July 1st 2012
This new adventure of ours has been so long in the planning and today is ‘D Day’ ie departure day.
At 7am on this bitterly cold morning, our intrepid friends Peter and Ruth together with Andy, Bob and Neil gathered at our berth to cast us off and bid us farewell. Our journey today was lovely with blue skies and no wind at all and took us to Redcliffe where we arrived at 2pm. Daughter Susie and grandchildren Jamila and Saleem accompanied us today. The kids had lots of fun and were thrilled to see some dolphins as we were passing Peel Island. It will be a very early night for us as I think we are both a little emotionally exhausted.
July 2nd 2012
A quick clean up this morning before our friends Julie and Kerry (who are visiting from Perth) and Paula and John arrived and whisked us off for lunch. Lovely to catch up with both couples and it didn’t take us long to get the diary out to pencil them all in to visit on different legs of our journey.
July 3rd 2012
John did a weather check early this morning and we’ve decided to make the most of the light winds and depart Scarborough tonight at about 9pm and make our way to Inskip Point. This means that we had to phone and advise everyone and reorganise a few things and fit two days of plans into just one. So we lunched again with best friends Dee and Lee and visited old neighbours John and Julie, dashed to Coles to buy last minute fruit and veg, visit with John’s children Tracey and Danny before having a family dinner with Susie, the g/kids and son Ben. Also had a last minute visit from friends Peter and Sandy who stayed to cast us off once more. Our feet haven’t hit the ground since we left the Goldie. Neither of us will feel that our holiday has begun until we are actually on anchor somewhere.
July 4th 2012
Arrived Inskip this morning at 7am. Just after rounding Skirmish Point we had a side on sea, which was a little sloppy so John dialled up the Giro Stabiliser that took out 50% of the roll and the rest of the trip was incredible. John turned in about 1am to get some rest while I kept watch until 5am. As soon as we reached Inskip we crashed and slept for a couple of hours. It’s a beautiful day, we’ve launched the dinghy and taken Ralf to the beach and also taken a ride up to Tin Can Bay and bought an icecream. The wind is beginning to pick up and it’s quite cold. John has just started the generator and put the air on to warm us up. We are going to have an early dinner, watch the State of Origin and then turn in. Tomorrow we are planning on going up to Moon Point and possibly do some jigging for squid, so hopefully tomorrow night we will be having Calamari and Salad for dinner. (Fingers crossed!)
Postscript: What an incredible match!!!!!
July 13th 2012
Well we didn’t get any squid or anything else for that matter while anchored up just past Moon Point. We did have a very pleasant night though and left first thing next morning and made for Bundaberg. We had 20-25knots of wind and three to four metres of swell all the way. It rained on and off for the three days we were there. It’s the most uninspiring place and we left as soon as the weather was reasonable enough.
The trip up to Pancake wasn’t great but better than the trip over to Bundy. It’s been raining on and off since we arrived. John caught a beautiful big GT (check out photos) which we cooked for dinner. I’m not very optimistic of catching any crabs but we’ll see when we pull them this afternoon. I think we’ve decided to up stakes early tomorrow and head for North Keppel, which is probably doing to be the only chance we get unless we stay here for another week at least.
Postscript: Yee of little faith (or is that me of little faith); whatever, six lovely muddies, alas three girls in there so have put back them to enjoy another day out with their girlfriends.
July 15th 2012
Moored up in Rosslyn Bay Marina (Yeppoon) for a couple of days catching up with friends. Had a lovely night behind Keppel Saturday night until a wind change came through at about 2am (hours ahead of schedule), which put us on anchor watch for the rest of the night. It’s a beautiful day here today albeit it very windy. The first sunshine we’ve seen in over a week. A good chance to get some washing done and dried. Heading out to Keppel again tomorrow I hope.
July 20th 2012
Well, still at Rosslyn Bay Marina. John’s been at golf today and I’ve been cleaning the boat, inside and out. Ralf has been really out of sorts the past couple of days. I’m not sure what’s wrong with him and the poor little bugger can’t tell me. We took him over to the beach yesterday and he didn’t even want to run around.
July 30th 2012
In the past ten days we’ve been to Great Keppel, Island Head Creek, Percy’s, Scawfell and are now in Woodwark Bay. The weather hasn’t been good to us. We’ve had 40+ knot winds at Scawfell, which had us on anchor watch again, and because we’ve been stressing about the stress on the chain and winch etc, we’ve decided to upgrade both when we get to Townsville at the end of this week. It was so windy at Keppel (surprise surprise) that it wasn’t even much fun going to the beach. We did meet a lovely couple, Alan and Veronica (MV Storm) and had sundowners with them before departing the following morning. Hopefully we will meet them again somewhere along the track. Boy, you should see their boat, which they have lovingly restored over a period of seven years. It is magnificient. Percy’s was just a short stop over and the highlight of being in Scawfell was the two beautiful mackerel John caught using live bait that he was rewarded with after a few casts of the bait net. Yummy Yummy.
We’ve seen lots of whales and the dolphins that join us and swim and play in our bow waves are just a delight.
We were going to try and find (marks on our old gps) the little reef at the entrance of this bay and do some fishing today, but John’s been busy trying to organise parts to be delivered to Townsville so I guess I’ll be pulling something from the freezer for dinner. It’s just starting to cloud over so if it does rain I hope it’s cats and dogs because this boat is in serious need of a wash. We’ve got plenty of water which I could avail myself of, but really if we leave here tomorrow, odds are we will get all salty again.
Anyway, got to go as John has said we are going to fish the reef now (if we can find it). I’ll let you know the outcome.
……….Didn’t find it!!!! But I’ve managed to really hurt myself. Had a heavy fall onto my left breast and I just know I’m going to very very very sore for the next few days. Hurts to breath, hope no other damage.
31st July 2012
Today we pulled up stakes and travelled through to Gloucester Passage arriving about 10am. It was a beautiful trip up and the colour of the water up here is something out of this world. We did our usual troll for a Mackerel through the Straits but to avail this time. Never mind. John and I spruced ourselves up a bit and went into the Eco resort www.capegloucester.com and had a lovely lunch after which we returned to the boat, changed back into our daggies and took Ralf ashore for a walk and a wee wee. Of course I had to get some oysters while we were there so sundowners tonight will consist of a nice glass of wine with about three dozen oysters. It doesn’t get much better than this. John may have posted some photos, not sure.
Still very tender from my fall and can’t use my left arm much at all (except to get oysters!!) Think I may have bruised a couple of ribs, which I’m assuming, will probably take a couple of weeks to repair. I guess I’ll just have to sit back, relax and let my cruise director/captain take control. I wonder if I can get him to wash the boat when we are in Townsville. Ha ha ha .. who am I kidding!
Tomorrow we are off again and doing a short run up to Cape Upstart.
9th August 2012
We have just arrived at Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island and will probably stay until the weekend. During the past week we had been into Cape Upstart, which is also known at Shark Bay, so we weren’t surprised to see a big shark patrolling the shores as we entered the bay. We didn’t bother putting the dinghy in as we were leaving first thing in the morning to do the run into Townsville. On arriving into Townsville Marina, our friend Kerry (Olympus) was at hand to help us tie up. The wind was howling and the tide was against us and even though we had a direct drive in berth, John had at least six attempts before we could throw Kerry a line. Anyway, we had a pleasant few days visiting with friends Bob and Mary and doing a bit of shopping. We headed over to Nelly Bay marina on the Sunday so John could put the bike down and take us around the island for a bit of fun. We loaded Ralf into his special new backpack and off we went to Horseshoe Bay. We took Ralf for a beautiful long walk along the beach and had lunch before heading back to Nelly Bay. Going back up the range the bike stopped!! Yep, just died!!! We all got off and John had to push it to the top of the hill where we all got back on, and off down the other side we went ….. just coasting. When we got back to Arcadia we looked for the problem for a couple of hours. It was getting dark and John didn’t have any tools with us but then he had the brilliant idea to phone the local bike hire people and asked them for assistance. They arrived within 10 minutes, loaded the bike onto their truck, took Ralf and I back to the Marina and took John and the bike back to their workshop. Karen and Darren ….. what lovely people and very helpful. They didn’t want to charge John for any of this and even though they couldn’t fix it there and then, they spent a few hours looking for the problem. We’ve left the bike with Kerry the Marina Manager and will collect it again when we return to Nelly Bay in November.
