Sunday, November 6, 2011
On leaving Freshwater Bay and passing the extensive pearl lease mentioned in the last post Truansea headed towards Cape Voltaire and Montague Sound via Admiralty Gulf and Voltaire Passage. The directions advise that overfalls and strong tides may be experienced approaching the Voltaire Passage. A tidal flow of 4-5kn and overfalls to 2.5m have been observed and if wind is against tide the waves created are steep sided. Just this information alone would deter the weekend sailor but Truansea being the tough and dogged little ship she is and her adventurous skipper keep to the program and as good planning would have it wind and tide were fair and the extremes mentioned above saved themselves for another day and another adventurer to experience. Our passage was at the milder end of the scale but it was not difficult from the conditions we experienced to visualize how treacherous the passage could be if Mother Nature had not been so kind.
There were numerous islands in the Osbourne Group with many anchorages amongst them and the Mitchell River mouth can be found in the South West corner of Admiralty Gulf. For cruisers with plenty of time and fuel the Mitchell River has many scenic delights but access to many entails leaving the boat for extended periods and continuing in the dinghy. There are waterfalls and rock pools that can be used to relax and swim in safely. All this takes time and fuel and careful planning around the tides and for Truansea the big picture i.e. Circumnavigating the Australian mainland must remain the focus this time around. So it was we passed Barracuda and Krait Bays and rounded Cape Voltaire and turned southeast into Montague Sound and found a suitable anchorage close in to a fringing reef at Cape Voltaire South. Already anchored in the bay was a steel monohull and passing slowly close by we were able to exchange hellos and enough information to learn that "Outsider", a great name I thought for a cruising yacht, was owned by Ian and Wendy who hailed from Brunswick Heads.
After anchoring and sundowners we tried squid jigging but none of the ink squirting little devils would have a bar of our efforts. A calm night was spent here and Sunday 17th saw us underway before 0600 for Bigge Island and Scott Strait which separates it from the mainland. Scott Strait passage between the mainland and the island is hazardous due to a large drying reef inconveniently situated right in the middle of the passage and irregular depths. Phillip Parker King during his survey of the Region named the strait after the Reverend Thomas Hobbes Scott Archdeacon of NSW at the time. I saw nothing religious about the place save for the two passages around the reef which I suppose could be assimilated with the two passages through life, the turbulent and the calm, the decision to take one or the other based on your courage or beliefs (quite often ignorance in both cases) at any rate you end up in the same place in my view. I tend to weigh up advice provided for each direction and take the one most suited to me at the time. In this case the most recent advice provided by Ian of "Outsider" based on soundings and waypoints provided by trawler operators and personal observations with the mark one eyeball I chose the passage closer to Bigge Island. Truansea made it through comfortably against a 2knot current and I suspect the result would have been similar if the other option had been chosen. Exiting the Strait and with the flood tide still assisting Truansea anchored at Cape Pond at 1600. In the process of winding in the trolling line when coming to anchor the swivel connector between the trolling line and trace became jammed between the hull and top of the starboard rudder. Unable to free the swivel from on deck a short underwater excursion was required to free it manually. My general rule for these waters is that it is the home of big bitey monsters and I have refused their invitation to enter, however something had to be done so with Bevan instructed to stand on the cabin top as monster observer I donned the goggles and in a split second was in and out of the monsters domain with the swivel freed. I don't think they noticed. Bevan's role was purely academic I suppose at least he could have reported on the size and species that brought about my demise. That danger is ever present in the Kimberley's and not worth the risk for a purely pleasure swim. Later that evening we caught 6 fish and were busted off several times by sharks. We kept 3 of our catch for eating and 3 for bait.
Monday the 18th is a special day.
This is the day the rear admiral and my brother celebrate their respective birthdays and on this day the first of very many humpback whales 5 on this occasion joined us as we passed through York Sound past the Coronation Islands and on to Careening Bay where we anchored at 1130.
