Dear Diary (and
February 19th 2007: This is it...we
have finally cruised Northward on our first leg. After years of planning and preparation I find it hard
to believe that we are actually doing it .We stopped at Redcliffe on the way
to see family and friends. It
was very hard to say goodbye to son Ben and all of our good friends.
February 20th 2007: Today
we departed Redcliffe and cruised on to Mooloolaba, where we stayed at Ron
and Gloria Austin’s place (they take delivery of their very own Voyager
1100 in two weeks) They made us very welcome for several days as we waited
out the rain and squalls that persisted. During this stay we inadvertently
got Ron to add about $15,000 more gadgets to his boat, because he kept
spotting the toys and gadgets we had fitted and decided they were a ‘must
have’ as well. (sorry Ron). Needless to say Ralf was a big hit with Ron and
Gloria. We finally got a break in the weather and headed off to Urangan via
the notorious Wide Bay Bar.
After we had topped up the tanks we meet up with ‘web watchers’ Heather and Michael and again, Ralf was the main attraction. Unfortunately we missed Tony and
Anne who also wanted to meet Ralf. Today the wind is still blowing at 20 knots so we
are tucked away safely inside Fraser Island just relaxing. Ralf is a bit off colour today and
won’t leave my side. Looking
forward to doing a little bit of fishing tomorrow and putting some crab
pots in. I can’t wait to try
out my new ‘crab’ saucepan.
February 28th 2007: John has been giving you the
news for the past few days, so I won’t go over everything that we’ve
done. My ‘crab’ saucepan is
still brand new. I think the
professionals have really done a number of Wathumba Creek. You never know though, we just may
get lucky before we leave which looks like being a few days yet. It’s absolutely gorgeous here at
Wathumba. My kids Ben and
Susie were bought up holidaying here and so I have lots of wonderful happy
memories. The bream are still
huge! I can’t believe we come all
this way and the boat that followed us in a few days ago were neighbours of
mine ten years ago. They still live there at Newport and are thinking of
buying a Voyager too. Ralf is his old self again. We took him ashore this
morning and he just goes ballistic.
He loves the water and the beach. He’s just had a nice shampoo bath and a big belly full
of fresh cooked veges and chicken.
He is one loved pooch!
It’s about ‘sundowner’ time so I’m off to the front deck with John
to enjoy the sunset and a nice glass of chardie, so until next time …….cheers.
March 1st 2007: 1st day of Autumn
but you wouldn’t know from where we are. It’s only just 9am and very hot already. I’ve done three loads of washing
(sheets/towels etc) while John is busy making water. Sheets are already dry
and ready to go back onto the bed.
John mentioned that we caught lots of squid right! Well I’ve done the breaded calamari
rings, calamari in garlic butter and calamari carbonara. Do any of you loyal ‘web watchers’
have any favourite recipes that you can email me. I’m thinking may be a chilli or something else with a
bit of bite. Remember I’m
limited in my selection of dried herbs and spices (not fresh). We also caught a big tuna which we
cut into nice generous steaks.
I marinated these in a concoction of herbs/lemon juice and fresh
crushed garlic and olive oil.
John bbq’d on a very hot plate, and I can tell you .. it was
sensational. Today is
the first day of our exercise programme, so I’d better go and motivate John
(not to mention myself). The tide is dropping so Ralf is looking forward to
his run too. PS .. still no
March 6th 2007: Where does the time go! I can’t believe it’s been so long
since I last made an entry in my diary. Because we were a little worried about the Cyclone
intensifying we decided to leave Wathumba on 2nd March and head
for Pancake Creek which is just north of 1770. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve been in there
and it was just as beautiful as I’d remembered. We spent two lovely days in here just walking, jogging
along the beach (yes jogging!!) and exploring in the dingy. Again, with reports of the cyclone
building we thought we’d take advantage of the still good sea conditions and go up to Gladstone to a safer
anchorage. Again another
beautiful trip up but instead of going into Gladstone, we headed up the
Narrows, 30 mile of calm water cruising between Curtis Island and
Gladstone. We anchored up for
a couple of days in Pacific Creek where we did some fishing (we also caught
three really big sea snakes .. yuk!) and crabbing, but surprise surprise,
still NO crabs at home! There
was a steel trawler type boat name Robian moored just ahead of us in the
creek. We decided to call in
and say hi yesterday and meet Alan and Kathy. What a lovely young couple and wouldn’t you know it,
they are just back from the Kimberley and were so pleased to share their
experiences and stories and incredible photos. The information we were able to gather from them will
certainly come in very handy.
What a fabulous chance meeting. We will definitely stay in touch with them and maybe
meet up with them again before our trip is over. So with the cyclone no more we cruised up to
Yeppoon this morning and have decided to moor at the Roslyn Bay Marina for
the night. I forgot to
mention that John has had an allergic reaction to sandfly bites and had to
visit a doctor today for antibiotics and antihistamines. Poor bugger, but he’s decided that
taking Jim Beam internally as well as the six Panadol he’s also taken and
that is apart from the prescribed junk he has already taken just seems to
be easing the itching a little.