While in Nelly, I returned to Townsville by ferry to visit a doctor who sent me for full chest x-rays and scans to see what damage I had done when I fell. Thankfully no ribs or sternum are cracked/broken, I’m just very badly bruised and will be sore for a few weeks yet. I can live with that, I’m just very happy to know that nothing major is wrong.
So here we are at Horseshoe Bay anchored just 100 mts from friends Kerry and Eileen and Zac 2 (Olympus). No doubt we will be together later today for a sundowner. Might even put a line in later. We’ve always managed to catch something edible while here in the past.
13th August 2012
Apart from a very quick picnic on the beach we didn’t get to talk to Kerry and Eileen, which was unfortunate, as we had been looking forward to seeing them for months and months. Never mind, we’ll stay in touch via email etc.
We were escorted from Horseshoe by several whales putting on a lovely show for us. It wasn’t long though before the wind changed to a nasty southerly so we decided to head for Great Palm Island and tuck into North East Bay, which we hadn’t visited before. What a beautiful pristine looking beach. We didn’t go ashore though firstly because we believe that you have to have permission from the aboriginal community who reside there and secondly because we had a problem with the steering on our dinghy which we needed to fix, so we spent a couple of hours pulling this apart, oiling everything, and reassembly. Alas no beach for Ralf that day. We did spend a beautiful night though and on Sunday we moseyed up the Curacoa Channel up past Orpheus and through the passage between it and Polurus Island. Now that is definitely on our list of places to stop at on our way back in November.
Unfortunately there was a large bush fire on Fantome Island which is just a little South of Orpheus, and this not being any good for John’s asthma, we decided after a very short stop that we would keep going and take advantage of a incoming tide and go directly to Hinchinbrook. As luck would have it, the biggest of whales were playing in the bay. Apparently the photos I took didn’t turn our well (you have to be quick!) so you will just have to take my word when I say that they were 200 footers!!!
So here we are back in Hinchinbrook almost two years to the day since we were here last. We are anchored up opposite Haycock Island with the magnificent mountains standing guard over us. The mountains here are so high that they create their own weather and it often rains here when other places nearby get no rain. I think John took some photos this morning, so check that out.
We also retrieved the two crab pots that we set last night and were very disappointed to find one pot with a 5ft 6in bronze whaler shark with its head firmly stuck (check out photos). Sadly, but thankfully, it was dead, having drowned I suppose. Anyway, that pot needs some serious repair. The second put was empty. So no crab entrees tonight.
We will mosey soon, hopefully find a little beach for Ralf to have a run and eventually make out way up a little further and probably go into Gayundah Creek, which is a favourite of ours. It is good fishing up there, generally a good feed of crabs, but we have to keep an eye out for the crocs!
17th August 2012
Gayundah produced approximately 30 mud crabs, 23 of those all wearing skirts, but I must say we have really enjoyed the other 7. What was terribly frustrating though was the huge barramundi which was swimming in our lights for two nights, but do you think it would take a bait or a lure ….. nup! Obviously was on a diet because it wasn’t chasing bait fish either. So no fish to speak of.
After a couple of days we decided to head to the top of the channel and visit Scraggy Point were in the past, we have gone ashore and collected some coconuts and given Ralf a nice play on the beach. Well, Ralf had his play but National Parks have cut down all but two coconut trees and the two remaining are totally inaccessible, so again, very disappointed. I don’t think we’ll bother going back there. We were reminded of just how far the tide goes out and leaves just a really horrible sticky black mud approach to the beach. Yuk! Late afternoon the wind came up so we thought we’d go back the couple of miles in Gayundah for a comfortable night’s sleep before we head off to Dunk Island.
Waking up in Gayundah was very eerie. The clouds had descended and completely covered the mountains and were just hovering above the creek. It was drizzling and visibility was done to about 50 metres. The low cloud, drizzle and poor visibility stayed with us until we got within one mile of Dunk Island. Under normal circumstances you can see Dunk Island as soon as you clear Hinchinbrook Island, but not on this occasion. We had glassed out conditions though; it would have been a little nicer though had we been able to see something.
So here we are at Dunk Island. We went ashore yesterday for a walk and to have a look at what was left after the cyclone. Total devastation, that’s what we saw. I believe a Gold Coast businessman has bought the resort; I hope he has very very deep pockets. We picked up some coconuts and picked some lady finger bananas; Ralf scrounged around and found something horrible to eat. We are going to go around to the other side of the island today in search of some mackerel and will come back later today and go ashore again for another walk. Guess who has a belly ache …. Ralf!!
5th September 2012
Where does the time go. Note to oneself …. Update diary more often!!!!!!!!!!!!
So here we are in Cairns. In fact, we’ve been here for over two weeks. From Dunk we headed out 22 nm to fish a reef, which produced some nice Coral Trout. For about 30 minutes whales that were signing to eachother surrounded us. How amazing that was. Couldn’t take any photos because I was busy landing fish. Anyway, after a few hours we headed into Mourilyan Harbour where we stayed for a couple of days before heading directly into Cairns … which is where we are now.
We’ve been extremely busy cleaning, doing some maintenance and restocking as once we leave next week, we won’t be in harbour for about 2 ½ months. Last weekend we had friends Allan and Julie visit from Hope Island. How they fitted us into their amazingly busy schedule beats me, but we are soooooooooo glad they did. We took them out to Arlington Reef and then over to Green Island on Saturday. The weather wasn’t great on the return trip but we made the most of it. In all, we had a ball and really enjoyed seeing them. Before Allan and Julie left for the airport on Sunday morning, we all went for a walk to look at a boat, which had arrived while we were out at Arlington Reef and Green Island. We were all standing there ooooing and arrrring when who should pop out to say hello .. Dick Smith. Yes folks .. the one and only! And as luck would have it, they too are heading off to Lizard Is when they return from Sydney next week, so we may meet up with them there.
This weekend we have friends Mark and Jennifer from the States arriving and as soon as we can get them settled, grab some fresh fruit and veg, we are off to Lizard Island. At this time the weather isn’t looking crash hot but maybe it will improve and we’ll get away either Monday or Tuesday. Mark and Jennifer have to fly out again on the 17th Sept so we want to make the most of the time we have with them and get underway as soon as possible.
Today is cloudy with a little light rain, which is the first inclement weather we’ve had in absolutely weeks and weeks. Yesterday it was 32 degrees and today 20 degrees. I think we will be outing on a jumper before we go walking tonight.
26th September 2012
I left all my housework to the last minute so everything would be spic and span for when Mark and Jennifer arrived. Anyway I’ve just about got the boat completely dismantled, stuff everywhere, looking like Sadie the Cleaning Lady when, HELLO!!!!
Yep, you guessed it, Mark and Jennifer snuck up on me. They had called John from the car park but he didn’t have time to let me know they were here. Of he took to collect them and left me without any warning. Just as well I have a good sense of humour ….. sometimes!
After a very quick tidy, brush my hair, we settle down for a chat and a beer or three.
The weather is not looking too bad for a Monday departure from the Marina, so we all agree that’s what we will do. Jennifer wants to go diving on the Reef before we leave so she and Mark walked up to book a day out on Tusa Dive boat. That leaves me free to walk (once again) up to the fruit market to collect extra veges and fruit for the next week.
