Middle Persey to Double Island and back to Digby Island

Screenshot_20170831-191802

Screenshot_20170831-191817Today was a relatively uninteresting day as we make our way to Mackay over the next 2 days so as to resupply.  We left fairly early, but were not in a rush as we were going to stop the night at Double Island.  There was not a lot of wind, mostly less than 10 knots, so we motored for the first hour then the sail finally started to fill.  We were heading straight for Double Island about 50km away from Persey, but as the wind came in we deviated off to the south and went south of Digby Island and a bunch of little islands there.

The most exciting thing was a very large pod of dolphins spotted us (about 15 in total) with half being babies, and they made a bee line to the bow of the boat.  They had great fun there for about a minute, but we were a bit fast for them at this point so they dived away down deep only to be seen left in our wake.  There were of course whales around, but not many today.  There was virtually no boats.

Anyway, after a lot of very light sailing we managed to get to Double Island around 1400.  But when we went to the anchorage it was fairly deep and small, and there were lots of rocks and coral that the anchor was likely to drag over.  So we decided to look for another.  Well the only suitable one was back at Digby Island, which was 13km back towards Percey.  So we bit the bullet and went back.  However, as you can see by the pictures, it is a magnificent place, albeit, there is a boat wrecked here, so maybe not so magnificent somedays.

So that is where we are tonight.  All by ourselves.  VMR Mackay knows we are here and we have internet connection, so I will complete downloading all the pictures later tonight.

Tomorrow we will head for Mackay, about 85km away.  Winds are ok, so should make it, although if we had to motor all the way, we wouldn’t have enough fuel.  So let’s hope the winds are as they predict.

Allan and Hilary.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Leaving West Bay Middle Percey
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Approaching Digby Island the first time
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I wonder why they call this Bluff Island???
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Leaving Digby Island, only to return later
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Anchored at Digby Island, with a very good reminder of what can happen.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Anchored at Digby
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Interesting birds
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Another shot of the anchorage at Digby
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sort of what it looks like, looking north at Digby
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The beach at Digby
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
An pretty shot at Digbe
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sunset at Digby
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The colour of the water at Digby looking towards the anchor
Advertisements

Middle Persey all today

Today was a rest day and we decided to walk up to the top of the very large hill at the pinnacle of the island.  On the way was the Tree House.  A unique structure which clearly is fashioned on some third his world slum, but is unique in character and quiet fitting.  Inside the Tree House was an appropriate person, who was great to talk too.  He knew a lot ab out the island and its history. We spent a good hour with him and enjoyed company a lot.  He also had a really big dog, which Hilary adored.  He got scratched and patted for an hour.

We then caught up with some younger people (25-35’s) who were making a journey up the coast under the guidance of an old captain (same age as us…).  He had sailed around the world a couple of times.  The take away comment was the wind is only in the correct direction for sailing 3% of the time.  Mmm, seems consistent with my observations.  Anyway, we set forth to climb to the top of the island which was a couple of hundred metres high, so not trivial.  We had a choice between the short track and the long track and chose the short one.  So all 8 of us went along the track, across the swamps (gee I wonder if there are crocs in there), then up the ridges and onward and upward.  Seems we were walking wih the the league of nations as they were from all over the world, so it was interesting  to hear there stories.

We got to the old homestead and greeted by a very charming lady, who clearly looks after ever who may venture up the hill.  She showed us a lot of the history, and gave us lime juice cordial.  they have a lot of limes grown there.  Also mangoes, goats, and lots of other stuff.  We were there for a long time discussing just about every facet of life.  We could also get the internet up there, so we managed to get the weather forecast, which had changed to being something pretty good for the next couple of days.  also managed to ring home, albeit, was pretty scratchy.

Then back to the boat for a late lunch, which got even later as Hilary made us bread.  And boy was it nice.  It took a while to make, but well worth having lunch at 1500.

We were informed everybody was going to the beach at sundown.  Well by now there were well over 12 boats in the little harbour, and some of the people we had meet prior were also there.  So we all ended up on the beach till well after sundown discussing life, sea and weather.  I am sure they are all somehow connected.  Oh, and I forgot, the horrors of diesel engines seemed to fill a few topics.  If we thought our troubles were significant, then these conversations made our trip look like it was a great unexciting adventure!

P.S. Pictures later as we are currently approaching Digbi island, and it looks pretty big, so I better make sure we don’t run into it.

