May 122022
 
IMG_4624

about to leave restoration island

we sailed off the anchor at about 06:10h and headed north on our route to Cape York, i had created a route with all the required waypoints to follow all the way up the inner reef shipping channel, across the top of cape york, thru endeavour strait and into the start of the gulf of carpentaria. we had a lovely sail with steady breeze from the south east of 15-20k all day and thru the night. we had to time the run to take advantage of the strong tidal currents around torres strait and avoid having to sail against them. this was definitely the trickiest part of the remaining trip with no engine power if we got in trouble. luckily the strength and direction, of the wind meant we were able to maintain good boat speed and not worry about it.

as we headed north towards the end of the first day, right on dusk, i caught another nice spanish mackerel, my 3rd for the trip, and the only ones caught on the boat – i must win the inaugural lumiel fishing comp i think!

it was a busy night on watch as many of the legs on the edge of the shipping channel were short and the changes in direction required frequent gybes, so it was with great relief that we rounded cape york at dawn and slipped down and out thru endeavour strait and by late morning we were in the gulf of carpentaria with about 310nm to home! 

that afternoon the breeze dropped out to very light and we struggled to sail at anything over 4k, which was frustrating as it was much less than forecast. then suddenly near dusk it sprung up and just kept increasing – until about 9pm on sal’s watch we were flying along with 30k gale and very confused and wild seas. 

i reduced sail until we just had a tiny bit of headsail out and we just slowed her right down got her comfortable and spent a long, tough night bouncing our way into the gulf slowly.

today,tuesday, we waited till dawn then put some more sail out and cracked on, breeze still around 20k and a big swell, straight down wind so surfing and sailing!

wednesday was another mixed bag, becalmed at times, 25k at other, rain squalls, but we steadily ticked off the miles towards gove and thursday morning at sunrise we were abeam of nhulunbuy and then sailed in between wirawawoi and bremer island towards gove harbour. the last few miles was a hard slog as a 15k south easterly sprung up and we had to tack all the way into the boat club anchorage.

at 11am, and after 1810.74 nautical miles and 2 months we were finally home with lumiel!

the joy of arrival was tempered with the devastating news of the passing of my malu, just the day before i got home, here is my tweet as we sailed into gove harbour.

“My happiness with arriving home is offset by the tragic news that my malu, (father), D. Gurruwiwi has passed. Arnhem Land & the world will mourn the loss of the Galpu clan leader, Yidaki master, husband to Dhopiya, father of many and an inspiration to all. Nharma yalala, malu.”

 Posted by at 4:02 pm



May 122022
 
lizard island

lizard island

 

next off we headed out to lizard island, another famous place in cook’s trials and tribulations. its here he climbed to the 380m peak and was able to at last see a passage out of the great barrier reef, a passage he named providence passage. so again dave and i climbed in cook’s footsteps to the peak, thankfully he had painted white arrows and carved steps in the steeper parts of the track which made it a bit easier.

 

lizard is also home to a very exclusive resort, so cook would have had somewhere nice to have a beer after the climb. its a stunning island, one of the prettiest on the queensland coast, 2 very safe anchorages to suit all conditions, lovely white beaches, stunning coral and fish life and stunning scenery. we only really had time for 2 nights and a full day, we easily could have spent a week or so here. all the outer ribbon reefs are close by too and places like the cod hole so there is plenty to occupy the time. anyway, we have to press on in order to get home when planned so we are off again tomorrow headed to cape melville.