Jennifer and Mark had a fabulous day on the reef, so after a few drinks, a quick BBQ, we were all off to bed for an early night. John and I were up early to ready the boat for our departure and by 6am we were motoring out through the leads. About three or four hours into the trip Jennifer and Mark got up and organised. It was a long day, 13 hours I think, very sloppy seas which increased during the day to 20-25 knots. We went into Cape Bedford for the night as planned and it blew 30 knots almost all night but we were very comfortable and we all slept well. We were off again at around 8am, the winds just keep increasing and finally we turned into Watson’s Bay, Lizard Island at 12pm.
During the next seven days Mark and Jennifer walked to Cook’s lookout, the Blue Lagoon, snorkelled on the reef, went for dinghy safari’s and did a lot of reading. It is a tradition with boaties at Lizard Is to meet on the beach for sundowners, which gives everyone a nice opportunity to meet other boaties, swap stories and generally have a bloody good time. The Marlin Bar on the Island had extended it’s trading to three or four nights a week, depending on the football, so just about everyone anchored in the bay ventured in there every second night. It’s a very relaxed ‘barefoot’ bar and the meals are really good.
On Friday 14th our large inverter decided to play up which blew the circuit board on our main refrigerator and several other electrical ‘things’ we have on the boat. GREAT!!! As soon as John had determined what the problem was, he was on the radio and asked if there was an electrician in the bay who may be able to have a look at the problem. Within 30 secs of that call, Jerry (and : Thylacines) had called telling us he was an Electrical Engineer and would be over to see what he could do. Of course the refrigerator is ‘built in’ and all of the timber moulding had to be removed before it could be moved out. Well after a lot of swearing, pushing, pulling laughing and nearly crying (me of course) four hours later, God (i.e. Jerry) had rewired the refrigerator and had it working again .. I love this man!!
Jerry said that if we could get a replacement part sent up he would fix the problem permanently for us. John ordered the part on Saturday, it was flown express to the Post Office in Cooktown arriving Tuesday 18th and as luck would have it, Jerry and were going into Cooktown to restock so they collected the part and bought it back to Lizard Island. What service!!
Mark and Jennifer flew to Cairns on Sunday 16th and spent 2 days looking around Port Douglas before flying to Sydney for a few days and then back to Seattle. Mark phoned just before they left and said that they’d had a wonderful holiday. Next time we see them will be when we visit them in 2015, hopefully.
Jerry and Suzanne arrived back at Lizard on Thursday night and the refrigerator is fixed by Saturday lunchtime. It was a pretty stressful week for John because he was worried the beer wouldn’t be cold enough and for me because I was worried about the fruit and veg not being cold enough. All was good though and we needn’t have worried at all.
With about 10 days of good weather ahead of us, we left Lizard Island on Sunday and had a lovely days cruise and anchored up in Bathurst Bay, Cape Melville for the evening. At about 5pm and young man came along side in his dinghy and chatted to John. We invited him aboard and shared a few yarns and a beer. When it was time for him to leave he said that he’d come across to ask whether we could spare 20 litres of Diesel as he didn’t have enough fuel in his truck to get back to Cooktown. We told him we’d be happy to help and he rewarded us with a dozen on the biggest oysters I’ve ever seen. They were so big, he said he had to get them off the rocks with his anchor ….. true story!!
8am next morning, Brad came back with his two fuel containers and left very relieved and very grateful.
The gesture is called “paying it forward” and believe me, everyone is a winner. Look at our experience with the refrigerator. If it hadn’t been for the goodwill of Jerry we would have been forced to return to Cooktown and probably a very very expensive fix.
We’ve now been up at the Flinders Islands for three days where we are just kicking back and relaxing. I know most of you think that that is all we do, but believe me it isn’t! There is always something that needs to be done on the boat, and quite honestly by the time we turn in at night, sleep comes very easily. Take yesterday for instance, before we’d even had breakfast, we’d fought and caught two of the biggest fish we’ve had on this boat, one mackerel and one big tuna. We had great fun and the tuna was sensational in a creamy curry sauce.
And again this morning before breakfast, John’s line tore from the reel and he had no option but to get in the dinghy and let this monster that him for a ride. Fifteen minutes into the action and he was broken off so we are just assuming that it may have been a big GT, or a shark, or a crocodile!!!!!!! We have a daily competition now: who catches the first fish and who catches the biggest fish. If I had John’s strength I’d have more of a chance……honestly, these fish are gigantic!!!
Our plans are to stay in and around this area for 3-4 weeks, depending on the weather. Hopefully Jerry and will be joining us some time this week. We’ve been given some really good fishing marks by one of John’s friends and also lots of points of interest i.e. Aboriginal Cave paintings so we are looking forward to doing some exploring.
28th September 2012
It’s very quiet here!!! No boats about, just us. We are expecting Jerry and in the next day or two, but the weather has picked up so they may decide to delay their trip from Lizard Island. We have no communication so we will just have to wait and see.
John now has the radio/weather/fax thingie working so he received our first weather fax this morning which confirmed his own prediction .. wind turning more North but decreasing again by Saturday. Our problem at present is that we have strong winds against the tide and this is banging our dinghy about and breaking over the swim platform. Not to worry, during the day it’s very nice and the beach is very accessible which means Ralfie is very very happy.
3rd October 2012
Jerry and arrived a few days ago and we’ve really been enjoying their company. The wind has increased and now there is a strong wind warning for the area so we’ve decided to move back to where we were anchored originally. Before we moved yesterday John and I took Ralf ashore for a wee walk and saw rather crocodile lurking in the shallows.
We’ve all been fishing but caught absolutely nothing for days. We actually had to show Jerry and the photos of the fish we caught just before they arrived because they didn’t believe there were any fish here. Feast one-day famine the next!! That fishing………..
We all went ashore for a little walk this morning and collected some lovely shells and John and Jerry practiced throwing the bait nets. It’s sooooooooooooo windy though that it isn’t pleasant at all outside the boat so John is watching movies and I’m keeping Ralf company and listening to some nice music. The weather doesn’t look like improving any time soon so I guess we’ll be here for at least another week.
6th October 2012
We returned from the beach on Thursday to the sounds of bilge alarms going berserk. When John opened the door to the engine room, he was greeted with about 2ft of water, which was the entire contents of our fresh water tanks. We quickly got the emergency pumps going and got rid of the water very quickly. No damage thankfully and the fault was a tiny hose had come off under the sink in the ensuite. A one minute fix and within a couple of hours we had replaced 600 litres of water and were back on track.
Yesterday was a surprise .. almost no wind and we had some good showers which was great for washing the salt off the boat. The Sea Swift supply barge came into the bay to take prawns from the trawlers and refuel them. Watching the coming and goings kept us entertained for a couple of hours and John went over to talk to the boys on the trawlers and another fishing charter boat that was also refuelling to try and get some local knowledge of where the fish might be biting. Apparently we need to be up the creeks if we want to catch barra, problem is though we’ve got the diurnal tides happening at the moment and we would be taking a risk of not being able to exit the creeks for days. So it looks like we may have to give that a miss until we return here in about March next year.
Jerry and John have been getting weather faxes through each day and have agreed that there may be a break in the weather about Tuesday so we are planning at this stage, to leave here then and go back to Lizard for a week or so. We’ve all been sharing a meal about every second day and last night it was our turn so we cooked fisherman’s baskets of fish, prawns, calamari and fries. Yum Yum.
Someone had the great idea that we should drink the CS Cowboys we had chilling in the refrigerator. Big mistake!!! After drinking those and then refilling them with just about everything in sight we called it a night. I’m glad it wasn’t me who had to get into the dinghy and go home. Anyway, we are all feeling just a little second hand today. I’m blaming , John is blaming Jerry and Jerry is blaming me. We all agree though that we had a great night. Jerry is cooking us Pizzas’ on Sunday night, which I’m really looking forward to. I love a good pizza!
It’s still a little overcast today and the wind has definitely dropped a little so fingers crossed that Tuesday will be the day. John and I’ve been here for two weeks today and we would really have liked to do so much more, but the wind has been incredible. Thursday night it blew 28 knots gusting 40 knots all night. Thank god we upgraded to 10mm chain when we were in Townsville.
