Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Sailing to Queensland, Winter 2015 - Part 8
Latest update 12 August 2015.
Continued from last part
Monday 27 July 2015 - Butterfly Bay, Hook Island
|The Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach at left. Generally, the second part of the route name (in white) is the location of the blue arrow.|
Today is Kelly's birthday, she has entered into the year leading up to a big birthday!
It was very calm overnight, so much so that we had some very minor mooring knock just before dawn. It was not too annoying. We get up at 0815 and have breakfast. After this we go to the beach and on the way back stop at Sentinel to see if Danny still wants to dive today. He does, so we make plans to meet him at Manta Ray Bay at 1115. He is going to take the yacht to Luncheon Bay as they are heading around Hook Island's eastern side this afternoon.
Back on Catlypso Michael writes up the last couple of days' web site pages and then we put our dive gear together and onto Thunderbird 2. By now there is only us and Wongadir left in Butterfly Bay. We head off at 1100 in Thunderbird 2 for Manta Ray Bay. It only takes us 10 minutes to cover the 2.2 nautical miles.
|An empty Butterfly Bay with only Catlypso visible||Michael and Kelly in the creek behind Butterfly Bay Beach|
Danny sees us pass Sentinel at Luncheon Bay and motors over with us. We grab the same mooring and are soon in the water. The visibility is not as good as yesterday, but it is still over 30 metres. We head out to the reef edge and then turn north-east again. This time we go much further past the second mooring and turn around at 25 minutes. There are a huge number of blue fusiliers all over the reef, especially under the moored boats.
Today we see dozens of nudibranchs from many different species. The most we have seen on any dive this trip has been three or four, where have they been hiding, they are not exactly quick movers! We see a huge crayfish and there are a couple of very large and old reef pick anchors out from the main reef.
On the way back we see a white-tipped reef shark and some very large Maori wrasse. There are also the anemones with pink anemonefish, butterflyfish, parrotfish and surgeonfish that we have seen on every dive. We even see a few barramundi cod. We end up back under our dinghies and exit the water after a great one hour dive, the longest we have done on this trip.
After saying goodbye to Danny who is heading around to Cid Harbour for the night, we motor back to Butterfly Bay and are back on Catlypso by 1300. We hang up all our dive gear to dry and then have lunch. There are only three boats in the anchorage, amazing considering the bad forecast for tonight which makes this a good place to be moored.
|A closeup of one of the butterflies ||Kelly and Veto having sundowners|
We relax and read and then Michael fills the tanks with the compressor. At 1530 we go the beach in the eastern part of Butterfly Bay. Kelly has not been there before. We walk up the creek and see the thousands of beautiful butterflies that live there.
Back on Catlypso we have a swim (it is over 30ÂșC today) and then cold showers (since we have not run the engines at all). Michael has the task of preparing dinner since it is Kelly's birthday, so he peels and chops the vegies. We are having a roast pork rack that we purchased at the butchers at Cannonvale.
|Kelly, Veto and Michael and the birthday feast ||The pancake dessert Michael cooked|
We have sundowners and then a bit after 1900, dinner. The pork rack is excellent, we will probably get another one if we go back there. Afterwards, Michael makes dessert, pancakes with stewed mixed berries, macadamia ice cream topped with strawberry topping. Fantastic. All this was washed down with an excellent bottle of Jacob's Creek Trilogy sparkling wine. We are in bed by 2130.
None as we did not move.
Tuesday 28 July 2015 - Butterfly Bay, Hook Island
It was calm overnight till 0200 and then the southerly change hit. At first it was only 10 to 15 knots but by dawn it was 25 knots. After we get up the gusts hit at least 35 knots. Michael temporarily gets up at 0820 and puts on the watermaker and the generator. It is five days since we flushed the watermaker so we need to either make water or flush it again. We are also down a bit on power since we have not used the engines much over the past week and we have had some overcast days.
We do not get up till 0900 as have no plan to move today due to the weather. Michael goes to the beach and when he is back we have breakfast. We end up turning off the wind generator as when the wind hits about 28 knots the blades make a horrendous noise. Once we have internet access we need to investigate this, it may be as simple as utilising the shims that came with the new blades to slightly alter the angle of the blades.
Kelly does some clothes washing (everything we have dirtied) and Michael hangs it out. We have to triple peg every item due to the strength of the wind. This morning we almost lost both our wetsuits which blew off the lifelines and were on the back transom. Kelly also got some stains out of the galley benchtop that we have failed to clean before.
We were going to go for a scuba dive today if the wind was not too strong, but it would be dangerous to leave Thunderbird 2 unattended today in this wind. The wind is varying from south-west to south-east and from 5 to 35 knots. After lunch we read for the rest of the afternoon. The watermaker is stopped after five hours. It has made probably about 120 litres but we use about 10 litres to flush it at the end.
We later go to the beach where it is quite calm. There are two couples and their kids here from a charter yacht. They report that it was a very uncomfortable trip from Nara Inlet today and a few of the kids were sick. They said they had gusts of 40 knots as they came into Butterfly Bay.
We go back to Catlypso and have sundowners and then a chicken dish with rice that Kelly cooked yesterday. The wind finally drops a bit after 1900 but there are still gusts to 20 knots so we put the wind generator back on. It is a very cool evening.
