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Mr Bean at Sea
Flight back to Mackay, Mackay to Cooktown.
Malc
08/05/2006, Mackay, Oz

NO PHOTOS ON THIS BLOG, SEE GALLERY..

Monday May 8th 2006

John and Pat drove us up to Heathrow airport to catch the 9.30pm plane to Bangkok, to miss the rush hour traffic we decided to leave early, so with time to spare, they joined us at terminal 3 for a meal.
Going through customs, I made myself comfortable in the business class lounge, whilst Lindy went off shopping, I also did my bit, and brought some shoes and a wallet from Bally.
The flight was overnight, so we slept most of the way, and it was a very comfortably flight. On our arrival at Bangkok, 3pm local time, they are 6 hours ahead of us, we had 8 hour wait for our flight to Brisbane.
Again we spent it relaxing in the business class lounge, we found a different one to the one we used on our flight to London last year, it was far superior, I had a complimentary massage, which was brilliant.
We brought a pair of duty free binoculars at a very good price.

Tuesday May 9th 2006

The plane left on time at 11.45pm, we were hoping of one of the new refurbished planes that we had last year, but no such luck, still very nice.
The flight was quite bumpy, but again, right on time, 11.45 am ,good job as we had a connecting flight to Mackay. Going through the Australia customs and immigration was very quick, and even with buying 4 bottles of my favourite rum, Coruba, we were out within 15 minutes.

Wednesday May 10th 2006

We took the train over to the domestic airport, not that easy with all our luggage, and not being able to us the trolleys. Our flight to Mackay, with Virgin Blue, again was on time, and left at 2.30pm, and we arrived at 4pm.The flight was very interesting as we could see all the coast line, and the places we had visited by boat on our trip up from Bunderburg, last year.
We were met by our favourite Ozzies, Michael and Susan, and they took us straight to our boat in their car, after sorting a few things out, we spent the evening on Michael and Sue's boat.

Thursday May 11th 2006

The boat was in good shape, antifouling had been done, the batteries were there waiting for us, the only thing was the rigger had not done his bit.
We went out in the evening with Michael and Sue. We were so very tired, that we were in bed by 9pm.

Friday May 12th 2006

As planned we went back into the water at 1100 hrs, and all went well, engine worked, as did the gearbox and bowthruster, and no leaks, all things that can mare a peaceful launch, but all was checked beforehand.
I picked up the 6 batteries from the yard, with Michael's help, having to trolley them down to the boat in two lots, so I could fit them over the weekend. Lindy had gone food shopping with Sue, very helpful having the use of their car, we were shopping for 6 months, as supplies in Indonesia will be sparce, and we were making use of the car..
Went out to a BBQ at a friend of Michael and Sue,s, very nice, but the host spent all evening on the phone, not impressed by them!

Saturday May 13th 2006.......I am 62 today

Went into town in the morning, to get some boat bits, the Chandlers had closed at the Marina, so boat bits had to be sourced in the town, and everything was so spread out. Lindy got some more food, again, and without Michael and Sue's help and knowledge of the area, it would have taken us forever to do what we had to do.
Rewired the Wind generator, as last year it was not performing well, all seems to work well now, just a little stiff when turning into wind.
That evening had a drink at the bar, then brought some Pizza's, and went back to Persistence, to eat them, and make merry with my favourite wine, Pepper Jack Shiraz.

Sunday May 14th 2006

I fitted batteries, which was very tiring, they are so heavy, and we stated to get the boat into shape. M and S frends can to the Marina, for lunch, we decined as we had too much to do.
Got the 9, 20 litre jerry cans of diesel and petrol, via the dingy. Had a problem with the 2hp outboard, which decided to stop half way across the marina, so had to row back to the boat, not easy with all the diesel containers. We changed it over to the 15hp outboard, which worked fine, and the job was then completed.

Monday May 15th 2006

Went into town with Mich, to buy the booze, again very helpful, then spent the rest of the morning trolleying it to the boat, and Lindy storing it on board. Lindy went food shopping with Sue.