I know we have the satellite phone if we need it, but it just isn’t that same as having a normal phone conversation and I’m really missing my long chats to my kids Ben and Susie and have my mobile charged and ready to go as soon as we get signals after leaving here.
9th October 2012
It looked like the change in weather might come through on Monday, so on Sunday we all decided to do a short run down to Cape Melville which shortens the trip back of Lizard by about 14nm and wait there for the change to come through. Well change it did …… blew 30 – 40 knots all afternoon and night. John used the satellite phone to give Coastguard Cairns a call to check the weather. 10-15 down there so John thinks that the wind is attributed to the bullets coming over and through the gaps in the mountains. Anyway, no problem, we just sat in the cockpit and enjoyed the gorgeous sunset and had a bottle of nice wine. We didn’t get the ‘Jerry’ special pizza after all because it was just too windy to go across to Thylacines, so we made our own pizzas instead which were very yummie.
By about 3am Monday, the wind had dropped to nothing but instead of getting up and going, we decided to wait until daybreak and do the run to Lizard which turned out to be an absolute beautiful cruise in 10 knots of wind. We anchored up in Watson’s Bay at 4pm. Jerry and were a few hours behind us so they stopped the night behind Howick Is and arrived at Lizard this morning at about 6am.
Today has been a cleaning day for us. I’ve given the outside of Liberty a well earned clean and John has been around the boat treating the infernal rust that continually appears no matter how much it is treated or cleaned. No matter, all done now. Jerry and ’s washing machine has gone on the blink so I’m doing a couple of loads for them. It’s very hot here at present, not much of a breeze either. There are only about four boats in the bay at present. We are going into the beach this afternoon for sundowners and a good chat with whoever turns up.
11th October 2012
Another beautiful day here at Lizard Island so I decided to drop the canoe into the water and go for a little paddle around the reef. Unfortunately there was just a little too much ripple on the water to see any detail but I had a nice time anyway. I’ve given Ralf a long overdue haircut. I’m sure he feels much better now although he absolutely hates the whole process and so do I.
Jerry and invited us for dinner last night and we had the ‘Jerry Special’ pizzas. WOW! WOW! WOW! Is there no end to this man’s talent! After having eaten these pizzas, I am certain I will never order pizza again from a restaurant. End of story!
I meant to write ages ago that if anyone from Hope Island Marina is wondering where the boat “Achiever” is (big boat moored outside big house opposite marina), she is up in Cairns Marlin Marina. Just thought I mention that.
It looks like we are going to be here at least another week as we’ve got wind on the way again. I couldn’t think of a nicer place to be either. We got good friends here and we always seem to have a good time. We are off into the Marlin Bar for dinner and a catch up with other boaties tomorrow night, which I’m looking forward to. I definitely am not ordering the pizza.
30th October 2012
Since my last entry we’ve left Lizard Island, over nighted at Cape Bedford and taken refuge in Port Douglas from terrible sea conditions which kept on deteriorating on our way from Bedford south to Cairns. We spent two nights at Port and waited for seas to abate before continuing on to Cairns where we stayed for one week.
We took this time to restock and drive up Yorkey’s Knob to check out the Marina as we are intending to go back there for about a month sometime in February to do another major restock before heading up around the Cape.
We are now anchored up at Dunk Island having had a most pleasant journey down from Cairns. We stayed the first night in Mourilyn Harbour and arrived here yesterday. We’ve been ashore and collected some beautiful fresh coconuts, which we just love, and if the weather fines up are intending to do some fishing under the jerry today….. showers have now turned to rain so looks like fishing is out but I’m happy because our beautiful boat is having a bath!
Peter and Ruth (Coral Sea) are about 25 n miles away in the Hinchinbrook Channel and we are intending to move down there tomorrow and arrive in time to enjoy a sundowner or two with them and do a lot of catching up
3th March, 2013
My, my, how time flies!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!
Catch up with Peter and Ruth we did, but before we knew it, we had parted company once more only to be reunited further up the track at some time in April.
On leaving Hinchinbrook we developed a gear box problem which resulted in us going into Townsville for one month to take care of the necessary repairs and restock before heading off to Magnetic Island just in time for the grandchildren to arrive.
We had a lovely week full of walking, swimming and exploring with Susie, Jamila and Saleem. We decided to walk across to Radical Bay from Horseshoe Bay, which we had done on previous trips, but the heat this day was off the chart. I was so concerned that I wasn’t going to make it out that I was actually looking for a spot where a helicopter could land and take me out. I think I was the only one who didn’t find that scenario funny. Anyway, John had ridden the motorbike down to meet us for a picnic and I pleaded with him to ferry Saleem and me back but he said that the roads down to the beach were so steep and full of pot holes that he wouldn’t take the risk. He did however take all of our backpacks, which was a great help. And yes, we did make it back …. eventually.
Jamila went back to take her part in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “South Pacific” which was on at Q-Pac in Brisbane. She had an amazing time and revelled in the opportunity to meet Lisa McCune, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Gyton Grantley, Christine Arnu and many many other wonderful performers. The link below has all the information for those who might be interested: http://www.southpacificmusical.com.au/about/rodgers-hammerstein
Since return home Saleem has done really well with his Little Athletics winning several medals for his efforts over the past couple of weeks and Jamila is in rehearsals for another play on the Gold Coast and as soon as that has finished goes into rehearsals for another play in Brisbane.
Our next visitors to arrive on the 27th December were “The Buckets” aka “The bouquets” or more commonly known as Gail and Neil.
Gail and Neil stayed about 10 days and we had an absolutely ball with them. We tramped from one end of this island to the other, and had some really nice meals out. We went along to the Stage Door theatre for the New Year celebrations and had a lovely time.
After a few days Neil and Gail ventured off on their own to do some exploring and have some ‘alone’ time. All in all we had a really great time and didn’t once have to use the buckets Gail had given John and I on their arrival …. Just in case!
John’s two children Tracey and Danny came up for the long weekend in January and although they were only here for a few days, they saw everything there is to see on the Island. Tracey and Danny hired motor scooters for a day and explored the whole Island with John on his bike.
They all carried on like teenagers for three days and had a ball. They were such fun to be with that we really did want them to stay longer but they both had to return to work and family.
At this stage we were contemplating changing the name of our boat from Liberty to “Revolving Door” we had so many visitors, but of course we were loving it too.
I just had time enough to do a quick change of all the bed linen and a little bit of restocking the pantry before Lionel and Colleen arrived two days after Tracey and Danny went home. The weather was becoming hotter and hotter with every passing day and I think this really took Lionel and Colleen by surprise; so much so that we spent copious hours just lolling about in the pool which was like soup and only slightly more comfortable than sitting about on the boat.
Lionel and Colleen hired a couple of scooters so we all took off and did the Island Tour. We had lunch at Horseshoe Bay and dinner at Picnic Bay a couple of times.
We crammed as much as we could into fours days and had a really nice time. The night before they departed we all caught the bus (the absolute best way to get about the island if you want to have a drink or two ) down to Picnic Bay and walked out along the jetty and watched a magnificent sunset before walking back up to the Pub for what was the best dinner we’ve had in quite some time. (Excluding my own cooking of course!).
We’ve now been ‘home alone’ for a few weeks. We did go back to Townsville for one week to do a few things like having some frames made for the Solar Panels that we have now installed. We also had a cover made for the dinghy, which looks great.
So we’ve now got the Satellite TV up and running, the Solar Panels on and working a treat and a new 125cc Motor Bike.
We were also able to spend some lovely time with Clem and Marg (friends we made at Magnetic Island) and we just might see them on the water sometime in April if their boat is ready to sail and if Marg can tear herself away from the kids! Fingers crossed!
I decided to go home and visit for a week to see my family and friends. I had a lovely time catching up with son Ben and his girlfriend Corinne when Susie, Saleem and I went up to Redcliffe so Saleem could partake in a Athletic Carnival which he actually won for his age group.