Somehow I don’t think I’m going to have to cook him dinner tonight. Ralf is such a good little bloke
and such good company. He’s
just snuggled up here beside me.
We are not long back from a long walk. He has had his ‘nummies’ for the night and ready for
beddy byes I think. I
did a little bit of shopping today while we were in town. The Marina has a courtesy car which
they very kindly lent us. I
replenished the fresh vege and fruit supply while John replenished the
beer, wine and bourbon supply.
I’m still reeling from the vege prices .. can you believe $4.95 for
a lettuce, which I did buy and $11.95/kg for broccoli which I did not
buy! I did think twice about
buying fresh mushrooms but again resisted at $12.99/kg. So here we are for the night. It’s very pleasant here but we will
still be pleased to leave tomorrow and go out amongst the islands where we
can do out own thing and just enjoy nature. I’m wondering how Ron and Gloria are and whether they
have a new ‘baby’ yet.
March 27th 2007:
For those of you who may have been wondering, no I haven’t
jumped ship but there have been times in the past three weeks that I have
seriously thought about it.
Apart from my laptop not working and not being able to access any of
my files, we have had some dreadful weather the worst being the trip from
Middle Percy to Airlie Beach.
But I will need to digress to bring you up to date.
I last told you that we had decided to
stay at Rosslyn Bay Marina. We
had a lovely time in the Keppels.
We met up with Ginny and her husband Greg and Graham and Sharon. Graham is awaiting delivery of his
Voyager and Ginny being a skipper and charter operator will also be
operating Graham’s charter business for him. They all took us to a beautiful new restaurant called
Michael’s where we dined like kings and queens. The following Sunday we all met up at Long Beach on
Great Keppel Island. Graham
came aboard Catalina to take us a short distance to a reef where he
promised us some good fishing.
You will have to see John’s file for the results but I will just say
that we had the best coral trout for dinner that I have ever tasted washed
down with a beautiful bottle of Margaret River Classic Dry White. It was the 12th
March when we reluctantly left this beautiful haven to travel north. The weather was terrible all the
way and we pulled in to Port Clinton for the night and then travelled onto
Island Head Creek the next day.
Again the weather was awful for the entire trip up and we just
wanted to collapse into a heap on anchoring. Because of the gale winds outside we stayed in the creek
for three days. We met Kerry
and Eileen and cat Zac. They
have been living aboard their boat Olympus for nearly two years. They are a nice couple and Ralf
fell in love with Zac. We
crabbed and fished but the highlight of that stay was learning how to throw
a bait net. Thanks Kerry, I’ve
wanted to do that my entire life. Still NO crabs!!
We have to keep moving north and as the
‘weather man’ is predicting only 15 knots of wind we are off to the
Percy’s. Well I swear the
weather man reads the weather from his lounge room and never ventures
outside. Try 30 knots again! We anchored up at what was
recommended as a safe anchorage from any SE wind. PIGS! Had a
terrible night and moved around to Middle Percy next morning hoping for a
little more shelter. A
beautiful beach for Ralf to explore.
We enjoyed putting out feet on the sand for a couple of hours
too. We gathered up a couple
of coconuts which we ‘milked’ and I grated the flesh to make beautiful
fresh coconut milk which then became a beautiful meal of chilli coral trout
cooked in fresh coconut milk.
That night turned into the worst night I have ever experienced on a
boat. The winds howled 30
knots all night almost throwing me out of bed at one stage. Ralf was terrified and spent the
night under my pillow.
Poor little bugger. We
just have to get out of this place! So we decide that it’s Airlie Beach ‘or
bust’. Now, I’m a pretty
good sailor and wild seas don’t bother me, but the next 7 hours was like
going to hell and back. We
experienced gale force winds and constant 5 to 6 metre seas. We were both exhausted and so the
little bay just ½ klm from Airlie looked like a lovely spot to anchor and
‘regroup’, or so we thought.
So, welcome to the Wet/Windy Weteverydays! Next morning the wind is gusting 40 knots and the
starboard cabin hatch in the main cabin was blown open and smashing the
starboard side windscreen. Tension was already at an all time
high so this discomfort didn’t help at all with rain pouring in and shards
of glass in everything on board
plus we were so tired.
John contacted Voyager and arranged for a replacement to be sent up
from Brisbane. Thankfully the
manufacturers had one in stock but it would be three-four days before we
could get it. We have had to
do a temporary repair on the windscreen. We have kissed and made up at this stage and
have decided to hire a car for the day and get out and about, do some
grocery shopping, go to the hardware and take a drive out to Dingo
Beach. We needed that time
away from the boat.
