done, his comment was, no nothing, just do the same for someone else sometime. We have met some great people on this trip.

Thursday - 03/10/2013

(Bunbury waterfront in morning light)
(Bunbury Yacht Club)

Our plan was not to rush this morning as we were only going to Quindalup some 37NMS in distance, so we had a relaxing breakfast before heading out. I had sent an email to friends in Busselton to let them know our plans and that we would not be able to catch up, just as we left this morning they contacted me on the phone and told me that East Point was not a comfortable anchorage for the predicted weather, they had contacted a friend in Sea Rescue down there and he said it was not a good anchorage. We contacted 'Banyandah' by phone and they were still north of Leeuwin  doing the same speed, they asked if we had seen the weather update that the wind down there was going to come in a little earlier, we informed them about East Point they said if it is no good they would continue to Albany but would check it out on the way.
(Bunbury from the sea as we head south, the tall white office building is one that Alan Bond built in his hay day)
(Whales near Cape Natraliste)
(Whale taking a dive)

So we checked the weather then decided to go straight through to Albany, so we changed course and headed for Cape Naturaliste which is about 38NMS. The wind was on the nose so I had to run iron sails as well as the rags. As we neared the Cape the wind picked up which happens here each afternoon this slowed us, to make matters worse the wind followed us as we rounded the Cape and strengthened this brought us back to 3-4 knots.
(Sun has gone cold night at sea)

I checked the weather observations and found that half way to Leeuwin and at Leeuwin the winds had changed to west winds so I hoped that this would happen soon. After a few hours the wind changed to west then we were off sailing at 7 to 9 knots. We rounded Cape Leeuwin during Nancy's watch at 0205 hours, this put the wind behind us Nancy had to furl the headsail as it was shadowed by the mainsail. She had a bit of an experience as she rounded Leeuwin there was a cargo ship drifting, hardly moving. This is what they tend to do these days if they are earl to get to a port, these days they are not allowed to anchor at a port until a given time and date so if they are a little early they drift to save fuel.

The seas were very sloppy during the night and day.

Friday - 04/10/2013

The seas and wind continued to build and we had wind speeds around 28 knots  but we moved along quite well, when we neared East Point we called 'Banyandah' to see if they had anchored or moved on. They were at the anchorage and said it was very calm, we still had 20NMS to go before reaching there. We arrived well before dark and dropped the anchor and had a good night sleep. Considering the seas outside the anchorage were around 3 - 4 metres plus and strong winds we had little to show for it at the anchorage. Looking at the weather forecast and wind charts we had decided to try and get to Albany prior to the storm and stronger winds hitting this meant that we had to leave at 0300 hours to get to Albany before 1400 hours. Glen and Nigel thought the BOM weather was not accurate as Buoy-Weather and said they would leave at 0500 hours so we said we would see them in Albany.
(Squalls out at sea and the birds just glide over the waves)
(Lumpy seas as we head into the Southern Ocean)

Saturday - 05/10/2013

By the time we weighed anchor we got underway by 0315 hours we were making good speed to arrive in Albany prior to 1400 hours, however, some 15NMS prior to the entrance to King George Sound we could see the stormy weather chasing us. Nancy got on the net and checked the radar, the front was moving fast and before long we had the initial storm with rain a heavier storm was behind this first storm. As I approached Peak Head the second storm hit and we had white out, we could not see Peak Head and Vancouver Rock which we needed to go between so I veered off and aborted the approach until I could see each land form.

We finally turned into the entrance and the winds had strengthened, as we turned we headed into the wind and we furled the headsail, the main had been reefed before we left, using both engines and the mainsail we made good headway of around 7 knots, as we neared the leads into the harbour the wind strengthened once again up to 37 knots. We were fortunate at one point where the wind backed of just for a few seconds during that time I was able to pull the mainsail down. Bare-poled we headed into the channel and it was slow going having 30 - 33 knots of wind on the nose, the hardest we had was when we got to the end of the channel into the Albany harbour the wind hit at 37 knots and I almost lost steerage, I had to put both engines full ahead to make headway.

I was told by friends that the anchorage near the town jetty was good, admittedly the wind was less there but it was not a good anchorage with W/SW winds, it is only for calm conditions so we headed over towards the yacht club, on the charts the waters there look shallow so we rang Geoff a fellow SICYC member and he told us just to watch the shallow patches but the anchorage would be fine, he said the better anchorage is in Oyster Harbour which is back where we came from  north of King George Sound. We said we would anchor here for the night and may move there tomorrow and thanked him for his help.