None as we did not move.
Wednesday 29 July 2015 - Butterfly Bay, Hook Island
It was relatively calm till about 0130 when the wind started blowing 15 to 20 knots. By 0300 it was blowing 30 to 35 knots again and we had to turn off the wind generator. The wind dropped back to 15 to 20 knots about 0430 and still the same when we get up at 0800. There are even periods of total calm. We had some minor mooring knock, mostly after gusts when the boat pulls forward rapidly.
We go to the beach but while there it picks up again. We have breakfast, some nice crepes from the left over pancake mix. Today is again going to be a day of doing nothing, there is no way we can safely go for a dive in this wind. At least it is sunny, although it is cool.
The power management system for the boat does not seem to work accurately. We have mentioned this before. The voltage and the amp hours remaining do not seem to match up. Also, the amps produced by the wind generator bypasses this system and so is not counted towards the total amp hours available.
This morning the solar panels are putting out up to 24 amp hours at times. The voltage in the batteries reaches as much as 13.2 volts but the amp hours have only gone up by 60 or so. Even once the sun disappears later in the afternoon when it gets cloudy, the volts are 12.7 which indicates an almost full battery bank.
Also, the wind generator is not running as the inbuilt regulator seems to have decided the voltage is high enough. Back about five weeks ago Michael realised that the setting for this seems to have been adjusted by our friend Paul when he repaired it. It should be set at 14.1 volts. Once the wind drops down enough to make it safe, Michael will attempt to increase this voltage by a small amount at a time.
|Looking back down Butterfly Bay - we did not like|
the moorings on the left as they are too close together
In the mid-morning we move twice to other moorings. We first move to the second last one on the eastern side but realise that we are too close to the large tourist boat that is on the third one. We are not happy to be this close as it seems if we both swung in opposite directions we will hit. We move again, this time to the second mooring on the east side but from the ocean side. This is a much better spot, more protected, especially from the swell that starts to come in later and which affects the western moorings.
From late morning we have been listening to the rescue of a disabled boat about 7 nautical miles to the north of Hayman Island. It seems to have lost all power and cannot even radio. It is finally taken under tow by the Whitsunday VMR boat. They were lucky that they were seen by another boat.
We also try out a new bridle set up to try and stop the mooring knock (this is when the mooring buoy goes between the hulls and hits the hulls or sometimes does it from outside the hulls). We use our longest mooring rope (which we do not use) and run it from one bow cleat through the loop under the mooring buoy and back to the other bow cleat. We let out a fair bit of this rope so that the mooring is not too short (which is what happens if we use our normal mooring bridles this way). It seems to work and we will see how it goes. We have our normal bridle as a back up.
Unlike the last couple of days, today Butterfly Bay has been fully occupied. The seas outside look awful from where we sit, there is no way we are going anywhere at the moment. Tomorrow is looking better and we may move somewhere.
None as we did not move.
Thursday 30 July 2015 - Butterfly Bay to Stonehaven Anchorage, Hook Island
It got calmer as the night went on but we still had a bit of mooring knock. It was nowhere near as bad as some other times. It also drizzled a bit during the night and will also rain a few times during the day. We get up at 0810 and Michael goes to the beach and when he comes back we have breakfast.
It is now less than 10 knots and the seas out in the open ocean are much calmer than yesterday. We leave the mooring at 0935 and motor around to Stonehaven Anchorage. We cannot sail as the wind is from all over the place or on the nose. It is very slow as we pass through The Narrows, the strait between Hook and Hayman Islands. We should have the current behind us but it is not.
At 1035 we get a mooring in the north section of Stonehaven Anchorage. It is a bit rolly on the moorings to the north of us but this one appears okay. However, within a few hours this one is also quite rolly.
At 1145 we hear on the radio that a charter yacht has run aground on the reef around Black Island. This is only a short distance to our west and we can see it stuck there, tilting over a lot. We advise the charter operator and the people on the boat that Michael will come over in Thunderbird 2 to assist. As he is about to head off, they report they are off the reef.
We tell them and the operator that if they come into the anchorage and take the mooring next to us, we will check their keel and hull for damage. Michael was going for a dive anyway (Kelly has sore ribs and was not going to dive), so he gears up and we head over. Kelly drops Michael at the yacht and he checks out the keel.
There is obvious new damage to the front of the keel, with bits of coral still imbedded. He also checks where the keel meets the hull and finds a fine crack at the front one third (presumably where the caulking or what ever is put there has been pulled away and at the rear where the lead in the keel has been compressed as it was pushed upwards into the hull. This could indicate other damage.
Michael informs them of what he has found. We later hear that they went back to the marina so presumably the operator will haul out the boat or get a diver to check it out. We do not hear them again that afternoon or the next day on the daily radio skeds.
After this Michael goes for a dive and Kelly follows him in Thunderbird 2. The site is similar to the one we did about three weeks ago around the point to the south. Visibility is nowhere near as good as the past week, but still not too bad. He sees all the normal tropical fish as well as some unicornfish and lots of small stingrays.
|A panoramic photograph of the northern section of Stonehaven Anchorage|
After the dive we have lunch and by 1400 it is very rolly and we decide to look at the other moorings to the south. We head off but find that the one we were on last time is as rolly (and also closer to the reef) and the only other one is one situated inside a small coral bay and which also looks very close to the reef. We head back to our original mooring and get that back. By now there are a few other boats here (we were the only one this morning) and later all the moorings are taken and tourist boats are anchored off us.