Conditions were so favourable we decided to sail on thru the night and head all the way to restoration island, home of david glasheen for the last 30 years, named by bligh after he made landfall in his dingy having sailed from tonga after being thrown adrift following the mutiny on the bounty. it was as we made landfall ourselves that a tragedy befitting the great mariners of the past became apparent, we started the engines to motor in and drop anchor and discovered we had no drive from either engine! 

we managed to sail in close enough to drop anchor and assess the situation, a quick dive over the side into the crocodilian waters revealed the starboard propeller was gone, worse still the thread on the end of the shaft for the lock nut had been sheared off. we can only assume we hit a lump of semi submerged timber with the prop and it was torn off. so the spare props we have were of no use.

things then got worse when dave checked the port engine, me having confirmed we at least still had that prop intact. the sail drive had come apart from the flywheel housing on the back of the engine, disconnecting the drive from the engine. we knew these threads were in poor shape from the work we did on this sail drive in brisbane, but this was an unexpected disaster. presumably the sail drive on the port side had also taken a severe bump from something in the water, forcing the separation. 

our initial belief was that neither side would we be able to repair an engine and saildrive to working condition, leaving us just with sail for propulsion. this seemed a totally untenable situation so our thoughts turned to trying to arrange a tow back to cairns so that we could haul the boat out and fix these issues. aside from the potential expense, the thought of being towed hundreds of miles south, against the tradewinds and then trying to organise everything in cairns was depressing to say the least.

we went ashore and met dave glasheen, we had an introduction from our mutual friend bruce davey, owner of wildcard and i had emailed dave to let him know we were headed his way. after telling dave our woes he suggested we talk to the skipper of a prawn trawler, cape moreton, that was also anchored in the bay as he might offer to tow us or know someone who could. 

we borrowed dave’s tinny to try to tow lumiel to a better anchorage, more out of the swell and closer to the beach. we had some success, but dave’s tinny was just too small to manoeuvre us where we really wanted to be

later in the day when phil, the skipper woke up, we had a brief chat about our dilemma and he said he might be able to help, but he wouldn’t be heading to cairns for a couple of weeks. exhausted after our long overnight sail and all the dramas upon our arrival we had probably a couple too many wines and collapsed into bed!

 

the next morning brought good news on two fronts, further investigation by dave had revealed that the port engine was not as badly damaged as he had initially thought and that maybe it would be feasible to get it back together and available for emergency use only. the second part was that meanwhile i had studied the charts and realised we only had about 160 miles to go and we would be round cape york and in the gulf of carpentaria. this meant we could consider the possibility of setting sail, with the port motor in emergency use mode, and we only had a bit over 24 hours sailing, with the south east trades behind us, and we would be in the gulf and just 2 or 3 days sailing in open waters to be home.

so that became our focus, work out the tides, currents, times, speeds and routing to safely sail up the rest of the queensland coast, round cape york and into the gulf and home in one go. it would be around 4-5 days total non stop, but easy going once we were in the gulf and save an enormous amount of expense and logistical problems with a tow back south.

that morning we saw a jet ski and big tinny arrive from portland roads and land at dave’s house so we went ashore to see if they might help us move lumiel to where we wanted to be anchored so that the boat was sitting in calm waters while dave did all the work on the engine and sail drive. jason and katey were the owners of the jetski and boat and had bought 2 couples staying in their guest house in portland roads, over to the island for breakfast on the island with dave. they were cooking up a feed for everyone on the biggest paella pan i have ever seen, over an open fire! it was an impressive bit of bush cooking.

jason was more than happy to help us move, so we quickly had lumiel anchored in the best possible location, the middle of the channel between the beach on restoration island and the mainland.

we spent a lazy day with dave today, roasted a chook in the morning and took it in for lunch. sal and i took our heavy screecher in and got the twists out of it and re-rolled it, the sail had got tangled up on our trip up from lizard. sal also mowed some of the ‘lawn ‘ around dave’s house, otherwise we just hung around talking, eating and drinking a little wine. our departure for the run home is in the morning and we returned to the boat late afternoon to discover the 240v inverter has died now! keeps tripping on a high temp alarm as soon as it starts so that is the end of the coffee machine! 

