Duplicat's Diary

Airlie Beach and back out
by Rick at 02:22:51, 2021-12-04 (day 2771)
We bounced into Airlie Beach (well, the Cannonvale side as its a far more comfortable anchorage) to reprovision and also catch up with a few friends ashore. We also acted as taxi for our friends on French Curve as their dinghy was having a new set of covers made. It was nice to catch up with Graham and Jane, who I’d seen when here in the Whitsundays last, as well as G who I’ve not seen for a while. With our stop being quite brief, we couldn’t find a time that worked for Ben (from the trip
Hill Inlet, Dugong Bay and Macona inlet
by Rick at 07:58:19, 2021-11-30 (day 2767)
From Tongue Inlet, we could walk over to the lookup above Hill Inlet - a spectacular shallow inlet that looks stunning. The night before the squally showers had materialised and we had a lot of rain. When it finally cleared and we got ashore, the mosquitos were out in force. However, the view was very nice.From there, we sought shelter back in Dugong Bay for the night, which was very smooth before heading to Macona inlet today. I’ve never been here before, which is a bit of a surprise as I’d
Whitsunday Hilights
by Rick at 07:41:37, 2021-11-30 (day 2767)
We’re hitting the highlights of the Whitsundays, but don’t have much data when in many of the anchorages. Plus I had to upgrade my server - which has been a bit tricky to do from here. I think its all done now though.Turtle Bay was lovely, even had a bit of data when tucked in tight to the beach. The next morning we headed around to Whitehaven beach and got the prime spot tight between a couple of bommies but with enough swing room.As you can see there were still some dark clouds around but
Dugong Inlet
by Rick at 06:02:41, 2021-11-27 (day 2764)
We had a nice couple of nights at Dugong Inlet. Suprisingly we had data (which I didn’t have when anchored closer to Sawmill beach in the same harbour). We caught up with French Curve (not seen since Hobart and Port Stephens).In between the rain, we hiked up to the top of Whitsunday Peak. The guide says allow 4hrs, but it was a 2hr round-trip for us. The views were good - you can see Duplicat in the bay almost centre picture.This morning we headed around to Turtle Bay as a half-way point towar
In the Whitsundays
by Rick at 03:36:03, 2021-11-25 (day 2762)
It was a great sail here. 10-14knots on the beam the whole way. With a bit of a lift from the current, we made very good time, and dropped the sails just outside Cid Harbour at around 6am. Not many ships or fishing boats overnight, nothing we had to change course for - so on the whole a pretty nice easy sail.We opted for here because we want a bit of protection from the NE and NW forecast wind - and as a bonus we also get a reasonable phone signal too. However, we really opted for here over the
On our way south again
by Rick at 06:15:56, 2021-11-24 (day 2761)
With a nice NE breeze, we opted to leave John Brewer and head south. I had wanted to go to Block/Black reef but the weather is going to be a bit wet and miserable, so we’ll head inshore. It gives us a few more things to do off the boat if we want. So Whitsundays here we come!It was a bit tricky sorting out the anchor and stern anchor and not ending up on the reef, but with a nimble crew and some nifty line work, we managed to get the bow anchor up and then motor around and over the stern ancho
Museum of Underwater Art
by Rick at 06:44:46, 2021-11-23 (day 2760)
Up early, we decided to dive the MOUA before the trip boat got out here. There used to be 3 moorings when I was here last year. Now there are just two marked ‘fore’ and ‘aft’ for vessels larger than 21m. The website mentions one for private yachts, but it doesn’t exist. We opted to tie the dinghy to the ‘fore’ mooring which put us right over the main part. We used a long rope, hopefully that would allow a visiting boat to pick it up still and transfer the dinghy to their cleats.The
John Brewer Reef
by Rick at 07:42:07, 2021-11-22 (day 2759)
A pretty nice trip, albeit motor-sailing most of the way. We arrived at John Brewer just after midday and anchored up on the sand ledge beyond the Museum of Underwater Art. The wind is from an inconvenient direction and as its just off springs we got a lot of current through the anchorage. We deployed the stern anchor too.After lunch and catching up on sleep, we went out in the dinghy to check the MUOA - which we’ll dive tomorrow. The coral is pretty nice here too, so we did a quick snorkel ac
Vlasoff Cay
by Rick at 00:43:02, 2021-11-21 (day 2758)
After a week in the marina in Cairns, with various things attended to - we left to head back out to sea. It was windy, and we could have anchored in the river, but I don’t really like the holding (or lack of it) there, and besides, there were reefs to visit!I’ve been to Vlasoff Cay before. There’s a nice spot up on the sand behind the reef where you can anchor with enough room to swing. So we raised a very reefed main and genoa and headed NE towards the Lugger Passage. It was quite windy,
Best Passage
by Rick at 20:51:25, 2021-11-17 (day 2754)
Sometimes you have one of those days where everything just works out. Usually sailing is not like that - it can be frustrating when the wind isn’t as forecast. The old adage is that the wind is never the right speed or from the right direction. Well, its mostly true!However, on the lap, I managed quite a few really nice passages. Memorable for different reasons. High up the list is our crossing of the Bass Strait going south. It was my birthday, and Laura and Ben had cooked up a delicious brea
Favourite Overnight Anchorage
by Rick at 08:48:58, 2021-11-13 (day 2750)