The wind and swell gradually drops so it ends up not too bad. Michael later goes to the beach, it is just after low tide. It is a bit of effort to find a way though the coral to the sand. He is back by 1720.
We have sundowners and then Kelly cooks a flat chicken and vegies in the oven. Today is the first day we have had phone and internet contact for six days so we have made lots of calls. The evening is spent catching up on the internet and Michael updates our web site. We head to bed at 2100.
Friday 31 July 2015 - Stonehaven Anchorage to Butterfly Bay, Hook Island
It was calm most of the night but some minor swell before dawn. We are up at 0815 and we have breakfast before we go ashore for a bit. We leave the mooring at 0940 and motor over around the very obvious and marked southern end of Black Island. This is where the boat ran aground yesterday, they attempted to go between the marker and the island.
|Kelly and Michael on the beach at Stonehaven north||One of the very interesting rock formations on the beach|
We then go between this island and Langfords Island (Hayman Channel) and around Arkhurst Island to the north-west side of Hayman Island and Blue Pearl Bay. We get one of the moorings here. Kelly again does not want to dive due to her sore ribs, so she takes Michael and drops him at the small entrance channel to the beach.
Michael heads to the north, doing a similar one to the dive he did with Ian Gowan three weeks ago. The coral is mostly dead below 12 metres, it looks like silt has caused it. He turns after 15 minutes and comes back at 12 metres or shallower. This is much better. He ends up overshooting the channel and goes a bit to the south. This is much better, with lots of bommies and overhangs.
He surfaces but is too far south, so he goes back down and heads towards the channel. Kelly comes and collects him in Thunderbird 2, she has been standing by for the past few minutes knowing he would soon surface.
We have lunch and then decide to head to Nara Inlet. We motor south but cannot sail as the wind is right on the nose. We are only making less than 3 knots into the wind (20 knots) and a 2 knot current. We change our mind and head towards Stonehaven but see that all the moorings are taken.
We decide to go to Butterfly Bay and head up The Narrows. Again we have current against us, it should be behind, but at least the wind is now behind us. We motor into the bay and get the last mooring out of the 12 here (in both parts of the bay - you cannot anchor in the main part), just before another catamaran.
Michael dries the dive gear, fills the tanks using the compressor and then has to repack the dive compressor filter as it has reached its maximum hours. He puts all this gear away as we are sailing off tomorrow and will not dive again for some time.
We later go to the beach, it is very shallow again this afternoon due to the very low tide (full moon tonight). When we get back, Michael again has to fix the ropes on the dinghy davit as they have slipped around and Thunderbird 2 is not coming up evenly.
We have showers and then very late sundowners (1830 start) and Kelly cooks spaghetti and meatballs. We also shorten the mooring line again as we are getting anchor knock. We go to bed at 2100.
Saturday 1 August 2015 ' Butterfly Bay, Hook Island to Gloucester Passage
|Gloucester Passage at left, Butterfly Bay at right|
Well, what an uncomfortable night that turned out to be! From about 0230 we had a swell come into the bay while we were hanging side on. I doubt that we slept more than a few minutes at a time till about 0430 when it basically stopped. After the normal start to the morning and then breakfast, we leave the mooring at 0920.
|Very blue water as we look south passing Hayman Island||This is where Veto spends a lot of her time on passages|
There is little wind at first, and what there is comes from all over the place till we get to The Narrows, the strait between Hayman and Hook Islands. We pull out the screecher and motor sail. Once we pass Dolphin Point, the north-western point of Hayman, the wind increases to 15 to 22 knots and it is quite rough with two swells, one being about a metre and very close together.
At this spot we have a three knot current against us for a while, hence we need to keep the engine on. A bit further on the wind goes to our port rear quarter and drops a bit, but we now can make a good 5.0 to 5.5 knots with the engine off and even higher later. Later we have the vibration come again, this is caused by one of the feathering props not fully feathering. This time it was the port one (as it usually is). The solution is to start the engine, put it in gear for a few seconds and then pull it back to neutral. This fixes it.
|Kelly and Michael as we approach Gloucester Passage||Gloucester Passage with Gloucester Island|
at left and Montes Resort at right
It becomes calmer as we head further west. We are into a tidal current nearly the whole way, despite the fact it should have changed about 1100. It finally stops as we pass Saddleback Island. Just as we near Gloucester Passage (between Gloucester Island and the mainland), we pull in the screecher and turn back on the engine. About seven yachts have entered in front of us, they are from the Abel Point Yacht Club and this is an informal race and social event. We end up talking to the organiser at dinner, a Texan who has lived in Australia for more than 10 years.
We motor through the passage, it is a bit confusing as you get towards the western end, especially since one port channel marker is hidden behind an anchored powerboat. We go around Shag Island and take one of the moorings owned by the Cape Gloucester Eco Resort at 1455. However, we decide we do not like it, it has chain as the loop. We look at another one and also decide to reject that as well.