Allan and Hilary

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Looking south from Middle Percey towards South Percey
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The homestead on top of the hill at Middle Percey
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The lagoon that enters West Bay at Middle Percey at low tide. There was a 3.5m tide on this day.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Interesting poem found along the track home to West bay

Pearl Bay to Middle Percy Island

Screenshot_20170829-171451

Screenshot_20170829-171428
The last part of the journey, with Hexam island at the bottom

Today started with a very nice sunrise.  The saying “red sunset at night, captain, delight, red sunrise in the morning, captains warning” did not escape me, but the last forecast we had said that there was to be some wind, but nothing more than 15 Knots. We could not get a forecast as the hills around us blocked at all VHF as well as mobile phone coverage.

We set off and had the sails up by 0630, as we were trying to make the Persey Islands, which were almost 90km away, which for us is a far distance.  It was indeed an interesting departure from Pearl Bay as there was fog rolling over the mountains that surrounded us Yesterday I also lubricated all the sail tracks and all the pulleys, so things went up really nicely.  So we were off.  The wind was from the SW and we covered the first 20km in good time.  Then as it turned to be dead square behind us, we found that to keep the sails all full, we had to turn more and more to the west. This was not a big deal, because you can see from the map that there was no land there, so off we went.

We had called into the coast guard at Thirsty Sound, after a lot of difficulty. We had provided them with our destination, but as the wend kept pushing us further west, we decided to change the destination to the Duke Island, so with a sketchy report back to the coast guard, we finally got the message through about the change of destination.  Then half way to the Duke Islands, we were being pushed so hard to the West, almost South of West, that we decided it was actually easier to go to the Percey Islands.  We could not raise the coast guard again, so we pressed forward.

The only issues we had was that the wind was really starting to pick up, and some of the gusts were over 15knots, so this meant we needed to reef the mainsail.  No real issues with that and then the boat was a fair bit more controllable and the autopilot was having less difficulty.  No the issue we had (which was not an issue) was that Hexum Island was in our way.  Moreover, the group of islands surrounding Hexum, where to be navigated around.  This was actually good, as I realized as the breeze was picking up that they would also provide some protection for a bit, and a bit of a rest from the waves which were getting to be more than 1.5m in parts.  I could see that there was a narrow but deep channel between all the islands, so we lined ourselves up for that.  It was a really nice sail between all the islands, but I have to say, that the wind against tide as we entered the straight was a tad annoying.  The autopilot was not up to it, so we manually steered this part.  I nearly had forgotten how too!  It soon came back.

After leaving these islands, the wind calmed down a bit and we arrived at Persey in fine style, about 30 minutes earlier than we had hoped with plenty of wind and travelling in excess of 10 knots, over relatively calm seas.  We did 110km in 9 hrs, which wasn’t bad.

Along the way we saw many many whales, all jumping or flapping their flippers.  It was rare that we didn’t have sight of one at all times.  And that is just the ones we could see.

We are currently at middle Persey Island, which has a long history of farming and now catering for passing yachts.   It is also a little amazing that most of these islands, despite being over 100km off the coast were all inhabited by aboriginals.  What drove people to make the crossing is a bit interesting, but I really can’t understand it from a resources point of view.  It’s not like there is a lot of fresh water here.  It was probably a social issue which inevitably made people to make the journey and settle here.  There is a shack with stuff that passing boats have put in it.  It is sort of like a museum, and goes right back to the mid 60’s, so well over 50 years.  I’ll get some pictures tomorrow. Today we are just content to have a quick look at the beach and watch a movie (one of our very few we bought on a usb stick).

P.S.  We are currently 30km NE of Middle Persey Island making our way to Double Island.  I have very limited network reception, but seem to be able to post the text.  So I have given up on pictures for now.  As we get closer to civilization I will post the pictures.  So check later on yesterdays as well as this, the next and today’s blog for pictures at a later time today hopefully.