I was invited by my friend Dawn to go down to the Javeenbah Theatre with her so I could watch the rehearsals of the play she is directing. The play is called ‘THE ANNIVERSARY” and is very very funny and opens on 22nd March and runs through to 8th April.
It rained the entire time I was down on the Gold Coast except for the day at Redcliffe, and I don’t think it has stopped yet. How depressing. At Maggie Is, we are actually experiencing the ‘driest” wet season in 20 years. It’s only been over the last couple of days that we have had a few showers.
John is presently working on putting new steering cables on the dinghy and apart from the day to day maintenance and waiting waiting waiting to see what is going to happen with the cyclone that is off our coast, we are just about ready to sail. We have our very good friend Shaun coming up from the Gold Coast to do the run through to Yorkeys Knob with us, so hopefully, fingers crossed; we will be able to leave here on Saturday 16th March.
If we get good weather we intend to fish all the way up and stay out on the reefs at night, but as always this is weather dependant and if it downs blow up, we’ll just have to find shelter wherever we can and move on whenever we can.
So that is the situation at the moment. With nothing else to report all I have to say is ‘WATCH THIS SPACE”.
16th March 2013
We are still here at Maggie and it doesn’t look like we are going anywhere for at least 10 days. It also looks like the weather system currently out in the Solomon’s may just turn into a cyclone! Great!!!!!!!!!!
23rd March 2013
OMG I can’t believe we are now safely moored up Yorkey’s Knob.
John did his own calculations and investigations on all of our weather map sites and decided that we have about a two day weather window in which leave Maggie. So after discussing this, it was up to the golf club to pick up golf gear, move the boat to another mooring so we could winch the bike up on the boat deck, make sure absolutely everything was stowed properly for the passage, say goodbye to a couple of friends we made on the marina and head off.
We departed the marina at about 12.30pm and by 4.30pm I was pulling up a mooring line, which we took up for the night, and by 5pm we were having a nice sundowner on the front deck.
With only a couple of days good weather ahead we departed at 6am the next day and headed for Mourilyn. We honestly couldn’t believe our luck but we had been cruising in absolute glassy conditions and it just continued to improve the further north we travelled. On our approach to Mourilyn we made the decision to make the most of the good weather and continue on to Fitzroy Island (just off Cairns). By 8pm we had taken up another mooring line and settled in for the night. We are just keeping ahead of the winds that are blowing up the coast. Had we decided to go into Mourilyn and not continue on to Fitzroy we would have been heading straight out into 20-25’s plus all the way to Cairns the next day.
We left Fitzroy Is at 7am and were moored up at Yorkey’s by 9.30am. A good decision made. We both enjoyed the trip up so much and wished we could have just kept going but alas, we have some restocking to do and friends to see.
There was just one down side of leaving Magnetic in a rush was that our friend Shaun could not make the trip with us. Because we had to cover a lot of ocean each day we couldn’t stop to fish the reefs which was what we had initially planned for Shaun. Never mind though, both Shaun and Dawn may be able to do the return trip with us when we come back. I hope so!
Since we have been here we have reunited with friends Jerry and Susanne (Thylacines) and Peter and Ruth (Coral Sea). We all went up to the Club yesterday for lunch and discussed our upcoming trip to the Cape and beyond.
30th April 2013
To make my life easy I decided to do my grocery stocks (2 months worth) order with Coles On-line. It’s time consuming but well worth it when you hear the knock on the hull and a voice saying ‘grocery delivery’! Well maybe not quite like that, but just as good. I met the driver in the Yorkeys club car park and directed him and the h u g e trolley full of groceries to the boat. Bloody hell ….. what was I thinking …. and what army was I expecting to feed!
Nevertheless, all groceries stored away within a couple of hours and I’m already jotting down things that I think I might need/forgotten.
Jerry and Susanne had a ute at Yorkeys which was really handy for going into the supermarket and mall etc. I don’t know why but we managed to find an excuse to go in almost every day over a period of three weeks. We ‘did’ coffee a few times, lunch a couple of times and general mooching about quite a lot. It was a nice change from being on the boat and having the company of another woman was lovely.
I think we left Yorkeys on Sunday 7th April and did the days run to Lizard Island. We had very good weather for the cruise up and it was good to see some familiar boats in Watsons Bay when we arrived. We meet all and sundry on the beach at 5pm the following day for the traditional sundowner and exchanged ideas for our upcoming trips. Jerry and Susanne arrived the next morning after doing an ‘all-nighter’ from Yorkeys. So for the next week we just all sat back and relaxed and enjoyed Lizard once again. One day, quite unexpectedly, we had a wind change which saw a 30 knot Westerly blow into the bay bringing 2 metre waves. Several boats hightailed it out of Watson’s Bay and went across to the Blue Lagoon and relative calmer waters only to return a few hours later after the wind had changed. Discussing the blow on the beach that afternoon, Paul from Thirsty Dog, said he had not seen a westerly in the bay for nearly 30 years. Anyway, we lost the use of our static stabilisers, which were rendered absolutely useless having been bent in two and completely destroyed. At least the stabiliser arms were destroyed but we managed to rescue the paravanes and ropes. We haven’t exactly become reliant on the stabs but gosh they make the proverbial roll that we sometimes experience at anchor, almost non-existent. Oh well, John has already designed new arms which he will have made out of 3mm aluminium tubing (I think) when we get to Darwin.
Jerry and Susanne, John and I had decided to do the trip to Darwin together so we planned to take advantage of the good weather and head off on the morning of Saturday 13th April. From Lizard we went up to the Flinders Group (Princess Charlotte Bay), on to Pelican Island, then up to Morris Island, out to the Forbes Islands, which was absolutely stunning, across and up to Portland Roads and then up to Margaret Bay.
So we had now been Island hopping for about 10 days and started to look at the weather a little more seriously since we have limited places to hide should we have strengthening winds before we get to The Cape. Wanting to stay one step ahead of any changes, John and I decided to leave Margaret Bay and go up to the Escape River. It was a full days travel but well worth it because we were then only 3 hours from the Albany Passage which takes us to The Cape.
Jerry and Susanne decided that they would stay in Margaret Bay and wait for the winds to abate to 10-15 knots and then follow on and meet us in the Escape River.
As of today 30/4 we haven’t heard from Thylacines for almost a week. If they had travelled up to the Escape we would have them on AIS, which we don’t, and we don’t know where they are, and we have no way of contacting them.
We have been at Seisia for one week tomorrow and as luck would have it, are on cyclone watch. Cyclone Zane is nearing the coast and is expected to make land fall at about Cape Grenville which is were Jerry and Susanne might be. We are only 20 miles, as the crow flies, from the East coast and will probably get 30 knots of wind, maybe a little stronger, and some rain in the next couple of days.
We are extremely worried about our friends and keeping looking out, hoping that they will miraculously appear in the bay beside us and give us a cheeky wave.
We may move down to Weipa on Friday and wait there for a three day ‘good’ weather window to do the 2 day 2 night run over to Gove.
GOOD NEWS!!!! Jerry and Susanne are safe in the Escape River. We managed to get a telephone number for the people at the pearl farm in the Escape River and when we phoned today they said Thylacines had come into the river and had plans to travel up the coast and around the Cape tomorrow 1/5/13. We are really looking forward to seeing them.
It looks like cyclone Zane is becoming a real threat and will hit the coast about 2am Thursday morning, cross the land and hit here or very near to here shortly after. Why do these things have to happen in the middle of the night when it is most scary?
We have taken all necessary preparations for a big blow and have nothing more to do except watch and wait.
As luck would have it, we met up with our friend Greg who runs a fishing charter business from here and he has a couple of swing moorings and he very kindly told us to use one of them. We didn’t hesitate for a minute and a very very secure and ready!!
2nd May 2013
WHAT CYCLONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thankfully Zanie boy did not eventuate and was a rain depression by the time it reached the coast. We have not had any associated winds or rain. At least we were prepared. To think we spent three months down at Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island to avoid the cyclones. Yesterday was the 1st May, which marks the official end of the cyclone season. Well, that nature for you; not a lot we can do but accept what is dished out.