Careening Bay is significant not because it is the southern extension of Port Nelson but for the historically significant fact in 1820 Philip Parker King or members of his crew carved HMC MERMAID 1820 into a large Boab tree that was easily approached and viewed by us 191 years later. The tree is a large example of the species and in very healthy condition. The carving has expanded with the tree over time but remains clearly legible and proportional with no sign of distortion. A truly remarkable sign of the times which would be considered graffiti today and no doubt abhorrent to the green movement. But it no doubt served a dual purpose at the time to both record the visitation by King and to leave no doubt in the minds of Captains of other vessels of a foreign flag that the land was in the possession of His Brittanic Majesty. Less than 200 years later guided by charts derived from the detailed and arduous survey work of King and his crew along comes the skipper of Truansea to pay due homage to these great men and their leaders who had the foresight to finance this work for the benefit of future generations. I am humbled by their vision and efforts. With the tree and my presence duly recorded with the digital camera ( wouldn't King be astounded by this modern marvel) Truansea is soon underway again for High Bluff. We pass Mictyis Island and cross Hanover Bay to High Bluff in Port George IV. A celebratory drink for the birthdays and first whales and Careening Bay visit before a comfortable night.
Our passage on the 19th to Samson Inlet would take us through Rogers Strait and Brecknock Harbour. The former is described in the Australian Pilot as a treacherous passage. For your interest I'll quote directly from the Western Australian Cruising guide;
'There is a reef extending northeast from Umbanganan Island. Hold to the mainland (southeast) side of the strait for a safe passage. Passage north of Umbanganan Island, through Quinlan Channel is narrow. Two white floats, north of the island, usually mark the edge of the reef at the narrowest part of the channel. Pass to the north of these markers.
Passing east and south of Umbanganan Island keep about five cables off the mainland and pass about five cables to the north of Green Island. Passage may be made in a westerly direction from Green Island to north of Slade Island, where a gap in the radar beacons marking a pearl lease in the southern part of the Harbour opens up. Caution: there is a drying reef (15d27.8'S 124d36.75'E)northeast of Green Island which is exposed two hours before and after LW. Tides: The tide floods south and west meeting around the west side of Umbanganan Island (named Brecknock Island on earlier charts). It ebbs northeast and is strong during spring tides. Suggest going north through Rogers Strait at slack HW, taking advantage of the ebb through Port George IV. Conversely, go south before slack HW to take advantage of the flood. West of Umbanganan Island the tide is similar to Degerando Island. Range 10m. Caution: Pearl leases with thousands of bouys throughout the area. A radar marked channel on the southern side of Augustus Island allows through-passage avoiding the pearl leases.'
No worries got all that, yeah right! Then there is the visual and if you put it all together right you make it through. Luckily enough Truansea did and with some current assistance. Our speed through the water was 4.2 knots and our speed over the ground was 8.8 knots i.e 4.6 knots of current bowling us along, no place to get the navigation wrong skipper. This was one of many like experiences and one or two more exhilarating to come. Just a reminder that you are totally on your own in this region, HELP is not in the Kimberley dictionary be very clear about that. Then go because on the plus side many say the scenery is amongst the most impressive in the Kimberley with sheer rock faces, white beaches, boabs, bays and inlets.
With the trial of Rogers Strait astern Truansea transited Brecknock Harbour passing Kuri Bay at it's western end. Kuri Bay is a well known and extensive pearl farm base camp. From our perspective it looked like an exclusive resort with many buildings surrounded by dense bush and steep rugged hills and the brief conversation I had with whomever answered my radio call left me in no doubt that visitors were not encouraged. A narrow pass between the mainland and Kannamatju Island with a significant and photographic Needle Rock piercing through the depths saw our escape from this treacherous and unwelcoming part of the Kimberley. Several miles further on we were ushered into Sampson Inlet by a large (are they all this big?) humpback whale.
