05/01/2012, Anchored At Pearl Bay, AU
This morning around 0800 we tossed off the dock lines and left the Keppel Bay Marina. The weather forecast was for winds from the SE at 20 to 25 knots, seas under 1.7 meters from the SE. Our course for the first ¾ of the 55 nm sail was to the NNE so everything looked like it was going to be a great sailing day.
As far as the winds were concerned, it was great! We were actually on a broad reach and sometimes the winds would shift a bit to the east and put us on a beam reach. We smoke on a beam reach and whenever we were on that attack, we were making 11 knots. Most of the time we were making over 8.5 knots on a broad reach with 15 or so knots of apparent wind. We were finally sailing again. Not having to listen to the engine makes a big difference and it was a very quiet sail.
However, we can't say that it was a peaceful sail. While the winds were as predicted, the seas were not. They were actually a bit larger than stated, which by itself is not surprising. After all, it had been blowing 20 to 25 knots for a few days now. We actually were getting swells as great a 3 meters at time. They were very short period waves. Plus, there were two or three different sets, each going from a different direction. This made for a very bumpy ride as it felt like we were in a washing machine. In other words, the water was very agitated.
If a bumpy ride was not enough, we hit a series of squalls as we were approaching the Port Clinton area. Rain in itself does not bother us a bit. When it is heavy, as it was, it actually lays down the surface of the water, making the ride much smoother. However, we got caught in a line of squalls as we were approaching the narrow channel between the South Hervey Islands and the mainland where Pearl Bay is located. To be safe, we turned around and went back out and sailed around a bit waiting for the long line of squalls to blow by. By the time they had passed and we had the sails down, we had spent almost an hour in our holding pattern. After the bumpy ride, we were anxious to anchor and relax some so the wait seemed to last longer than it really was.
The rhumb line between Keppel Bay Marina and Pearl Bay is only 43 nm. However, to keep the winds on a broad reach, we actually went off the rhumb line quite a bit. This resulted in a longer but faster sail. We sailed about 55 nm in just 8 hours. That would have made for a 220 nm day if we had continued on. That is smokin'!
We are tucked in now at anchor at Pearl Bay. The anchorage is a bit rolly but very pretty. A ridge maybe 400 feet high runs along the shoreline and it drops sharply to eh shore. There is a narrow tan sandy beach. The ridge is covered with scrubs, bushes and eucalyptus tree. It is very scenic and I will post some pictures once we get Internet again.
Our location is 22 26.26'S:150 44.0'E
04/30/2012, Rosslyn, AU
I finished all my projects today even though it was an overcast, blustery and eventually, rainy day. I have wanted to drill in and set five new bolts into a section of our sail track to give it more strength. Coming from New Caledonia, that second section of track had stretched some of the pop rivets. The pop rivets secure the sail track to the mast. As a result of their stretching that section of sail track was a bit loose. With the additional bolts that I have added, it should hold fine now.
I also did a series of radio checks on our two hand held VHF radios and our built-in VFH radios. I have not been happy with how people had been receiving us. I discovered that our helm built-in has stopped working but everything else was fine. We will order a new second station unit to replace the one at the helm and will get it in Darwin. My "love" for Raymarine keeps growing and growing.
Tomorrow we will be making the 50 nm sail to Pearl Bay. It is just north of Port Clinton, along the mainland. It will be one of the few mainland anchorages we will have. It is a stopping point on our way to Middle Percy Island. That place is a favorite for cruisers since the few locals that live there put on a lamp stew for the cruisers. You just need to bring the vegetables and some beer and they do the cooking. We are looking forward to meeting and socializing with them.
The winds today have been in the 20 to 25 knot range and from the SE. They should hold for tomorrow. We hope so because that would make for a great sail to Pearl Bay
While staying here, we have been eating well. Mary Margaret, loaded up with fresh vegetables made a great phyllo stuffed with spinach and feta. OMG! Today, she made her famous Babaganoush. Yumm!!
Here is another shot of Tommy, munching away at the dock. He is so cute.
