23 September 2011
Today was Monday and we left Port Hedland after a disturbed and restless sleep at anchor. Having had better sleep while sailing between watches the previous night. We rated the anchorage as our second worst only to Cape Stewart in the NT when we were tossed out of bed and side on to the surf. This time we were not only side on to the swell but also hobby horsing to the in coming seas. We gladly slipped our mooring at 4am after receiving the all clear from the busy Port Hedland Harbour and snuck out between shipping movements in the channel. On leaving the Port Channel in the dark we found ourselves in amongst yellow flashing lights that were nowhere to be shown on any charts so we quickly assumed that these must have been special purpose lights possibly for the Ports dredge spoil disposal area. We decided to take the inshore passage between the Geographe Shoals and another inshore shoal towards Dupuch Island but quickly changed our heading and made for the deeper 10-15m contour when our 5-10m of depth suddenly reduced to a mere 0.6m under our 2m keel! We marked the spot on the chart plotter as an uncharted obstruction and were mindful to aim for the deeper waters in future. We had a magic 2 sail reach to Dupuch Island, Illusion had opted to continue to Dupuch Island rather than beat the 50 miles to windward to Port Hedland. At about 11 am I decided to call up Bruce to see how he was going and to enquire what the anchorage was like. I was expecting a bright chirpy Bruce on the radio, we had expected them to reach the anchorage by about 11pm that night and had a good night sleep. Poor Illusion were still at sea, only 11 nm ahead of us, and having gone outside the Geographe Shoals, now had to beat into the south easterly back towards the Island. Needless to say they were a bit worn out!!! Having left Broome on Friday morning and they were still sailing into it! It seemed no matter what they did the wind seemed to follow making us wonder what wind gods they had upset? Once at the Island, we anchored and went ashore for the kids and dogs to have a good run, we found the aboriginal rock engravings and the engravings from HMS Beagle. We returned to Scarlet for drinks and to discuss our plans for tomorrow.