Near the navigable end of Sampson Inlet we took advantage of an unoccupied mooring put there by the Kuri Bay company I suspect as a cyclone mooring for one of their vessels and took to the dinghy for a further 3 miles upstream. At a point where the inlet narrowed and the water disappeared into a a sand sink we tied up to a branch extending from a fallen tree over the water and stepped cautiously ashore. Whilst tying up the dinghy I felt a sharp sting to my right wrist and quickly looking around to see if a snake had struck I noticed a single paper wasp cell fixed beneath the branch and as the pain was not severe I admonished the hot arsed little devil and destroyed his handiwork so as not to experience a repeat on our return. With senses heightened by that little experience we trekked on up the sandy creek bed for some distance and investigated a waterfall that could be heard above the deafening silence that all pervades an area of the Australian bush when an intruder is noticed and the fauna become invisible until they are comfortable and then surprisingly inquisitive and accepting of the
intrusion. This small waterfall provided a haven for ferns, mosses and shrubs as well as butterflies and several other winged insects and small lizards. Suspecting there might be another waterfall further upstream we ventured warily on as this looked like ideal crocodile nesting territory. We were rewarded for the extra distance by a three tiered waterfall and large deep pool at its base. The water was fresh, soft and sweet and quite cool. We spent a short while here but mindful of the falling tide and not wanting to return to a stranded dinghy we didn't tarry long and returned briskly over the sandy creek bed strewn with many large trees from a recent flood event. Back on Truansea we motored back down the inlet to a short side inlet maybe only half a mile long and anchored between the towering cliff sides. Here the tidal range of about 10m was clearly evident by the black stain on the adjacent rocky cliffs so I allowed plenty of scope in the anchor chain. This anchorage was quite remarkable because being out of the main inlet a function of it's short length was that the tidal movement was vertical and no sense of tidal movement was felt aboard Truansea despite the rise in water level of 9m. It was also here that the second crocodile of the Kimberley was to be seen from Truanse. Two red eyes steadily staring and relaying food possibility data to the thumb sized brain of that four legged swimming serpent could be seen in the torch light less
than 100m from Truansea's stern. Data rejected we thankfully saw no more of it. That was Sampsons inlet from where we departed the following morning.
Next post Truansea sails over to Raft Point where many whales were seen and a strong tidal flow took control momentarily, from there another unique wonder of the Kimberley region, Montgomery Reef and her extensive tidal waterfalls were experienced before anchoring within a days sail of the famous Horizontal Falls.
Brian of "Truansea"
Friday, November 4, 2011
This morning at 0600 Truansea followed her track out of the King George River and through Koolama Bay to Cape Londonderry Western Australia's most northerly point but not as far north as Cape York. Seas were calm and wind light and variable so we started off motor sailing at 5 knots. Recognizing that these were ideal conditions to troll for mackeral in went the lure and within 10 minutes a good sized spotty mackerel had found the temptation to much to resist and gave himself up to a higher cause. Two lovely meals one of fillets the other steaks followed as a result of that fish's sacrifice.
The wind increased to 15-18 knots as we rounded the cape and Stewart Island shoals and then in the lee of the shoals as the sea flattened considerably we reached at 8 knots around Cape Talbot anchoring in close to offlying rocks. A very comfortable anchorage in SE weather.
At 0600 on the 14th we were again underway and motoring in mirror calm waters across Napier Broome Bay towards West Bay passing the Governor Islands to port. It is possible to buy fuel at Truscott landing which is a privately run airstrip servicing the oil rigs and providing a strategic convenience for coastwach and SAR aircraft. We anchored a few hundred meters out from the ramp used by the landing barge that brings in supplies and fuel for the camp managed by Shore Air. after lunch we went ashore in the tender and were fortunate enough to meet Murph who is Shore Air's manager showing a new starter, Brad around the area. I say fortunate because had we not met them we may not have been able to top up our fuel supply. Shore Air require that you make prior arrangements with them to obtain fuel and we were not aware of this however Murph being the gentleman that he is made arrangements for us to be picked up at the ramp at 0900 the following morning with our Jerry cans from where I was taken to the airstrip. Now Murph as I said is a gentleman in addition to allowing us to purchase the fuel at $2.85/litre he made sure I was provided with a couple of loaves of bread and some fresh muffins before taking me back to the tender. The airstrip is about 10km from the ramp another small detail I wasn't aware of. Murph also did me a favor and sent a happy birthday email to the rear admiral. This is a remote place and to meet someone with the means and willingness to accommodate what are simple requests in more populated areas is a real pleasure. Thank you Murph. We spent the afternoon changing the crankcase oil in the outboards and fishing and although we didn't catch any edible fish we did have some sport with a few sharks one quite large. As the day wore on some aborigines came down to the waters edge and we observed two using traditional hand spearing methods to catch fish and at least one mud crab lurking within range. We thought they were quite brave walking knee deep in water in the location Murph had advised us that a large and aggressive croc had been seen recently.