Allan and Hilary.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fog rolling over the hills at Pearl bay
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sunrise as we leave Pearl Bay
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Looking back into Pearl Bay as we leave to the North
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Cape Townsend
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Cape Townsend
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Approaching Hexham and Steep Islands
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
It loos like a monster (Steep Island I think)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Working our way through the passage between Hexham and Steep
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Approaching Middle Percey
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Middle Percey with famous A frame house with many boats signatures
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Looking south in West Bay Middle Persey
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
West Bay Middle Persey
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sunset in West bay Middle Percey
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Very late sunset at Middle Percey

North Keppel to Pearl Bay

Screenshot_20170828-170049Screenshot_20170828-170241Screenshot_20170828-170322

Today was an absolutely great day!  We started around 0630 bound for Pearl Bay, which was about 80km away.  When we got up we were greeted with a 10knot SW wind, which we quickly took advantage of as the forecast was saying lighter winds later on.  So we were going before breakfast and had that on the run.  Well a number of boats had similar ideas and all day we could see them coming and going.  I recon we nearly saw 10 boats today, which is about 10 more than usual.

Also whales were everywhere.  They were breaching and flapping their flippers everywhere.  I lost count of how many we saw, but it was a lot more than boats.  There was a lot of brown stuff in the water around them.  Hilary recons it is whale poo, but they must have a lot of diarrhea, as there is an awful lot of it.  I suspect it comes from the coral.

We travelled fairly close to the coast most of the way, mainly because that is where the wind was, but it resulted in some pretty special scenery.  This area is a part of the Qld coast that is pretty well deserted for over 200km.  There are no real roads in the area, and as a result, it is mostly untouched.  You go from one amazing beach to the next.  And with the temperature around 28C, it was sort of pretty nice.

The wind went through various stages of moving around from the SW to the SE and in the end we had about 10 knots and we were travelling at 10 knots.  When the wind was lighter, we saw lots of boats catching us, but resigned ourselves to the fact that if the boat has a tail wind, then it really needs a different sail if it is to move very fast, so a lot of boats tend to catch us with this type of wind.  They really catch you when they use their engines too, which as they caught us we realized they were doing.  However, when the wind picked up and went to the SE, I have to say we left them many miles behind.

Our top speed today was 17.5km/hr and we travelled 80km in 8 hours.

Pearl Bay is also pretty remote.  We managed to just get back to the Marine Recuse at Yeppon, over 70km away.  They made comment that we were very clear, which was pleasing considering we went to a lot (and I mean a lot) of effort to increase our gain on the antenna.  However, once we got right inside Pearl Bay, you are surrounded by pretty big hills, and you don’t have any reception.

We were also doing well with the internet as well until the bay.  Hilary was talking to her brother just before we arrived.  So that is why this post has not been posted on the day.

As for tomorrow, well from what I remember of the weather we will be trying to make the Percy Islands, but we will see as we would need another day like today, or better.

More to come as we are now back in range, but very limited.

Allan and Hilary.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pearl Bay
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pearl bay looking north
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pearl Bay is also a military training area.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Another shot of Pearl bay
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pearl Bay Southern entrance
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Coming into the southern entrance of Pearl Bay
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Anchored at Pearl bay
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pearl Bay rocks
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
More of Pearl Bay
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A bottle Brush
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Leaving Nth Keppel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Near Port Clinton
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Crusing along north of Nth Keppel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Flying the flags
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Port Clinton entrance
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Another whale
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A friend who stayed with us for a long while
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sunrise over Nth Keppel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
On the way to Portr Clinton
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Another whale
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
that bird again at Nth Keppel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sunset at Pearl bay

Great Keppel to North Keppel

Screenshot_20170827-135012

Well despite the predictions of where we were off to today, the weather had differnt ideas to the forecast.  We were greeted this morning with plenty of rain.  So much so that it washed the salt off the boat.  But there was some wind, well at least when the rain was about.  So off we set to pearl bay.  As we were packing up to leave we noticed another boat, Symphony, which we shared a great time with last night, had already left and was on its way past Nth Keppel Island. Anyway, we set forth and immediately got rained upon, and to such an extent we couldn’t see any land.  The wind was first from the SW, then from the SE, then from the NE, then from the SW. You can see from our track that we were all over the place.  the one thing certain was the swell was from the SE and about 1m plus, so it was a little uncomfortable. As we galantly tried to move north in the rain, we saw another boat come out of gloom moving south, and after a bit of texting, we ascertained in was Symphony.  Basically they had had enough of the slop rain and general lack of wind.

As we were contemplating what to do the wind shifted back to the SW, so we decided we would go to North Keppel and have morning tea there and see what the weather was going to do.  The anchorage w as suppose to be not so good, but I suppose that is for a monohull, as we could get in pretty close and we ended up with a great spot, which was a beach I collected circular shells on 50 years ago.  So we had morning tea, then we decided to stay for the night as the wind was virtually non-existent.