We decide to anchor and motor over towards another Lightwave 38, Delight. We anchor in 2.6 metres off the southern end of the beach. It is 1520 now. We go to the beach at 1615 and walk with Veto down to the other resort, Montes, as the Cape Gloucester one is having a wedding tonight and the bar and restaurant are closed to the general public.
There are lots of people at Montes, we have a beer and sit at a table on the beach. We decide to come back here for dinner, so book the same table so we can bring Veto. We walk back and have showers. At 1550 we motor around in Thunderbird 2 (the tide is higher and we can easily pass between Shag Island and the shore now) and pull her up on the beach.
|Sunset from Montes Resort||Michael and Kelly at dinner and the sunset|
We order some beers and a bottle of nice New Zealand sauvignon blanc and sit overlooking the water and have a spectacular sunset. It is not as busy as before, a big group was from Proserpine and went home on a bus. We order dinner and enjoy our drinks. Dinner is very nice, although mine was a little on the small size compared to Kelly's. We end up sitting around the firepit talking to other cruisers, including Moor R&R who we first met in Rossyln Bay Marina.
We head back once the moon has risen (it is almost full) and slowly motor back to Catlypso. We are back on board by 2015. It was a very enjoyable evening.
Sunday 2 August 2015 - Gloucester Passage
It was very calm overnight and we had a great sleep. We do not get up till 0910, we really needed the rest. Michael takes Veto to the beach for a quick run and we then have breakfast. The gas finally ran out while the water was on boiling, so Michael swaps over to the other cylinder. This means it lasted from 16 June, a bit over six weeks.
Michael also puts on the watermaker and puts 50 litres of freshwater from containers into the starboard forward tank that we have been using the past week or so. He also needs the containers to transfer the water from the watermaker to this tank.
We also decide to move a short distance as when we turned in the wind last night we ended up a bit close to a mooring. We move about 40 metres south and re-anchor. After this we go to the beach and Kelly takes some laundry to the Cape Gloucester to do some washing. Michael and Veto go for a short walk and then meet her back at the resort.
|A panoramic photograph of the beach in front of Montes Resort and Gloucester Passage|
After a while Kelly has to put another load on (they only have two washers, one of which is being used for the resort's linen etc) and the first load goes on the line (they have no dryer - it is of course an eco resort). By this time Michael has to go back out to Catlypso to swap over the water containers collecting the desalinated water.
When he comes back, Kelly takes the second load out and we decide to order a plate of salt and pepper calamari to share for lunch. We have a drink and then eat the meal, it is very nice. By now it is almost 1300 we have to get back out to Catlypso to again swap over containers.
|The beach in front of Cape Gloucester Eco Resort,|
Catlypso is second from left
| Cape Gloucester Eco Resort bar and restaurant|
We put the washing out on Catlypso to finish drying, it does not take long. Later we decide to go for another walk down past Montes Resort. When we come back to Thunderbird 2, there is a Nissan Patrol and loaded boat trailer bogged very badly on the beach while trying to launch the boat. No way is he getting out the way he is trying.
Michael makes a couple of suggestions how he might get free. This is to take boat off, unhook trailer and then get the Patrol out first and then drag the trailer and boat up the beach and put all back together (Michael has once had to do this, a long story). Anyway, he does not do it but later, he does unhook the trailer and gets pulled out by another vehicle and then they both drag the trailer up the beach with the boat on it.
At 1600 we watch South Sydney play Penrith on TV. Souths end up winning 20 to 16, but it was not impressive. During the game, Phil and Cathy Mackenzie in Chilli Bella arrive. They have come from Townsville and are heading to Airlie Beach tomorrow. You will recall that my brother Stephen wife Gail is Cathy's sister. We last saw them a few weeks ago when they came into Luncheon Bay where we were anchored but they did not see us.
After the game, we go to Cape Gloucester Eco Resort for drinks and dinner. Phil and Cathy arrive shortly after. We end up having a really nice dinner, there is great food at both the resorts here, but we enjoyed this food better. We get back to Catlypso at 2125.
None as we did not move.
Monday 3 August 2015 - Gloucester Passage
Last night was again calm and this morning after taking Veto to the beach for a run, we go over to Chilli Bella for tea and coffee. We spend over 90 minutes there before going back to Catlypso. We have lots of things to do today.
First Michael refuels Thunderbird 2 which has not had fuel for a couple of weeks. He then refills all the five litre containers from the larger 20 litre petrol container. He also swaps out the 10 micron filter from the watermaker for a new (and better) one. He washes the old one which will be used in conjunction with another old one when needed.
He also needs to reattach the filter housing to the wall of the engine room. When it was installed, they only used small screws. It has pulled out a few times and Michael put larger screws in place of the original ones. However, yesterday it pulled out again. This time he puts some small bolts right through the wall with washers to stop them pulling out again.
| Chilli Bella heads off for Airlie Beach ||Kelly cleaning the starboard outer hull|
While Michael is doing this, Kelly has started washing the hulls, particularly the sections just above and below the waterline. We have some green growth here on the non-antifouled sections. She does this from Thunderbird 2. Phil and Cathy head off while she is doing this. Michael then tries to work out why the wind generator has stopped working. A week ago when it was really windy, we turned it off as the noise from the new blades was really loud. It has not worked since then. He does not work it out.
