Having finished tidying up and finishing up a few jobs after our 2 weeks on the hard, Dave and I decided to head out for a few days to put Lumiel through her paces. We had light ENE winds on tuesday morning and so we decided to head north, up past the end of the Brombies, outside Miller Island and across to Australian’s Bay on Marchinbar Island in the Wessels group.
We had a slightly frustrating day of motoring, then motor sailing, motoring again and finally the last hour or so, a nice sail as the wind increased to a sailable strength. The joys of sailing in the build-up!
The sail drives performed perfectly, the new props are giving us fantastic drive, easily doing 7.5-8k at just under 2000 rpm, so its nice to have some confidence in the engines and propulsion again. We still have an annoying oil leak in the port engine, we should have done more to try to find and fix it when the engine was out but the time pressure to get the work done meant we didnt. That shortcut is something we will probably come to regret when we are bent like a contorted pretzel in the engine room trying to find and fix it!
We had a very relaxing few days in the bay, we only took the deflatable tender so we didnt do any fishing, but I had a spearfish without much luck, we got a big claw off a mudcrab that was walking in the shallows, and a squid off the back of the boat. The muddie lived to fight another day as all I had was an oar in the deflatable to hold him down with, he dropped a claw and then we lost him in the stirred up cloudy water. Still the claw was a nice entree.
We found a lovely Stimsons Python in one of the caves while looking for rock art. They are a variant of the Children’s Python.
We spent a day with a visitor in the bay, we were on the beach looking at the plaque commemorating Matthew Flinder’s visit here on his last night in Australia, and this 50m ship came around the point and into the bay, dropping anchor beside us – turned out it was the True North, the small high end cruise ship that mainly operates in the Kimberly. She was doing some Wessel trips this year on voyage between Darwin & Cairns. They were very friendly and actually asked if we minded sharing the anchorage with them. As we pointed out its not our anchorage, they also asked if we needed anything, I was too slow to suggest a scenic flight around the Wessel Islands in their chopper!
We had to head home Friday morning as Dave had work starting on Saturday, we set off at 5:20 to get home early afternoon, unfortunately there was basically not a breath of wind all day so we had to motor all the way, but I guess it was a good test of the engines and drives! We averaged about 7.5 knots, got home and picked up the mooring at 12:30 so 7h 10m to cover the 54nm
All up 108nm round trip, combined engine hours of 37h, used about 75L of fuel so 2L per hour. Because some of it was motor sailing and some is just running an engine during the day to make hot water and top up batteries, its hard to work out the litres per nautical mile, but it would be around 1L/nm.