Friday morning we were underway by 0630 having waited for the ebb to begin motor sailing in calm conditions towards Geranium Harbour were we would alter course west to cross the mouth of Vansitart Bay and enter Freshwater Bay. Arriving at the head of Freshwater Bay we anchored and immediately noticed a large shark circling below Truansea. This shark kept up this vigil until at least 2300hrs when I lost interest in his antics. Freshwater Bay and the approach from Geranium Harbour through a narrow passage between Long Island and Mary Island is where west bound sailors get there first real appreciation for the tides and currents in the Kimberley's. This narrow pass also has a submerged rock and the guide advises of a chart error in it's location so it pays to be very vigilant and observant else this might be the end of the Kimberley's adventure and possibly worse. The warnings and cautions are very real.
And so a pleasant night was spent at anchor before departing the next morning for the passage through Admiralty Gulf for Cape Voltaire at the head of Montague Sound. As we passed by a large unnamed bay around the north side of the headland skirting Freshwater Bay were surprised to see an extensive pearl farming operation underway. I counted 14 work boats, 2 ships with pearl raft lifting cranes and two large cruise style workers accommodation ships. Must be a lot of money in the pearl oysters gem farming business. That lustrous little sphere has created a huge industry.
Next post we move further into the vastness of the gulfs and sounds that combine to make this such a demanding yet alluring region to visit.
Brian of Truansea.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Forty-five nautical miles further into the Kimberley region today and anchored in Koolama Bay at 1730. Not wanting to risk entering the King George river on a low tide we anchored near the head of the bay some 5 miles from the mouth of the river. The anchorage on the north eastern side of the head of the bay is close in and very secure. 'ONDE' a large privately owned and crewed power catamaran was already at anchor. Having another vessel nearby always makes it a much simpler affair to locate a good anchorage.
Not long after sunrise we were on our way to enter the King George river over the sand bar which according to the a commercial cruise yacht from Wyndam is silting up creating some variation year to year to the entrance channel. Using the sounder we had no trouble finding the channel and making a safe entry. A remarkable feature of the Berkeley River and the King George River is that they have barred entrances similar to east coast rivers but within a few miles of the entrance 150m high vertical walled canyons replace the flatter mangrove lined banks of the lower reaches. Ever so gently we motored along in mirror calm conditions the full length of the navigable portion of the river some 6nm to where the river forks and terminates at a waterfall plunging over the 100m high cliffs at the end of each fork leg. The water at the falls is some 60m deep and it was possible to put Truansea's bow right under the falling water giving the sharp end a taste of liquid Kimberley. What an experience the bows were centimeters away from the cliff behind the waterfall and the pressure was holding her off. I asked Bevan to collect a bucket full of water for a rinse off but the water hitting him on the head and the bottom of the bucket was more than he could take so only a small amount of water was collected.