Tuesday May 16th 2006

I went into town with M, to pick up some spares that I had ordered. M and S were leaving that day but were delayed by the bad weather conditions.

Wednesday May 17th 2006

M and S left on the high tide at 1100hrs, the edd tide is useful with a push, but also stops the wind over tide, which can make very short rough seas.
Rigger can at last, and was able to put sleeves in the worn area, on the boom, so that's another worthwhile job out of the way.

Thursday May 18th 2006

We had planned to leave today, got every thing ready, started the engine, and the battery changing alarm was lightly sounding, so decided to abort, and called in a electrician in to look at it. After a lot of checking he found a wire from the small alternator was grounding on the casing, and causing the alarm to murmur.
He also said we should use the smart alternator regulator, as my system could over charge the batteries.

Friday May 19th 2006

Woke up thinking it was Thursday, until the TV told us different, which made a difference to our departure. In fact we should leave straight away, which we did, and was away by 0730hrs.
Had a very pleasant down wind sail, both of us a little nervous, so we kept the motor running, making the 33 miles go very quick, arriving at Goldsmith Island at noon.
Persistence was there to greet us. We had a fair-well dinner aboard Mr Bean, as we were off the next morning.

Saturday May 20th 2006

Up at 0500hrs, cup of tea, engine check, engine on, raised the main sail, up anchor at 0615hrs , and away. M and S where waving us goodbye, as we sailed out of the anchorage. All their teddy bears, where on deck waving at Bluey who has been adopted by us.
Had a great downwind sail, 46 n miles, right through the Whitsunday Islands, arriving at Hayman Island, Blue Pearl Bay at 1345hrs, and was able to pick up a mooring of the night.

Sunday May 21st 2006

Left Hayman Island at 0315hrs, to try and make Upstart Bay 74 n miles away, and had a brisk sail achieving 9.4 knots, we arrived at 1415hrs, 11 hours, averaging over 6 knots.
Cape Upstart was a lovely anchorage, and would have stayed another day there, if we had not been very keen to keep moving.

Monday May 22nd 2006

Was planning to go to Magnetic Island today, but overslept, so had to take a closer option, which was Cape Bowling Green, just 33 n miles away, but the option to go further had go, as we like to get to an anchorage by 1600hrs.
Cape Bowling Green is a very unusual anchorage, right on the tip of the cape, the land is very low, so although the waves are contained, the wind isn't, which was just as well, as it looks like the Large alternator is not working.


Tuesday 23rd May 2006

We up anchored at 0630hrs, for a 36n mile sail to Magnetic Island, and arrived at 12 noon, a beautiful anchorage, with some Hotels and Restaurants on the beach. We decided to get the dingy down and take a look, it was a very sweet little area, very popular with Townsville City, which is only 12.7 n miles away, or you can take the bus, and ferry there also.
By now we where 230 amps down, as the alternator wasn't putting much in, so after much thought, not wanting to get to involved with electrics at this stage, decided to go to Townsville, Breakwater Marina, and arrange a electrician to look at it.

Wednesday 24th May 2006

Left Magnetic Island at 1345hrs, we could not get into the marina before then as their wasn't enough water,at the entrance, before 1630hrs, and arrived in the Marina at 1700hrs. A bit shallow at the entrance, but all OK, trying to find our berth was a little tense, we were directed down the wrong berthing lane, and being very narrow, with expensive sterns sticking out ether , and us having to back out again, it was me on the helm and Lindy on the bow-thruster, and we made a great job of it.
Berthing was easy, with some New Zealanders off Giddy Up, taking are lines. These guys are doing the same rally as us, which made Lindy feel better, because they are not leaving till next week, and Lindy felt we where short on time, which we are not.
Went out that evening to a local hotel, and I had a lovely steak, and Lindy some Scake, very reasonable priced. The city is very well set out, lovely walking area's with jogging tracks, play parks outdoor swimming pool etc, it looks a wealthy city.

