28 November 2012 | Darwin to Townsville
Tuesday 09 Oct 12.
After packing 10 times to get the weight right, Sarah dropped me of at the Airport in Townsville for the flight to Darwin to buy the Catamaran. I flew into Brisbane and met Simon Lloyd-Parker of Shipshape Marine Surveyors, for a talk about the inspection and the flight to Darwin.
Wednesday 10 Oct 12.
Purchase of the Cat - Well it was finally happening, the conclusion to a long messy Purchase, I asked for another survey to be conducted on the Cat in Darwin to complete the contract and to get insurance in Australia, Simon conducted the inspection and said I have got a good deal, even though things under the contract were not done, the toilet seat was broken, both front tanks are not connected, and the emergency bailer was not fixed and all I got from the old owner was I have not used it in 20 years, but that is what it is used for an emergency. I had the Cat inspected for Mussels on the hull, it's a free service in Darwin and all you need to do is stop overnight at the fuel wharf at Cullen Bay marina. While I was waiting the money transfer was done by Sarah in Townsville, and I had a list of shopping to be done, around $800.00 later and about 15 trips back to the car I had most of the food on board.
Thursday 11 Oct 12.
We refuelled and watered the Cat, 860L of Diesel and 750L of water, bought a few things for the Cat and signed for the Cat at Fanny Bay Sailing Club in Darwin at 1330h over a beer with the previous owners. When the paperwork was completed, it was time to pick up my crew Jo and her father George from in town both nice people and excited to do the trip. We loaded everything on board and went to the famous Mindle Markets next to the Casino in Darwin for the night for dinner and to watch the sun set from the beach.
Friday 12 Oct 12. Never leave on a Friday?
We spent the day preparing the Cat for the Trip to Townsville, Boat check list (done), crew safety briefs and a tour of the Cat and how things work (done). We were waiting for our fourth crew member to arrive Jason, and we got a call from Jason he had missed his flight buy 3 minutes, and would arrive around 2300h that night. So for the rest of us it was a final cooked meal a Reef and Beef for me and beers at the Darwin Fanny Bay Sailing club. After dinner we went back to the Cat to watch the sun set over the water. Jo said "I wonder what the poor people are doing" and the response was easy sitting here on a Cat watching the Sun set with a couple of beers. It's a hard life
Darwin to Townsville across Cape York of Australia.
First Day Saturday 13 0700 Oct 12.
I had a good start to the day the batteries were flat so onto the charger for 30 minutes, the water was smooth and a gentle 5-10 knot breeze, the lines went in and George caught two Spanish Mackerel for dinner and Jo cut them up into steaks so we have enough fish for 5 nights for the four of us, so things from now on will be catch and release. Travel was good we averaged 3.75NM and covered the 90NM required for the trip. It was the first night of watches and we are working on a 6 hours shift 2hours on the helm and four hours off.
Day 1 Sunday 14 Oct 12.
Rounded Cape Don with a good 10-15 knots of wind to the East we managed 90NM as per the planner and are traveling well, used 70L of fuel for the first day. The fishing is still going well, catch and released one Spanish mackerel and a small shark.
Day 2 Monday 15 Oct 12.
Close to New Year Island we travelled 80 NM for the day and used 60L of fuel, things have slowed down today down to 2.5Knots, so we placed the sails up and sailed along at 6-8knots NE 30 and SE 135, and only made 30 NM for the day.
Day 3 Tuesday 16 Oct 12.
Arafura Sea, wind SE 10-15knots we only used 20L of fuel, continuing sailing managed 105NM but only made 30NM East. We spent the day cleaning the Cat inside and out, there is so much to throw out and I hope to take out one ton of weight.
Day 4 Wednesday 17-Oct-12
Crocodile Island, winds SE 5-10Knots seas calm, we sailed most of the night with little headway again we sailed 100NM with a top speed of 8knots managed 70NM East for the day. The Batteries were flat this morning so we need to watch the power usage time to add another solar panel. Caught a bigger shark today about 3-4 foot caught and released, all good fun we got another fish on the line and it was a big fish, it broke the rod holder connection and I watched as my rod went to the bottom of the ocean, a new rod needed, George has placed up his second rod for us both to fish when we feel the need. I made our first loaf of bread today not too bad for a first attempt.
Day 5 Thursday 18-Oct-12
Wessel Point, winds SE 10-15knots seas 1-2m swell, we started motor sailing overnight and it paid off we used 50L of fuel and travelled 106NM for the day 76 NM East that puts us 1 day behind the plan which is pretty good for traveling across the Cape of Australia.
Day 6 Friday 19-Oct-12
Good day so far sailed 108NM and 84NM made East . Motor sailing is using less fuel we added 100L of diesel to the tank and we only 40L used over last 24 hours, somehow 170L got into a 160L Tank? Oops. The power is managing well with the solar panels and running the engines. I made the effort this morning and cooked bacon and eggs on toast, mmm, nice.
Day 7 Saturday 20-Oct-12
82NM made today 50L fuel used, and 120L in the Tank. Calm seas 5-10knots. 190 to the Cape everyone wants to get onto land again, and make calls home. Nice easy day today.
