Mid June has not typically been a time of the year we do much boating, the SE trades are generally well set by then and the sea conditions will generally be less than pleasant. One of the advantages of now owning Lumiel, our 14.2m sailing catamaran, is its now viable to use a boat much more at this time of year and travel further afield. As Dave works shift work, 4 on, 4 off, his break between night shifts and dayshifts is effectively 5 days, so we planned a trip where his 5 days off lined up with the 5 days I dont do any NBN work, and last Thursday morning Dave came straight out to the yacht after he finished work and we set sail.
Conditions were better than we expected with a lighter 12-15k breeze, perfect for sailing North, so we set off and decided to just keep sailing and go all the way to Guruliya bay on the North side of Raragala Island in the Wessels group. It is about 72nm so we expected to get to the anchorage about 9pm. Although it was a moonless night we were not concerned as we have been into the bay previously so we have tracks to the anchorage and the actual anchorage saved as a waypoint.
We sailed up and around Point William into Malay Roads, riding the flooding tide which helped carry us, then past Astell Island and across Donington Strait with the sails wing and wing, (headsail on one side and main on the other side with the wind directly behind us). We then went thru the pass between Bumaga and Jirrgari Islands, which we have named Stella Pass in honour of the beer we cracked at the time! Its quite a tricky passage, but with light winds, on neapy tides and near slack water its safe enough. We dropped the pick in Guruliya at 9:05pm so pretty well spot on when we had planned. It had been 13 hours of fantastic flat water sailing in perfect conditions, one of our nicer sails in Lumiel!
As you can see its a pretty pleasant scene to wake up to in the morning! We ended up spending 3 days anchored in Guruliya bay, we did plenty of exploring, a bit of unsuccessful fishing an plenty of relaxing and soaking up the beautiful splendour of this part of the world. I took less photos than I should have so this post is a bit light on in that regard! We of course enjoyed some lovely meals and tasty wines to help pass the time. Thanks to Starlink we were also able to watch the Super Rugby Semi Finals and the first Ashes test from Edgbaston!
We did find some stunning fresh water streams, they must be permanent spring fed creeks because the wet season runoff creeks have all dried up already. Very refreshing to bathe in on the nice warm sunny days!
Sunday morning we set off to sail back to Elizabeth bay with the plan being to spend the night there and then do the run home Monday morning to get back about lunchtime. Once again conditions were exceptional for mid-June, about 12k of SE breeze, mostly flat seas and blue skies! We had another spectacular sail down the back of the Wessels, a bit of a bumpy ride back thru Stella Pass and then a cracking sail across to the Western end of Inglis Island, and a bit of motor sailing along Inglis, into Malay Roads and across to Elizabeth Bay where we dropped the pick at about 5:15pm ready for a nice bottle of rose and some local pearl meat as an entree!
Monday morning was once again a beautiful calm start to the day, very light breeze, under 10k. We got under way after a couple of coffees and made our way round Point William and pointed Lumiel towards her home port and mooring, to our total surprise we were nearly able to lay Gove direct, had we wanted to we could have easily sailed the whole way home, with only a couple of small tacks, but Dave was keen to get back by lunchtime so he had a bit of time to organise stuff to start his day shifts the next day, so we decided to motor sail so we could get in a bit quicker.It was still extremely pleasant as the breeze stayed under 10k all morning and the sea was basically flat once we were clear of Cape Wilberforce. We picked up the mooring at 11:15am and so ended up what was certainly the best trip we have done on Lumiel since bringing her home in terms of amount of sailing and perfection of conditions! Absolutely terrific dry season cruising at its best, and a trip I am sure both Dave & I will not forget anytime soon.