We went to the beach, and went for a short walk over the island.  We meet a bunch of people who were at the education centre that has been set up on the island by the State Government, for environmental purposes.  It was located at the spot that I had gone to 50 years ago, which in those days were a bunch of fisherman huts.  We manged to see a photograph of those old huts, which was on one of the history signs around the place.

After we got back to the boat we didn’t do much for an hour or so, but we did manage to replace the D-shackle that we lost from the jib.  On the island we also spotted a shower, so I went over and had one.  It was cold, and I mean cold.  The only difference between having a shower on the boat and at this place was I wasn’t using our water.

Then when I got back, I decided to try fishing again.  Well it was looking a bit grim, but I took the dingy across to some of the rocky shoreline.  Well after 30 minutes I had caught nothing, a seagull pinched my bait as I was concentrating on fishing, actually the very close rocks, so I was about to come back in disgrace again, but gave it another go, further out towards  surf.  Well I dropped the line and instantly got a fish.  It was pretty big, but I had no idea what it was, so I bought it back to the boat, rang somebody that should know and told me it was a mother in law bream.  Something you give to your mother in law.  Well we decided to have it for tea, so I filleted it on the back of the boat with plenty of blood and guts everywhere, and managed to get a couple of fillets off it.  We cooked them up and they were ok, but must admit nothing to rave about.

So that is where we are and hopefully we will move north tomorrow.

Allan and Hilary

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Another rain shower coming
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Steering in the rain
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The education centre on Nth Keppel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Resort on Pumpkin Island
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The history of the island
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The original huts that I visited 50 years ago
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The beach we walked to on the southern side of Nth Kepel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
same beach
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The walk back from the beach to the boat
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The education centre
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Walking back to the dingy on Nth Keppel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Trying to get a feed off a fish
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The sunset

Still at Keppel

Today was a rest day so not a lot to report.  We went for a dingy tour of the local creek and along the coast a bit.  It is blowing 15-20knots, but apart from a bit of a swell coming around the corner, it is fairly calm.  In fact, we have had many many days over at Moreton Island which have been a lot worse.

The creek was interesting, as we worked our way up through the mangroves until they were brushing both sides of the dingy, which was interesting as the tide was high so there was plenty of water.  Saw plenty of fish, but no whales today.

We did some basic maintenance on the outboard, but it was all good.  Unfortunately, the fuel line fell off when I took the cowl off, which I didn’t notice, which of course had consequences later, whilst up another tributary from the creek.  We ended up holding onto the mangroves as I determined what the issue was.  The superior force never ceases to amaze me, for as quick as it stopped, the suggestion was it might be fuel issues.  So there is absolute proof.  Another prediction of 100% accuracy.  After the fuel line was plugged back in, I could see the sense of satisfaction from the superior force, and even commented something like “I told you it was”.  You just can’t compete with that, but moreover, a valuable assert!

Well nothing else much happened today, but it looks like we have a break in the weather tomorrow, in which case we will be heading for Pearl Bay with an alternative of Port Clinton.  We are not sure of the reception there or for a couple of days.  But the plan is to move north to the Percy Islands, with alternatives at the north of Townsend Island as well as Island Head Creek.  From the Percy Islands we will head for Mackay, via one of the islands in between.  So we should be guaranteed back in contact in about 3 days at the earliest, but if the weather closes in we won’t be moving.  It should be noted that the weather is variable right now.

Allan and Hilary.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Getting close and personal with the mangroves
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Getting a bit narrow here
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The way home looks a lot better
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Zooming along in the mangroves
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The lovely spot we had to fix the engine fuel issue
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Maintaining the engine in the creek near where we anchored
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The local area sign, if you can read it
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Here we are at the entrance to the creek
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Somebody who has been here a while. I think the wire in the picture held down by a very sophisticated weight is for his HF radio. Yes somebody lives here, probably waiting for the next cyclone.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Just a pretty picture
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We went further afield in the dingy until the waves got a bit exciting, but another pretty bay was here too.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
same creek

Walking over Great Keppel

Screenshot_20170825-175222

Last night, as predicted, the wind did all sorts of things, but mainly blow and it rained about 5 drops.  It got up to 25knots at one stage, but we were pretty well protected.  It wasn’t the greatest of spots, but we still slept ok, albeit I was up every 3 hrs making sure that we were still where we should be.  We have an alarm which goes off if we drift more than 50 metres from where we drop the anchor, which is really assuring, especially if you remember to set it. Otherwise if you think you have set it, it is still reassuring as it never goes off, but maybe it is not as useful.  We also have a good anchor.  For those that are sailors, it is a Rockna.  It works really well.  Last night was a good example as we did not have a lot of room and we decided to limit the chain we put out, also noting the tides were about 4mtres in variation, we still needed a fair bit.  But it all worked ok.