 

 Posted by at 3:49 pm



May 122022
 
hope island

hope island

after port douglas we decided to head north to hope island, a local yachty in port douglas had told us it was one of his favourite anchorages on the east coast, its a small island with a large surrounding reef, the snorkelling is very good and the little island very pretty. we managed to pick up a mooring as we were once again the only boat there! i had some reasonable success with the spear gun so fresh fish tacos were on the menu! it was a peaceful couple of days, swimming on the beach on the island, snorkelling, fishing and generally relaxing. sadly the weather wasn’t the best with frequent showers, particularly at night.

hope island

hope island

the trip from port douglas to hope island took us past cape tribulation – my home nearly 50 years ago, it was a sentimental moment for me, so many happy memories from so long ago. i had been back by road, but seeing it from the sea was special. 

so the rain continued and the move further north from the hope islands to cooktown did nothing to help clear it up! we did have a rollicking sail up, 20-25k south easterly with a rolliing sea, so at least lance and cheryl got to enjoy a day of champagne sailing. we were fortunate in being able to tie up to the fuel jetty at cooktown and stay there for the 3 days. 

they say cooktown is the windiest place in australia, and it certainly reinforced its reputation while we were there, along with frequent and heavy rain storms. 

for me it was a very humbling experience, to follow in the sails of two of the world’s greatest navigators and seamen, cook on the endeavour and slocum on the spray, they both visited cooktown – cook to repair the endevour after she had run aground on the reef and slocum during his solo circumnavigation. 

cooktown from cook's lookout

cooktown from cook’s lookout

dave & i walked up to the top of cook’s lookout above the harbour, where he tried to make sense of the labyrinth of reefs and foul ground to plot a course out of the reef. we also visited the museum which has a canon and an anchor recovered from the reef where endevour ran aground, they were dumped to lighten the boat in an attempt to float her off.

for sal revisiting cooktown was very nostalgic, she had lived here nearly 40 years ago as a young woman, helping to build a house with her boyfriend, rakam, and his parents. she was able to catch up with all of them and revisit the house. 

its a funny sort of place, and the weather made it hard to really enjoy it. I am reminded again, that while we live in an extremely remote place, its much more cosmopolitan and sophisticated than most similar sized places in rural and regional australia. cooktown just felt really backward, little things like a number of businesses that didn’t have eftpos, a post office/comm bank that couldn’t change money, a lot of closed businesses and a general feeling that life was pretty tough for a lot of people. 

overall i enjoyed the few days there and i am glad we stopped there, we had a couple of nice meals and it has always been somewhere i wanted to visit for its vital part in australia’s white history. the bonus was i helped a trawler tie up on the public wharf and scored a box of huge U10 tiger prawns from the skipper, rob, so that was much appreciated.

we also met a couple sailing on another fountaine pajot, theirs was an athena which is the 38’ model, but built around the same time and very much a smaller model of ours, so it was fun to have a look over her.

fountaine pajot athena in cooktown

fountaine pajot athena in cooktown

lance and cheryl also left us in cooktown, so its back to just the 3 of us for the rest of the trip! it was fabulous having them with us and i think great for sal to have some female company! we will miss them.

IMG_4503

the main street of cooktown, 7:30pm saturday!

 Posted by at 3:24 pm



Apr 252022
 
personal water feature, innisfail wharf.

personal water feature, innisfail wharf.

water has been very much the feature for the last week or so, while queensland has had a dry wet season this year, it decided it would have a late attempt to get up to speed and has been dumping huge amounts of rain all over far north queensland.

as i posted in the last entry, we headed up to innisfail from dunk island, after negotiating the entrance to the johnstone river we wound our way up to the pretty old town of innisfail and dropped our pick about 100m off the town jetty which runs along the foreshore right in front of the shops, its a very picturesque setting.

our track up to innisfail

our track up to innisfail

the first couple of days we were anchored just downstream from the bridge, in the middle of the river, but as the rain started one of the locals told us that we would be in trouble if there was significant rain as the anchor chain would become fouled with debris floating down the river and we would drag. he suggested we just go in and tie up on the jetty along the foreshore, behind a commercial fishing boat as it would be out of the main stream and protected from floating debris in a flood.

we asked who we had to get permission from and he said, “no one, the council dont seem to care.” – he had tied up for 2 weeks while he was doing some work on his boat. this was sort of confirmed by the fact that the trawler we tied up behind was actually on the public jetty that had a big sign saying ‘2 hour limit’ – and he was there the whole 4 days we were in innisfail and who knows how much longer!

