Monday, September 22, 2008

Yorkeys Knob - near Cairns‏

Well here we are at Yorkeys again. We left Lizard in 20-25 knot SSE winds (it always seems to blow that up there!) We headed East around the Island to get a better run with the wind. We managed to get a bit of wind in the sails and had the headsail half out (one reef in the main) and motor sailed to Cape Bedford. It was pretty rough - Rosie threw up once. Managed around 6 knots - left at 7.00 and got in at 1.30. We dragged anchor twice so ended up staying where we ended up!!! Pretty shallow in there.

Left Bedford at 7.50 and headed for Hope Island. Put the autopilot on and headed with a bit of wind as far as we could and then had to beat directly into it to get to Hope Island. rough old trip - plenty of water over the sides. Got to Hope at 3.30 and managed to pick up the only buoy there (there should have been two). Stayed two nights - recovery time!! Autohelm proving its worth!!

Left Hope heading for Low and did a 10 hour day. Copped a beauty over the port side which neither of us saw coming!!! Washed the cushions off the back - I was sitting on the opposite side and I also got soaked!! Have harnesses on the dogs - were glad they werent sitting on the cushions!! A 30cm wall of water coming down the decks is a lot of water with a lot of force. really need to tie things down well on the deck Got into Low and knew the weather was improving on Tuesday but we really dont like the Low so left in 20-25 knots again to make the run to Yorkeys. Got in around 2.00 on sunday. They gave us a berth which is huge - meant for two cats and we thought beauty this should be easy - not!!!!! Peter is really good now at getting in and out of small spaces and Yorkeys is a tight marina. But given plenty of space he doesnt have a reference point so cut the corner badly and seeing as how I am not an olympic long jumper I couldnt get off! So he reversed out and cut the corner even more - by this stage we are almost sideways! Reverses out and almost takes out the Bavaria as we go. All the brooms were tied down so they wouldnt go over the side so managed to find some sort of stick which promptly broke so we are both pushing and just managed to get back out past it. Third time lucky and we managed to get in ok. Who would have thought!!!

The dogs are loving the walks though it is extremely hot and they run up and down chasing the fish which swim up and down. Have the shade cover over the top and the fan in our bedroom. Staying here at least a week - doing some work on the boat and will have to reprovision up - getting the hang of that and the fridge and freezer are great so we have pretty much been able to keep up with our fresh vegies. Hoping also to get Rosie clipped here - she has got a bit out of control.

Of course today the sea is like glass - would have been a very comfortable motor down but we are pleased to be here. And pleased to be heading south although Thursday is forecast to be 25 - 30 all the way up the coast. We can island hop for a while from here so will wait for the good weather and hopefully provision up well enough that we can stay out of the marinas for a while.

Peter has lost heaps of weight - I havent and today he looks like Prince Valiant!!! Usually he looks like Doc (out of the future) but a nice shower and shampoo!!! I am tying my hair in a pony tail and Peter's isnt far off it!!!!

Dell and Peter

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lizard Island

Hullo good people
We made it!! Sailed into Lizard Island on 4 September – almost four months to the day since we left Scarborough (5 May).

We spent nine nights at Yorkeys Knob waiting for the winds to calm. While it is a very nice place and we hired a car and had a lovely drive up to Kuranda it was certainly time to move on. The next stop was a very pretty little Island called the Low Isles, however it is totally overregulated and overrun with tourists and we were very pleased to be able to make a run for Port Douglas after six days of 25 – 30 knot winds. We met some lovely people at the Low on a yacht called Tookawile and have travelled to Lizard in their company.

Port Douglas was a great place to hide out. Went up the river in the mangroves and could motor down and use all the yacht club’s facilities. We anchored up behind a little yacht called Doris. We spent five lovely days at Port Douglas. We had asked the lass in the yacht club if there were any resident crocs in the area and she said not. However on the second last day we were there we finally saw what the tourist boats were stopping to look at just across from where our boat was – yes you guessed it – a resident croc! Peter had managed to get himself two lovely mud crabs here though!

We left Port Douglas in 20 – 25 knot winds with two reefs in the mainsail. It was pretty rough and not the most pleasant sailing. The clutchjammer holding the outhaul gave way and we ended up with three two foot long tears in the mainsail where the reefs were so we had to pull it down in fairly rough seas and heaps of wind! Made it into Hope Island at 1.30 and steamed in at the same time as Tookawile so we anchored side by side as both the moorings were occupied. One evening two whales with a baby came in and went right between our boats and one flapped its tail when it went – awesome sight.