Jerry and Susanne arrived a couple of hours ago and immediately went in search of a restaurant where they could have lunch. Seisia is a lovely place but a little bit lacking in the restaurant department. We directed them to a kiosk where they could buy a really good burger, which I believe they did. Sundowners at 5pm on board Liberty with other boaties who sat it out with us in the bay. We were all very relieved this morning to wake to a beautiful sunny day. We’ll all enjoy a drink tonight!
3rd May 2013
We had a nice night catching up with Jerry and Susanne, Andrew and Vicki. Today is quite windy with scattered showers. No matter, the cool breezes are a welcome change to the hot sticky weather we have been experiencing. It’s predicted that the winds will stay up around the 25-30 knots for about a week so we are quite happy just to sit here and relax for a couple of days. We are thinking of maybe heading down to the Doughboy River on Sunday to do a little bit of fishing.
There is a large crocodile cruising up and down the beach at the present, so walks with Ralf will be limited. We haven’t seen it but a couple of locals have and they thought it might have caught the scent of another dog that was on the beach earlier. They said to be very careful with Ralf, which is good advice and well noted.
Jerry and Susanne had a sea snake in the saloon. I think Susanne said ……***><##*^+!!!!! Or something like that! Jerry apparently showed it the door.
9th May 2013
We have had such a busy week that I have had to rely on my cruising notes (jotted down each day) to refer back to what we’ve been doing and where we been. Last Saturday night we had our friend Greg on board for a bbq. It was a good chance for John to get some marks for the local rivers South of Seisia that we wanted to visit on our way down to Weipa. The entrances to all are very tricky and the local knowledge and marks have been invaluable and have allowed us to visit the Doughboy and Jackson Rivers to date.
Just as we were about to depart the Doughboy, Thylacines was making her approach into the river. We delayed our departure for 30 mins, just long enough for Jerry to put his dinghy in the water and make a very quick visit to Liberty. We might have stayed another day with them but we had already made plans with Star Ship and Sea Whiskers to depart and go down to the Jackson, which is where we are at present.
Thylacines may come down today but Susanne is a fair weather sailor so they may wait for the winds to drop. We came down in 25’s yesterday and had a beautiful trip.
While in the Doughboy we challenged Andrew and Vikki (Star Ship) and Peter (Sea Whiskers) to a fishing competition. Without a doubt Peter won hands down with his barracuda, Andrew came a very close second with the most interesting fish (can’t remember what it was) and we came last even though I caught a lovely cod which made us a beautiful lunch. I think John may have posted some photos of the catches and a video of the gigantic cods, which lurk in the shadows of each of our boats. We had four residents, and the others each had three. These fish are about 100-150kgs and up to maybe 5-6 feet long and are mesmerising. In the blue lights at night they come up to have a good look at us and roll about like dolphins playing. As soon as we dropped the anchor here in the Jackson River yesterday, another one appeared, just as if he had made the journey with us. I was feeling very brave and just couldn’t resist the temptation to put my hand in and touch and pat the fish. It was very slimy but he certainly seemed to enjoy the experience. In all probability it’s not the first coochie coochie he has had.
Greg, once again, very kindly offered us the use of his mooring here in the river which we took advantage of, but as he is due down at sometime today with his next lot of charterers we will have to move and put the anchor down shortly.
It is a little overcast but very pleasant. We had a little rain shower earlier but I’m still going to chance it and do some washing while we have the generator running. John is busy making bread and bread rolls. I should have taken some photos of him with flour all over his face, but I’ll definitely take some of the finished product (see photo log). May do some fishing later this afternoon, depending on the weather. A ‘down day’ is good once in a while though…………………….this cruising is just such hard work!
27th May 2013
I can’t believe it is just two weeks since we left the Jackson River. The rivers up here are just beautiful and we had a great time exploring them. Sundowners was something we looked forward to every afternoon. It’s a great time of the day and we exchange stories, true and false, and have a good laugh. Sundowners were on the beach while in the Jackson.
From the Jackson we headed directly into Weipa or ‘Grim Weipa’ as John’s had renamed it. Peter (Sea Wishers) left us all behind and headed from just south of the Jackson and did the 40 hour run (for him) to Gove. We were ahead of the rest of the part as Jerry and Susanne chose to stay on in the Jackson for an extra day or two and Vicki and Andrew anchored out just a little north of Duyfken Point as arriving in Weipa in the dark was definitely not an option for them. As it was, John and I arrived in the dark, around 7pm, and dodging the partly submerged moorings was quite hairy. We had only just anchored and decided we were happy with our position when I decided do my final check with the torch, and spotted another mooring just below the surface. So ….. up the anchor comes and we had another go at it, finally settling about 300 mts from the ‘lovely’ jetty.
Andrew and Vicki arrived mid afternoon the next day followed by Jerry and Susanne the day after that. So hear we are all together once again. The day before Susanne and Jerry arrived, Vicki, Andrew, John and I shared a cab into Woolies to top up the groceries. I also made a visit to the local police to renew my drivers licence and all was good again.
Thylacines and Star Ship departed for Gove and left John and I behind, paitently, very very patiently, waiting for fuel. What a drama! But all fuelled up we are good to go and head off chasing the others across the Gulf. We caught and passed Star Ship who had left about 8 hours before us, but Thylacines had left a day earlier so we knew we wouldn’t see them again until Gove harbour.
The trip could have been better but improved greatly when we decided to give the Gyro a work out. There was virtually no wind, or very little wind the entire trip but the swells were 3-4 metres for 200 miles and according to the rain gauge we totalled about 10 ins of rain!. From Weipa to Gove took us 43 hours and after a nice big sleep we caught up with Thylacines and Sea Whiskers. Star Ship arrived approximately 16 hours (4pm) after we did, but oddly enough, they didn’t have the huge swells or the amount of rain we did. Lucky buggers!
The locals in Gove are such a friendly bunch and on our second day there they managed to get Jerry, John and Peter smashed, really really smashed! Boys!!!!!!!!
Sunday was my birthday and believe me it will be one that I’ll never forget. It was the absolute best birthday I could have had. I had call from all my family and grandchildren and one special call from my son Ben and his partner Corinne with the most unexpected and delightful news that they are having a baby. I had all but given up hope of this happening but there you are …… a new baby for us to love and adore. There are absolutely no words to describe how happy I am. My special birthday present will be unwrapped around the 1st December. I can’t wait to find out what it is!
After all that excitement and weeping tiers of joy, we went into the Yacht Club for lunch and were joined by Jerry, Susanne and Peter. Very ordinary meals of fish and chips but the venue is lovely and very relaxing. We couldn’t hang about though as John and I had booked the kreening stand and we needed to place ourselves above the concrete so we would settle nicely when the tide receded. I was quite nervous as I hadn’t done this before but all was good and we sat on the bottom for most of the night and when the tide receded again next morning and with the help of Peter and Ned (a local) scrubbed the gunnels clean, checked the props, rudder and anodes. Ted gave John a lift into Catalina Bay where he bought ½ a tin of antifouling goo from the man at the slipway, and he and Ned did a fantastic job of touching up a few spots before we slipped gently back off the concrete and back into deep water again. Good job and very rewarding.
I forgot to note, most of this job was done with us all standing in about 2-3 ft of water but the locals said “no worries!!!!” they hadn’t seen a croc for ages!!
Next day it was Peter’s turn to put Sea Whiskers up on the beach for the same treatment. Being experts at this now the job was done and dusted in just a couple of hours. Peter thinks he’ll get another 1 ½ knots since the clean ….. we’ll see.
It is just a week since we left Gove, but it seems longer. Thylacines, Sea Whiskers and us left together and overnighted and stayed in a little Bay in Wigram Island. Within five minutes of anchoring, we had a huge shark circle the boat, a pod of dolphins checking us out and a rather large crocodile crawling up the beach. All very exciting. Next day we headed over to the Wessells and are currently anchored in Guruliya Bay which is about 5nm South of the infamous Gugari Rip …. Or Hole in the Wall. Going through the pass was really quite beautiful and very exciting.