we did the laundry, some provisioning, explored the town and its lovely old buildings and sampled some of the local restaurants. we also had a surprise visit from some old gove friends, brian had been speaking to them on the phone and they decided to drive over and visit. vernon ‘skin’ chessels, his wife di, paul davies and his wife tanya. they all live in the region now having left gove.

after a tour of the boat we all headed out to dinner and had a great night, it was a lot of fun to catch up with them after so long – paul & tanya in particular i hadnt seen for about 15 years.

we spent 4 days in innisfail and then decided it was time to make the run up to cairns, our friends lance and cheryl thomas were flying up from the sunshine coast to join us for a while, and sadly brian had to depart and head back home. we had hoped brian might be able to do the rest of the trip with us he has been great company and an excellent breakfast chef!

with lance and cheryl getting into cairns midday on the friday, and us needing high tide to get out of the johnstone river and a rising tide to get into the tricky moon river entrance to the bluewater marina north of cairns, we set off at 11:30pm and motored the whole way.

it was very light breeze with some dry patches but mainly drizzle thru to heavy rain at times, we had a strong current pushing us along tho and made very good time, in fact we had to slow the boat down in order not to get in too early.

we slipped into yorkey’s knob and fuelled up before tackling the scary entrance to moon river, the channel is shallow and very narrow, winding, with breaking sandbanks either side of the boat. it appears to be only a couple of metres wider than the boat and is the most challenging bar entrance i have ever attempted in a big boat. to complicate matters the dredge was working in the channel so we had to stop and go round in circles while we moved to one side to make enough room for us to squeeze by!

we only ended up spending one night in cairns as bluewater marina is miles from anything so no shopping or eating out was really feasible, and after lunch on saturday afternoon we decided the rain and wind had eased enough to make the dash to port douglas. so we said our goodbyes to brian as he headed home to yeppoon and sal drove us out through the scary moon river entrance and we had a cracking sail up to port douglas, avoiding nearly all the rain squalls and getting into our marina berth and tied up just before the heavens opened and washed us away!

we have been here a couple of days and the weather continues to be miserable, at least there are more restaurants close by here! although being school holidays most are booked out, so we have actually struggled to get into some of the old favourites. i went for a walk on 4 mile beach yesterday and it looked forlorn, covered in sea weed, grey, wet, miserable, beach closed for swimming and almost no one on it.

we are getting sick of being tied up in marinas or on wharfs, while it rains and blows rather than being out sailing and exploring, so we will probably head off tomorrow and go up to hope islands, south of cooktown. hopefully the weather will improve and we can get some snorkelling in on the reef.

 Posted by at 9:41 am



Apr 182022
 
Lumiel from half way up Mt Kootaloo.

Lumiel from half way up Mt Kootaloo.

after leaving fantome island we had a great sail over to hinchinbrook island where we just stopped the night in the mouth of second creek in missionary bay, before heading off to dunk island where we planned to stop a couple of days. on the way we passed by the longest jetty in australia, the lucinda jetty, nearly 6kms long! its so long the jetty had to be built with a curve to allow for the curvature in the earth’s surface over the long distance.

sal cooked up a smashing chicken biryani for our first night here. its a nostalgic visit for me because i came here about 25 years ago with michelle when we chartered a cat out of cardwell. we also anchored here and went ashore and ate at plantations, the resort restaurant after drinks at the famous spit bar on the sand spit. all of the resort, bars and even the foreshore were destroyed and devestated by cyclone yasi in 2011. sadly the resort has laid idle ever since despite a couple of attempts to rebuild.

today, dave, brian and I went ashore and did the walk to the peak of mt kootaloo and the long walk around the island – a bit over 10km in total which took us 3 ½ hours. in the morning i prepped a goat curry made with the legs of wild goat we got from rob & annie at middle percy island. i made a couple of masalas the day before, cooked up the basic curry and added them in. dave is making dhal now and we will have goat curry, rice, naan & dhal for dinner! tomorrow we head to innasfail for more supplies and refuel before picking up our friends lance & cheryl who will join us for a week or so.

enough curry & dhal to last about a week!

