|Vessel Name:||Red Cloud II|
|Vessel Make/Model:||Beneteau 393|
|Hailing Port:||Hillarys, Western Australia|
|Crew:||Norm and Shelley|
So that's it then. We have circumnavigated mainland Australia in a clockwise direction and it has taken a while. We left Albany in light winds on Thursday morning and sailed 3 days and 2 nights across calm seas to Garden Island. We spent Saturday night on a mooring in Pig Trough Bay then motored to Hillarys. The crew has been great, Red Cloud II has shown us her quality and its good to be home.
We motored the 215 miles from Esperance to Albany and took a pen in the waterfront marina. We left at 5am on Friday and arrived before nightfall on the Saturday. So good to get in while it was still light. The Marina seems to have a seagull problem so we deployed the ship's owl promptly, hanging him from the topping lift. It can be disappointing when you find a bird perched on the owl however, which has happened. I will be putting the fishing line out around the solar panels soon. We met some friends here and walked up to the cafe and had a cooked breakfast. There is a lot to like about this place.
We arrived into Bandy Creek at 2am on 7th February not knowing what to expect, but apart from almost hitting a couple of no boating buoys the harbour was reasonably well lit. The wharf was 50% under repair leaving one end where we nosed in behind a cray boat. It was a relief to tie up and get some shut eye. The dpi rep talked to us the next morning and it appears we were to stay where we were, and pay a fee of course. Now our main issue is getting through the days until weather is good for the trip to Albany. The fellow yachtie who we met at Middle Island offered to take us to the town in his ute to pick up some fuel and supplies which was greatly appreciated.
Our rocna anchor dragged again at the town anchorage and is proving to be a disappointment in the prevailing sand and weed. We had to upanchor in a flash and decide what to do. Having some stronger winds forecast was not making us happy. Anyway we moved to a more sheltered anchorage, although with some strong bullets of wind, and hoped for the best while on anchor watch 24 7 again. Now we dragged at Obrien's and left for Bandy Creek Boat Harbour at 10pm and had a torrid time of it. But from talking to the locals it appears our anchoring technique was all wrong, at Obriens we needed to go in a lot closer and anchor over the sand in shallower water. There are some mooring buoys there that sort of indicate the general area to anchor. So we would have been OK with just the Rocna, but for weed it appears we need a fishermans admiralty type anchor which could be laid tandem with the Rocna was one suggestion. Now that we are in a better mood, after some actual sleep everything is good again, for a while. The photo is one dawn shot from the bight.
The EYBC could not accommodate us in their marina, and we could not find a contact for Bandy Creek boat harbour so we resigned ourselves to doing the anchorage shuffle at the whims of the prevailing weather. Not ideal as we are a bit fatigued from the pace since leaving Adelaide on the 20th of January. We anchored up outside the breakwater off the town beach. IGA is near by at least.
We left Streaky Bay on Friday morning January 29, it was a bit of a hike to motor out of the harbour. We set a course to pass close to St Francis Island but decided to keep going as the weather was looking good for the crossing of the bight. We used predictwind weather routing and grib forecasts via the Iridium Go, downloading a forecast daily. It worked well and the forecast was fairly accurate. We originally plotted a course for Dawe Island but as we were approaching very early on the fifth morning we changed course for Middle Island. To say it was a relief for all to arrive and anchor is an understatement. Middle Island has a history of its own, Flinders, Sealers and a notorious pirate. It also has a pink lake, what more could anyone want? We did drag anchor in a thirty knot squall at this anchorage, so probably should have sought out better sand to drop anchor in.