After having our fill of that experience we moved a few hundred meters downstream and anchored in about 7m water over sand. From here we took the tender ashore and after hauling it a few meters clear of the water we climbed up through about 100m of scree and then scrambled up a further 100m over rocks to the top of the cliff and made our way to the top of the falls. The direction to the falls is marked by rock cairns thoughtfully placed by others and maintained or added to by almost everyone else who passes by. The vista from the top of the falls is exactly as you see in the tourist brochures and every bit as grand and expansive as is imagined. Seeing Truansea lying so calmly to anchor some 150m below provided me with a reflective moment thankful that I had the opportunity to experience this wild, idyllic and remote gift of nature. The lure to take that special photo close to the edge of the cliffs was to much for me to resist so crawling ever closer to the precipice and laying on my stomach so as to not overbalance I snapped of some beautiful shots. We walked all around the immediate area above the falls and had a wash/swim in one of the many rock pools that abound here. The water is clear and cool and as I was later to discover quite good at colour changing my white shirt to match the iron oxide stains on the surrounding rocks. After a lazy couple of hours above the river on the warm rocks we descended to where the tender lay and headed back to Truansea and began a photographic trip downstream to an anchorage a couple of miles inside the river mouth. Along the way I trolled a lure which several fish (queenfish? barra?)took an interest in but failed to get any into the boat. About three miles from the mouth of the river it widens appreciably and a section branches off to the east. Here we came across ONDE again and this time some passengers who arrived aboard a floatplane were being received. We were then overtaken by the floatplane as he taxied downstream and downwind before turning a couple of hundred meters in front of us and roaring back past us as he took off and climbed out of the gorge. All ho hum really stuff like this happens every day! (see later Horizontal Falls post)
That was the King George River. The scenery warrants the effort to go there and climb to the top of the falls. The Berkeley and King George are as alike as they are dissimilar and indicative of the rock formations and ruggedness to be experienced right across the Kimberley region. Navigational challenges, current and tide hazards are at the lower end of those to be experienced in the Kimberleys and I suspect a visit here and return to Darwin would satisfy many adventurers and whet the appetite for the more daring and hard core. It is after here that the real foray into the wild unknown began for me.
The next post follows Truansea as she exits the Joseph Boneparte Gulf and rounds Cape Londenderry, West Australia's most northerly point, and traverses Napier Broome Bay via Truscott Landing to Freshwater Bay and an encounter with a large shark.
Brian of Truansea
Sunday, October 30, 2011
A fine winters day in Darwin as is most often the case saw Truansea exit the lock at Bayview Marina this time with a passenger aboard for the adventure ahead across, in, out and around the wonders and dangers of the remote Kimberley region. Began a long term friend and sailing buddy from our days sailing and racing trimarans had expressed a wish to join me on this leg of the trip around Australia if the opportunity arose. Flying into Darwin the night before and having undergone his Truansea safety and responsibilities induction he quickly warmed to life aboard as we motorsailed our way through Darwin Harbour towards our intended first stop at Port Keats on the eastern shores of Joseph Boneparte Gulf.
Sadly it was Darwin where I said goodbye to the wonderful Murray and Bev Bastion of Shirazz. Shirraz was participating in the Indonesia Rally due to dart Darwin on the 23rd July and Murray and Bev were getting her ready for the rally and further cruising to Malaysia. Without their company and knowledge during the passage from Cooktown to Darwin I would not have had as enjoyable an experience for that section of the circumnavigation. I hope that I am able to offer other cruising sailors the friendship and advice that Murray and Bev so freely and generously extended to me.
CAUTION: The Kimberley is described as a region of great beauty, ruggedness and wilderness not yet fully explored. The region covers some 423,000 sq km. The remoteness of the place can be intimidating despite it's enormous appeal. Sailors are especially advised to ensure they are self reliant, plan and equip well and above all have the ability to calculate the state of the tide at any given location at any time of the day. The region has a tidal range of up to 12m and currents to 10 knots are known to occur. Those are serious elements to be faced and dealt with and getting it wrong could have life threatening results. In addition to that there are other dangers in the form of large teeth. These teeth are found in the opening parts at the front end of waterborne beasts such as sharks and crocodiles. These animals are not very selective when it comes to their eating habits and they have the longest bloodlines of successful hunters, read-killers, of the creatures that adorn Australia's coastline. Stay out of the water they have exclusive rights!
