Heading towards maintenance
Things have been a bit quiet on the blog, sorry about that! Its not that we’ve not being doing anything - we’ve been doing quite a bit. Its just not that interesting!We left the Brisbane river after a lovely time enjoying city life. Some great breweries, exquisite restaurants, shops so I could get on with my tech refresh, etc. However, it was clear that COVID was becoming more common there and so it was prudent to move to a less crowded area.Bryan and Sammie joined us for the trip down the r
WoW - Waiting on Weather
Well, our stay in the Brisbane River has been extended as Cyclone Seth is making itself felt in the bay outside. In truth, its not really going to impact things on the coast too badly, but the wind is up as is the swell, so we’re far more comfortable in here.City life is also quite nice for a change. We managed to stay a while on the walk-ashore pontoon. Officially the limit is 2hrs, but boats are staying weeks at a time because otherwise they are empty all the time, and come March a new bridg
Merry Christmas from Moreton Bay
We’ve been having a nice time catching up with friends, collecting parcels, cooking, socialising. Oh, and Christmas.We had Christmas Day anchored out at Sandhills on the eastern side of Moreton Bay, and it was very pleasant indeed. Prior to that, we’d been anchored at Peel Island and Raby Bay (twice). We even saw a Dugong up very close in Raby Bay - which was a nice surprise as I’d not seen them there before.The forecast for the next few days is looking a bit average, so we’ve decided to
Raby Bay, here we come!
After a night at Inskip point (which was very comfortable), we punched the last of the incoming tide to get out across Wide Bay bar. It was never likely to be a problem, but Wide Bay bar has a deserved reputation, so we treat it with sensible caution. For me that means arriving at the bar before the outgoing flow has started. The prevailing swell is coming from offshore, so once the tide is falling, the bar can get lively.Given todays conditions, the bar crossing was simple, and once out we coul
Having seen the turtles, manta rays and caught up with Upstart and Jadean, we could once again move south. So at 5:20am this morning we dropped the mooring (which in a nice piece of choreography was immediately picked up by Upstart), and headed out of the lagoon.Once around the top of the atoll, we turned SE and motored towards Fraser Island. We did see Caledonian Sky, a small cruise ship we’ve seen up and down the east coast and throughout the Kimberley) heading towards the atoll, so pleased
Its been quite windy whilst we’ve been here, and we had a day of squalls which was a bit damp. Very tropical weather… After the squalls we’ve had wonderful weather. Sunny, warm but with enough wind to keep everything a pleasant temperature.We‘ve managed to snorkel a bit, and get some boat jobs done. When the wind calmed down we went ashore for a walk around the (tiny) island and despite not having seen any signs of life on the island, found quite a few camped there. I knew there was a ca
Having recovered (a bit) from the 2 night passage, we headed out in the dinghy to the spot where I’d previously seen manta rays. There was a bit more swell than I had hoped for, which made spotting them harder. So I just dropped in for a drift snorkel to see what was going on.It wasn’t too long before we’d found a rather tired looking turtle.And shortly after that, we found our first manta ray.We saw 3 in total, but didn’t spend too long swimming with them (still feeling tired from the d
Arrived, Lady Musgrave
Slightly more complicated night last night. We had wind which was nice, and managed to sail big chunks of it. Also needed a bit of engine now and again as the wind disappeared. However there were a lot more fishing boats, so i was kept quite busy and allowed Nina to sleep a bit longer.We arrived at Lady Musgrave at a reasonable time to see, so headed straight into the atoll, and picked up the same mooring I was on last year. Very comfortable in here, and should be for the next blow.So first up,
Still going ;) I was wrong on the last blog - we had 226nm to go at that point, the other number was the distance to the next waypoint.We now have 104nm to go, and have been motorsailing most of the night and day. Currently on target to get into Lady Musgrave tomorrow morning. Our friends on Jadean will arrive (coming up from the south) on Monday which is nice.Sending this whilst we still have a bit of internet, before we go further offshore..
Not much wind today. We left around 7:30am and have been motoring in very flat conditions all day. The wind started out as about 5knots SE, but now its 1-2knots ENE. Its due to pick up a bit and maybe go further north. We’ll get some sails out if we can.187nm to go to Lady Musgrave, we’re making good time to be there on Friday.
The wind wasn’t as strong as forecast/promised, so we were slightly under canvassed, but with the tide helping, we made reasonable progress down to Thomas Island. French Curve arrived just before us (beating us, they had nearly full sail up). Its 20nm closer to our next destination which from here is 2.5 days.French Curve will probably move on tomorrow, but we’ll stay here another day - then move with the calm that starts on Wednesday.We’ll have a bit of an explore and a swim tomorrow - bu
It was nice to get ashore and have a long(ish) walk around the island. Its changed little since I was here last - but the pier has grown and is now very fancy indeed! Its a little surprising just how good the pier is considering the resort is still basically ruins.We walked around to Scion Kop for good views back into Bauer Bay where we were anchored.From there, we walked over to Mt Jeffreys (only 197m high), then around to Balancing Rock before back to the far end of the beach and Bauer Bay and
Airlie Beach and back out
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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?
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
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!
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
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!
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