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 6:07 am



Apr 122022
 
IMG_4054

breakwater marina, townsville.

its been a hectic week since the last update from cape upstart, we had a rollicking sail up to townsville, we left at 11.30pm and sailed thru the night arriving in the marina in townsville at about 10;30am, 73nm in 11h averaging nearly 7k. we had 3 days in townsville and really enjoyed it, ran around in the marina courtesy car re-provisioning and getting a few things we needed for the usual running repairs on the boat. our berth was literally right on the strand so it was definitely like a waterside apartment.

we had some great meals, found a wonderful brazilian restaurant, a really good vietnamese and finally had a long sunday lunch at shorehouse, the nearest townsville has to fine dining!

we left monday morning (11/4/22) and refuelled on our way out of the marina before sailing over to magnetic island, we were going to anchor the night in horseshoe bay, but there were about 20 yachts there already so we headed round to maud bay, which is actually prettier and we had it to ourselves for the night. there are a couple of fishing camps on the beach here, they are only accessible by boat and are surrounded by national park.

after a pleasant night we pulled anchor and set sail for the palm group, our destination was fandome island, the former leper colony and lock hospital site. we were recommended the anchorage by a yachtie at the marina in townsville who rated it one of his favourite places anywhere.

the history of fandome island is one of horrific institutional racism by the bigoted queensland government, its barely believable that this sort of sordid racism existed as recently as the mid 1970’s. its a blight on our country and a stark reminder of the scale of the horrors of the genocide waged on aboriginal people. you can read more about it here,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantome_Island_Lock_Hospital_and_Lazaret_Sites

ironically its also the most beautiful place with some of the best coral reef in queensland, huge oysters, mud crabs, loads of fish, crayfish, manta rays, turtles and stunning scenery. we are going to hang out here for a couple of days.

while we were sailing past havannah island today, a tiny bird landed on the cabin top, he found a better perch on the sheet and stayed with us until we were passing brisk island when he flew off again!

 

 Posted by at 8:01 pm



Apr 072022
 
rob smart's lovely photo of Lumiel in moonlight bay, cape upstart

rob smart’s lovely photo of Lumiel in moonlight bay, cape upstart

so just a quick post with an update on cape upstart! we decided to stay an extra day and head off at midnight the next night to sail all the way through to townsville, this would avoid having to anchor at cape bowling green, known as cape rolling green for a good reason! when i woke up this morning i had a new comment on the blog from a robert smart suggesting we should walk up shark bay creek to the fresh water rock pools. he posted his phone number and so i texted him to thank him and ask what else he knew about the community.

turns out rob lives here, is 82 years old and has fascinating history of his life in england and then australia. he told us to come ashore and he would show us around. dave and i went in and he walked us through a couple of the beaches and filled us in with a lot more info about the amazing little community here, we also met a few other residents.

rob had taken a beautiful photo of lumiel at anchor this morning, as you can see above, he took it from the beach with a big telephoto lens and then searched lumiel, gove nt and stumbled on the blog, hence his comment and offer to show us around!!

we brought him back to the boat for a look as he had built and sailed a wharram cat in the uk, he had done a lot of interesting sailing and his whole life sounded like an amazing adventure. his father had made a number of well known films in australia after a career with the raaf filming for them.

so despite our initial fears about intruding on the locals here in their little paradise we found a very warm reception.

sal’s archilles tendon is still a bit sore so she stayed on the boat while dave, brian and i climbed up the massive water course to the fresh water rock pools. its hard to imagine what the torrent of water must be like in the wet season, but the boulder strewn waterway gives a fair impression!