Our passage west of Darwin started beautifully under main and jib on a flat sea with the wind aft of the beam and a steady 7 knots until almost midnight when the wind died out almost completely. Mr and Mrs Yamaha took it in turns 3 hours about to propel us towards our revised destination of Reverley Island. The island is nicely placed just outside the Berkeley River entrance on the Western shore of Joseph Boneparte Gulf. At 1700 we crossed from the Northern Territory into Western Australia and wound our timepieces back 90 minutes. The Joseph Boneparte Gulf is known amongst cruising sailors as the blown apart gulf due to the prevailing strong easterly wind and is also subject t to strong currents. We were to experience some of the strong easterlies as we approached within a hundred miles of Reverley Island. Closing on the island at around 0800 on Friday the 8th in 25+ knot winds it was imperative that we positively identify the entrance to the Berkeley River as the channel is unmarked, narrow and winding. Not so easy to do after a night without sleep and rapidly approaching a lee shore in boisterous seas and water becoming increasingly dirtier with the sediment deposits of the Berkeley. Satisfied it was the top of the tide and I was in the entrance to the channel and trusting to the advi e provided in the Western Australian Cruising guide Truansea made a safe entry over the shallow bar and came to anchor about 1.5 miles into the river at 1030. Four monohulls and three catamarans were already anchored in this calm downstream reach of the river.
At 0630 then following morning we motored upstream through the spectacular canyon style gorge that has been created over millennium by the annual outpouring of monsoonal rains draining off the Kimberley plateau. Evidence of cascades and waterfalls now dry showed as black stains broad brushed down the faces of the vertical canyon walls. A running watrfall remained at Red Falls Amphitheatre close to the navigable head of the river. Here we turned in a space not much wider than Truansea's length and returned downstream at a leisurely pace marveling at the natural beauty and enormity of the rivers work. On our way back to the anchorage we diverted into Casuarina Creek where a 20m high waterfall greeted us with a cool spray from the millions of litres of freshwater tumbling over the lip to the surface of the pool at the head of the creek. A short way back from this waterfall there was a small inlet where another smaller waterfall cascaded over the rocks. The trip up the river and diversion to Casuarina Falls took up the whole day. This first foray into the Kimberley's was both calming due to the placid water and silence of the river and at the same time mildly tense as to the newbie the unexpected is always expected and the senses remain on alert.
Sunday the 10th July and the southeaster is too strong to exit the Berkeley so we remain at anchor and take advantage of the opportunity to rest and meet a father and son taking a sabbatical and sailing their Crowther designed Eureka catamaran Zig Zag around the eastern Kimberley's broadening their fishing experiences. We saw our first crocodile of the Kimberley's, a 3m salty sunning himself on the sand on the opposite bank of the river from us. I was comfortable with the separation distance. Zig Zag advised of a different channel out of the river Thayer had observed at low tide and we decided to give it a go along with them the following morning. This route would reduce the passage to Koolama Bay by about 5 nautical miles.
Next post we arrive at Koolama Bay and explore the King George River.
Brian of Truansea
Thursday, September 15, 2011
21June 2011. Lyn, Emma and Jake arrived in Darwin by plane and picked up a hire car from the airport and made their way to Truansea without difficulty. They were surprised to see that I had lost more weight than they expected. After they had everything aboard and we had catch up we determined to start off for Kakadu the next morning.
Emma drove us out of Darwin along the Arnhem highway towards Cahills Crossing on the South Alligator River. I was still fairly tired and dozed quite a bit of the way but we still stopped at the tourist places along the way including the ones I remembered from my previous trip. The scenery is interesting and varied from flat plains to hilly country closer to Cahills Crossing and there were some spectacular rock formations. At Cahills Crossing we walked down to the viewing area above the crossing where there were a few others some fishing for barra some successful others not. Not long after our arrival there we saw a large, very large crocodile every bit of 5m long attempt to cross the causeway against the tide but after a couple of attempts he chose to return to the deep hole on the upstream side of the causeway. We were very pleased to be up on the viewing platform out of his reach as he soon disappeared below the surface.