After lunch, we go ashore so Kelly can have a swim (after all her hard work). When we get back, Michael gets in the water and cleans the four sides of the two hulls down as far as he can reach while floating on a noodle. This means he cleans all but the mini keels, props and rudders. He will do this tomorrow. It takes over 90 minutes to do this, there was a fair bit of fine growth on two of the sides.
|Enjoying a beer at Montes Reef Resort ||Sunset, made more spectacular by|
some bushfires burning to the west
At 1600 we put on the generator to heat water for hot showers. We then dinghy to shore and walk to Montes Resort. We have a beer and then walk back. Unfortunately, it looks like the generator ran out of fuel just after we left, so Michael has to refuel it and put it back on again. Kelly decides to have a cold (well cool) shower, but Michael waits till the water is at least a bit warm.
|Garfish leaping out of the water ||One of the garfish that ended up on the steps|
We have late sundowners and then lamb rissoles and satay rice. After dinner there is a lot of splashing at the back of the boat. There are hundreds of garfish around, they are leaping out of the water all over the place. A few end up on the back steps and we have to push them back into the water. We head to bed at 2100.
None as we did not move.
Tuesday 4 August 2015 - Gloucester Passage
It was again calm overnight. We get up at 0830 and both take Veto to the beach. After this we have breakfast and Michael sets up the waypoints and routes for the next three stages of the trip which will take us to Townsville. These are roughly three legs to Cape Upstart, Cape Bowling Green and Townsville. If conditions permit, we will not stop at Cape Bowling Green but go onto Cape Cleveland.
After this, Michael gets out his scuba gear and then dives on the hulls to do some more cleaning. This time he cleans the keels (the port outside one was filthy - it probably spends more time in the sun due to the winds we have), the rudders and the lower parts of the hull he could not easily get to yesterday from the surface.
|Michael cleaning the starboard prop ||Michael under the port hull|
He also cleans the props and sail drives. The saildrives and the area around them has a different anti-foul than the rest of the hulls (due to corrosion problems caused by the normal anti-foul). This is obviously not as good as there is plenty of growth, mostly small barnacles. This takes a long time to clean off. They are also partially blocking the raw water intake for the engines.
The props are also bad. They have a different compound again on them and this was not redone back in June 2014 like the rest of the hulls were. There are barnacles all over the place, no wonder the port prop has not been feathering properly. It should all work good now, well, at least for a month or so. It takes him 70 minutes to do all this work.
Back on Catlypso, Michael has a cuppa and rest before we have lunch. At 1430 we take Veto to the beach, this time we walk south from the beach just to the south of where we are anchored. There are a series of small beaches that run for kilometres, they are very nice. There are some houses here, including a huge brand new one that looks like it might also be going to operate as a fishing lodge.
|Looking back at Catlypso from the beach to the south||The dining area at Montes Reef Resort|
We walk for almost an hour and then motor around to Montes Reef Resort. We decide to have a beer before going back to Catlypso. We notice that Mango is anchored off the resort. We first saw them in Garrys Anchorage at Fraser Island. Not far from us is TwoKeela Kalu who we have been running into since Ballina back in early May.
While Michael puts away his dive gear, Kelly makes dinner, jambalaya. We have sundowners and then dinner, it is another great meal. I cannot believe some people who sail who just eat out of cans, we have great meals.
None as we did not move.
Wednesday 5 August 2015 - Gloucester Passage to Cape Upstart
|Gloucester Passage at right, Cape Upstart top left. Abbott Point Coal Loader in between.|
For another night it was very calm, but on the radio skeds later we hear that at the Whitsundays they had a strong southerly change and a couple of boats dragged their anchors. Luckily no damage appeared to have occurred. We get up at 0620 and Michael takes Veto to the beach. Kelly makes tea and coffee and when he comes back, Michael prepares the boat to sail. Our plan is to sail to Cape Upstart, almost 50 nautical miles away.
We leave at 0705 and motor for 15 minutes before we can ascertain what direction the wind is coming from. We then pull out the screecher, but we have to leave one engine on as the wind is only 10 knots. We are doing 6 knots give or take. By 0745 the wind has increased to 18 knots so we turn off the engine, making the same speed into a 1.5 knot current.
|Sunrise over Gloucester Island||Looking back at Cape Gloucester when the|
wind was at its peak and we were doing 7 to 8 knots
The wind increases more to about 20 to 22 knots, straight behind us now. We average over 7 knots for about half an hour till the wind starts to drop. We hit about 8.5 knots at times. About 1010 the wind drops to 11 to 15 knots so we pull out the genoa and sail wing and wing. We are doing 5.2 knots into a 2 knot current.
As we pass Bowen, Jeff and Carol in Nardu pass us. They are a much lighter cat with daggerboards, so they have a good two knots on us. We talk to them on the VHF, we have not seen them for a few weeks at least.