After breakfast, there was the next thing to do, which was to decide what to do.  We decided to plan to have a planning meeting for the day (It is a technique used by a number of people who I am acquitted with to delay making any decision, but still look like they are doing something important).  Anyway, we decided to make the plan when the wind died down.

At around 1000, the wind did die down, as predicted by the BOM, and we decided that we should move to another bay as the BOM predicted a few days of rather strong SE winds.  So we up anchored, and motored for 30 minutes around the corner.  At which point we decided to go for a little walk.  Well we got ourselves together with water, shoes and cameras, and a bit of food, as it was only to be a short walk, and jumped into the dingy, and set forth towards the beach.  I then asked, my faithful assistant where the track was on this 2km long beach, who looked at me very blankly with a look which indicated that I should know.  But a suggestion was forthcoming and it was indicated that the force had told her to go to that dead tree about 1km away.  I must admit, the brief scan of the map that I had made would indicate of the two directions I could choose, this was the preferred direction.  So throttle up, up on the plane, and off to the dead tree we went.  Well when one is confronted with such superior force direction as I was provided with, one has to concede to the fact and acknowledge that on the full length of this beach, the track was indeed next to the dead tree.

We did have a map, as I took a picture of it on my phone, but in the dingy it is impossible to view, especially if you want your phone to work next time you turn it on.  So, estimated distance for the complete trip by the greater force was 3km.  Unfortunately, the greater force is not actually very good at estimating distance.  But off we trudged, through low lying scrub, of absolute no interest what so ever, but it was nice and cool, around 25C.  The track was a little unclear but the weak force I possessed, assisted with the map, got us along the correct route, even if it was in the reverse direction to that the greater force had indicated we should go.  Unfortunately, this was a little problem which we would later understand we possibly should have rectified.

We got to the old homestead and took a few pictures.  You will see the homestead is probably not what it used to be, which is not exactly something you would see in those home building project programs you get on the ABC.  Notwithstanding, it wasn’t going to be (standing) for long by the look of it.  It looks like it is still used to some extent as there were a lot of goats around, mostly in a big paddock, but later we found them everywhere.

Upon getting to a very vague intersection, marked by a bit of cloth in a tree, we saw the main track went to Clam Bay, which was just a “relatively short” deviation off the intended track.  As it was early, we decided to follow that.  We saw a few peacocks, goats and walked through many trees and scrub.  We eventually got to a lookout of the bay and looking at the path down we decided that we didn’t like clams anyway and had most of our water and snacks, and turned back.  It was a little bit longer than intended, which was starting to indicate a scale may be a bit wrong.

We found the markers in the tree and off we went to the lookout.  Guess what, lookouts are located on tops of hills, and we followed what was a real goat track up to the top.  The superior force was moaning about the climb a little, but the views were pretty good along the way.  We saw where we came from yesterday and of course we saw a whale in the water below.  At this point I think it was discussed that if we had know it was this long a walk, we would never had done Clam Bay, which it was sort of pointed out that if we had gone the correct way around the circuit, we wouldn’t have…

We got to the top and what a view.  You can in almost all directions and it was just so quiet.  It was very much worth it.  So with a few pictures under our belts, we set off to get back to the boat.  Well that went well, kind of, except for the minor point that there was a second lookout on the path home, which unfortunately meant we had to climb another hill.  At this point we were running low on water and the track was a tad rough.  But we found a sign post which indicated the direction of the Resort.  This wasn’t received by others as well as I received it, as there was the assumption by others that we had to walk all the way back to the Resort to get to the boat, which was a long way from the resort.  But the lesser Force had the map, and knew the way home.  Well we got there.

Got back to the dingy, which by this this time was high and dry, then went back to the boat.  In all we traveled 10km, and according to my health app climber 60 stories of a building.

We fixed a few things up on the boat, read a bit, and had dinner.  Currently, the wind is howling through the rigging.  Seems the BOM is correct again.  Tomorrow will be a rest day as we don’t intend to move whilst the wind is blowing over 25knots.