It’s the 23rd now and we are off over to Hamilton Island to
collect friends Mark and Linda who are going to join us for three
days. It’s not raining today
but it is blowing 30 knots and the trip over is awful resulting in the temporary repair blowing in and
as you can guess we now have glass shards everywhere. Mark and Linda arrived and found us
anchored up at the Marina.
Mark and John scrounged a piece of plywood and cut a template for
the screen and glued it in to stop any more damage and rain coming in. While walking along the Marina
pontoon John walked straight into the bowsprit of a big boat and knocked
himself to the ground and hurt his shoulder. An island employee witnessed the accident and whisked
him away to the doctors clinic.
The doctor is not there, he is off ‘oystering’ for the day! They took a report and gave John
some pain killers. Linda and I
took off to the resort and got stuck in to a few cocktails, followed by a
couple of bottles of wine. The
boys joined us for a couple more drinks. Somehow, we all got back to the boat and managed to have
a lovely steak and salad dinner.
We left the marina next morning and motored over to Cyd Harbour and
Whitsunday Island. God, this
is bliss at last. We are OUT
of the wind. I’m never moving
again. We had a lovely time
fishing, going for short trips in the dinghy and oystering. First day Linda and I set out we
only gathered about 3 dozen oysters because the tide was coming in. Next day we were more organised. We managed about 20 dozen oysters
this time. We had done the
oysters and champagne the previous night so tonight we are having ‘Catalina Kilpatrick
oysters’. This consists of
five dozen oysters (per person) topped with cooked bacon and worcestershire
sauce wrapped in a parcel of alfoil and cooked on the bbq for about 5
minutes. And of course don’t
forget the champagne. YUM YUM!
Linda and Mark are flying home today (26th). Linda is happy that John is almost
over the fact that she broke his antique fishing rod. She was landing that beautiful
Sweet Lip that she caught (see John’s files) and broke the rod. Yes, his favourite rod, handed down
from his Granddaddy. (At least
that is the story John told her.
Poor girl, she is flying home today still believing all of that ..
I’ll have to tell her one day).
OK, so we are back to the 27th March where I
started. Mark and Linda are
home safe and sound and we had the replacement screen fitted yesterday
afternoon when we got back to Airlie Beach. We are anchored just in front of the marina doing some
‘stuff’ and just chilling out.
It’s been raining and the wind is gusty at times. John has just phoned the glass
repair main to let him know that the screen is leaking badly. I’m off to have a cuppa.
2007: We left the
Whitsundays yesterday as planned.
We were well overdue for the beautiful weather we have had for two
days now. Yesterday we had a
very leisurely four hour cruise up to Queens Bay (Bowen) during which time
John busied himself making water, checking and rechecking the instruments,
plotting our course and catching up on some reading. I did two loads of washing and also
did some reading but mostly I just enjoyed taking in the beautiful scenery. We had a very restful
night. This morning we weighed
anchor just after 6am and are headed to either Cape Bowling Green or
Magnetic Island. The weather
of the past two days helps to dull the memories of the dreadful weather we
have had to endure over the past three weeks. Although we get a beautiful breeze up on the bridge when
we roll up all of the clears, it sometimes get very hot so today we have
spent an unusual amount of time down here in the galley/lounge/dining
area. The seas are very
calm and we have a lovely breeze coming through all windows/hatches. We are cruising along at about 7-8
knots which apart from being very economical is also very peaceful and
calming. John has plotted our
course, set all alarms and put George in charge and has decided to do some
trolling for a little while.
I’ve been reading and doing some crosswords. Ralf has been doing nothing. We have no turbulence so our
‘fasten seat belts’ sign is switched off. Shortly I will be moving through the cabin checking on
my passengers comfort and serving drinks and a snack before selecting and
showing an in-flight movie which should take us through to mid afternoon
when we should be making our approach to our destination (still to be
decided). I forgot to mention
that when we were moored up at the Abel Point Marina a few nights ago, we
had the Aqualuma underwater lights on as usual. They are amazing!
The garfish were at the back of the boat by the hundreds and we were
actually catching them by hand.
The lights seem to stun them.
They are fabulous bait fish so we have frozen down a few
packets. The Spectra water
maker is also a god send. Although
we are still very very mindful of how much water we use, the water maker
just take the pressure off.
Yesterday we saved all of our final rinsing water from the washing
and once we had anchored up for the evening, we gave Catalina a really good
‘tub’. And although he doesn’t
know it yet, after he has been to the beach for a run and a swim later
today, Ralf is also going to get his weekly tub. 3pm and we have arrived at
Cape Bowling Green, right on schedule. There is nothing here except a big bay which is
providing a lovely anchorage for the night. The movie chosen was “The Thin Red Line” starring Sean
Penn, Nick Nolte, John Cusack and Woody Harrelson. Great movie, we gave it a 9/10 ..
recommended you see it if you get a chance. It’s now 4pm.
I rowed Ralf ashore. He has had a really good run along the beach
and a big swim. He has had his
bubble bath and has come up smelling like roses. He is now on the back swim platform sunning and preening
himself like a Cheshire cat.