We approach the very controversial Abbott Point Coal Loader. This was given approval for an expansion and dredging project with the spoil to be dumped on the Great Barrier Reef. Thankfully this now seems to have changed, with the spoil going to be reused for land reclamation. The coal loader extends a few kilometres out into the open sea. There are two ships loading and another waiting offshore.
|Nardu passes us just north of Bowen ||The Abbott Point Coal Loader|
At 1140 we have to swap the sails around as the wind has changed direction a bit. However, we soon have to pull in the genoa as it keeps accidentally jibing. Later we have to turn the engine back on as our speed has dropped to under 4 knots in the less than 10 knot wind.
Cape Upstart is very impressive, the highest point is over 700 metres. You can see it from Gloucester Passage over 40 nautical miles away. As we pass the northern side, we are called on the VHF by Nardu but we only catch the end of the call and do not realise they are calling us. They want to warn us about three humpback whales that passed them and are heading straight for us.
The whales are not spotted by us till they are level with our stern and the baby, the smallest we have ever seen, breaches out of the water. Fantastic! We have caught Nardu as they have met up with another yacht and are sailing slowly.
|Nardu passes between Cape Upstart and The Bun||Catlypso off the beach at Cape Upstart|
|Some of the shacks at Cape Upstart ||Kelly and Michael on the beach with Catlypso in the background|
We approach Cape Upstart itself which is the north-eastern point of the headland. While we go around The Bun (a small rock), Nardu passes between the point and the rock. They have a lot more experience in these waters. The other two boats anchor close to the point, while we go a bit further south.
We end up anchoring at 1540 south of the western cardinal mark and just off one of the dozens of beaches. We are in 5.0 metres once we are anchored, about one third of the way to low tide. We have a cuppa and then go to the beach. We walk a few beaches to the south and look at the many fishers huts, most are very nice.
|A panoramic photograph of Upstart Bay from the beach with Catlypso at right|
Back at Catlypso by 1720, we have hot showers and then sundowners. Kelly cooks pumpkin gnocchi for dinner. We watch out to the west where over a dozen sugar cane fires are lit to burn off the waste. It makes for a spectacular sunset. We go to bed about 2100 as we have another early start tomorrow.
Thursday 6 August 2015 - Cape Upstart to Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island
|Cape Upstart at right, Magnetic Island top left, Cape Bowling Green first cape from Upstart and the other one is Cape Cleveland|
This is a good anchorage and we had a very calm night. We get up at 0530 and have a cup of tea and coffee. As it is so dark, Veto is not taken ashore as normal. We leave at 0615, motoring out and then pulling out the screecher. The wind is almost behind us and we have a 1 to 1.25 knot current against us, so one engine remains on. We are doing 7 knots in 17 knots of wind.
The sun comes up over Gloucester Island, it looks very nice. Another yacht left just before us, a German monohull called Garlix. He is doing about a knot faster than us, probably without an engine on. At 0905 we pass two humpback whales about 20 metres off our port side.
The coastline from here to Cape Bowling Green is not all that exciting, the land is very low and there are only a few hills off in the distance. Cape Bowling Green is mostly a sand spit with some low vegetation. Off the tip is something that excites us, the wreck of the
which we have both dived before. We had hoped to be able to dive it from Catlypso on this trip, but without at least one other person on board, it would not be safe to do so (strong currents being the main one).
|Sunrise as we leave Cape Upstart||Two humpback whales off the southern end of Cape Bowling Green|
Anyway, we still hope to dive it using a charter operator. We have to look at the logistics of that. We round Cape Bowling Green (presumably named because it is as flat as a bowling green) at 1100 and we turn off the engine as with the wind now on our beam, we are doing 7 to 8 knots in 15 knots of wind with 0.5 to 0.75 knot current against us. We have needed to average about 6.2 knots the whole trip to make it before sunset, hence using our engine for so long.
It is a bit choppy for the first 90 minutes of this section but then the conditions become almost perfect. However, the wind then drops and moves to our stern and then even swaps sides. The engine has to come back on and we have to swap the screecher to the port side. Along the way, we dump our holding tank, a very important thing to do when we are planning on being in an anchorage for over a week.
|Cape Bowling Green, very low and flat, the|
hills are actually 30 or 40 kilometres away
|Approaching Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island |
We are making good time so we decide to go to Magnetic Island rather than Cape Cleveland. At 1640 we are anchored in Horseshore Bay on the north side of Magnetic Island. This island is just off the city of Townsville. The bay is very large with at least 25 other boats anchored here. It is very protected from winds from all directions except north-east to north-west. We are located about 200 metres off the beach.
Our first priority is to take Veto to shore, she has not been happy for the 90 minutes after rounding Cape Bowling Green due to the side on chop that makes it very noisy and a bit rough. She has a good run (on her leash) and goes to the toilet (which she has not done since last evening). She is a lot happier now.
|A panoramic photograph of Horseshoe Bay from the beach|
We walk along the whole beachfront area, past the few shops, pubs and restaurants. We will probably have a meal here later on. We are back on Catlypso by 1715. We have showers and then sundowners. Once again we have a brilliant sunset, this time the smoke from the sugar can fires really makes the sky red. Michael cooks a barbecue and we relax afterwards with some more reading.
|Looking back at Catlypso from the beach ||Sunset from Catlypso |
Today we had the longest sail for a couple of months (64.2 nautical miles), but it all went well. We plan to explore the island a bit and try to get some dives in on the Yongala if we can. We also will probably meet up with some friends who live in Townsville as well as friends from Sydney who are on their way back from a trip to Cape York.