The electronic charts were spot on as I steered between the shallow areas and anchored in 2.6 metres of water. The anchorage was very comfortable and there was less wind there. We contacted Banyandah and told them of the conditions, they were 2 hours behind us and copped the main storm coming passed Eclipse Island, the storm had come in 30 minutes early than I figured it would but at least we were in the port when it hit. Banyandah anchored just around from the old Whaling Station in Frenchman's Cove, this is a good anchorage for these conditions but around 6NMS from town and the main harbour.
(Anchored near the sailing club at Albany as the sun is setting)

We had a comfortable night the wind settled down and the waters were calm, we had a nice dinner after a couple of beers.

Sunday - 06/10/2013

It was a nice morning sun shining and calm conditions but is was not going to last as strong winds were predicted late morning.

Whilst having breakfast I checked the internet for information about the marinas here, there are three, one right in town which is a new marina, one in Oyster Harbour, both of these are run by the Department of Transport or Infrastructure, the third one is run by the sailing club.

When I did the Google search for Albany Marinas it came up with a map showing two marinas marked (A) and (B), (A) being the spot where the town marina is, it had a contact number showing it is open seven days a week from 0700 to 1700 hours. At 0715 hours I called the number and asked if this was the right place I was ringing regarding the marina, the fellow said no it is not, but I may be able to help. My first question was about available fuel, he said that there wasn't any fuel dock fuel can be delivered by truck if arranged and asked how much I wanted. When I answered about 100 litres he said I can run you to the fuel station for that. I then asked if he knew how much it cost for the marina for our size boat, he said it's expensive around $60 to $70 per day, I said that's not too bad. He said look if you want to come in he could meet me there at 0900 hours as he needs to be there for a sailing class at 1000 hours. We thought it would be a good idea so we said we would go in and I told him there is another yacht with us would there be room for him, he said there would be. After all that we decided to introduce ourselves, the bloke was Mark McRae who runs the Southern Ocean Sailing School.
(Heading into the marina, Albany township ahead spread on the two hills, Geoff tells the story of us and them on the two hills, he and Ingrid live on the right hill)
(Albany, last night with all the lights on it reminded me of St Georges in Grenada when we arrived in the early hours of dark, it gave the same picture of the two hills covered in lights)
(The wind farm, there are many of these along the coastline)

I contacted Glen on Banyandah and he said he would meet us there. We went into the marina and Mark was there to take our lines, we had a bit of a chat and he loaned me his key to get in and out of the gate, he said the staff from the marina would probably call down and issue us keys and book us in if not contact them tomorrow.

After we were settled we contacted Geoff and Ingrid the only two SICYC members in this town, they said they would meet us for coffee at the market near the marina at 1000 hours. Which we did and what a lovely couple they are, we had met them once before at the Shag Islet weekend a couple of years ago but only to say hello. They both have a great sense of humour, we had a chat and went for a walk and Geoff said he would pick us up the next day and take us on a tour.
(Ingrid, Nancy, Geoff and myself )

We returned on board to do a few chores, then it was sundowner's which went for some considerable time. During our session the manager of the marina called in, Noel came aboard and sat down for a chat, he had come down to check the lights when he noticed two new boats had arrived. It was good to talk to him, he asked us about the different marinas we had been to and their charges. He has fought to bring the charges down here at this marina but he has to deal with the head office in Perth. His main problem is that there are a number of catamaran owners that would like to come in on a permanent basis but if you take a two sided berth which is designed for monohulls you have to pay double at a cost of $5.03 per metre boat length which has been reduced greatly since last year, on the east coast being a catamaran we pay between $60 and $70 per night which is usually 30% higher than a monohull with the exception of Abel Point Marina at Airlie Beach that charge $128 per night we don't go there these days. It was fortunate that we were on the end of the dock therefore we only paid for one berth. The marina and its facilities are very good in fact excellent, they do like most marinas have a seagull problem that crap all over the pontoons but there is not much you can do about that. The fact is probably if the charges were cheaper the marina would be full and that in itself deters the gulls, they tend to hang around where there are no boats. Noel was a very nice bloke and took on board our comments, his wife must have been wondering where he was we kept him talking for some time. Noel said he would have someone call in before we head off at 0900 hours on our tour to issue keys and book us in. Noel was a nice bloke and pleasant to talk to.

Monday - 07/10/2013

We had a visit from a lovely young lady June from the Department of Transport a very pleasant young lady very kind on the eyes too, she was very helpful in organising keys and getting us booked in to the marina, we called in the office to fill out the paperwork, the staff were very friendly and helpful.