Anyway, here are a bunch of pictures.  Allan and Hilary

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Today’s trek
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The old resort at GK as we departed
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Where we had dinner last night
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Looks like a good place to anchor
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The homestead
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The wind blows from right to left
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Some goats
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
part of the better track
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A peacock in the bush
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Clam Bay
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Gave up about here
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
There was some very unique sign posts along the way. If you were looking for birds, you would trip over it.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
More peacocks (actually the same ones, just on the way back from Clam Bay)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The track got worse
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
But the view was pretty good, especially to the south. The far point is Capricorn Pt which we passed yesterday and we sailed across is this expanse of water yesterday.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The lesser force
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The superior force
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Panorama from the top looking South
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Clam Bay from the top
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Monkey Pt. Not a bad looking beach
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Looking West towards Yepoon
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We are parked too the left of the creek entrance
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Looking north
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The track back
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Its a long way to walk to the kids park
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A big bird. Maybe a sea eagle, but somebody who knows can tell me what it really is.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Our boat is the one on the far left
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Eventually got back to the dingy and the boat after 3 hrs
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Same shot, but a panorama.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I am not sure the new ornament really complements the motor. He probably made a mess of it as well.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sunset for the day

Farmers Point to Great Keppel Island

After consulting the weather forecast, it was clear that tonight the wind was going to go from NE to West to SE in about 5 hrs, so there was really no where that was going to be much good to anchor tonight.  Worse still the winds are predicted to be pretty strong for the next 4 days, so we decided to get to Great Keppel Island to allow us to do something for the next 4 days.  We have chosen an anchorage which will be ok, but a little rugged around 0400 tomorrow.  So we are preparing ourselves for an early morning, in case we have to move.

So today we left around 0630 and we knew the wind would be right on the nose for the next 30km north.  As we had a  big day to make something reasonable we decided to  motor north to Cape Capricorn, where we should have been able to tack off to Great Keppel.  So of we motored, leaving our nice anchorage, through the rocks and very narrow channel to the north of Shaw island, then once clear of the last set of rocks, we up the revs on the engine to 2400rpm and bashed our way through about 1.5m of seas, which were all over the place, a bit like a washing machine.  But it all went pretty well, and 3hrs later we were at Cape Capricorn.  So named by Capt. Cook because it lies on the Tropic of Capricorn.  Anyway, as we crossed into the tropics, it naturally got warmer, so off with the jumpers and up with the sails to sail off the Keppel.  Well, of course it didn’t quite go all like that as the halyard, which is the rope which halls up the sail got twisted around a light on the front of the mast, and would not budge.  So we undid the halyard from the sail (in 1.5m seas) and tied a rope onto it so that we hopefully could hall the halyard up the mast without the sail and free it.  Well it didn’t.  Anyway, I pulled it on harder, and with the mast wobbling all over the place it freed itself, and we used the rope to pull the halyard back down again.  So problem solved, sail up and away we went, for a good 20 minutes, then the wind god woke up and realised we had a good wind direction, so he soon stopped that and turned it to be right on the nose again.  Ha, we though, well we can handle that as we really want to go north anyway, so we went nearly due north, and of course the God of land placed a few confronting islands in our path, but no problems we dodged those, then the frustrated gods decided enough was enough, and stopped all the wind completely and set the tide against us (not sure about the last bit with the tide, but it felt like it).

So as we had motors we started them up and set forth directly to Keppel.  Lots of whales and dolphins could be seen as the waves disappeared and it nearly glassed out.  We had to refuel in the middle of nowhere, but that just added to the excitement.  I could tell you that we pulled up to a petrol station, but that would be so far from the truth, you would never believe it.  We used some of our fuel from the cans we were carrying.

I have to say that the Qld coast is pretty remote in parts.  There is a surprising amount of very virgin coast line, and I mean a lot.  As we progressed up Curtis Island to Cape Capricorn, we saw nobody for about 50km and the coastline was very pretty in parts, with rugged headlands and coloured sands in many places.

So back to the journey, we were progressing north of Cape Capricorn on the motors and then after reviewing the BOM site out of desperation, the forecast clearly indicated at 1300 that the wind was to come in from the NE at 10-15knots.  It was 1250, so not looking likely, but I have to say, at 1300 nearly on the dot, 10knots of wind appeared and we took off for Keppel.  We could not complain from here on in as it was great sail.  We did about 85km today in 9 hours.