Friday 7 August 2015 - Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island
|Magnetic Island - Horseshoe Bay is on northern side, Townsville at bottom|
It was extremely calm last night, perhaps the calmest anchorage we have been in on this trip. We hardly even knew we were on a boat. We get up at 0800 and Michael takes Veto to the beach for her morning run. Back on the boat we have breakfast. Today we have nothing planned, a relaxing day with perhaps a walk or two.
At 1030 we go to the beach and walk from in front of the pub to the western end of the beach. This takes about 45 minutes. When we arrive at the end, a lifeguard on a jetski comes and tells us that a crocodile has been sighted off the main beach. Of course, that puts pay to our plan to have a swim out here.
We walk back to the shopping area and Kelly purchases a small loaf of bread from the shop. We head back out to Catlypso and notice that a few boats have turned up. One is Nardu who must have stopped somewhere else last night.
Michael flushes the watermaker with fresh water and also cleans the first and second filters that stop any rubbish getting into the system. He also cleans the port bilge near the water tank where there has been some water for the past couple of months (slack aren't we?).
|Another photo of the Horseshoe Bay anchorage ||Looking at Catlypso from the beach|
Just after 1400 another Lightwave 38 comes in, this is Salacia. We notice something is wrong, someone is in the port engine room and no-one at the helm. We later go over and as we guessed, their steering is broken and they have been steering via an arm in the engine room. This happened just after Cape Bowling Green.
We go to the beach and Michael purchases a book for $2 from the general store (the only one he thought was any good) and we have ice creams overlooking the beach. While we are away, we have the generator running and heating water for showers. When we get back, we use the 240 volt power to cook rice for dinner.
We have showers and sundowners and then Kelly cooks creamy leak chicken to go with the rice. After dinner, we listen to South Sydney play Manly via a radio app on Michael's iPhone linked via Bluetooth into our boat radio. Souths played awful and got shitted on, we cannot even remember the score.
None as we did not move.
Saturday 8 August 2015 - Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island
Another very calm night and we get up at 0800 and both take Veto to the beach. We come back to the boat and have breakfast and then read for a while. At 1015 we go to the shore again, this time to go for a walk. We decide to walk along the beach towards the east and then along the track to some other beaches. The weather is almost perfect, sunny and warm.
|A panoramic photograph of Balding Bay |
The walk is along a narrow but well formed track. This climbs up over the ridge, it is a bit rocky in spots, but quite easy. We come to an intersection where you can go straight ahead to Radical Bay or turn left to Balding Beach. We turn left and it is a steeper descent on a rougher track than the one we have done.
After a 35 minute walk from the start of the track we arrive at the beach, it is beautiful. We passed this beach as we sailed into Horseshore Bay two days ago. It has some huge granite boulders on either headland as well as behind the beach. It is a nudist beach, probably half the 20 or so people here are nude, but do not let that put you off coming here. We go to one end of the beach and have a swim. Veto comes in as well and afterwards she rolls in the sand for ages, she certainly is enjoying herself.
|Veto after a swim and rolling in the sand||The track up from Balding Bay|
We spend about 45 minutes here and then walk back. On the way, as we descend into Horseshoe Bay, Michael finds a spot where he can get some photos of Catlypso in the bay. We walk back to the shops and we order some fish and chips for lunch. This must be the slowest fish and chip shop in Australia, it takes 25 minutes for us to get our food.
We sit at a table on the reserve overlooking the bay and eat our lunch. It is not even that good, the chips are not the best, the potato scallops are not cooked through but at least the fish was good. After we finish we go back to Catlypso and spend the rest of the afternoon reading.
|A photo of Horseshoe Bay from the top of the walking track||A zoom shot of Catlypso (back right) from the track|
At 1615 we go back to shore and have another short walk. Ian from Salasia comes ashore and we learn they have fixed their steering. We had seen them earlier head out and then do some radical turns. We figured they were testing the repairs. It turns out that Ian does not own the boat, but he can use it. Ian was the first owner of Two Shea which was recently sold again (see the first post of this trip).
We decide to have a beer, so we purchase a six pack of James Squire 150 Lashes and sit overlooking the bay as we have a beer each. Fantastic! There are dozens of people doing similar things, even though there is a pub right behind us. We get back to Catlypso just as the sun sets. We have sundowners and then Michael cooks fried rice and smoky BBQ pork ribs.
We try to watch Australia play New Zealand in the Rugby Union Test but we cannot even tune a single TV channel. Amazing considering we are only a few kilometres off the second biggest city in northern Queensland. We end up listening to it on the radio.
None as we did not move.
Sunday 9 August 2015 - Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island
This is a very calm anchorage, at least at the moment. We get up at 0850, it is nice and sunny. We notice that the toilet pump appears to be leaking. It looks like Michael will need to pull it apart to investigate. After taking Veto to the beach and also having breakfast, Michael looks at the pump.