I know this is not politically correct, and coming from a person who spent a lifetime working on restoring the environment it is a bit shocking, but when I was a kid, I had a bowl of turtle soup. With a dash of sherry it was absolutely delicious! Every time I see a sea turtle, my thoughts return to being a kid and slurping down the wonderful bowl of turtle soup. Ahh, the confessions of an environmentalist...
04/29/2012, Keppel Bay Marina
Today, we did our laundry, scrubbed the inside of the boat and worked on a number of small top-side projects. Basically, it was a work day. To keep a boat in tip top shape takes constant work, especially when you are cruising and using it every day. I ran out of steam before I finished all the work that I wanted to do in the convenience of a marina so we will be staying one more day. This also allows the Australian military to complete their two day aircraft flare testing near Pearl Bay, our next anchorage location. Pearl Bay is part of a military reservation and it usually closes when they are doing maneuvers. However, since it is an aerial exercise, they are allowing cruisers into their waters. However, you sail at your own risk since the spent flare casings could fall on your boat. By us waiting an extra day, we will arrive at Pearl Bay in the later part of afternoon and they should be done with their aerial flare testing by then.
On a high note, as I was walking down the long, long dock, heading toward the marine office, I spied a cute turtle munching away on the sea grass that is growing on the bottom of the dock. He was having a great old time and my presence did not some to bother him. Thus, I ran back to the boat, grabbed my camera and ended up taking a couple of pictures of him. I will post them above this blog. This is the very first time I have seen a turtle in a marina anywhere we have sailed. How cool is that!
On another high note, I bumped into some our cruising friends while walking over to the Coast Guard Station to check on the status of military maneuvers. I first saw Paul of S/V Silver Lining II, which was the boat that was parked next to us in Bundaberg. They are here addressing some electrical issues on one of their engines. The wiring caught fire and Paul said they were lucky they did not lose their boat. Based on what he said, I am going to be conducting a thorough inspection of our wiring tomorrow!
I also saw our Dutch friends Jerald and Anz of S/V Spirit. They are being hauled out tomorrow to change out a number of thru-hulls that are leaking. They have been here almost a week waiting for the thru-hulls to arrive. They arrived on Friday so they are scheduled to be hauled out on Monday.
Techno-Tip Of The Week: Cotton Gloves
Make sure you have at least one pair of very heavy cotton or synthetic groves on your boat. Two pair would even be better, just in case the first pair wears out.
You need to wear heavy gloves that can get wet whenever you scraped the barnacles off the hull of your boat. All it takes is just one slip of your scraper and your hand and/or knuckles are ground hamburger. If this happened, you could end up with a serious inflection since the warm waters of the tropics harbor all kinds of bacteria.
If you do end up opening up a wound caused by barnacles, immediately get out of the water and flush the wound with hydrogen peroxide. Let the HP sit on the wound for 15 seconds and then flush it again. Do this 5 or 6 times. Next, coat it with an antibiotic and put a bandage over it. Do not go into the water until the wound is healed.
04/28/2012, Keppel Bay Marina, Rosslyn, AU
Our run over to Rosslyn where Keppel Bat Marina is located was soggy, bumpy and cold. Fortunately, it was also very, very short. It was only 7 nm and before we knew it, we were tied up at the dock. The marina had no one available to catch our dock lines and given the bad weather, no one else was around to lend a hand. Thus, Mary Margaret and I just slipped the boat in between the dock finger and the trawler that was to be our port. As Mary Margaret controlled the helm, I hopped off and secured our line. "No worries mate!"
I went into the marina office and presented our papers and prepaid our bill. I also reserved their free courtesy car for the afternoon to go shopping. Around 1445 we hopped in that car and drove to find the supermarkets in the neighboring town of Yeppoon. We visited both Woolworths and Coles and made a quick stop at in drive-thru liquor store to stock up on the cruisers liquid of life, beer. We had returned to the marina by 1700.
Back in a marina again...ugh! It is a very nice marina but the each dock is very, very long. We are in slip 83 of 84. Thus we are at the seaward end. It is over 600 feet just to get off this dock! It makes for a long haul when you are schlepping provisions to your boat...
We will be here for a couple of days and then off we go on our way up north.