Upon arriving we had a look at the old resort.  Those of you who remember the conference we held there in 1995, will be disappointed to know that the resort has shut down and has a fence around it.  The island is still as pretty as it was.  Anyway, we had a good look around and then took the dingy to the other side of the island to visit another boat we had meet up along the way to see what they were going to do with the weather that was coming.  Nobody had any real solution so we have what we have.

We also decide to treat ourselves and go out for dinner.  We had a great meal at the only real place left on the island that sells food.  Then we decided to leave and we went to get the torch, and realised we had left it on the boat.  So in the pitch black, and I mean pitch black, we went looking for the dingy.  After  a bit of effort and stumbling around on the very large beach, we found a dingy and gladly it was ours.  We then set out in the gloom looking for our boat, and eventually found that too.

So a big day, and potentially a bit of a long night.  Tomorrow we will stay at the island, but might change bay, as the winds freshen from the SE.

Allan and Hilary.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Leaving Shaw island and the rocky northern entrance
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Some outlying towns on Curtis Island, which are serviced by a barge
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
If you look on the map display you can see were are going in the correct direction, but if you look at the wind indicator, you can see the wind is on the nose
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Island just east of Cape Capricorn. We decided to sail between it and Curtis Island, which was some fun.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Cape Capricorn
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Just north of Cape Capricorn, the islands that the gods put in our way after they changed the wind direction
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
No wind on the way to Keppel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Good wind on the way to Keppel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Hilary on the way to Keppel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Island east of Keppel, in the far distance
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Arriving at the south of Great Keppel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Resort and bay at Great Keppel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Anchorage at Keppel Island
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We found this guy on the “golf course” on Keppel, at hole 9.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Parked at Great Keppel Island
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sunset from Keppel

Pancake Creek to Farmers Pt (Gladstone)

 

Screenshot_20170823-161513

A day where we had wind against us from 0600 to 1300, then we had great wind.  If you look at the map, you can see we had lots of tacking the morning and to make things a little more frustrating, there was not a lot of wind and as we went really wide, we ended up in a worse situation with the wind shifting so much that we looked like we were going to have to go back to where we started the tack.  A very frustrating thought!  Especially as we went so wide to both miss the harbour entrance and secondly make landfall at the top of Facing island, all in one nice tack.  Well, it didn’t exactly work out to plan.  When we got off the coast about 25km, the wind changed direction and we were forced into the harbour.  A few growns from the crew and captain about how we had not paid sufficient attention to some sea gods, but I also forgot about the tide god.  He was against us too…

Anyway, we had to deal with it, and at one stage considered going back to Pancake creek.  But we looked at the BOM, and it was telling us we had wind which was 90deg to what we were measuring, well at least that was predicted for in 10 minutes time. Well, a few disgruntle remarks about what did the BOM know, and the wind changed, by 90 degrees.  You can see it on the charts below.  And furthermore it came in at 10-15knots, which was great, and we could point all the way to the end of Facing Island, no problems!

Except one.  Seems Gladstone is a pretty busy port, actually probably one of the busiest in Australia.  The fact that we could see 20 large ships did not exactly miss me, but it soon became apparent we probably should have paid a little more attention to the wind gods, as we had to sail right the middle of them ALL.  Of course there was always one in the way, but we did a good job at getting around them, bar possibly one. On exiting from behind one, we saw another, which was no big deal, but then we realised it was moving.  The rest were anchored.  Now that was a new issue we had not dealt with.  So we got onto the captain and asked his intentions, which he replied in Chinese English, something about a mooring point E7, which meant sweet bugger all to me and  he was getting close enough to see the captain.  So I told him that I would alter course to run parallel with him, as I could see on the map that he was probably heading for a point just in front of me, so that we did and we had so much wind by this stage that we outpaced him anyway.  He thanked me for not cutting him off, but I suspect that was pure politeness.  He probably would have mowed me down if I hadn’t altered course.

Apart from that fun, the day had little highlights, though the coast line was nice to look at with some pretty high mountains. Saw multiple whales, close up and in the distance, as well as dolphins and a few large birds.  Autopilot did well all day as well, except when we had a 90 deg wind shift.  We did 91km today, but only traveled 56km as the crow flys, most of which we did in the last 3 hrs.