It’s a tough life being the ships ‘top dog’.
April 9th 2007:
The Easter bunny did not
find me yesterday (John must have left better directions than me!). From Cape Bowling Green to
Townsville to pick up a few supplies.
Where we should have gotten an extra carton of beer because I’ve
just noticed that John has only two cans of Mid left. We are now anchored up in a creek
in Zoe Bay which is on Hinchenbrook Island. We arrived here on the 7th. We were anchored for about five
days at Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island which is just a gorgeous place. It has been absolutely years since
I’ve been there. We were very
comfortably from the constant wind we’ve been having since we left
home. It was nice to be able
to get on a bus and have a little tour of the island. We did a lot of walking through the
tracks from beach to beach and survived the
Tsunami. When we got news of
the impending ‘danger’ we just gathered all valuables (ourselves and Ralf)
and headed up the mountain. Of
course the best place to head really is out to sea, but we only had an hour
and 40 knots of wind, so we decided to go to shore and wait it out. In total there were five pressure
waves of about 20cm. Nothing
to worry about at all, but we just wanted to play it safe. John got talking to yachties
Peter and Tom one afternoon at the park and invited them for dinner the
following night. We had a nice
bbq and then watched the movie ‘Kenny’ again. Next day finds us heading for The Palm Island group and Orpheus Island in particular
because there is supposed to be a good ‘out of the wind’ anchorage
there. Well, we had two
reasonably good days there but the weather report is not looking good so we
headed here to Zoe Bay and this creek. We could weather a cyclone up here. It is very shallow in parts but we
have about 9 feet under us at low water. Within about an hour of anchoring
up we had the fishing lines out and within the next hour we had a huge
stingray, 2 bronze whaler sharks, another smaller shark and John hooked a
huge Queen fish which he took ages to land. Once again the Aqualima lights bought all the bait fish
about last night and to our surprise several huge barramundi. Although we had live bait they had
a virtual smorgasbord of fish so didn’t come near out baits. What a sight! Tonight we will
try the flash on the camera to see if we can pick them up for you, because
unless you see them, you just won’t believe what I’ve just told you. John just throws the cast net at
night and we get all the live bait we need which is terrific. It has been very overcast and rainy
for the second day now but it really is a nice change from the sun. I did some cleaning and the washing
yesterday. In the next 30
minutes, we are heading off in the dinghy to pull some lures to see if we
can get ourselves just one of these barras. No doubt you’ll read and see all about it if we do.
2007: Well we did! Catch Barra that is but it seems so
long ago now. We’ve traveled
so many miles since my last entry that I’ll have to retrace some of the
trip for you. After leaving
Zoe Bay and the creek, and yes you guessed correctly it was in bad weather,
we headed a little north to Cape Richards (Missionary Bay just hoping to
catch up with an old friend of John’s who owned the resort only to find out
that due to ill health he had recently sold and was now living on the Gold
Coast. Out next anchorage was
at Dunk Island. John rowed the
dinghy ashore to have a look about but was back within 30 minutes. After yet another
uncomfortable night of rocking and rolling we left and headed directly for
Cairns and Yorkey’s Knob Marina where we spent the next six days. We had a couple of very nice meals
at the Restaurant and also hired a car for a couple of days. We did some shopping, bought some
new fishing gear and me a brand new rod and reel (yippee!!) and replaced my
old laptop with a new Compaq Presario V6000 which is a really nice little
unit and does everything except wash the dishes.
But forge ahead is what we must
do and so off we head for the Low Isles, Hope Isles and Lizard Island which
was absolutely beautiful and a welcome haven out of the infernal wind. We conquered the ‘walk’ to the top
of the mountain. This was the vantage point which Captain Cook used to
navigate and chart his way out of the inner reefs. He certainly had an incredible
view, absolutely breathtaking in fact. We did some snorkeling which was nice. Giant clams everywhere. Once again the
‘aqualuma’ lights bought the fish in at night. John was tempted to throw a lure but no no no, fishing
is prohibited here. We really
would have liked to stay longer and reluctantly we are off again, this time
to the Flinders Group of Islands where we anchored up behind Flinders
Island for the night. Next day
we thought we would chance a night at Morris Island and so we headed in to
seek shelter once again from the wind. A really nice little island and as my maiden name is
Morris I’m wondering if I might have any claims to a little bit of real
estate here. We found some
HUGE oysters and to accompany these John bought some fresh prawns from the
trawler anchored next to us.
After a very
comfortable night we headed north to our next stop in Margaret Bay where we
met Bill and Carol from Broome WA. They came aboard for ‘sundowners’ and a chat. As our travel calendar is about the
same, we hope we will meet again in the Kimberly.
As the days go on and we put
many many sea miles behind us the anticipation of reaching Cape York is
beginning to get the better of both of us. Just one more sleep and stop over and we will be nearly there.
