05/05/2012, Anchored At West Bay, Middle Percy Is., AU
We usually just rest the day following a sail, taking in the sun, the wind, the idyllic views of the beach and the island from our boat. It is a perfect way to enjoy life. Well, this is basically what we did today. However, the ol' "itchy Butt" syndrome that I was born with took over in the early afternoon. The remarkably beautiful beach that we are sitting in front of was beckoning me. Actually, I think it was the coconut palm trees that wetted my appetite to go ashore. We have seen very few coconut palm trees here in Australia so far. It is rather bewildering to us that we have not seen very many. I guess the east coast of Australia is dominated by the south easterlies, which means the dominant current flows north along the coast. There is not a source of coconuts to the southeast of Australia that would float across the Tasmania Sea to be deposited along the beaches. Ergo, a paucity of coconut palm trees.
However, in 1921, Andy Martin bought the lease to Middle Percy Island and he decided to import and plant a number of coconut palm trees so that the visiting yachties would have something to wet their whistle when they stopped and visited. God bless Andy!! When you see the various pictures that I took while exploring this beach, you will greatly appreciate how they set the stage, making this the most beautiful beach we have seen since we left the South Pacific.
The Marin family also built a few structures that give Middle Percy Island a unique character. One of the structures is a well weathered A frame. It is a rough and tumble type of place where over the decades yachties have made it a tradition to make something with the name of their boat and the year they were here and place it inside the A frame. I will post a number of pictures that show how creative people have been. Once a fellow even signed and left his prosthetic leg! I made a simple little plaque this morning and when the varnish dries I will add it to the amazing collection.
The anchorage here as been a bit rolly but as the afternoon wore on, the winds died and the sea flatten. The winds are supposed to be light for at least the next two or three days, so we are hoping for a calm anchorage. We shall see! We will be staying here for one more day. A few more boats showed up today including our friends Bill and Sue of S/V Dreamtime. Thus, many we will have a get together tomorrow. We shall see
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.