Screenshot_20170823-161537
The 90 degree corner on the east sided is the wind shift, where as the dog leg is the ship encounter
Screenshot_20170823-161639
We came in over the northern end of facing island, and as you can see it is a little narrow and actually very unforgiving with rocks everywhere
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Gladstone refinery from were we are moored
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Farmers point, where we are currently moored
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Locking south along Facing Island
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Picking our way through the larger ships. There were 20 moored here.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
More ships
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The morning sail was a little calm
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A fellow sailor, wonder if he did any better.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Looking back into Pancake Creek on departure

1770 to Pancake Creek

Screenshot_20170822-184235Today starts with an adventure last night.  It turns out that Round Hill creek which is the creek that runs past 1770, is not your mild manner trickling little brook.  Its a raging torrent when the tide is flowing out.  I estimated that the current was 4knots, but they tell me that it is more like 6 knots.  I had a bow wave coming off the bows for a good portion of the night.  It all started around 1000, when we could here a singing noise coming from the anchor.  I found the cause, but it was apparent then that the current was pretty strong.  Well it turns out that this was just the start.  Anyway, I stopped the singing noise and went back to bed with one eye open.  The noise came back again so I got up and had another look.  At this point the neighbouring boat was starting to alarm me as it looked like I could see the scratches on it, as well as the insects trying to hold on in the breeze, well gale, that was also  having fun with us.  I realised that the anchor was hanging tight, and did some quick sums which indicated that the chain was probably loaded to 300kg, which was well below its limits, so the reason we were getting close to the neighbour was basically because we were close to begin with, but also we were both sailing up our anchor line.  A simple solution to this was to change the direction of the rudders and we very quickly left his insects to himself.  I have to say, I had some much confidence in ours and everybody’s anchoring, that I decided to stay up for a bit.  I have to say the stars were great for about 30 minutes, then there was less amazement associated with them.  So whilst out in the cockpit, all rugged up in a couple of blankets, I fell a sleep.  After a while I realised that sleeping outside was really for those insects, so I went inside and waited till the raging torrent stopped, in the outward direction.  It was replaced with a less dramatic one when the tide came in, so I got a few hours sleep.

Anyway after consulting the weather we decided to make a short days trip to Pancake creek, which is just north of Bustard Head.  The wind was of course coming directly from the place we wanted to go, but nothing new there…  We put up the sails and a D shackle fell off and into the drink.  It was holding the bottom part of the gibe down.  Sort of important.  The seas were a bit annoying as they were all over the place and a little rough as a result of last nights weather.  So I just lashed it down for now.  I will see what I can do with that later.

But we then made a reasonably large tack off the coast.  Saw a few whales jumping around.  We lined up Bustard head pretty well, but there is an inner and an out rock to get around, so I decided to go between the two as there was plenty of water and I wasn’t going to be pushed up against the headland.  Well as we made our final tack, I spotted what I thought was the inner rock, but as we got closer it was clear it wasn’t as it did not line up.  It was also clear it wasn’t the outer rock, so it was a little perplexing to say the least, anyway I eventually zoomed in on the map and there hidden in the resolution was mention of the middle rock!  Which by the way we were heading for, so a bit of good sailing later (as there was sufficient lacking of it at this stage) we managed to just get around it.  The pictures did not need a zoom.

Then into Pancake creek, with no dramas.  Anchored up, all good and deep.  Another fastish running creek but all ok.  We decided to go for a walk to the light house on Bustard Head.  It was a great walk, 7km in total.  No need to describe it all as the pictures do it.

As for the autopilot, it all works now, at least for the time being.  We used it very successfully both yesterday and today.  Even used it to nearly hit the rocks, so how can you beat that. I must admit, when I needed to beat hard to windward to miss the rocks, the  first thing that got turned off was the autopilot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sunrise 1770
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Leaving 1770
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Bustard head
Screenshot_20170822-184300
Our deviation around middle rocks
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kangaroo at Bustard Head lighthouse
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Look south from Bustard head, back across the days journey
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Grave yard at Bustard head
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The track to the light house
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The swamp you had too walk through to get to the track to the lighthouse
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Middle rock
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Bustard head Lighthouse
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pancake creek with lighthouse in background (somebody else’s boat
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pancake creek
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Hilary trying to find her way through the swamp
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Aerodrome bay on top of Bustard head
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Bush Spirit in the sunset
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Home for a while
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
And today’s sunset