2007: Our last night on
the east coast of Australia was spent in the Escapee River. What a good sleep we had. Not a ripple! We normally have breakfast once we
are under way but yesterday we decided to have brekkie before we headed
off. Not long out of the river
and with about 15 nm to go, the port engine began to show signs of
overheating. We had quite good
weather so nursing the motors for the next leg wasn’t a problem.
We traveled on through the
Albany Pass which was really lovely.
Just 5nm to go now! We
are here! We’ve made it! As you can imagine, rounding the
Cape was awesome. We anchored
up in Shallow Bay and took the dinghy ashore and walked to the northern
most point of this wonderful country of ours. Reaching the cape is what we
refer to as our Everest.
It has been really tough at times, but we’ve made it and we still
have so much to look forward to.
We need to refuel and as we were told that we can get fuel at Seisia
which is just 15 nm away we head off again. Once there we hope to spend a day or two before heading
to Gove which is 300 nm and means a full day and nights steaming and
sleeping in shifts and praying for good weather. Anyway, we are at Seisia and there is no fuel so we need
to back track to Thursday Island.
We have been here for about an hour now and John has just checked
the motors. We aren’t going
anywhere!!!! We have serious
problems and if they can’t be rectified this could mean the end of our
trip. John is mortified and
the mood aboard is very somber.
We’ve contacted Volvo and now just have to wait until Monday to see
what they can do. We are as
they say .. dead in the water.
2007: Hello everyone from
beautiful downtown Seisia. We
have been here for one week and are considered ‘locals’ already. The only highlight of our day is
when the tide either goes in or out and our scenery changes. Everyone here is one crocodile
alert after one was spotted near the jetty yesterday and there is also a
very large, perhaps 10ft or so, bronze whaler shark lurking about. John has seen it and I saw it
yesterday just behind one of the dinghys that was pulling into the beach. Tonight
we are going ashore to the Seisia Fishing Club clubhouse for a bbq and a
couple of drinks. Apparently
this place really fires up on a Friday night. Yesterday we had a nice surprise when Rudy and Lynette
came knocking of our back door.
They are a nice couple from Brisbane who we met them at Lizard
Island. They have been living
aboard their yacht Tiata for about 15 months I think and are quite familiar
with these waters so have been able to pass on some local knowledge. We should all have a good night
Tomorrow, Saturday our
mechanic arrives. Cross
fingers that he fixes the problem and we can get underway on Monday. John has arranged a tanker to come
to the jetty on Monday morning. We will take on 1050 litres of diesel for
the trip to Gove. The weather
in the Gulf this past week has been perfect for the sort of cruising we
would like. We just hope that
it continues through to next week and we get a good run. It’s 300 nm and we will be doing this
over two days and one night without any stops. We will sleep in shifts and watch the occasional
DVD to help pass the
On a much more personal note,
I would like to pass on to you the most incredibly good news that I had
this week. My daughter Susie
her husband Ablo and children Jamila and Saleem are comnig home to
Australia to live. They have
been living in Chicago for about 7 years so this is just wonderful. I am so excited that I could
burst. They should arrive mid
June so when we get to Darwin I will go home for a couple of weeks to see
them and to settle them into our house where they will be living.
Well Ralf is giving me a
little nudge to let me know it is time to go ashore for ‘walkies’ so I’ll
close for now but we will keep you updated with regards the repairs
necessary to get us under way again.
May 6th 2007:
It’s Sunday and another
beautiful day in paradise.
Volvo mechanic Brian and his lovely mechanics assistant Linda arrived yesterday
afternoon. What would have
taken Brian a few hours to fix in a normal workshop situation has taken him
8 hours so far because of the tricky positions of the oil coolers. Both motors are running now but yet
to be tested under normal load conditions. Fingers crossed that everything is going to be OK. Tomorrow we will fuel up, look at
the weather chart and all going well we will probably head off on Tuesday
for the long journey to Gove.
We had a very nice time at
the fishing club on Friday night and a nice BBQ on board here last night
with Rudy and Lynette and Brian and Linda.
2007: We are heading off
to Gove, a daunting 360 nautical mile run across the Arafura Sea. I will let you know more when we
May 13th 2007: We arrived safely in
Gove. We were on the go for a
solid 36 hours doing the trip with each of us at the helm for four hourly
shifts. The nights were the
worst. We had no moon at all
and the sea was all over the place making the trip seem even longer. We were both exhausted by the time
we arrived. The rain we
had the night we arrived was very welcome as it saved us the trouble of
washing the boat. The wind
blew from every direction so there wasn’t one part of the boat that missed
out. It rained again the next
day too so we got the buckets and detergent this time and did all the
clears and windows etc. Our
friends Rudy and Lynette arrived a couple of days after us. It was just great to see some
familiar faces. We all went
into town on Sunday to treat ourselves to a nice lunch. We didn’t realise it was Mother’s
Day so the beautiful smorgasbord at the local club was a bonus. We feasted on beautiful fresh
seafood and assorted other meats and salads. There isn’t much else to do in Gove though. It’s not a very pretty place. The bauxite mining tends to make
everything red and dirty and it is extremely hard to keep the boat
clean. We moored just out from
the Gove Yacht Club and have to go ashore in the dinghy which isn’t a
problem but the beach is sooooo muddy and just plain yucky.
