05/04/2012, Anchored At West Bay, Middle Percy Is., AU
By 0600 the sky was light enough to see the other boats anchored near us. So, at that time, we raised the mainsail, weighed anchor and headed out of Pearl Bay. S/V Silver Lining had left about 5 minutes before us so we just followed them out. However, it appeared that they had some minor sail problems so they turned into the wind and adjusted their sails as we sailed by.
By the time we had cleared the bay the winds were ideal for sailing the heading we were making. We had a broad reach with the apparent wind blowing between 8 and 12 knots. With the head sail up, we were making about 6 to 7 knots. The seas were mild, with swells just about 1.5 meters and following. Now this is the way to sail!
Soon, Paul had cleared his sail issues and while about ½ nm behind us, he started slowly gaining on us. They have a 42 foot Fountain Pajot. We had chartered one just like it about 7 years ago in the BVI. At that time, we discovered that it loves the broad reach and is a very fast boat with that angle of attack.
As he got closer, the wind shifted a bit more to the SE and soon we were running with the wind. We threw the headsail over to the port side and started sailing wing and wing. Once we did that, we started putting some distance between us. The Lagoon 440 is very efficient when running in the wing and wing configuration.
By noon we were about a mile ahead of Silver Lining and enjoying the best sailing we had yet encountered in Australia. The skies were blue, the few clouds were big puffy cumulus clouds, the sun was warm life was good!
Of course, you just knew it was just too good to last. Around 1230 the winds eased a bit more to the SE and lightened. Our apparently wind dropped and the sails started flogging. Our speed dropped to 3.5 knots. Darn!
Mary Margaret was at the helm and she called me up with the suggestion that we put up our spinnaker. What a great idea. We have only flown it a few times but the last time we were able to get our boat speed up to about 90% of the wind speed. Unfortunately, after about 6 hours of flying it, the halyard chaffed through because I had not brought the top of the spinnaker close enough to the sheave. When the halyard broke, the whole sail went into the water and getting it back on the boat was a chore. This was during our Galapagos to Marquesas run in 2010.
After a bit of work, I dug the thing out from its sail locker. We attached it and up it went. However, in my excitement, I did not coordinate well with Mary Margaret and she had not yet secured the sheet. The force of the wind in the sail pulled the sheet through her hands and gave her a bit of a rope burn. She was not really happy with me
Soon we had our act together and it was flying just like a kite. However, the wind got squirrely and soon we decided just to bag the whole thing. After a bit of effort, it was back in the sail locker and all we had to show was some rope burns and a rightfully disguised wife. This is what you call a classic "Leu You Idiot!"
We pulled into the West Bay anchorage at Middle Percy Island around 1530. We made what ended up being a 60 nm run in 9.5 hours. Silver Lining joined us about 45 minutes later, safe and sound.
05/03/2012, Anchored At Pearl Bay, AU
This morning Sue and Bill of S/V Dreamtime left our anchorage to work their way to another anchorage, about 12 or nm north of here. They wanted to be a bit closer to Middle Percy Island. They said they average about 5 knots so being a bit closer makes the day sail easier for them.
We relaxed today since we are planning on leaving tomorrow at the break of dawn to make the 60 nm sail to Middle Percy Island. In the morning, I took our dinghy and motored over to talk to our friends, Paul and Julie, of S/V Silver Lining. They were our neighbors for a couple of months in Bundaberg Port Marina. I invited them over to play cards and have sundowners with us. We can be such party animals
As the afternoon waned on, a fleet of boats came into our anchorage at Pearl Bay. By the time the last anchor was down, there were 8 of us. Wow, what a change a day makes. Paul had said that most of them were at Keppel Bay Marina. They had told him they were coming as they planned on being at Middle Percy Island for the weekend.
Around 1600 Paul and Julie motored over. As we helped them tie up to Leu Cat we discovered that they came armed with all kinds of goodies including liver pate, salami, cheese and crackers. I was licking my chops as I gave Julie a hugs and slapped Paul on the back.