 Posted by at 3:24 pm



Apr 062022
 
the money shot!

the money shot!

we had a lovely motor sail up from thomas island, through whitsunday passage, past airlie beach and up through gloucester passage to drop anchor 50m off the beach beside the gloucester resort. although we had to motor sail due to the direction and lightness of breeze, we still averaged 6 knots for the 55nm trip. we picked the achorage not just for its suitable location but also for the chance to have a meal ashore at the resort which was a nice change and no one had to do the dishes!

we had a very pleasant sail in the morning up past the abbott point coal loading facility, until the wind gradually died and we had to motor the last couple of hours, rounded cape upstart as we enjoyed lunch and dropped anchor off some of the beach houses.

lunch

lunch

cape upstart is an amazing community, dozens of houses on the beach, many quite large and elaborate, but there is no road access! everything has to come in by boat. named by captain cook, painted by edwin augustus porcher in 1843 and then settled by burdekin residents in the 1920’s, somehow converted to freehold at some point and now surrounded by ocean on one side and national park on the other.

beach huts

beach huts

most of the houses are not permanently occupied, beach houses you need a boat to use! i think there are about 60 permanent residents. it has a strong outlaw feeling and a bit eerie. we almost expected someone to come out and shoot at us.

gawd knows what it would cost to build here, everything would have to be barged from bowen i imagine.

you can see there was even some sort of camp there in 1843!

edwin augustus porcher

‘cape upstart’ edwin augustus porcher

i tried looking online but there is very little info about cape upstart and its odd little community!

 Posted by at 3:52 pm



Apr 052022
 
rosslyn bay marina

rosslyn bay marina

well there is a lot to catch up on! while we have been making great progress, internet access has been patchy at best so no updates for nearly a week, so lots of photos coming up and some basic commentary to go with it! we left you last at great keppel island where we spent a night anchored in second bay.

the next day we sailed into rosslyn bay marina, the marina servicing yeppoon. we went straight to the fuel wharf and refilled the tank before docking in our berth and meeting our old mate brian ‘livo’ livingtone.

livo used to live in gove and comes up every year for a fishing trip – this years trip was to be a few weeks cruising on lumiel with us! after a quick look at the boat and his cabin, we went and had lunch at the restaurant at the marina. the next couple of days were a mad rush of catching up with brian’s family – penny his wife, cate, his daughter and dave, his brother, all of whom have joined us on the annual fishing trips over the years. it was also a quick provisioning stop and grab a couple of hardware items needed for the boat.

we were itching to get going again so a couple of days later we slipped lines and headed up to island head creek for an overnight before the run out to the percy group of islands.

Stunning sail from 0700-1200h 7-8k mainly, a top speed of 8.3k – broad reach SW of about 10-12k. as predicted breeze dropped and backed all the way, S, SE, E, and NE! We motor sailed a bit, then motored, then a bit more motor sailing when we got to port clinton. 

managed to run aground in island head creek looking for anchorage. luckily it was right on low tide. discovered gear selection on port sail drive had failed again. dave fixed without really knowing what he did! 

the sail up to middle percy from island head creek was the best we have had yet, hit 9k at one stage and only had to motor sail the last couple of hours as the breeze dropped out again. 

on april fool’s day we arrived at middle percy island in the mid afternoon and went ashore to visit the famous a-frame on the beach with all the names of all the yachts that have visited over the years. its become a mecca for cruising yachties on the east coast.

we had a comfortable night anchored in west bay at middle percy island and after breakfast did some exploring of the lagoon in the dinghy and then brian and i headed up the hills for the 2 km climb to the homestead where the new leaseholders, robin and annie, live. its an amazing walk firstly along the edge of the lagoon, and then at high tide, across a fair section of it with only the old poles from the redundant telephone line to follow! after that the path climbs up thru rain forest filled with thousands of tiger blue butterflies which was amazing. 

arriving at the homestead after an hour, we were warmly greeted by robin and annie and after signing up for our membership of the percy island yacht club and having our dog tags printed off on the korean war printer, and presented with a plaque and burgee for the boat, we accepted their offer off a lift back down to the beach in their ute along the long track which takes a different path and has stunning views across the ocean to the south.