It’s been pretty windy since we arrived so we haven’t been out and about doing much, but after deciding that we should get our priorities in order, we established a ‘beach head’ for sundowners and named it Williamson’s Heights, after Jerry and Susanne.
Our ice maker has been getting a real workout since we left Lizard Island and not surprisingly, has decided to take a long deserved break and signed off. Jerry and John are doing their darndest to get it working again.
It looks as if we are going to get a 2-3 day break in the winds from this Wednesday, so Peter, John and I will head off and do another overnighter and travel the shipping route across the Arafura Sea into Malay Bay. I’m not sure how long we will stay there as it is yet to be discussed and of course, as usual, is weather dependent.
I’ll keep you update as to the well-being of the ice maker….. will it be a burial or will it be a full recovery?
220 nm run from croker island into malay bay???through bowen strait into the timor sea and around to port essington (pete following) to alcaro bay (beautiful) ….. near cape don
50 nm run turned into 75!!!! around cape hotham into ????????? where we were reunited with star ship and then through howard channel which runs between the vernons and into cullen bay, darwin.
On our way into Darwin we contacted the Lock Master at Cullen Bay and whilst in the lock he directed us to our Berth in the Marina. We were extremely disappointed to find that our berth, apart from only being 12 metres long was on the opposite side of the marina to where the facilities were. To use the bathroom and laundry is a 2klm walk or ride. We considered the situation overnight and the next day John was in the marina office trying to have us relocated. Fortunately someone had just vacated a berth, which was three down from the main marina gate, and so we were given the OK to move into that berth when we were ready. Within 2 hours we were securely along side again, albeit into a 14 mt berth this time. Up side is that facilities are about 50 mts away including about 15 restaurants. We are very happy too that we are renting ‘privately’ which is considerably cheaper than having rented through the marina office. So it was a win win for us.
22nd June 2013
We’ve been in the marina for three weeks now and are thoroughly the experience. We’ve caught up with old friends Rudy and Lynette whom we met in Lizard five years ago. They have been living in Darwin for about three years but have decided to depart and are considering cruising back to the East coast with us in September. It would be really nice to have their company on the return journey.
John really hasn’t had 10 minutes to relax since we arrived. He has done full services on both motors and generator, checked all anodes and impellers. Any tight spots that he can’t get to, I’ve been sent in check and replace any required parts. Thankfully everything is really good. John has also redesigned the static stabilisers and had them remade. They were delivered yesterday so today we will do as much of the installation as we can on the starboard side but will have to turn the boat to do the port side.
We bought a new Garmin Auto Pilot, which we will now use as for our main unit and use the Com Nav as a backup. John has done all of the installation himself apart from the wiring connections behind the dash, which I had to do because he cannot physically get into the small space provided. Getting a hydraulics man in to do the pipes is proving impossible so once again, John changed caps and put on his hydraulics plumbing man cap, had all the parts he required made up and did all of that himself as well. So everything was ready to fire up, celebrate and check but as luck would have it, it would appear that we might have been sent a crook ECU. Garmin in the US have given him a couple of possible causes, so we are going to work on that later to see if we can sort the problem out. Cross fingers!! (John solved the problem himself and everything is 100% ok.)
Well I know that I have one reader out there, and not wanting to disappoint, I will make more of an effort to keep my diary updated and as interesting as possible. Can I just say this: any sodoku puzzles that you are having trouble with, just send them down to me for a solution. I’m happy to help. Roger to that? Over and out for now.
8th July 2013
Our departure from Cullen Bay on the 4th July was rather rushed to say the least. At 9am we were discussing our final shop to buy all fruit and veges required for two months and throughing around the idea that we might depart the marina on Saturday and possibly have dinner with friends at the Yacht Club before we headed off, but a chance meeting with Ross and Roslyn Squires from the cruising catamaran R & R changed all of those plans. The Kimberly is their back yard and they spend 5 months of every year cruising these waters so they provided us with very good local knowledge and suggested that right now would be the time to depart Cullen Bay to take advantage of the two days required to do the trip around Charles Point down to Port Keats and then over to the Berkerly. So with the final shop completed and everything locked down and stored away for the trip, we were off.
A call to the lockmaster was made and a 2pm opening was arranged. After going through the lock we pulled very briefly into Fanny Bay and anchored for an hour. Jerry, Susanne and Peter arrived in their respective dinghies and came aboard for a final good bye. Jerry and Susanne are off to Indonesia on a rally and Peter is cruising down the WA coast and into Adelaide. We will see Peter again within a week or two, but Jerry and Susanne are not planning to return to Australia for several years. We’ve all become good friends but we all have different agendas and so must part company, for now at least.
At 4pm we headed off to do the 16 hour trip to Port Keats. The trip was lovely and we did our usual 3 hour shifts. John managed to get a good sleep but I only managed 2 hours for the whole trip. We arrived at 8am, put the anchor down and settled in for a good sleep after breakfast. Well sleep we did until 2pm and when we got up and had a cuppa, the weather was looking so good that we decided to leave and do the next 16 hours to the Berkerly River. At this stage we had been back in touch with R & R who had by now also departed the marina and were making for the Berkerly. They said it was a good decision to leave Port Keats now as a 25 knot from the SE was expected tomorrow and the Bonaparte Gulf turns into the Blownapart Gulf in strong winds and of course we remembered this from our last trip across.
So the first 30 minutes of the 16 hour trip was calm but within another hour we had the gyro stabiliser cranked up and prepared for a rough trip. During the night though the conditions continued to improve and all in all, we couldn’t complain at all. John managed to get another three hours sleep with a couple of cat naps thrown in. I didn’t go down for my three hours sleep until 11pm and didn’t wake for 5 hours. John, bless him, let me sleep as he knew how tired I was. At that stage we only had another hour to go before we reached the mouth of the river. About three hours out, we were passed by R & R, who travel at 17-18 knots. We put our anchors down and had a nap and waited for sunrise and entered the mouth of the river together.
So we are anchored about 12 miles up the River and the beauty is almost indescribable. I don’t know how many photos I took while we were cruising down but please take the time to look at the photo section of the site and try to imagine that you are cruising down the river completely surrounded by these magnificent cliffs. There is no sound and the water is very calm. The beauty simply takes your breath away and with every bend comes even more magnificence. Realty kicks back in just as two crocodiles slide quietly back into the water.
We have now been here for three days and have now been joined by another four yachts.
We’ve been over to R & R for sundowners and meet their friends who have joined them for a couple of weeks. Last night we reciprocated with drinks on board Liberty. Onboard guests of R & R,Vince and Ann Garreffa and John and Deb are just delightful folk. Some of you may remember Vince from the TV cooking programme ‘Outback Italian Chef’. When Vince arrived for the cruising holiday aboard R & R he bought with him 25 kilos of gourmet meat and small goods from his butcher shop, Mondo, in Perth. Next Wednesday John and I have been invited to share all of these goodies at a BBQ at the Berkeley River Resort. I can’t wait, as Vince is going to do the cooking.
Earlier today we went for a dinghy ride right up to where the fresh water cascades into the river. We trolled all the way back, which resulted in just one good-sized estuary cod being caught. I think the rest of the afternoon will be spent just relaxing.
10th July 2013
Yesterday we travelled back toward the entrance of the river and moored at the junction of Casuarina Creek. This morning after breakfast, we jumped in the dinghy and went up to the end of the creek where, in the wet season, is a magnificent waterfall. Alas, this past wet season was unusually dry, and there is but a trickle where there would normally be millions of litres of water cascading over the falls. Despite there being little water, it does not detract from the sheer beauty of the place.
We were discussing last night that we hadn’t seen many crocodiles and were theorising as to the reason. So, this morning on the way up to the falls, we were very surprised to see a very large crocodile just cruising the mangroves minding his own business.