Rudy and Lynette are planning
on staying in Gove for a year if they can both get jobs. Their dreams are to buy a bigger
and better sea doing vessel. I
couldn’t stay in a place like Gove for much longer than we have but they
have a dream and are prepared to give it a go so of course we wish them all
the very best but will miss seeing them for a while.
Tomorrow we head off in the
direction of Darwin. We are
both looking forward to the 10 day (approx) cruise John has planned for
us. Tonight I will be dreaming
of blue sky, calm seas and long white beaches for Ralf to explore at the
end of a days cruising. We
probably won’t have any internet coverage at least until we reach Darwin so
there will be no more updates for a couple of weeks.
2007: We arrived in Darwin
yesterday. The trip down
wasn’t exactly what we had planned.
The waters are milky blue and not clear at all and are dotted with
dangerous reefs and it was extremely difficult to find shelter out of the
wind which blows constantly. I
had hoped that we wouldn’t have to do any more ‘overnighters’ but we
did. We left the shelter of
Inglis Island and overnighted to Grant Island which was beautiful until the
crocodiles arrived! Until we
spotted them on our second day we had been going back and forth to the
beach with Ralf doing some trolling from the dinghy and generally enjoying
some down time.
But the crocs just kept stalking the boat and so we decided to leave
and found a nice little bay called ‘Black Point’ where we \stayed for the
night and then went on to Popham Bay which was very muddy and really stank
awfully bad. Eager now to get
going we left at about 2am and
went around Cape Don and headed for Darwin which was about a 90 nmiles run. We had to anchor out in Darwin
Harbour for the night (in the wind!!!!) before we could get a berth in
Cullen Bay Marina where we are now. The Marina is very nice and we are both looking
forward to a little R & R before John’s friend Mark arrives from the US
and I fly back home for a couple of weeks to see Susie, Ablo and the
children who arrive from Chicago on the 7th June. I’ve missed Ben so much too so it
will be lovely to see him and also catch up with some friends.
2007: Mark arrived
yesterday looking very fit and well after his 30 hour ordeal to get
here. Last night we had a nice
meal at La Beach which is a restaurant here at the Marina overlooking the
beach. We watched the sunset,
shared a nice bottle of wine and chatted for what seemed like hours. I am catching the midnight flight
back to Brisbane tonight so the boys are going down to the Casino for a
couple of hours. They are
leaving for their fishing trip tomorrow.
2007: WOW!!!! What a
month. I just can’t begin to
tell you what an incredible time I had at home with the family. We didn’t do much but every day was
filled from start to end. We
had lots of walks to the park, Ablo and Susie spent a lot of time fixing
‘stuff’ up with immigration etc etc. which meant that I had lots of quality
time with the kids alone. We booked Jamila into school and bought uniforms
and generally had a great time together. I miss them already but knowing
that they are now living in our home on the Gold Coast somehow makes it
easier to bear. I will
probably fly home again in a few months once we reach Perth.
John and Mark’s trip away was
good but they didn’t catch any quality fish. They saw lots and lots of crocodiles though and both
managed to get themselves literally stuck up to their waists in the mud
while taking Ralf for a walk.
It was a very serious situation and could have ended quite
differently had John not been able to pull himself out and getting back
into the dinghy before helping to
pull Mark out of the mud with the dinghy. All of this while the crocodiles looked on.
Mark left on the 10th
June which left John to batch for two weeks before I arrived back in
Darwin. He spent his time
making friends in the Marina and generally waiting for parts to arrive from
Volvo so they could do some repairs.
2007: John and I went down
to the Mindil markets last night and just happened to run into NICOLE
KIDMAN. I was standing
beside here at the Oyster bar for a couple of minutes before I realized it
was her. I was actually
admiring her cap and jacket when it dawned on me that it was her. I couldn’t believe it. She is just so stunning and natural
has been in town filming the movie “Australia”. The old pearl lugger “Anniki” which is moored alongside
us in the Marina has been restored to its former glory (with the use of
film props) to be used in the movie.
It has been very interesting these past couple of weeks watching all
of the comings and goings and it was particularly interesting to see Baz
Luhrmann himself on the boat checking lighting etc.
2007: We are leaving
Darwin in a couple of days.
Our friends Lee and Dee from Redcliffe arrive on the 10th. Originally we had planned to
meet them in Broome and spend about a week cruising about in the Kimberly
but because we have been held up here in Darwin for so long we have decided
that they will fly up here and join us on the first part of our trip to the
Kimberly and leave us in Wyndham to continue their touring in WA..