we would have loved to stay longer, but we must keep moving and the 2 nights and one full day was really all we could afford.

i highly recommend researching the story of percy island and the lease, its a fascinating one and its good to see the re-energisation that rob and annie are bringing there with kerry’s help.

of course we had to add to the tradition, we settled on using one our gove boat club stubbie coolers as our name plate.

our contribution to the percy island yacht club

our contribution to the percy island yacht club

 

behind the a-shed there is a treehouse nestled in the side of the hill and it can be rented out as accomodation, its quite an amazing setup with 3 levels, a pizza oven and and escape ladder!

when rob & annie gave us a lift back down to the beach, we stopped to enjoy this view from the top of middle percy looking south.

IMG_3890 2

view from the long track.

after a very happy, if short stay at middle percy we set sail for scrawfell island in the southern whitsundays for an overnight stop before heading on to thomas island for another night which would set us up for an early start to sail up thru the whitsunday passage and up to cape gloucester where we plan to spend a day or two. both scrawfell and thomas islands were stunning anchorages with beautiful rainforest and hoop pines on their steep slopes, unfortunately the camera doesnt do these sort of landscapes much justice!

ok, will post a couple of videos on the end of this post if i keep reception long enough! hope you enjoy.

 

 

 Posted by at 9:10 am



Mar 292022
 
approaching lady musgrave

approaching lady musgrave

we had a lovely couple of days anchored in the lagoon at lady musgrave island, i got plenty of practice with my new speargun and managed to nail a few fish for the hungry sailors! the weather was very settled and pleasant with light breezes most of the time.

here are some maps that show our track so far,

day01

day01

day02

day02

day03

day03

day04-05

day04-05

after a couple of days at lady musgrave island we pulled anchor and headed north again, thinking to either anchor at north west island or masthead island, depending on what winds we got. as it turned out the wind was very light for most of the day so we had to motor sail most of it, the only excitement for the day i noted in the ship’s log,

very light ESE winds, motor sailed with big screecher. Only notable event was I moved some boxes under the aft, port bunk and must have moved something metallic too near the fluxgate compass which is on the bulkhead under the bunk – as we discovered, this gave the compass an error of about 100% so the autopilot rounded the boat up into the wind, the speed took off and the screecher started luffing. At first we thought it was a big wind shift, but then realised the gps, autopilot and fluxgate compass all thought we were heading west instead of north!

we got the iphone out with zulu waterways on it so we could see where we were really heading and hand steered while we tried to work out what the hell was going on! After a few minutes i realised it was co-incidental with me moving stuff around in the locker so i went down and pulled it all out again and sure enough the compass came to its senses!

this adventure put us a bit behind where we had expected to be so we settled for picking up the mooring at masthead island and so we are snuggly hanging on it while weathering a fresh easterly that has sprung up with the sun going down.

next we head to keppel island for an overnight then into rosslyn bay marina where our good friend, brian ‘livo’ livingston will join us for a couple of weeks.

we had a lovely morning under full main and the lightweight screecher, sailing into great keppel island, but by the early afternoon the wind dropped out completely and we had to motor the rest of the way. we got into second bay, late afternoon and dropped the hook.

the highlight of the day was i caught my first fish trolling off the back of the boat, a stonking mackerel! the rest of the coral trout i shot yesterday was thrown overboard to the sharks and we had sashimi for lunch and will have fresh mackerel for dinner.

a little video to show the conditions!

 

 

 

 Posted by at 6:54 am



Mar 272022
 
lumiel on the jetty

lumiel on the jetty

so the journey begins! on thursday the 10th of march, sal, dave & I flew down to brisbane to bring our boat, lumiel, back home to gove. i have titled this blog entry, voyage01 and will try to make regular updates with the titles in sequence. we had planned about a week in birkdale on the jetty before starting the trip home, this was to allow for a couple of jobs we were aware of and provisioning.