It seems that the leak is coming from where the electric motor meets the pump body. It is likely that the gasket has partially failed. He starts to pull it apart but gets to a point where he discovers that he cannot get the pump assembly out from the toilet as the inlet is under the floor. This has been siliconed up and it seems to be hard to remove.
He decides that we are not going to be able to remove it to check (and we will need a new gasket), so he decides to silicone up the spot where the leak is coming from. This will take about 24 hours to totally dry, so we will not be able to use the pump for that long.
Meanwhile, Kelly cleans the bilge on this side. The water here that Michael cleared out two days ago is back, it has obviously been coming from the toilet pump.
|The toilet pump||The parent osprey and the baby at right|
After lunch Phil Rose rings. He is a life member of our dive club (like Michael) and with his wife Vikki (and Les and Elly Caterson, also two other life members of the club) are on their way back to Sydney from a trip to Cape York, the northernmost part of Queensland and Australia. While Les and Elly are going to keep going to visit their grandson, Phil and Vikki will stay from tomorrow till Thursday when we will take them back to Townsville. After this we go to the shore and have a look at the markets. There is not a great deal to interest us, although Michael purchases two books for $6. We then walk to the western end of Horseshoe Bay again. We have a swim at the far end before coming back.
Towards the western end we hear some squawking from up in a dead tree. It is coming from a large nest which we identify as being an osprey nest. There is one (and maybe two) babies here. Later the parent comes back and feeds it (them) and the squawking stops. Fantastic!
At 1640 we go to the beach again. This time we sit on the beach and have a beer as the sun sets. We are back on Catlypso by 1720 and have curry beef and rice. We are in bed by 2130.
None as we did not move.
Monday 10 August 2015 - Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island
A bit of minor slop at 0500 disrupted an otherwise perfect night. It is sunny again. We get up at 0820 and have breakfast before taking Veto to the beach and also so we can use the toilet. We still do not want to use our toilet till about midday so that the silicone repair can totally harden.
We come back for tea and coffee. John and Rita from TwoKeela Kalu come over and invite us to sundowners. After this we go for a walk to Radical Bay. This takes about 40 minutes, it is quite steep as we drop down into the beach. This beach is bigger than Balding Bay but it is very nice. It is also accessible by road so there are a lot more people here.
|The rocks at the western end of Radical Bay ||Radical Bay looking east|
We have a swim at the beach before we walk back to Horseshoe Bay. We cannot go back to Catlypso as Thunderbird 2 is high and dry and there is no way that we can drag her to the water. We have to wait for about an hour for the tide to come in, so we decide to wait till Phil and Vikki arrive by bus from the ferry (which they have caught from Townsville). This should be about the same time.
Sure enough, they arrive at 1340 and after purchasing some beer and wine, we drag Thunderbird 2 out into deeper water. We spend the next 90 minutes talking about our trip and their trip to Cape York.
|Thunderbird 2 stranded on the beach at low tide||Phil and Vikki Rose on the beach|
Michael then takes Phil, Vikki and Veto to the beach. At 1700 we all go to TwoKeela Kalu for sundowners. We stay for about 90 minutes, it is a nice evening. Once back on Catlypso we have garlic bread and lasagne that Kelly made earlier. We go to bed at 2115.
None as we did not move.
Tuesday 11 August 2015 - Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island
Another calm night. We get up at 0800 and Michael takes Veto to the beach. We have breakfast and then a bloke comes around and invites us to a renaming ceremony for his yacht at 1500. More about this later. At 1000 we pull up the anchor and motor around the headland to the west.
|Phil and Kelly on the bow as we motor to Norris Bay ||Catlypso off Norris Bay|
It takes about 45 minutes to get to Norris Bay, a very nice beach. We anchor off the beach and Michael takes Phil and Vikki to the beach. Meanwhile, Kelly makes a hummingbird cake (not a great success) and Michael does some things on the boat. Once the cake is finished cooking, we head to the beach as well.
|A panoramic photograph of Norris Bay|
The water here is much cleaner than Horseshore Bay. We spend most of the time here in the water. The beach itself is not as nice as the other two we have been to over the past three days, but it is much more isolated so we are alone.
We come back to Catlypso and have lunch. After this we motor back to Horseshoe Bay and at 1410 we anchor very close to where we were before. Michael adds 50 litres of water to the port water tank and 44 litres of diesel to the main tank.
|Looking out from the beach Norris Bay||Phil, Vikki and Kelly on the bow as we leave Norris Bay|
At 1500 we go to the renaming ceremony. It is for a yacht called Sea Fever which is now owned by Hans and Burnice. They are renaming it Brahminy Too. There are nine other yachts here, a total of 22 adults and 4 kids. We end up meeting Paul from Mango who we first saw at Garrys Anchorage. He has his two children Cheyenne and Keanu with him at the moment.
|Brahminy Too with all the dinghies ||Cheyenne with Veto|
After the ceremony, we head back to Catlypso and Cheyenne comes with us so she can play with Veto. Paul comes over later to collect her. We have showers (about time, we have not had one for about four days) and then head to shore for dinner at the Marlin Bar Tavern.
We have a nice dinner, Kelly and I have pizzas. It was good food and Phil and I get lucky, being able to get a jug of beer for $10 as we ordered it before 1800. We are back on Catlypso by 2000.
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