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LeuCat Adventures
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Croc Infested Waters

We passed a number of small streams and rivers that fed into the channel.

Croc Infested Waters

As we made our way up the channel, we passed by numerous sand bars that tried to reach out and grab us. I hate river and narrow channel sailing....

Croc Infested Waters

The southern entrance to the Hinchinbrook Channel has a sugar terminal. We had read that they had stopped cargo boat shipping and replaced it with truck shipping. However, given the increase in diesel prices, maybe they are using ships again since this big cargo ship was tied up to the end of the long terminal.

Croc Infested Waters

We passed this tug on our way to the Hinchinbrook Channel

Croc Infested Waters

Here is a shot of the Palm Island Group that we sailed through on our way to ... "Croc Infested Waters"...

Year 5 Day 127 Croc Infested Waters
Dave/Sunny And Cool
06/07/2012, 18 28.12'S:146 13.12'E

Before the break of dawn we were up and weighing anchor. It was time to leave beautiful Magnetic Island and continue north. Today, we sailed to Haycock Island, which is in the narrow channel between Hinchinbrook Island and the mainland. The sail started out great with 20 knots of wind from the SW. This gave us a broad reach and we were making 9.5 knots. However, as the day progressed, the winds dropped and slowly swung to the SE. By noon, we had 3 knots of apparent wind and our port engine was doing most of the work. We kept the main sail up to look pretty (actually, I did not want to turn into the wind to drop the sail) but we did furl the headsail. We motor sailed at 6.5 with maybe a 0.5 knot assist by the wind.

We passed through the Palm Island group, which were very scenic. Originally, we were going to anchor along one of the islands but all of the anchorages are west facing and with S to SW winds, we decided to just sail on to Haycock Island, which is 8 miles upstream along the Hinchinbrook Channel.

The mouth to Hinchinbrook Channel is very shallow with sand bars all over the place. We had timed our arrival at the mouth for 1330, which was just above mid-tide. This gave us about 6 feet of water above the charted lower low water depths. Well, let me tell you, we needed every inch of those 6 feet to slip over some of the sand bars. I hate shallow water and a number of times we slowed Leu Cat to fewer than 3 knots as the depth gauge showed about 3 feet of water under our 4.25 foot deep hulls. If we had hit a bar we would have been stuck there for a bit more than 6 hours since the tide of ebbing and we would have had to wait for it to flood. Luckily, we zigged zagged trusting the depths shown on our chartplotter and squeezed through. While the actual depths were different than what was plotted since those sand bars shift all of the time, it was deeper were the chart showed greater depths and shallower where the chart showed shallow water.

As we moved up the channel, it reminded us of sailing up the Chagres River in Panama. The banks slowly closed in on us and mud flats and sand bars jutted out from the shore trying desperately to grab us as we motored by. It didn't help that the tide was dropping also. I am convinced that sailboats are meant for the open seas. I will leave the river and shallow channels, such as this one, to shallow draft motorboats! To make things interesting, a number of the charted channel buoys were missing and we passed a few that were not charted at all.

As we approached Haycock Island, we spied our good friends S/V Sea Mist. They had arrived yesterday and were spending two nights here. We both plan to sailing to Moresby River tomorrow and then continue north to Cairns the next day. Thus, we hope to get together a bit while in Cairns.

After we anchored, we talked to John on Sea Mist and he told us a story about a crab man telling him that this anchorage is just loaded with crocodiles. The further north you go, the more infested the waters are with the large, nasty salt water crocs. I guess we will not be doing any swimming here!

Just a note, while Mary Margaret was doing her review of this blog, I went outside and heard a bunch of rippling noises along the shore that we are anchored next to. Then I heard a big splat! I went inside and grabbed our spotlight but by then the ol' croc had submerged.

A Nice Walk About

After returned to Horseshoe Bay, I waited for the tide to come back in a bit so I did not have to pull the dinghy so far to get it back into the water. As I waiting, I enjoyed my favorite cigar and was joined by a flock of feathery friends in the tree above me. These lorikeets are so colorful and cute!

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Who: Mary Margaret and Dave Leu
Port: Dana Point, CA
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