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LeuCat Adventures
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Open Sea At Last!

As we passed Cardwell on the port we also passed the NW corner of Hinchinbrook Island. This neat boat and beautiful beach make for such a picturesque shot.

Hinchinbrook Channel At Dawn

Here is another view of what we saw as we headed up the Hinchinbrook Channel.

Hinchinbrook Channel At Dawn

The scenes were magically. Low hanging clouds, clinging to the river and trees added something special to the moment.

Hinchinbrook Channel At Dawn

As we started our day, this was the scene that we took in as dawn was breaking and we headed north up the Hinchinbrook Channel

Year 5 Day 128 Starry, Starry Night
Dave/Sunny Again!!!
06/08/2012, 17 36.37'S:146 07.41'E

Today, we again weighed anchor at the break of dawn and headed north up the Hinchinbrook Channel. As the dawn brightened and the sun finally peaked over the mountains, the color changes were fantastic. Mix in low clouds hanging over the trees and wrapping themselves around the various knobs and hills and the passage was very magical. I took a number of photos and hope that they capture the scenes. I will post them above this blog.

As we wound our way through the passage we spied the terminal village of Cardwell ahead. Cardwell represented the end of the channel and the opening to Rockingham Bay and back to the open seas. While we really enjoyed our passage through the narrow and shallow channel, I breathed a sigh of relief to be back into deeper water.

The winds once again were very light and blowing behind us. The true wind for most of the day was less than 10 knots and since they were behind us, our apparently wind was just 1 to 5 knots. For a bit in the afternoon true wind did come up to 10 to 12 knots but it was not very steady. The sails helped a bit but the port engine did most of the work.

S/V Sea Mist had left the anchorage with us and they were courteous enough to let us go first up the Hinchinbrook Channel. However, once at sea, they doffed their hats to us and forged past us. They have a nice big engine and combined with their sails, they were making a solid 7 knots while, with our little 55 HP port engine on, we were just making between 6 to 6.7 knots. The only solace I had as they slowly disappeared in front of us was that our fuel consumption was just 0.7 gallons an hour. Oh well, it is not a race...or is it???? John and I are cut from the same mold and we both enjoy passing other boats by and hate being left in the trail of a faster boat.

Around 1530 we turned west and passed through the narrow channel that passed between two large hills. The channel then opened up into Mourilyan Harbour and the mouth of the Moresby River. There is not much here besides a few houses and a large sugar loading terminal. However, there was a number of small boats moored or anchored in the tight area that is the main anchorage here. We squeezed by a number of boats and dropped our anchor in 15 feet of water, just ahead of where Sea Mist was anchored. We had limited swing room so I was only able to put out 100 feet of chain. Even so, we were just 50 or so feet in front of Sea Mist. John was comfortable with our location so this was where we will be spending the night. Up until bed time, we kept a close eye out on the boats around us as the tide changed and swung Leu Cat from facing north to facing south.

As I was enjoying my nightly Cuban and Manhattan, I sat out on the steps leading to the flying bridge deck watching the other boats and enjoying the sky. It was a moonless night at that time and the stars were out in force. The milky way was bright and was the dominant heavenly feature. The Southern Cross stood out within the Milky Way and then, to my surprise, I looked north and saw the complete Big Dipper! I had forgotten that we were now north of the 23th parallel. Once north of that parallel you can see the Big Dipper. I felt like an old friend had returned and was now keeping a watchful eye over us.

Being raised in the northern hemisphere, the Big Dipper is one of the most notable features in the sky. Plus, once you see the Big Dipper, you can always find the North Pole. I will share with you how to do this below. Since I forget to write up a techno-tip for last week, I will give two this week: one today and another one tomorrow.

Tomorrow we continue heading north and should be in Cairns!!

Techno-Tip Of The Week: Finding North In The Southern Hemisphere

As everyone knows, the ability to find north while sailing at night is very important. With GPS, chartplotters and compasses, navigating by the stars has become rather passé. However, if you lose electricity and your compass doesn't work (say, because you have been hit by lighting) you may need to use the stars to steer to a safe port.

In the Northern Hemisphere, this is no big deal. Just about everyone can find the Big Dipper in the night's sky and then can follow its two pointer stars down to the North Star. Once you have found north, you can turn your back on it and find south, and then turn left and right to find East and West. You mark the closest star to each direction and you have your stellar compass. Now, you should do this every 15 minutes or so because all of the stars, except the North Star, move as the Earth rotates.

In the Southern Hemisphere, there is no such star that marks south. Thus, most people think creating a stellar compass is much more difficult. However, if you are north of the Topic of Capricorn (23.5 degrees South) you can still easily determine where north is.

Croc Infested Waters

Here is the anchorage along the banks. Sea Mist is the farthest boat.

Croc Infested Waters

Here is Haycock Island, the home to our anchorage for the night.

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