Cape Wessel to Darwin
27 June 2006 | Cape Wessel
Above photo of a Dingo watching us eat our BarBQue
NO PHOTOS ON BLOG, SEE PHOTO GALLEY
Tuesday 27th June 2006...11.04 45S 136 43.24 E
Left the anchorage under main sail, at 0630 hours, looks like it is going to be a nice day, still not quite light yet. Had a good sail, a little squally, night passage was good. Over took Aquarius, and did the traditional moony.
Wednesday 28th June 2006
Had a lovely sail right through to North Goulburn Island, arriving at 1600 hours, the wind dropped later in the day, and it made a change to sail into an anchorage, in calm conditions.
North Goulburn has a very tranquil feel about it, so will stay tomorrow, not really supposed to go ashore without a permit, as it a Abo land, I don't think will bother, anyway, nice just to relax on the boat, and do a few jobs.
I am very chuffed, I have managed to transfer the grib weather files from sailmail to the Maxsea chart, this will be so good after leaving the great weathercast we get in Australia.
Thursday 29th June 2006
Had a lazy day, invited Aquaius and Gambori over to Mr Bean to drinks at 1600 hours, had a great time, they left about 2100 hours.
Friday 30th June 2006
We left the anchorage at 0815 hours, after some trouble with the port lazy jack. It has gone thread bare in one section, and caught under the mast runner. I had to climb the mast to free it. also when we took out a reef, on passage, it got stuck again, so had to go up to free it again.
Got to Malay Bay, bit disappointed in it, so will move on tomorrow, repaired the lazy jack, till I can buy a new line in Darwin.
Saturday 1st July 2006
We left Malay Bay at 0600 hours, still dark, now light at 0700 hours, of our onward trip, hoping to get to Port Essington, 72 miles away. We had to go through the Bowen Strait, between Croker Island and mainland Australia, which has lots of sand banks that are not very well charted. I have printed off from our chart, our passage through the Bowen Straits which is enclosed, as you can see, not too much detail.
Luckily we had three boats ahead of us. which we had radio contact with, giving us the depths ahead, as well as visual, the lead boat Aquaius was very stressed by the end of the strait, he went down to 2.5 metres, we only found 4 metres.
After that we had a very fast downwind run along to Port Essington, spoke Bromwin on La Barca, who had heard us talking on VHF radio, they where anchored in Port Essington, and where able to get us directions to the anchorage. Photos below and on next page.
Going into the bay, and into wind was quite exhilarating, and was able to sail close hauled right up to the anchorage, which was flat calm, and lovely beach, we like it here, and plan to stay till Wednesday.
From here we sail to Cape Don, ready for our sail into the Dundas Strait, catching the tide 4 hours before high water, which will be 0815 hours on Thursday, to take us the 64 miles to Cape Hotham, then again waiting for the tide to take us into Darwin.The tides from Cape Don are very large, up to 10 metres at springs.
Sunday 2nd July 2006
We had a lazy morning, I replaced the bungy cord in the anchor locker, to stop the pyramid building, and on the jib preventor to hold it off the bimeni.
Went over to Aquarius to discuss the next part of the trip with Gary and Robert, I'm am reluctant too leave this beautiful anchorage, for Darwin, which will be very busy anchorage, we'll see.
I went over to the Swedish boat, Hans and Lin, and invited them to the BBQ on the beach. All the boats arrived at the beach at about 1400 hours,I built a big fire, let it burn down, then BBQed on it. We had pork spare ribs, they were very good, and we all had a great time till sunset.
Monday 3rd July 2006
Had a very relaxing start to the day, nearly finished my second book of this trip, Trading Reality by Michael Ridpath, very, very good, the first one was The Da'vinci Code, which was also very very good.
Aquarius, Gambari and us took the dingy,s down the river, when down about two miles, we turned back as it was a bit samey, Aquarius went on a saw Croc's.
Sailed down to Black Point Bay, ready for a sail around to Cape Don area, went ashore at Black Point, dingied ashore, and had another BBQ, another great time spent with good people, almost like family !!!!
As the sun went down, the dingo's come out, and before long we spotted one, looking at us, and was lucky enough to get a photo, these wild dogs have been know to eat people .
Tuesday 4th July 2006
Left Black Point at 0645 hours, there wasn't much wind, we motored to the first waypoint, 7 miles to the NW. then we turned to the SSW, and had a brilliant sail with the wind on the port quarter.
Arrived at Popham Bay, off Cape Don, at1215 hours, and will ready to catch the tide at 0715 at the Dundas Straits tomorrow morning, leaving this anchorage at 0600 hours.
Made 80 litres of water at the anchorage, as we had excess power, its great to be able to make water without having to run the engine.