We drove into Jabiru and booked into the Crocodile Hotel. A large and expensive but nice hotel constructed in the shape of a crocodile. We went to the Sportsmanship Club for dinner and had the best meal in the Northern Territory. My steak was possibly the best I have ever had, very tasty, tender and enjoyable. I had eaten here on my previous trip and remembered it was good then. We were all impressed with the meal and service and I would advise anyone traveling in Kakadu to have a meal there.
Next morning after a comfortable and cozy night we headed off towards Katherine. Along the way we stopped at Yellow Waters and took the walk out through the wetlands. We stopped at Mary Waters roadhouse as I had talked up the meal I had there last trip. Unfortunately the establishment had changed since then and take away snack type food was all that was available. However we went on to Pine Creek and to our delight discovered a 1960's retro style cafe that put together large homestyle cooked meals that were excellent along with the coffee and old style milk shakes. A jem of a place not to be missed and we made sure we didn't on our way back from Mataranka.
Leaving Pine Creek we drove down to Katherine and booked in to a new highset cabin at the Shady Rest caravan park. The cabin had a great design 2 bedroom lounge, kitchen, full bathroom & toilet with room for 2 cars and massive storage space underneath. Would make an ideal beach house.
Emma with her mastery of the iPhone had made all the arrangements for accommodation and our breakfast tour of Katherine Gorge. Although it was cool we really enjoyed the tour and the guide was particularly informative. After the tour we headed off to Mataranka to the famous hot springs. We were somewhat disappointed with the hot springs it seems that a recent major flood had caused quite a bit of damage and it was far from it's best and looked in general to be in need of a good dose of TLC. So back in the xTrail and return to that great cafe in Pine Creek for another meal, just as good as the last one. After that we headed for Batchelor and Litchfield National Park.
We stayed the night in a couple of safari tent style cabins at Lattitude 13.08 and had dinner at the "restaurant?" Hmm skip that next time. The tent/cabin was warm and comfortable but the showers were cold. We headed to the waterfalls for a look and a dip in the cool clear streams, very refreshing! These waterfalls are very scenic and a popular getaway for Darwinites to get a break from the incessant heat and oppressing humidity of their summer. Stopping in Batchelor at the hotel for lunch on our way back to Truansea was a good idea and we all had a good meal.
Arriving back on board Truansea after our week of touring we went to the Mindil Beach markets on the Friday night. What a market it is. Seemingly endless food stalls with the most tantalizing aromas and tastes had us sampling as much as we could eat and it was as good as it looked and smelt. Massive buffalo ribs tested us, a little chewy but you just want to keep eating. Seafood selections of all the delights of the sea and Asian style dishes that we shared so as to get taste of it all and then even a desert called a Shazam and that was just as refreshing as the name suggests. Many different types of music from rock to earthy corroborree to classical instrumental filled the entire market from end to end as each performer or group entertained the large crowds gathered around them. When Lyn and Emma had made the purchases they wanted we drove back to the marina.
We decided to go sailing for a few days and headed out of Darwin Harbour north west for Bare Sand Island where Emma, Danny and Jake had been half a dozen years before on board Honeymoon with Danny's parents at the start of there world Circumnavigation. Unfortunately we could not go ashore at Bare Sand Island as it was being used as a military training area. We were however able to fish along the reef protecting the island and landed a very nice fingermark after only a short while. This was to be the only fish we caught here but enough for meal for the 4 of us. The water was very clear and as calm as the bath Truansea's wake at 5 knots motoring was barely discernible a tribute to the hull design and balance. Moving along like this was visually surreal the mercury like surface barely disturbed and the golden reflection of the sun forming a peripheral border around us here and there a disturbance of the surface caused by a turtle's head or a brightly banded sea snake or a fleeing fish or creature unknown, just another of those unique experiences that paint the life of cruising.
We left this portrait of peace behind and moved over to Turnbull bay to anchor for the night. Here Jake got quite a fright when a large fish took the lure he was presenting from the bow of Truansea almost bending the fishing rod double. Unfortunately the reel was only spooled with light line and the fish won. I put the crab pots in close to some mangroves near the mouth of a small creek emptying into the bay just before dark and on checking them early the next morning only 2 undersized blue swimmers had made their way into the pots so I released them and returned to Truansea without delay as it looked to me like crocodile territory.