Thursday 25th May 2006

The electrician can at 0830hrs, did a few tests, and found the fault was a fuse, I felt a bit silly, as I had tested it already, but it least stopped me taking the getting to involved in trying to fix it. Whilst he was there, I got him to rewire , and make it easy to disconnect the smart regulator, and fix up the one Dave made for me.
Took advantage of being be the Marina, got 40 litres of Diesel, refilled the 20lb gas bottle, filled up with water, and did some shopping in town.

Friday 26th May 2006

Left the Marina at 0630hrs, 1hr before HW, winds are much lighter now, so had the full main, gandy pants, the poled out jib, and we still had to motor a bit, any way we got the 47 n miles we wanted and got to Orpeheus Island
Engine has been revving without reason, so changed all three fuel filters, there was some dirt in 1 and 3.
Watched King Kong on our new 12 volt DVD player, via our 12 volt TV, it is a brilliant film, but very long, so will watch the rest tomorrow

Saturday 27th May 2006......42 days go, that gives two whole weeks in Darwin

Left Orpeheus Island at 0615hrs, just light, and motored most of the way to Dunk Island, the wind never rose above 8 knots , and that was mostly on the nose.
Got To Dunk at 2.45pm, lowered the dingy, tried the 2 hp outboard, but it wasn,t working as I expected. Got it on board, tightened up the nut to stop the petrol leaking again, and cleaned the spark plug, which had a large piece of carbon on it. Tried it again , and It jumped into life, so put it all back together.
Went over to the island, to have a look, but it is was off limits, due to extensive building work going on, so back to boat, dingy back on it's davit's, at least the 2 hp outboard is now working.
Only thing that needs attention at the moment is the wind generator is stiff and does not turn into wind.
Had and lovely steak for dinner, followed by the rest of King Kong.

Sunday 28th May 2006.....41 days

Left Dunk Island at 0700hrs, hauled up gandy pants whilst at anchor, which lead to be a big mistake, as it wasn't fully furled, and it started to flog, by the time we had got up anchor, and was going down wind, and was let out, there was a rip down the leach. Took it down, what a bugger, caused a bit of friction with the crew, will need to have it repaired professionally.
Got the full main up, and poled genoa, and had a very fast sail to Mourilyan Harbour, would have liked to have gone further, but the next anchorage was 43 miles away, so will leave it till tomorrow.
There was a securitay message over the VHF, about a search and rescue operation going on for a 24 year old crew member of a fishing boat, lost over board last night, and asking for boats in the area to be watchful, which we did, but saw nothing , except a helicopter searching the coast line.
The entrance into Mourilyan Harbour was fine, although it is always a bit of a worry, going into a new restricted area for the first time. The harbour is used for bulk sugar loading and fishing boats, no tourist attractions.
The anchorage was great, Amber Nector, anchored close to us, and offer a freshly caught Tuna, so we got the dingy down, and I went over with three beers, Drank the beers with him and his wife, had a chat, got the Tuna, and came back to the boat.

The photo above shows the fishing boats at anchor and the entrance to the harbour, the natural entance was widened and deepened to 10 metres in 1950s .The one on the next page shows the.sugar wharf which loads bulk sugar on to boats at the rate of 1400 tonnes per hour, and more fishing boats.

Monday, May 29th 2006 40 days to go

Started engine after a nice cup of tea, hoisted the main sail, having one reef in it, 25 knots of wind forecasted for today. Up anchor and out through the entrance by 0630hrs to 15 knots and a relative calm sea.
Had a very fast sail to Fitzroy Island 43 miles away, and arrived at 1300hrs, 6.5 hours, well over 6 knots average speed,
We were running on poled out gib and one reef in main but as the wind came round to the south, directly down wind, we took the jib in, also the wind had increased at times, up to 30 knots, but apparent wind was only 22.
Coming around the corner into Fitzroy Island was difficult, as we were sailing fast, and as we turned into the anchorage, we would gibe, so had to be very careful to release the jib preventor slowly,all went well, but last last few feet it went around quite fast, even with the boom brake.
The anchorage was quite breezy, with waves coming around the corner, hope it calms down tonight.