Whilst we’re in Cairns for a bit, dealing with a few errands and issues, I thought I’d recap some of my favourites from the lap. Today, my favourite overnight anchorage. There’s no doubt that my favourite is Crocodile Creek in the Kimberely. The moment I saw it online (photos, blogs, videos), I knew I wanted that photo. We arrived late in the day, anchored outside the creek and dinghied in to see if there was room. We had it all to ourselves, so in we went. Spider-web of ropes to keep u
Closing the loop
by Rick at 21:06:01, 2021-11-11 (day 2748)
This is what 13 months and 10,000 nautical miles looks like:The pandemic has affected so many people in some terrible ways, but I’ve been lucky in that it afforded me the opportunity to sail all the way around Australia. Most cruisers do the east coast as part of a cyclone-season layover, then move on - north and west. The border closures meant that wasn’t an option. So with the aid of a number of crew for varying parts (Laura, Stewart, Ben, and Nina) I set off to lap Australia.There have
Champagne sailing
by Rick at 05:21:21, 2021-11-11 (day 2748)
We rounded Cape Flattery at 1am, and saw Palawa Dreaming anchored inside the headland. They’d left the Lockhart River a day ahead of us, so we’d managed to catch them by doing our overnight.As we turned south, the wind finally became more useful. Engines off and undersail, the sea was flat, the conditions ideal. 7 to 10 knots of wind just aft of the beam, meant we made cracking time well above our target pace.On my watch, I opted to put the genoa away and unfurl the screecher. Speed increase
Who’d trust a forecast?
by Rick at 06:35:30, 2021-11-10 (day 2747)
Promised NE winds, we left Flinders island at 3am, making our way slowly across Bathurst Bay. Of course, we didn’t get NE winds - it was SE. That helped us a bit across the bay but once we turned the corner, it was straight into it.We’re pushing on, albeit slowly, as once we get past Cape Flattery (about 30nm from here) we turn south. That should get us some sailing wind, and the forecast is for more NE winds. I tend to believe the forecast for down there will be NE as its more common than u
Wind!
by Rick at 06:00:23, 2021-11-09 (day 2746)
The wind arrived, and we had an excellent sail to the Flinders group where we’re anchored now (alongside the Reef Ranger patrol vessel we saw when we left the Lockhart River).It is too windy to consider the upwind leg to Cape Melville for now. Hopefully much calmer in the early hours of the morning - so we’ll get some sleep and have another early start!
Light winds
by Rick at 02:28:19, 2021-11-09 (day 2746)
Today is a day of very light winds - mostly 7 knots or less. This combined with the fact we’re sailing along behind reefs, means its quite flat. Conditions are very pleasant apart from the lack of wind. We have been mostly motorsailing but now we’re turning more towards Cape Melville its more on the nose.If conditions remain like this, we’ll carry on overnight as its a good opportunity to get around Cape Melville and make progress south. Not sure where we’ll stop - there are quite a few
Morris Island
by Rick at 07:22:29, 2021-11-08 (day 2745)
We left the outer reaches of the Lockhart River at dawn. Leaf, another cat, was head of us and he stopped at Night island.The wind first thing was SE which gave us an unexpected lift out to Cape Direction, but then it was hard going after that. The swell eased off during the day, and the wind turned more easterly but we were mostly very hard on the wind all day.We’ve opted to stop at Morris Island for the night, and we’ll resume tomorrow. Another day of easterly winds, going NE towards Princ
Out of the river!
by Rick at 02:18:19, 2021-11-07 (day 2744)
At high tide, we left the river and anchored outside again. There’s a bit of beam swell but hopefully it’ll calm down as the tide begins to ebb. It was nice to be safe, sound and flat in the river for the blow, but the wind is improving now.Already today we see periods of E wind - and tomorrow looks better. So we’ll leave at dawn and begin the trek south. The aim is to be in Cairns for Friday. We will stop on the way - but the first leg will be at least 24hrs as I want to get as far down t
Portland Roads
by Rick at 23:35:31, 2021-10-30 (day 2736)
After a long last day, chasing Palawan Dreaming (another cat who left Margaret Bay as we were approaching it), we finally anchored in Portland Roads for the night. We had hoped to get internet access there, and though we found a signal, it was pretty slow.Scott from Palawan Dreaming came over to talk about the weather, and suggested that Portland Roads would be uncomfortable in the coming blow. I’d seen reports which had said it was ok if you anchored fore and aft to point into the swell that
Motoring south
by Rick at 07:33:04, 2021-10-29 (day 2735)
Wind has been more S than E which is a pain, but somewhat expected. It won’t be until we reach Cairns that we can expect a bit more convenient wind. So we just need to keep on plugging away at it slowly.The sea state has been a bit worse today than the wind would have you imagine - so its slowing our progress a bit. It will improve overnight and tomorrow should be a bit lighter combined with us being a bit further south. We’ll see how it progresses.All good onboard. We’ll probably end up s
Banging the corners
by Rick at 23:18:41, 2021-10-28 (day 2734)
Well, thats it - we’ve rounded Cape York. 12hrs later than I had hoped but it was a tad too windy to bother last night. So we’re taking this mornings tide (we hope) to get a nice shove down the Albany Passage.So having rounded Cape York - I’ve now done all 4 corners of the Australian continent!