Motorsailing back to Darwin in smooth water pleased the Rear Admiral especially as shipping was limited to a cruise ship, a pilot boat and a large private and luxurious looking cruiser. We virtually had the whole Harbour to ourselves on such a beautiful day. Safely back in the marina we set about washing etc and planning a couple of trips in and around Darwin city.
The time for Lyn, Emma and Jake to return to Noosa came around pretty quickly and it wasn't long before they were heading to the airport for their trip home. This meant for me that the next stage of the circumnavigation would begin the following day. I was to be joined on this stage from Darwin to Broome via the Kimberley's by an older sailing mate who had expressed a desire to see this part of WA. Bevan flew in that afternoon and we sailed out of Darwin for the Kimberley's the next morning.
The next post will cover from Darwin to Broome and all the rugged beauty of the Kimberley's. I have deliberately not been too descriptive regarding the places and scenery experienced in the Northern Territory for two reasons, those being that it is so spectacular and varied my writing skills would not do it justice and to pay respect to the colloquialism that 'if you never never go you'll never never know'. My recommendation is do it and do it soon you will not be disappointed.
Brian of Truansea
Thursday, August 25, 2011
|Broken end of mainsheet traveller track|
|M6 stud on left is that fitted by Seawind M8 stud on right is the correct one between is the broken stud and under M8 stud is the broken end of traveller track. I redrilled and retapped both ends to take the M8 studs.|
|Supply ship at Seisia wharf|
|Ship at Gove|
|Starboard side entry to the Gugari Rip northbound|
|Port side entry to the Gugari Rip northbound|
|Halfway through the Gugari Rip northbound|
|Stokes Wharf Darwin|
The coastline from Gove to Darwin was in general shrouded in smoke from bushfires so I can not provide much of a description as regards the scenic beauty or lack of it. I did not go ashore as all the land I passed was either aboriginal land and a permit was required or the shore unsafe to approach due to rock and shallows. There is also the well publicised danger of crocodiles. In summary it was dull and uninviting.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
|Cape Melville and her millions of granite boulders|
|Mighty Ocean overtaking near Howick Is|
|A bulk bauxite carrier near Albany Island punching into the swell that was helping me get to Albany Passage on time.|
|CapeYork sloping down to the water from Albany Passage|
|Chart Plotter snap of the anchorage at Cape York|
Saturday, August 13, 2011
|Cairns wharf precinct|
|Non-compliant SL installation (for my old work colleagues)|
|Good coffee here, the proprieter is Asian.|
|We salute you.|
Saturday, May 28, 2011
|Cape Gloucester bottom of picture with Gloucester Island above. The passage is well marked.|
|Abbot Point coal loading wharf. Not a ship in sight.|
|Cape Upstart. A small section of a lovely remote place.|
|Kajabbi - a modified Nichol islander trimaran.|
|Sunrise Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island|
|Entrance to Lucinda past the wharf. The GPS again has sub 5m accuracy.|
Double click on image to enlarge
|20 miles of Hinchinbrook Passage just like this near the southern end. Full sail gliding along at 5 knots.|
|About 15 miles further north a spot called Angels Wings.|
|Sashimi anyone? Sliced to your preference. The wine is for dimensional reference.|
Saturday, May 21, 2011
|Maureens Cove. Good snorkelling.|
|Fish at the stern Maureens Cove.|
|Backpacker Fleecer at Maureens Cove Hook Island|
|Daydream Island Mermaids looking towards Unsafe Pass|
|Bruce the banana shark right of centre and stingray Daydream Island Living Reef|
|Part of Daydream Island resort from the mooring.|
|Gloucester Passage and anchorage.|
|Gloucester Island Monty's Resort just out of frame on right.|
|Family friends Scott and Lisa with Alan outside their business in Bowen.|