Wednesday 5th July 2006
Left Popham Bay at 0600 hours, as planned, rounded Cape Don, and whack, straight into 34 knots of wind, there was about 9 yachts, reefing down, and trying getting sorted, the tide race didn't happen, we got about 1 knot most going through the straight, but worst we got wind over tide and had big 3 metre seas, we reefed down to 3 reefs and the cutter sail, Lindy for the first time, threw up, so needed to settled the boat down.
Lindy went below to slept, after taking 2 seasick pills, we lagged behind our pack, with the reefed sails we were only doing 4.5 knots, so got the Genoa out, and we where up to 8 knots,
We caught are group up, and actually overtook them, then on rounding the waypoint, we had wind abath the beam, so wing and winged, the wind started to drop, so shock all the reefs out of the main, then after a while, brought in the staysail and put up Gandy Pants, had a wonderful sail.
Arrived at the anchorage,, La Barca where there, we anchored, told then to over, they did, Aquarius and Gambori , arrived, Adam, off La Barca, went and picked them up in his dingy, and we ate, drunk and made merry till the late hour of 2100 hours, the yachties midnight.
Plan to leave at 0700 hours tomorrow, to catch the tide, and are very excited about arriving at Darwin.
Thursday 6th July 2006
Left Popham Bay for the 48 miles to Darwin, we had about a knot of tide with us, in the Howard Channel, nothing like people had said, guess because it's neaps. Coming out of the channel, we where hard on the wind, and the next waypoint, into Darwin, would have meant having to motor directly into it, so as it was coming up high water, we decided to take a short cut straight there!, the chart showed it in dried in patches, and down to 0.2 metres, but the lowest we saw was 6.4 metres. Arrived at Darwin at 1400 hours, the GPS shows our trip from Mackay to Darwin was 1,700 miles, glad to be here.
Anchored in 7 metres at HW -1 hour, the tides are big here, up to 10 metres. We are over a mile from the beach, a long way to dingy ashore, then leaving it on the beach, can mean a long drag back to the water, when the tide goes out, so using the 15 hp outboard may not be an option.
We met all the gang ashore at the Yacht Club, very big, very popular, and very good food. Then dingyed back to the boat in the dark at 2100 hours, it wasn't as bad as we thought it might be,
Friday 7th July 2006
Went ashore at about 0930 hours, spent an hour in buying boat things, brought the Red Sea pilot, and the pilot for Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and Puket. Also some new lines for the Laxy jacks, and a new double clutch for the foresail reefing lines.
Then met up with the Sail Indonesia lady, gave us some papers etc, then went into the city by taxi, to the customs to pre-check out of Australia, they where very helpful, they will come to the yacht club a week Tuesday to finishing the checking out, although we do not leave Darwin, and Australia till the Saturday. This is because there are a 100 boats in the rally, and they would not be any to cope on the day.
We can now buy items of the boat and alcohol, and get the duty back.
After lunch, we went to the Indonesia Consulate, to get are 3 month visa,s all very easy, this is due to the rally, paid the A$120, and will need to pick up are passports next Friday.
Got a taxi back to the Yacht Club, had a beer, then back to the boat by 1900 hours exhausted!
Saturday 8th July 2006
Took Lindy ashore, to go shopping with the girls, whilst I had a wonderful hour boat buying again, we can get 10% duty back on all we buy, as we are leaving the country.
I can back to boat with all the goodies, and did a few jobs. Met Lindy back at shore, at 1730 hours, getting there was much quicker now, as I put the 15 hp outboard on the dingy, we with had dinner with David and Chris off Taipan, Trevor and ? off Been A Long, and the guys off Sub Zero.
Sunday 9th July 2006
Replaced the line on the uphaul on the port lazy jack, and replaced Genoa reefing line, but I didn't buy the right amount of line, so will need to buy some more, and do the job again
Took Lindy into do some washing, at the one machine, I came back to the boat, and got the 15 5litre jerry cans out of the port bilge, and filled them from the Top deck jerry cans, topped up main diesel tank, now have 7 jerry cans to fill.
Picked up Lindy, at 1230 hours, can back, stowed the 15 full diesel cans back under saloon floor, had a little rest, then went ashore, had a shower, then took a taxi to the market.
Had a lovely time, lots of stalls to browse, and also lots of food stalls, by picking what one wanted, then taking it back to where we had erected the chairs, photo's below, and next shows the scenes...
Below....photo at the Sunday Market, but with about 500 people tailing off, on the beach watching the Sunset...
Monday 10th July 2006
Took Lindy ashore, so she could go to town, I went to buy the proper size reefing line. I then rang a mobile mechanic, who is meeting me at the yacht club,tomorrow, so I can bring him back to Mr Bean, to do the cam belts and check valve clearances, and check the engine knock.
I went back to boat, fitted the reefing line, and did few other little jobs. I had a major R and R , till picking Lindy up at 1700 hours, picked her up, and after dragging her away from the crowd, went back to the boat, picking up meat from La Barca's fidge on the way,.