Day 8 Sunday 21-Oct-12
We Made 83 NM East and have 80L in Tank, motoring overnight to make Bamaga, we started two motors at 0500h today. Large swell 2-3m today not a very comfortable ride but we are heading east. Water leak in port motor when water pump is not running. Ran out of fuel in starboard motor, could not read the fuel rod, ended up with 20L in tank. We put in 100L and got the motor bleed and running again. Burnt my arms on the exhaust today 3 hot spots dam it.
Day 9 Monday 22-Oct-12
Arriving in Bamaga today, to refuel and top up water, and do some washing we will not leave until early Tues due to light and fish farms. 80NM today to Bamaga, 100L in tank, I only 40L added, for the day, GPS and Autohelm are playing the game due to belt being broken.
Day 10 Tuesday 23-Oct-12.
Stayed two days due to weather. We managed to get a lot done on the Cat electrics, Set up the inverter, Sorted out the winch switch, Fixed the loose wire in the GPS, Need to fix the rear window leaks. Changed the Autohelm the belt it was stuffed, George did up a wiring diagram, and cleaned up.
1360NM in total, 730NM completed 630NM to go, 480NM to Cairns.
Day 11 Weds 24 Oct 12.
12hours travel.40 NM 100L two engines around the cape, pulled into escape river winds too strong, for travel we were down to 1.7Knots in the afternoon.
Overnight Escape River.
We left Bamaga at 0630h for a good start we headed out along the channel markers and looking at the charts we should have been able to cross in a 2m section Jason noticed the water was choppy and flat at the shallow point the sand bar had moved and we ended up in 1.5m of water had to turn around and follow the markers.
The trip around the cape was good, a little bit choppy and with a washing machine affect it didn't slow our speed moving around at about 4.5knots.
Albany pass was not too bad considering the wind strength of 20knots we travelled NW to SE on an outgoing tide moving through at around 5-6knots. After the pass we maintained 3 knots for a few hours then the wind and swells kicked up 20+ knots and the swell 2-3m we were running out of light and headed straight for Escape River.
Once inside we were protected from the weather and at ease, as soon as we motored past the Perl farm the owner contacted us and let us know the best spot to anchor for the night, go 50m past the floating basket and turn left and sit off from the mangroves by 50m, it was a very comfortable night considering the wind speed.
Day 12 Thursday 25-Oct-12
Waiting for the weather to change, fixed the electrics on the Cat, and did some maintenance.
Day 13 Friday 26-Oct-12
104NM in 24 hours, 60L used first 12 hours, I left fuel pump on for two hours lost 240L in fuel, centre tank has 160L in it this morning, 340NM to Cairns 3 Days travel hope to arrive on Tuesday.
Day 14 Saturday 27-Oct-12
Smooth seas a bit of motor sailing at 7 knots, 117NM today , 60L fuel used in 24h oil and filter changed in Port motor, next change 3400.
Day 15 Sunday 28-Oct-12
Rough choppy seas 10-19knots big swells, slow going.
Day 16 Monday 29-Oct-12.
80NM travelled in past 24Hrs, seas not as rough today travelling better. Added 130L total 150L in tank only 250L left in front tank. Found a bad repair job on one of the water locks and it was leaking water into the hull, another thing the previous owner forgot to fix or mention. I had to pull the waterlock out under way and plug the leak, find the hole and conduct the repair, hoping this time it will last until Cairns and I will get a new one. As I was checking the water leaks I checked the bilge pumps not working properly the hoses had broken and water was pumping back into the hull, the list is getting bigger.
Day 17 Tuesday 30-Oct-12.
33NM in 7 hours just under 5 knots an hour with the two engines running. We all arrived safely and Jo, George and Jason all helped me refuel and water and then got into a taxi and left for home. I can't thank them enough for their time and effort over the last 18 days.
Sarah and Thomas arrive in Cairns tonight and we are sailing down to Dunk Island for a couple of days.
Day 18 Wednesday 31 Oct 12.
Sarah arrived at 2300h last night and we unpacked and repacked the Cat, this morning we went through the crew briefs, set up the New rod Ya, and we departed at 0800h for Dunk island. Thomas did his first watch, coming out of Yorkeys Knob Marina.
Day 19 Thursday 01-Nov-12.
81NM, in 24hrs Arrived safely at Dunk Island at 0600h Thursday, 01 Nov 12. We ran one engine today and had to slow down for the first time on the trip. Sarah was sea sick for the first day, and everyone has done their first overnight trip.
Day 20 Friday 02-Nov-12
46 NM covered in 10hours 0830-1830, not bad considering I am trying to go slow. We were motoring at 4-5 knots and a Northey breeze came up around 10 knots so we put the Gib out and moved along and 7.5knots for about 3 hours and decided to stop at Orpheus Island for 4 hours and have a break watching the sunset and having a few beers, before moving to Townsville 43NM to go!
Day 21 Saturday 03 Nov 12 - Day 21
22 Days from Darwin to Townsville with 6 overnight stops, 1360NM in 22 days. We arrived at 0800 in Townsville and at the Fuel point at 0815, only to be told to move along the Red Baron needs to refuel, and yes I did the double take. We signed in and are now moored in a berth at the end, waiting for the next weekend to get here.