We managed to get the main off and down below in very windy conditions and Peter repaired it and then we had to get it back up again – still blowing like mad. Challenging but achieved!

We had four nights at the Hope waiting for good weather and on Sunday 31st August it was forecast 15 – 20 knots so we upanchored at 6.30am and had a wonderful sail to Cape Flattery arriving at 4pm. Tookawile had run out of gas so they had to go into Cooktown. Caught a small mackerel on the new spoon lure which we bought in Port Douglas but shortly after the grand daddy mackerel bit the line off (100lb line). Obviously lost the new lure

Cape Flattery was really pretty and the tide was way out which left lots of beach so we let the dogs run and run. We did the same the next day (another strong wind warning in place!) and when we came back we noticed some aborigines spearing fish on the beach so the next day we saw a 4wd on the beach we went in to talk to them. It was the same three young aboriginal lads and their parents. We had hoped to walk around the beach and see if we could get to the mining town around the point. They said that was ok but be careful of crocs with the dogs as a fairly big one sleeps in the fresh water springs through the day (about 50 yards away). We stayed on the boat the next day but when Tookawile came in we ventured back to shore and walked to the other end with the dogs securely on leads. It is a pretty little anchorage with very murky water but we really enjoyed it. All Peter caught off the back of the boat were reef sharks. Jack loves to fish and Rosie is getting into it too and it is very hard to stop Jack attacking whatever Peter pulls in – he just goes feral!

Anyway after four nights at Cape Flattery a beautiful day dawned and at 9am we upanchored (actually Peter had to pull the anchor up by hand as our anchor windlass broke, the electric motor had given up) and arrived at Lizard Island at around 12.30 after a wonderful sail.

We had called our chandlery in Brisbane and told him we needed a new motor for the windlass and a couple of days later the new engine was delivered to the resort for us. It is very comforting to know that you can get spare parts sent to such remote areas and we were very grateful that it was just one phone call and they did the rest – finding out where to send etc.

The colour of the water here is just beautiful. Yachts have come and gone but mostly there have been about 16 boats in the Bay. We have snorkelled, walked to the Blue Lagoon, attended a lecture at the Research Station, had drinks at the Marlin Bar (which is the staff of the resort’s bar), and walked to the highest point called Cook’s Look because that is where Captain Cook climbed to find a way through the reef. The snorkelling is fantastic – lots of fish (even saw 3 clown fish (Nimo), and there are lots of giant clams about one and a half metres long.

The water is crystal clear and we have lots of fish swimming around out the back including a metre long Sweetlip (not allowed to fish!!!!!). The dogs go berserk chasing the fish up and down and Jack has fallen in once and we have lost count of the number of times Rosie has fallen in. At night there are really big fish swimming out the back of the boat

Today is a little bit exciting as we found out yesterday a seaplane is flying up from Cooktown empty to pick up a couple of guests so we all put in an order for supplies and it will be arriving about 1pm today. All the yachts put in an order to make it worthwhile for the pilot to bother to collect the grocery orders (freight is $1.85 per kilo)

The winds are going to be pretty strong for the next few days so we will do some more snorkelling – it is pretty awesome – and wait for the winds to die down a little. It will be a really hard slog back to Cairns we think but after that the winds seem to be coming quite favourable with the northerlies starting to come in down there.

Forgot to tell you a funny thing that happened in my last letter. We had been going along quite nicely when we noticed a huge rock off to the port side and we were panicking because it wasn’t on the chart plotter and didn’t show up on the chart. Were thinking how difficult night sailing would be with unmarked rocks in the middle of nowhere when it moved – it was a whale which had just been basking in the sun!!

It was shortly after this that the police came alongside in their boat to check all our safety gear!! Came out of nowhere but were very polite and friendly but we certainly weren’t expecting to have anyone come alongside out there!

Anyway we had a lovely lamb roast for father’s day and Peter opened the present which the kids put on board for him and we had a lovely day. By the way we drank the very expensive French wine the day we arrived – thanks for that.

Anyway enough rambling. Hope this finds you all well and not working too hard!!

Much Love

Dell and Peter