October 27, 2009
Leave Flattery at midnight out sights set for Cooktown. Calm crossing, arriving at 06.00 and rafting up to Mr. Bill again. Out with the suds and give Peggy-Anne a top to toe clean. She has had a build up of salt over the last few weeks. Old owners of the Cooks Landing Cafe have had to come back after Tony and Lisa declared themselves bankrupt and walked out taking everything and leaving cafe in a mess. We meet them and Norm offers our services to help with the clean up. Norm does a wonderful job of cleaning the range hood over the deep fryers and I do the fridges before we go home for lunch and collapse for the afternoon.
October 26, 2009
On the 25th weather looked perfect to leave Bathurst but unfortunately once we had rounded Cape Melville conditions deteriorated and with wind and tide against us it was quite a battle to make headway. However we punched out to the edge of the reef and that afforded good protection which gave us a reasonably comfortable trip till be left it behind and had to go another 4nm to the night anchorage at Bewick Island a little north of the Howicks. Met up with Col and Vicky off Pacific Lady there. Very rocky beaches but Norm did manage to get ashore. Bed early and by 01.00 on 26th headed for Cape Flattery. Conditions were good and after a short stopover at the Turtle Group finally anchored at Flattery at 10.30. Decided to clean the bottom of the boat in the shallows just off the beach, with Dawn keeping lookout. 5 minutes into the job and she is telling me to get out of the water quickly. 4m croc is making a beeline for me. Managed to get on board just in time to see it swim past the boat. Thank goodness Dawn was keeping watch and the water was very shallow and clear. It’s my Birthday today – someone saving your life has to be the best present!!! So sad that with the water so inviting it unsafe to swim etc. anywhere here.
October 18, 2009
With weather increasing left Stokes and headed to Bathurst Bay where we had been comfortable in strong winds on our way north. Quite choppy once we lost the protection of Blackwood Island and it was nice to be finally anchored in calm water. “Tunnel Vision” who we had met at the Jackson were here so we got together for drinks, dampers (sweet and savoury) on the beach, and a long hike one day to find fresh water in a small patch of rainforest. We didn’t quite get there but 2 of the party found it 20 minutes after the rest of us had given up. Dawn’s Birthday was celebrated on the 19th with Kay and Jane baking a cake. Have been here 5 days but wind has only dropped by 5kts so still too rough to head further south. Hope for some calms or northerlies soon.
October 12, 2009
Finally we have good weather predictions for the next few days (10 to 15’s) so we do the finals before we head for the top of the Albany passage. Rough as we rounded the point at Peak Point otherwise very pleasant. Wind dropped off overnight and we went through the Albany Passage just pushing a little tide to make the exit easier. Conditions deteriorated as we progressed down the coast so forecast was certainly out. Perservered with it and made Bushy Islet late in the afternoon where we had a very comfortable overnighter. Wind dropped out during the night so we up anchored at 1.30am and had a magnificent trip right through to Lloyd Island. A long day but with flat seas, something I didn’t think we would see up here, it was so enjoyable. Woke to a mill pond. Very smokey though from all the fires. Picked up fuel and water off the barge early and left for Morris Is.
As we rounded Cape Direction the seas were so calm and clean we could see the bottom – very picturesque. Arrived late at Morris, enjoyed the sunset and were in bed early. Very still so decided to make the most of the conditions once more. We were out again at 1.30am and left for the Flinders Group. Beautiful starry night. 6 or so prawn trawlers working. 15 nm from Stanley Is the wind picked up and I thought we would have a very rough passage into Stokes Bay. However, it only lasted an hour and then we were back to calm cruising conditions. Glad we have got ourselves out of the top end and hope to get calm conditions again once the blow that is predicted for the next few days or so pass (up to 30 kts). Bought some fresh prawns off the trawler, who are waiting for the barge later today, and were given some scallops so guess it’s seafood for a few days. Yum!!!!
October 08, 2009
We think we have the tides worked out at this stage so leave Pippy River just before high tide. Have a good run through to Crab Island then it all turns sour. Wind has shifted to the NE so now we have wind against tide and rather unpleasant Pip thinks. Best thing to do is get back into a river. The Jardine is close by and we make a beeline for it and get just inside when we run out of depth. We can’t stay here overnight so it is a quick walk for Pip on the beach, lunch, then up anchor and head to Seisia. With the tide against us we are down to 4kts so it becomes a slow 8nm till we are anchored just off the Fishing Club in calm water once again. It is good to be back as we like this spot. Later in the afternoon we head to the Club for the Friday night Burgers and music by the local band.
October 07, 2009
Up early and with a high tide leave the Doughboy and head to Pippy River. Have the company of 4 dolphins for a while. Lots of birds working so troll a lure and catch mackerel. Days are extremely hot but nights are still pleasant
October 06, 2009
Off ashore early as it is time to say farewell. We are returning north again. Conditions are good so we decide to put in a good days cruising. We bypass the Jackson and plan to anchor offshore just north of the Macdonald River. However the smoke from the fires is thick, so we continue further on and with the wind now coming from the west decide to try to get into the Doughboy River. A little shallow getting in but we found nearly 5m just near the point. It made for a very pleasant anchorage.
October 05, 2009
We return to Cullen Point to see how everyone has fared after the storm to find wet gear hanging off everything imaginable drying. Not much sleep was had but they were in good spirits and a lazy day was had all round. Alan drove us into Marpoon where we picked up a few supplies from the shop and had a tour of the Community. Dinner ashore with the crew.
October 02, 2009
We are tired of the river and would like to enjoy the company of family and shore camp so cruise across the Bay to Cullen Point. Depending on the wind which shifts continually from SE to W and anywhere in between, we move anchorage to get a good night’s sleep. Spent one day at the reef only 1nm off shore and caught ourselves a couple of nice fingermark and a blue tusk. On the afternoon of the 4th storms are brewing. We think they are going to pass just north of us, however 3 cells converge and we have torrential rain for an hour or so. The fishermen head home from fishing just ahead of the storm to try to batten down. We fill our water containers allowing plenty of time for the roof to be washed and the dust and soot from the fires to be settled, however we did discover that we had to toss out some of the early water as it had lots of floaties and smelt of smoke. We thought we would have a calm night after the storm however the wind came up from the SE and conditions deteriorated so we up anchored round 22.00 and headed south along the coast where we had a comfortable night anchored off shore.
September 30, 2009
Though the chart shows the entrance drying we had a look at low tide and it showed that there should be plenty of depth to get in. We wait till a few hours after the low and proceed slowly to enter and even though there were some shallow areas we had no trouble. Once in, there is plenty of depth especially near the rock wall where we were in 10m plus. The fishermen are here for the day so we become the mother ship. We ended up with the catch and enjoyed it for dinner – Pip of course having her share as well. With good SE’s it is very pleasant but once ashore out of the breeze it is extremely hot and you can’t stand in the sand without something on your feet. Diurnal tides here so the tide comes in all day and goes out all night.