They still looking for the young man lost from the fishing boat, looks bad!!!

Tuesday 29th May 2006

Left Fitzroy Island at 0630hrs, used just the jib to sail the 16 miles to Cairns, anchored opposite the Breakwater Marina, which is very nice, crowded but very handy for dinging over to the marina, it's restaurants and the city.
After anchoring, got the dingy down, and over to marina, picked up some charts that Howard and Kerry off Rapure1 had left for us, a year age.
Rang a sail repair shop, and said they would come a collect gandy pants, so I shot back to the boat to pick it up the sai, took it back to the marina office, where it was picked up. Rang later and it will be ready tomorrow.
Had lunch on the board walk overlooking the marina, the marina was much smaller than we throught, very good, then went for a walk around town,


Wednesday 31.05.06 38 days

Dingyed over to the marina at 1000hrs, had Gandy Pants delivered back, I took it back to the boat, Lindy went off shopping, I also got some water, and topped up the tanks, and put the containers back in the dingy to get another re-fill.
Met Lindy at Fish2 restaurant, on the marina dockside, and had a Mud Crab lunch, good, but messy, and not as good as the English Crab, the Mud crab is a little on the softer side.

We went shopping after, we both got some shoe's, then went on to food shop, planning to leave tomorrow at first light for Low Islets.

Thursday 4th June, 2006

Had to motor sail most of the way, very light winds, but lovely, just watching the fish and Dolphins jump. Low Islets is a lovely island and barrier reef, having a picturesque light house on it, very popular with boat, day trippers from Port Douglas.
Because of protecting the reef, the National Trust have laid mooring buoys down, which makes life very easy, especially as we are leaving very early tomorrow. The care taker that lives on the island can over to say hello, photo below fish jumping with excited birds and Low Islets from the south side as we came in.

Friday 5th June 2006
Left mooring at 0345 hours, at motored sail to Cooktown, to make the most the neap tides and light winds, as the anchorage there, can be bad in strong winds and spring tides.
We arrived at 1515 hours, 11.25 hour trip, and motored for 10 hours, but we think it is worth it, coming in on the starboard markers was worrying, as we only had half a metre under the keel,at high tide, where there should have been plenty, we move over to the port markers, and to our relief, it became deeper.
Anchoring was also very restricted, so we anchored just off the public jetty, in 4 metres of water, we touched when we tried to go further up the Endeavour Rive, apparently because of the high rainfall during wet season, has silted up the river very badly. On checking ashore on where we anchored, everyone seemed very happy about it.
Went to fuel jetty in ding, and brought 84 litres of diesel in jerry cans, so we are fully fuelled up again. We went and had a meal at the hotel, right by the public jetty, should not have bothered, bad food, unprofessional service. Never mind, great view from the boat.

Saturday 6th June 2006

Went into town, big wide streets, monument of Captain Cook, and one where the HM Endeavour was grounded for repair.
Viewed a very interesting history gallery, about the early years of Cooktown, and it's development as a gold mining area, 30,000 men were prospecting at it's peak. It now has less than 2,000, and seems to be struggling in prosperity.
We also visited Cooks museum, but only really had the story, which we already know, and the bow anchor lost whilst winching off the reef and one cannon, that was one of many items thrown over board to lighten the boat.
We brought a few bits at the supermarket, then back to the boat for lunch. Got the dingy up, and prepared for tomorrows sail to Lizard Island, this is where Cook rowed out to, climbed to the top of the hill to check were all the reefs are. We are much luckier, because for the likes of him we have well charted charts to guide us, also GPS.

The French boat we saw make a bit of a mess of picking up a mooring at Low Islets, came into Cooktown, and after about 30 minutes of trying to anchor, told him a boat had anchored successfully in front of us last night. He took the advise, but anchor in the middle of the channel, and later showed that he was also too close to us, so had to ask him to move. He was also called up by the harbour master and ask to move to the side of the channel, but they didn't respond.
We will be seeing more of these guys, as they are in the rally, now full up with a 100 boats.


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Who: Malcolm Robertson
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