2007: Lee and Dee arrived
safe and well but tired from the flight up from Brisbane which always seems to arrives in Darwin at the ungodly and uncivilized hour of
1.30am. We departed Darwin
yesterday for the Kimberley. Our first stop was the ‘lovely’ Daly
river. Yum yum!!!! Looked liked liquid chocolate but
didn’t smell like melted chocolate and those things moving on the shore
weren’t roasted almonds but big nasty crocodiles. John and Lee caught some Barracats which we used for the
crab pots. We had to draw
straws to see who got to set the pots but again John and Lee although a
little reluctantly, showed us women what they were made of and set off to
do their jobs. Dee got quite a
surprise this morning when she looked out of her cabin hatch directly into
the eyes of Mr. Croc who had come to visit. It’s too scary here so we are heading off to some
clearer water. Ron and Gloria
will be pleased to hear that we finally got to use the crab pot purchased
in Mooloolaba for the 6 huge muddies taken from the pots this morning.
2007: It’s been nothing
but go go go for us this past week or so which has left me little opportunity to update
my dairy. We got as far as the
Berkley River which was quite spectacular. It is about a 14 mile cruise up to where you can see the
beautiful cliffs and waterfalls.
It’s very crowded with tourist boats though which detracts from the
beauty of the place a little.
John has to be very careful too when anchoring as the tides are
huge and were about 7 meter
when we were there.
Unfortunately all good things
much come to an end and we eventually had to leave and head back into the
Cambridge Gulf and down to Wyndham where Lee and Dee were leaving from to
continue there trip. We
arrived back in Darwin a couple of days ago and spent one whole day
cleaning Catalina and making her beautiful again.
John and I have had a lot of
sole searching to do since experiencing some of the bad weather on the west
coast and listening to the horrific stories told by some yachties that we
were fortunate enough to meet along the way. Now is just not the right time to even attempt cruising
down to Perth so we will be staying put here in Darwin and readying the
boat and ourselves for the trip back to the East coast
2007: Even though we are
keen to leave Darwin and get out into cruising mode again we are going to
find it difficult to leave behind the wonderful friends we have made. At first Darwin just didn’t ‘do’ it
for us, but boy has she grown on us.
There is so much to see and do here and it’s
so much more pleasurable when you have friends like Cam and Sherni
(Knot too Shabby) who so graciously loaned us their car to get out and
about. John and Susie (Bedar) took us to the Darwin races several times
where we all had a little flutter and picked some winners. Unfortunately all the celebrating
we did to celebrate out wins, left us all very much out of pocket, but it
was great fun. They were also
very patient with Ralf who visited the boat constantly. You see Ralf fell in love with Indy
their cat. Indy thought Ralf
wasn’t too bad either, but it was never going to be a match made in
heaven. Ralf will miss
And of course there is Rudy
and Lynette (Tiata) with whom we have kept company on and off since meeting them on Lizard
Island. They are such good fun
and are now working in Darwin
at jobs they both enjoy.
Lynette is writing some wonderful articles for Multi Hull magazine,
which takes the reader on a wonderful journey with them while they live
Yep, we are going to miss
2007: The weather was a
mixture of bing and bang (as Lynette would say) and definitely a lot more
bang than bing, but here we are in Gove where we will wait for yet another
weather window so we can head off to Seisia. Instead of gong directly across the Gulf this time we
are going to go down to Groote Island on to Mornington Island then to
Karumba and up to Weipa and on to Seisia from there.
But first we need to get some
supplies, which means hitching a ride into Nhulunbuy. Now, that should be an
experience. I can’t exactly
remember when it was that I last ‘hitched’ a ride.
2007: Fully stocked again,
we decided to inch our way down to Groote taking refuge in some of the nice
little bays along the way.
Unfortunately once again the weather does exactly what it is NOT predicted
to do and things go sour yet again.
I’m not going to go into all the horrible detail of the trip down,
I’ll just tell you that we are anchored up now in a beautiful little bay on
Groote Island which I was never going to leave until of course John reminded
me that the only way I was ever going to see family and friends again was
to be a big girl and face the fact that we still have a long way to
As luck would have it, today
we met Bruce and Juanita who own the 65ft fishing boat called “Wild Card”. What a magnificent vessel (I want
one!!!!!!) Anyway, what
fantastic generous people. Not
only did they invite us aboard for dinner but because Groote does not have
any refuelling facilities AND to save us the journey down to Karumba, they
gave us 350 litres of fuel from the stores of 17,000 litres. You see, THERE IS GOING TO
BE A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER PATTERN AND IT IS GOING TO BE FABULOUS, YES
FABULOUS for the next few days and so we are going to do the
direct trip to Weipa from Groote Island without delay leaving early
tomorrow morning. I’m, so
excited to be getting closer to the east coast but anxious at the same time
that the weather is going to again catch us out. More from the other side of the Gulf when we get there.