Once we were all settled, Mary Margaret gave them the low down on how to play the card game Hand and Foot and soon we were teamed up as the guys against the girls. In the practice hand, the girls killed us by over 4000 points. Thank goodness it was just a practice hand! During the real game, the girls decided that they could not stand the whining and crying that Paul and I did after the practice hand so they let us squeeze out a victory in a close scored game. Chalk one up for the guys. I think this is the first time in a number of attempts with other guy partners that the guys actually won one from the girls.
Paul and Julie are also leaving tomorrow at the break of dawn for Middle Percy Island. Given we both have catamarans of about the same length, we should be in sight of each other for the sail.
This shot captures the South Hervey Island group, which were located behind us as we sat at anchor.
To enter Pearl Bay we had to passed between on of the South Hervey Islands and the mainland. This is a view of the channel we went through.
This is looking northward along the coastline of Pearl Bay
This is the view of the pristine beach that was in front of us as we anchorage in the waters of Pearl Bay. It is part of a military reservation that is used for maneuvers. However, because the steep ridge that runs up from the bay, not many cruisers pose a threat of trespassing on those lands where the armed forces train. Nevertheless, we had been warned by the Coast Guard that there was aircraft flare testing flights going above us on the day we arrived.
05/02/2012, Anchored At Pearl Bay, AU
When we entered the anchorage yesterday afternoon we thought we would have it to ourselves. Instead, we spied another catamaran anchored in the primo spot, tucked in close to the shore and well protected from the swells that made most of the anchorage a bit rolly.
Oh well, that is the benefit of being first into the anchorage. I noticed that the boat was S/V Dreamtime. I had briefly met the wife, Sue, in Bundaberg Port Marina as they were tied up to the fuel dock before departing the next day for Lady Musgrave Island. However, we really did not know them well. Since we were tired from our bumpy sail, we just rested, had dinner, played some cards and went to bed.
This morning I worked on some sail adjustments and tightening the starboard top shroud. I had noticed that the port top shroud was shaking a bit more than normal yesterday as the winds blew from starboard to port. This meant that the mast at the top was bending more than usual, indicating that the shroud was a bit loose.
By the time I was done with these brief chores, Mary Margaret had finished making a hardy breakfast of pancakes and eggs. It was so good and by the time I was through, I was ready for a nap! As I was resting in the stern cockpit, I heard a dinghy motor approaching our boat. It was Bill of S/V Dreamtime. He stopped by and invited us over for coffee. In no time Mary Margaret had the kitchen all tidy and we hopped in our dinghy and motored over.
When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by Sue and Bill and one of their two cats, Black Pearl. Their other cat, Precious, was too content in his little bed to bother coming over. We both got a cat fix with Black Pearl as he loved to have his ears and chin rubbed.
We discovered that, up until recently, Bill and Sue live just north of 1770 but that they had just sold their house and moved onto their boat. They have cruised for years and years but always have had a home base to sit out the cyclone season. Now they live on their boat full time. Bill is an antique car buff and has a few cars that he still keeps and takes to antique car shows.
While Bill and I were talking, Mary Margaret and Sue hit it off very well. Soon they had moved into the salon and were talking about grandbabies, knitting, and a bunch of other stuff that I could not follow. Before we knew it 3 ½ hours had flown by! As we were leaving, we invited them over to Leu Cat for sundowners.
As we were getting Leu Cat ready for Bill and Sue to come over this late afternoon, our friends on S/V Silver Lining II sailed into the anchorage near us. After Pete had set their anchor, I waved over. We will invite them over tomorrow to play some cards and had sundowners.
We have decided to stay here one more day to let the weather clear up a bit. Our next destination is Middle Percy Island and its anchorage is notoriously rolly when the winds are up a bit. Tomorrow and through the weekend the winds are suppose to abate some so we are planning our arrival there for Friday afternoon. It will be a 60 nm run so we will need to leave early in the morning.