The bottom line is if you want to be in town and the conditions are not calm the only real choice is the marina you can just about walk to most places for shopping from there, fuel is a bit distant where you would need some transport to cart containers. The marina amenities are good and simple, through one door you enter two separate toilets, two separate showers and a laundry that has one washing machine and one drier. The sailing club is 9kms from  town and it is a good distance from Oyster Harbour, I do believe that the marina is a little cheaper at these two places.

Geoff picked the four of us up and we went touring via the transport office to fill in the paperwork, then we headed out The Gap and the Natural Bridge, then to the Whaling Station where we spent a good ninety minutes half of that doing the tour. We then went to some of the tourist spots and saw the ship 'Amity' then had lunch at The Earl of Spencer Inn, from there we headed out to some of the lookouts and to Oyster Harbour, we then went to Geoff and Ingrid's home for afternoon tea, Ingrid had been working. Ingrid drove us back to the marina and then we met up with Mark McRae again and he drove us to pick up our fuel and visit our favourite uncle, Dan Murphy to purchase a few essentials. After returning on board Mark sat with us for sundowner's and we picked his brain for the better anchorages along the coast.
(The Gap)
(The Natural Bridge)

(This ship is a whale chaser, now an exhibit at the Whaling Station, the whaling station stopped operations in 1978, not that long ago really and the station is still in good condition and left complete)
(One of the last Sperm Whales to be caught in 1978, it is the only whale with large teeth and can dive great depths to catch giant squid)
(A Blue whale the largest of the whale species)
Mark is a very nice bloke and very helpful as is Geoff and Ingrid, some very nice people.

As I mentioned before that Mark has the sailing school, he loves sailing and likes to promote sailing so if you ever sail or drive into Albany call in and say g'day. His website is below.

Albany History


A Changing Community

For centuries the Menang Aboriginal people occupied the area around Albany.

The Menang people lived in beehive type huts, and created fish traps and hunted outwards according to the seasons. In the early days of settlement, a history of mostly cooperative relations developed between the European  explorers, whalers and traditional owners. Garrison troops and convicts weren't competing for resources or territory, and this relatively peaceful coexistence continued until 1831 when the settlement was handed over to  the Swan River Colony. Local leader  Mokare acted as interpreter  and guide. He showed Major Lockyer walking trails that had been used for generations. Many of these trails have become the roads we now drive on.

As the town grew sheep and cattle decimated  traditional food supplies. When flour handouts stopped during the 1840's, the Menang responded by taking livestock. Settlers retaliated , and from the late 1830's bloodshed occurred on both sides.

Disease took a terrible toll on the indigenous community and the young settlement . In 1860 a P&O Steamer brought scarlet fever to Albany, devastating the Aboriginal population, especially those living close to town.

By the late 1950's many of the Aboriginal people had been moved to missions where they continued to live, excluded from the wider community  for much of the 20th century . People of Aboriginal origin were forbidden to enter any public buildings and Albany became a closed town to the original inhabitants.

Albany was the first non-Aboriginal settlement in Western Australia

By 1833, twenty percent of the town's population was Indian, over the years , people from many other nations also made Albany their home. Before Fremantle Harbour opened in 1900, Albany was the state's main port. For centuries Princess Royal Harbour has been the place for immigration and thoroughfare.

For Edward John Eyre's Aboriginal friend Wylie, King George Sound was a pace to return to. After being taken by ship to Adelaide, Wylie helped Eyre survive the arduous overland trek to Western Australia: Wylie knew to take water from certain leaves and broke the roots of gum trees so they could suck them and quench their thirst .

......he brought in kangaroos, opossums, ducks and swans. He also found yams and roots, and could eat crabs twice as fast as Eyre.

Wylie's service was rewarded  with 'a weekly ration of flour and meat by the government and with £2 and a medal from the Agricultural Society  of Perth: Eyre was awarded the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographic Society  and in 1846 , was mad Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand.

Albany and the ANZAC

It was from Albany that the fleet of ships left with all the troops that went over to Gallipoli, it had the harbour space and it was out of view from most.

Tuesday - 08/10/2013

Our plan is to sail at 0800 hours so we got up early to get organised, went for showers and did some laundry, top the water tanks checked engines and we were off by just after 0800 hours. Banyandah left first but as we started to go out the marina they came back in at first I wondered if they had a problem, but as I saw them heading toward the gate end I realised they had forgotten to drop the key in the locked box. We are heading to Esperance via anchorages.


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