Lindy un-packed her shopping, before we went back to the sailing club and BBQed, another wave of boats had arrived today, with people with had met along the trip up.
Met Bert and Ingi off Colon, the German couple with met last year in the Whitsunday's, they are off to the Kimberley tomorrow.
Tuesday 11th July 2006
A lovely easy leisurely morning, had breakfast, bacon sandwich, got the engine sides off, took Lindy in with me, she went shopping, I went to pick up the mechanics, got there at 1000 hours, as arranged, they arrived at 1045 hours.
Took them back to the boat, the mechanics got straight down to it, and we were back on the beach at 1530 hours. New timing belts on, the three new alternator belt fitted, and value clearances checked, they where fine. The engine knock at tick over is the gear box, the mechanic's could not do it, so, shall make some enquiries tomorrow.
Lindy was back from the shops, we went back to the boat, then returned an hour later to go to see "The Pirates of the Caribbean, a great film, fast moving, and humorous.
Wednesday 12th July 2006
Went into town with Gary and Robert in our hire car, I needed to sauce a marine gearbox engineer, found one , but he was too busy, but passed me on to someone else.
Made contact with him, and said I would phone through details of the gearbox. I took Gary bqck to boat with his wind generator pole, then he came to give his opinion on the gearbox issue, he thinks it's bad.
I rang back Ray, gave him the gearbox numbers, he said if there is a problem with the gearbox, it's better to buy a new on, about A$2,400, and said he would try to see if any were available. Ray rang back later, and said there were none in Australia, and had emailed Italy.
We went to a do at the other yacht club, good fun, able to get there and back in our hire car.
Thursday 13th July 2006
Woke up late, 0900 hours, Gary and Liddy came over, said the boys were going off in the car, did I want to come, I did, so quickly put some cloths on, and went ashore, nothing I needed but thought I'd go for the ride.
We dropped the car back to Avis, in the town centre, so I decided to have a look around, had a nice wander, getting my bearing a bit. Brought 12 bottles of white wine at Woolworths, then caught the bus back to the Sailing Club.
Rang Ray about gearbox, he said there's one in Italy, but it will take two weeks to get here, he also said he would come to look at our gearbox this evening after work, as he is taking his wife to the sailing club for dinner tonight.
Picked Ray up from the sailing club at 1900 hours, brought him back to boat, he checked gear box, etc, and his conclusion was , the gearbox is OK, but recommends it be replaced, but the problem is a worn pressure plate fitted to the fly wheel.
We need to get into a marina, to get the fly wheel out, and to sauce a replacement, this housing would have needed to come off to take off gearbox out, so it is worth replacing the gearbox whilst it is out, as they only good for about 3,000 hours, we've done 2,600 hours.
Friday 14th July 2006
Ray rang to say he was going to order the gearbox, and would like credit card details, so I obliged.
Went over to get the duty free fuel from the marina on Aquarius, on the way phoned Cullen Bay marina to try a get a berth, they said ring Monday, Gambori, had booked to go in today, they got there and were told that they where double booked so they could not come in.
Very rolly in the anchorage, but repaired the small head, it was a blocked inlet pipe, and started on the forward head, which has a very blocked outlet pipe. Decided to replace the pipe with the spare one I carry, whilst taking out the old one, David off Tipan with his new crew member, Huck, and John off Tweed, arrived to talk about our engine problem.
Huck is a diesel engine mechanic, and had come over to see if he could help, he looked the engine, and agreed that it was the pressure plate, and said he would do it if we wanted him to. I asked him how much, he said nothing.
The problem was the gearbox that I had just ordered would not be here for at least a week, and taking the engine out to get the part number, so it could be ordered, would leave me without an engine at anchor.
After lots of thought, we decided to take up Huck's kind offer, and told him at the Rally BBQ at the yacht club that evening. As we would be very vulnerable at anchor, if we do not get the parts needed, I got some of the boats to agree that they would help tow us into the marina, before they leave on the rally, next Saturday
The "do" was brilliant, lots to eat and drink, and great fun. Photo below of Gary, Adam and Bromwin at BBQ....
Saturday 15th July 2006
We got up at 0630 hours, I started engine to bring the batteries up, they were 120 amps down, and without an engine we will not be able to change the batteries by it, if needed
Huck came at 0800 hours, ready to start on the engine. Lots of problems getting the mounting bolts out, having to cut two of the bolts off, Gary came over to help, and by 1500 hours we had the engine off it's mountings, and pulled forward, flywheel housing off, and the pressure plate was a mess.
Got the number off the plate, ready to order a new one on Monday, hope we can get it very quick as Huck is leaving on Friday morning.
Ray had said it would have taken 4 days labour to do this job, that's at least $2000 about £800 plus the marina cost at $30 per day.
As the gearbox will not be here before we go, I shall have it sent on to Singapore.