Moving on
by Rick at 04:57:43, 2021-10-28 (day 2734)
We had a nice day at Thursday Island yesterday. Visited the most northern pub in Australia, had a beer to two (though at another pub as the most northern pub wasn’t doing food or anything other than tinnies. There’s only a few metres in it…). Saw some of the island including the forts at the top of the hill and the very impressive cemetery. Photos to follow…Today we did a quick final provision, said our goodbyes to the boats in the anchorage and made our way in 25knots of wind and some m
Welcome to Seisia
by Rick at 08:26:20, 2021-10-24 (day 2730)
We opted to sail the last day, as we finally had wind - but that meant a late arrival into Seisia. At 9pm we were picking our way through the channel markers heading to the secure anchorage behind Red Island. Anchoring was easy with the good moon we had and our radar meant we could find a spot between 2 other boats with plenty of room to swing. That done, we didn’t do a lot more.In fact, the next day we didn’t do a lot - recovering from the long passage. We did go ashore to have a quick look
Sailing!
by Rick at 05:21:43, 2021-10-21 (day 2727)
We had a great morning of sailing - wind slowly went NNE, and we were making great progress under full sail and full genoa. Lovely conditions, even though we were tight on the wind. Typically we were seeing 10knots of true wind, and managing to sail at 5 or 6 on almost the right course!This afternoon, the wind has done what it usually does and has gone light and very variable. Lots of shifts from N through to E. N is great, E less so. Its also eased back to 6 knots or less. We’re now motorsail
Not much to report
by Rick at 05:23:44, 2021-10-20 (day 2726)
Still making steady progress across the gulf. Sailing when we have enough wind, motoring or motorsailing when not. Not enough sailing for my liking but that was the forecast we expected.We haven’t seen another vessel, so the watches have been pretty easy. Plenty of TV being watched and books being read…
Fish
by Rick at 05:58:10, 2021-10-19 (day 2725)
Forgot to mention, we hooked and landed a nice Spanish Mackerel which has yielded quite a bit of meat. The fish was over 1.3m long, so the freezer is now stocked and we had a lovely lunch!We had been told there are lots of bigeye tuna in the gulf at the moment too, but with the freezer and fridges full, we’ll not put a line back in just yet. Maybe Thursday we’ll see if we can bag a tuna…
The Gulf of Carpentaria
by Rick at 05:55:11, 2021-10-19 (day 2725)
This morning we picked up the anchor just after dawn and headed around to the Gugari Rip (or Hole in the Wall). We planned to be there about 30mins before high tide, but we were a bit earlier.The channel was quite calm but the current was flowing strongly - over 4 knots pushing us though. With both engines on (just in case), idle speed, we managed 9 knots over the ground!On the other side, we raised the mainsail and started motorsailing in light breezes - which went around to the SE. Very conven
A Special Place…
by Rick at 03:10:21, 2021-10-17 (day 2723)
…was the phrase I heard whilst listening to The Pretenders on the stereo this morning. Its very true, the Wessel Islands are very special indeed. Stuck out into the current the washes back and forth along the Arafura sea, they are teaming with life and yet also very rugged.We’re anchored next to the well known Hole in the Wall, which is very apt when you look at the formation of islands projecting NE from close to the mainland. Its also known as the Gugari Rip - a 64m wide, 1nm long cut thro
Steady progress
by Rick at 04:06:54, 2021-10-15 (day 2721)
Not much to report. Not much wind, so we’ve been motoring the past 24hrs. Its very hot, particularly without the breeze. We’re expecting 10-15knots on the nose tonight, arriving at the Wessel Islands at dawn.We’re seeing plenty of fish. Its so hot, at first we weren’t fussed but we have put the lines in now. Just lost a small tuna - but given the number of schools we’ve seen, I think we stand a reasonable chance of landing one.We’ll have 24hrs or so at anchor in the Wessels whilst th
Through the Van Diemen gulf
by Rick at 22:55:15, 2021-10-13 (day 2719)
Plain sailing all the way. Well, I say sailing, but we motor-sailed or motored through the night. The current was against us to begin with, but we hit Cape Keith at the allotted hour (1.5hrs after high tide Darwin) and had a nice push the rest of the way. It was pretty flat all the time - no overfalls or lively sea states which is much appreciated!The forecast is for continued light or no winds, so we’ll make the most direct route for the Wessel Islands that we can. We should arrive there arou