Very soon we will move another few miles further towards the entrance of the Berkeley, and anchor in a small lagoon, not to far from the beach. At 12.30pm a 4wd will collect us and transport all 20 of us, which represents all of the people in the 7 boats in the river, up to the Berkeley River Lodge (www.thekimberleycollection.com.au) for lunch. The Resort management have very kindly offered their facilities to us for the day and have also included a bar tab of $500. You would have to agree that all of this is very very generous.
31st July 2013
I am very happy to report that we have a fantastic day up at the Berkeley River Lodge. Have a look at the web site, address above, it’s amazing.
Today finds us back in the Cullen Bay Marina Darwin, after a glorious four weeks in the Kimberly. From the moment we left we had nothing but beautiful cruising weather. We met some really nice yachties along the way and enjoyed lots and lots of very strenuous but very rewarding walks up cliffs that always resulted in us finding a lovely billabong or two as our reward. John has posted some photos too and I’m sure you’ll agree that the Kimberly is truly a sight to behold.
After leaving the King George River we travelled up to Cape Londonderry, which is notorious for its tidal rips and overfalls. We were prepared to do battle, but John kept very wide of the said trouble spot and we had absolutely no problem at all. We went a little further than our first intended stop of Cape Talbot and anchored in a lovely little bay in West Governor Island. Even before we anchored, dolphins, sharks and really big batfish visited us.
As soon as we had anchored we put the dinghy in and took Ralf for a lovely walk along the beach. I spotted a couple of cairns (markers) on some rocks so decided to see if there was a track. Atop some rocks I looked down and a croc was looking up at me. I don’t know who got the biggest fright, it or me. Anyway, he slid down the rocks and into the water and I called out to John to collect Ralf and we went back to the boat.
With a south easterly change expected we moved down about 10 mile to Tait Point and in particular Tidepole Hill Bay (or Stupid Floating Blue Box Bay as I prefer to call it). We had a lovely five days hunkered down here. Winds were a constant 15-25 knots, occasionally 30 knots, but dropped off to nothing mid afternoon. While aboard we just don’t notice the winds. It’s only when we get in the dinghy to go and do something that we notice the wind, so of course we kept out trips ashore to the beach until mid afternoon.
The afternoon weather report on the 26th July indicated that the winds were dropping and the next two to three days would be a good opportunity for us to return to Darwin. We discussed this option and decided that this was likely to be the only weather window for a couple of weeks to come, so we decided to up the anchor, move about 15 nm up to Sir Graham Moore Island and stay the night there and head off after breakfast to do the 350nm trip back across Joseph Bonaparte Gulf to Darwin no-stop. If per chance we got caught out we had a few options of either going down to Koolama Bay (King George River) or Reverley Island at the head of the Berkeley River or directly across to Port Keats.
Well, we headed off up towards Cape Londonderry, again anticipating to encounter those dreaded overfalls etc, but to our surprise we had absolutely calm conditions again. At this point we were feeling a little cocky, but still with all fingers and toes crossed, and very prepared for the trip back across the notorious Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, or Blownapart Gulf as it is called by the locals.
The trip across the Bonaparte and down into Darwin was nothing short of amazing. We put the anchor down in Fanny Bay at 2am on Monday 29th July, which I think was after about 40 hours travelling. After a really good sleep we contacted the Cullen Bay Lock Master and entered the marina at 10am.
Tomorrow I’m heading off home and leaving John and Ralf to fend for themselves for a few days. When I return on the 6th, we’ll do a little bit of shopping to top up our supplies and then head East on about the 13th or 14th August.
12th August 2013
Darwin to Cape Hotham
Doesn't get much better than this, John has his music cranked, autopilot following our old tracks, just sitting back relaxing!
13th August 2013
Cape Hotham to Alcaro Bay
It is 7.30am and we have just left Cape Hotham and will travel approx 58 nm to Alcaro Bay. It is another beautiful day and if it remains calm I'm thinking that I may re-pot two new parsley plants I bought on Sunday. My garden is providing us, and lots of other boats, with an abundance of fresh herbs, shallots, chillies and this wonderful plant called Mexican Spinach which is soooooooo good and can be used in place of lettuce, and in stir frys etc. I put it in omelettes and scrambled eggs too. It grows from a cutting so lots of boats we've come across have it growing now. I originally got it from a woman living on her catamaran in Townsville. I wish I had her email so I could thank her again. She also gave me this tiny little chilli plant that was no more than 10cm high. It has been cut back three times now and just continues to bear fruit.
17th August 2013
Guruliya Bay to Gove
We enjoyed coming back to Guruliya Bay. It's a nice safe out of the wind bay and a lovely beach to-boot. It's reported as being 'full' of big crocks, but we are yet to see a single one. That doesn't mean to say there aren't any. We are heading off again today and in approx 16 nm we will be going back through 'the whole in the wall' and down to Gove. We will look at topping off with fuel while we are there which will then get us through to Yorkey's.
18th August 2013
It's a beautiful day in Gove Harbour today. Liberty
is spic and span again and hopefully will stay that way until we hit the gulf
probably sometime next week by the looks of the weather. We were called
on this morning by Greg and Brenda from 'Attitude Too. They had met
friends of ours Clem and Marg in Yorkey's who asked them to keep an eye out
for us. It is always nice to swap stories with other boaties and it was
particularly nice of Greg and Brenda to offer us a lift into town as they
have a hire car.
20th August 2013
Gove to Seicia
Here we go, cross fingers for good weather. We topped off the fuel before we left. Grumpy Barry (everyone knows Barry) is still there, but I sweetened him up with coffee and banana muffins and he was much nicer. Diesel was only $1.53 lt. It has always been the cheapest fuel around.
We've got 10 knotss of wind from the N at the moment. Very pleasant but we've only travelled 4 nm so far!
23rd August 2013-08-27
We had an amazing trip across the gulf. Two days and two nights and we only had choppy conditions for about 6 hours in total, and even that wasn’t anything to worry about. We had beautiful moonlit nights. It’s lovely to be able to see the sea on night runs. Sometimes, depending on the time of the month, it’s pitch black and very uninteresting. Both John and I had reasonable sleep brakes and we watched a couple of good movies to help pass the time.
We are going to go into the Doughboy Creek instead of going directly up to Seisia. We think our friend Greg might be in there with his charter vessel. Apart from that, it’s a nice place to tuck in out of the wind for a bit of a rest from the long haul we’ve just done.
24t August 2013-08-26
Our friend Greg (Tropical Paradise Charters) is anchored here in the Doughboy and it's been nice catching up with again. If there is anyone out there who has a lazy $800,000 and is keen on fishing and wants to make some serious money, then check Greg's web site. His business is for sale with the $2,000,000/2 year contract he has just signed. So anyway, we are heading out of here on the high tide tomorrow and going to Seisia to do a little bit of restocking so we have stores for about 6 weeks. We might stay a day for two before heading off to the cape where we make a big right turn and go south and eventually into Lizard Island where we hope to reunite with lots of friends. I can't wait!
25th August 2013
Doughboy to Seisia
We left the Doughboy this morning. It's blowing 28 knots at present. We are only 1 mile off shore and conditions aren't too bad. We are going to do a little bit of tacking to make the trip to Seisia the most comfortable and all going well, we should be there by 3pm.
The conditions deteriorated with winds increasing to 35+ at times. The trip was still good. Liberty handles bad conditions beautifully. John did a little bit of tacking to make the most of the situation and here we are, anchored up safe and sound by 4.15pm just a little later than first expected.
26th August 2013
It is still windy and there is another high on it’s way so we are probably going to stay put for at least one week until everything settles and we can have a good trip around to the Escape River.
Today will be spent cleaning the outside of the boat, doing a inventory of what groceries we still have and go across to the store to pick up a few things, bit by bit. It’s hard yakka carrying groceries over the beach to the dinghy and then unloading again onto the boat, but luckily John is always there to help.