2007: Hello from Weipa
took us 20 hours, but we made it.
We left Groote in the good conditions, which just got better and
better and finally it glassed out completely. We travelled the first 300 n
miles at about 14-15 knots.
Approx. 60 n miles from Weipa we headed directly into a terrible
storm. Even though we could
see it on radar, it covered a huge area so there wasn’t any way to ‘go
around it’, and so we just had to hang on!. John had to tack all the way into Weipa. Bugger the Gulf, it has a mind of
it’s own, and just when you think you are home and hosed, it throws
something else at you. But we
made it across and almost simultaneously both John and I made a rude
gesture to the ‘gulf’. You’ll
never see us again you, you, you thing!!!!
We will stay here in Weipa
for as short a time as possible (on croc alert again – 4 metre croc between
us and the tiny jetty). We
need to fuel up before we go on a picnic up to Seisia, which is our last
stop before going around the top and back onto the EAST COAST. Those words dear readers are
music to my ears.
2007: We are leaving Weipa
tomorrow morning. Yesterday we
phoned the depot manager and arranged to get fuel at 9am today from the
wharf. I think we finally
pulled away from the wharf at 3.30pm.
What an ordeal. The
customs boat before us had some problems and couldn’t move, then the pumps
went on the blink etc etc etc.
2007: It’s lovely to be
back in familiar territory. We spent last night at Port Musgrave and
arrived in Seisia earlier today.
We don’t need to do much here except go to the fishing club on
Friday night for one of their famous hamburgers and catch up with a few
2007: Oh, my
god!!!! Today the Wildlife
people pulled in the big croc trap they had set a few days earlier to catch
the big bitie, which took 3 dogs off the beach in the previous three
weeks. They pulled it up onto
the boat ramp and the whole town was there taking photos (see John’s photo
file). I am definitely not a
crocodile lover and hope it was being taken off to the shoe factory,
although I really think it was being taken to some crocodile farm down near
Cairns (or so they said).
John has been studying the
weather charts all day and is predicting good weather for the next four to
five days so we are heading off tomorrow and will probably go directly down
to Cooktown, weather permitting.
2007: You’ll never guess
where we are. We are in
CAIRNS. John got it right and
the weather bureau got it wrong, again. We had a fabulous trip from Seisia. It took us almost 3 days and
was very tiring, but well worth the time. We had originally planned on stopping at Lizard Island
for a few days, but couldn’t let the opportunity to travel in good weather
pass us by.
Now that we are here, we will
hire a car for a few days, get some bits and pieces that we need and
probably drive up to the Tablelands for some sight seeing.
2007: I think it was about
the 22th when we left Cairns. We stayed at the Marlin Marina this time instead of
Yorkey’s. It was more central
and we could walk up to the city for dinner each night. I can’t believe what they have done
to the Boardwalk there. It’s
magnificent with the pool and bbq’s etc.
We went down to Zoe Creek
which is on Hinchinbrook Island and again the trip down to there was just
beautiful. That is where we
caught all of our Barra on the way north. But alas, NO barra and only one mud crab but there were
lots and lots and lots of sandflies so we decided to leave Zoe Creek
probably never to visit again and head further south.
So that brings us to
Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island where we arrived yesterday. Sea conditions were like glass all
the way down the coast. We are
going to have dinner ashore tonight and head on down to The Whitsundays
tomorrow where we hope to enjoy better weather than we had on our last
visit and do lots of diving and snorkeling around the reefs.
2007: A few weeks have
passed since my last entry. We
spent just over a week in the Whitsundays. John’s daughter Tracey flew up to Hamilton Island to
spend four days with us on the boat.
We just island hopped, fished and generally relaxed. We had a lovely day at Whitehaven Beach and Tracey and I
also spent a day on Hamilton around the pool and just looking around the
resort shops before Tracey managed to slip on a rock and break for big toe
although we didn’t know that until she got home and went to the doctors. When Tracey left we headed immediately for Keswick Island
where we spent the night before heading off again for the Percey’s where we
had a chance meeting with Kerry, Eileen and Zac 2 off Olympus. We meet these lovely folk at Island
Head Creek on our way North back in March. We’ve never had much luck with the weather at the Percey’s
and got blown out of there the next day so headed down to Keppel Bay Marina
to see some friends and to restock for the trip home.
From there we went out to the
Keppel’s for a few days, which was just lovely. We caught some beautiful fish, did some walking on the
bush tracks and Ralf always has the best time whenever he gets to go to the
beach. We left there this morning and
arrived here at Yellow Patch just before lunch. We have already met a few other boaties and will
probably get together with a few of them over the next few days because the
weather looks as if it is going to blow 25-30 knots for a least 3-4 days. Needless to say it is pretty
crowded in here at the moment, but hey, what a beautiful place. From here we will probably go down to Musgrave Island,
down to /Fraser, then Mooloolaba to see Ron and Gloria and then to
Redcliffe and then HOME to the Gold Coast.