unfortunately it ended up being about 2 weeks due to some unexpected issues we had to deal with (boats!). we went out for a sail with the previous owner, john, on the saturday after our arrival, and while we were out on the water john noticed that the port engine was no longer giving us drive. this necessitated disconnecting the engine from the sail drive and moving it forward to allow disassembly of the pinion drive shaft. john had broken a shaft 3 years ago in fiji and had it replaced by an authorised yanmar service agent there.

as incredible as it seems, it appears the mechanic never replaced the bearing lock nut that holds the shaft in place, and finally after 3 years it moved far enough forward to disengage from the engine! it was a lot of stress and time, but in the end it was an easy fix that only cost a few dollars in parts.

other jobs were repairing the dinghy which had some leaks, and installing a cell-fi aerial for extended mobile range. the aerial cable proved to be impossible to run in the mast at this time, but while up the mast i identified the masthead sheaves needed replacing. luckily i found a rigger nearby who was able to make up some new ones for us. finally we had to replace the house batteries 2 banks of 4 12v deep cycle batteries.

while dave & i dealt with all these issues, sal was constantly shopping for everything we felt we needed both for the trip home and for our use of the boat – as well as the actual provisions. this kept her busy most days! she also carted loads of washing to the laundromat.

special mention for a few people, the previous owners of lumiel, john & trish, who were fabulous, they never stopped helping us, looking after her while we waited for the right time to pick her up, being our personal post office for lots of stuff we got sent to them for the boat, and always happy to help and explain anything to us. their love for lumiel shone through and it was a night of mixed emotions when we all went to dinner for the last time before we departed.

john, trish, me, sal & dav

john, trish, me, sal & dav

also robyn, our taxi driver, since our first trip down in january when we ‘discovered’ her, she has been at our beck and call taking us where ever we needed to go to do whatever we wanted. always full of helpful advice about where to get stuff, good humoured kind and considerate. a lovely person.

finally, carmel anne and wayne who owned the dock lumiel was moored on. they were always friendly, super supportive of our needs given we needed to live on the boat while we waited to depart which you are not really meant to do. we are so grateful for their putting up with us in their backyard! special mention to their grand daughter who picked a big bowl of mexican cucumbers from carmel anne’s vine for us – which i then pickled and go so well with a nice cheese and bit of salami!.

after nearly 2 weeks we finally had everything in order and on monday 21st march we left birkdale, popped over to manly, filled up the fuel tank and then motored over to belinda bay on moreton island for our first night of the voyage.

i am writing this sitting in the lagoon at lady musgrave island, just 4 days after leaving birkdale! after a night at belinda bay we set off for noosa heads at 5:30am. we had a pleasant motor sail with the lightweight screecher and dropped anchor just off laguna beach for the night. the surf life saving club on the beach didn’t like us anchoring so close in and called us on the loudspeaker telling us to move further out as the water was full of pretentious wankers who didn’t appreciate a yacht in their midst. we sort of moved out a little bit and ignored them. 

we wanted another early start as we needed to make double island point and get across wide bay bar around 11:30 for the tide. we had not intended to go thru the great sandy straits but rather round the outside of fraser island but the weather conditions and forecast led us to change our minds. there was almost no wind all day and we just kept going, noosa, wide bay bar, great sandy straits and all the way up to within sight of hervey bay and dropped anchor off big woody island. 

 

the forecast was for light easterly to northerly breezes for the next few days so after some discussion over a few drinks we decided to spend the night and most of the rest of the next day anchored at big woody island and then weigh anchor and head off for lady musgrave island. we needed to be there at about 10am for the tide to get in thru the channel into the atoll and i calculated it was about an 18hr sail. we had a stunning sail thru the night with 8-12k ENE winds pushing us along and a magnificent moon rise on sal’s watch, a couple of passing trawlers on my watch and we arrived right on time at lady musgrave.

my only job was to spear a fish for dinner, so dave ran me out to the outside of the reef in the tender and i managed to spear a decent fish for dinner, so i was allowed back on board!

thats probably enough for a first post, so i will leave it there and send this one off!

(remember to click on the ‘i‘ if you want the captions for the photos in the galleries)

 Posted by at 4:45 pm