Friday, September 4, 2015

WEEK 4 : Great Keppel Island to Mackay Marina

Fri 28 Aug - Great Keppel Island to Pearl Bay
We took Rosie into the beach, said farewell to Sasu and headed out round Great Keppel at 6.20am - good sailing after 2pm and arrived at Pearl Bay at 3.35pm. A big 91ft motor boat (looked a bit like an icebreaker) passed us and they headed into Pearl. It was low tide and I was a bit worried there would not be enough room. We went down to .9 under the keel so that was good We went ashore and walked along the beach and Rosie had a run.
Total Miles : 51 TTT : 365

Sat 29 Aug - Pearl Bay
Decided to stay another day. Just relaxing walked along beach, reading etc. Met some people off the big boat. There were five couples who left Melbourne in April and are just making their way up the coast. What a great way to travel.

Sun 30 Aug - Pearl Bay - Hunter Island
We left in the dark at 4.30am to catch the current to Hunter Island. It was great. At one stage we had the motor off, headsail out in about 6 knots of wind and were doing 9.6 knots! That current was fair hiking! Just as we were coming into Hunter Island we saw a whale. We had to push some current past Marble Island and at one point we were down to 1.9 knots on 2,000 revs. Then we saw something on the surface of the water and we were both convinced it was a huge croc so we went over to take a closer look and all of a sudden two huge humps appeared heading for the boat. Whales - quick run!!! We made it up to Hunter Island and anchored at 12 noon. There is a 7 metre tide here so we had to anchor a long way out. We dropped in 8 metres on a dropping tide and went down to 2.6 metres at low. Took Rosie ashore and walked the beach. These islands which are part of the Duke Group used to be a cattle station and obviously there is still at least one cow there as there were cow prints on the beach! In the afternoon when we went ashore the tide had dropped so much we had to walk a few hundred metres over rubbly corrally rock to get to the beach. Walked to the end where the cattle run had been built. It was really interesting. We saw a huge spanish mackerel leap out of the water so I decided to try my hand at some fishing. I came very close to hooking the skipper then it all came to an end when I somehow broke the rod in two! We watched the most amazing sunset and saw green after it went down though we couldnt say it was a flash. But we did see lots of red flashes which was something we hadnt seen before. And then we watched the most amazing full moon come up shining a bridge across the water to the boat. Beautiful. This has been the most picturesque, idyllic little spot. So lovely.
Miles: 46 TTT : 411

Mon 31 Aug - Hunter Island to Curlew Island
We took Rosie ashore and had to walk the crazy rubbly walk again and then had a most exhilirating time. While we managed to ride the current to here, we had not considered it getting out of here. We left at 7am and came round the corner of the island into a narrow channel between Hunter and Marble and there were whirlpools and waves and mishmash of water. At one stage we were only doing 1.3 knots. Very picturesque though. It took us an hour to do two miles. We came out into a sloppy sea. Couldnt keep the sail out so it was a motor job today. Hint - do not put brampston pickle on your cheese and biccies when you are on a rolly boat! Saw a few whales today including a baby breaching. Came through another channel into Curlew Isand and shot out the other end and anchored at 1.45pm. The skipper worked out the tide range here is 6.5 metres so went around a bit till we found 6 metres and anchored there. We went down to 2.1 metres - .7 under the keel! One poor boat misjudged it and ended up on the ground and had to wait til dark and a high tide to get out. We shone the torch in the evening and all the long tom fish leapt out of the water. A really funny sight.
Miles: 35 TTT : 446

Tues 1 Sept - Curlew Island - Mackay Marina
Left Curlew at 7.45am and saw a whale and its calf about 50 metres away and the baby was breaching - so lovely. Arrived Mackay Marina at 3.30pm. We had a heavy landing in a very tight berth!! Lovely shower and hamburgers for dinner!
Miles : 44 TTT: 490

Wed / Thurs 2/3 Sept - Mackay Marina
We hired a car and did our resupply of fresh food and filled the water tank. Drove out to the end of the breakwater - its one heck of a wall. There is a 6.5 metre tide here so at low tide it is quite a climb to get up the ramp from the marina to the shore. Finally got some southerly winds but too strong and Rosie having an off day so stayed another day. Another boat headed south but is now back with a broken window (waves) and wet bedding Winds will drop a little tomorrow so we will try to get out then. Rosie much better by the way.