Dec 312022

This year we decided to head South for our annual end of year trip away on our boat. Firstly, now that we have Lumiel it obviously opens up a much greater range of locations for us, also we had a longer break than usual because we were able to get away a few days earlier than usual and finally given the weather predictions it made more sense to head South rather than our usual end of year destination, the Wessel Islands to the north.

Our loose plan was to make our way down the coast and end up down at the northern end of Groote Island, specifically the North East Islands.

We spent the Friday night on the boat in the harbour and set off Saturday morning, we sailed down past Nhulunbuy and Yirrkala, rounded Cape Arnhem and sailed down the coast to the southern side of Port Bradshaw to a lovely little sheltered bay we have previously visited and picked as an excellent anchorage. We call it Snogga’s Bay in memory of Kai’s Rugby coach, as we spent an afternoon there on the end of season fishing trip for the team which took place just before Snogga died.

Sunday we decided to head down to 3 Hummocks and anchor for the night, this is another place we have visited on day trips, its beautiful snorkelling and has 2 of the islands joined by a sand spit. We caught a stonking mackerel on the sail over to the islands and then Kai spent a couple of hours snorkelling around the islands and picked up a nice coral trout.

It turned out to be a less than perfect anchorage, we were anchored in the channel in the middle of the islands and the current was quite strong, which made us hang stern to wind most of the night, regardless of whether the tide was ebbing or flooding! Anyway it was ok, but its certainly not the best anchorage for a good nights sleep!

Monday we pulled anchor and headed down to a spot we have never visited, but had heard good things about, 6 Islands Bay which is on the Northern side of Bukudal community where I have visited and stayed a number of times by road, but I had never been taken over to 6 Islands Bay. Its certainly a stunning landscape, there are more than 6 islands and its got a bit of everything, fresh water, sand dunes, long beaches, rocky outcrops and coral.

The absolute highlight was Tuesday morning when Kai & I jumped in the tinny to have an explore and we had barely left Lumiel when we came across a pod of pygmy killer whales, we raced back to pick up Sal & my phone to film them and then spent about 15 minutes with them as they swam thru the bay we were anchored in, around Lumiel and then out heading South along the coast. One of the females had a big mackerel in her mouth, we assume she was going to use it to play with the babies and teach them about hunting.

Unfortunately this was to be our last destination on this trip, with the benefit of our Starlink satellite internet we were able to see that there was a severe monsoon trough developing, it was being intensified by the remnants of the small cyclone from last week near Darwin – the tropicl low was moving slowly towards Katherine. Extreme rainfall and gale force winds were being predicted for later in the week, and while I was confident we would find a safe and good anchorage on Groote Island to sit it out if it were as bad as predicted, it didn’t sound like we would be able to do much if it were just raining the whole time. It would make diving untenable, which is one of the main attractions of the North East Islands. The other risk was the weather might prove to be pretty nasty towards the end of the week when we would need to head home for Sal & Kai to start work in the new year. Basically the time we would need to head home would have been when the worst weather was predicted.

So with much disappointment we decided to hoist sails and just run for home, we had about 85nm to get home which meant if we went direct we would get in on the early hours of Wednesday morning, we also gave ourselves the option of stopping overnight and breaking the trip up if we decided that was a better option.

As it turned out the decision was a good one, we had a nice fresh easterly for the first couple of hours, (totally unpredicted!), then a couple of big storms to the west of us generated a fresh westerly wind (also unpredicted!), the edge of the storm caught us and we had about 30k for 10 or 15 minutes but luckily we had already furled the screecher so we just bore off under full main and once it passed the wind dropped progressively until we were forced to motor sail.

We could see on the rain radar that the rain was thinning out ahead of us and we would likely not get anymore rain if we just kept going, and we had some breeze to motorsail so we decided to keep going for home. Again the Starlink service is invaluable in being able to see the rain radar and whats happening with the storms.

What would have been an uneventful trip home was then made a little stressful with some engine issues. It was after dark and we had already rounded Cape Arnhem and were headed along the coast towards the passage between Bremmer Island and the mainland – a narrow tidal passage that we needed both the tide with us and the engines to motor sail thru there as the wind always blows thru the passage which would create a head wind.

Firstly the Port engine started playing up, running roughly, dropping 500rpm every minute or so, then back up to running revs, then dropping again. After a while it just stalled and although I could restart it, the same problem continued. I could find nothing wrong, all the filters are brand new, no alarms, it seemed to be a fuel issue as nothing else really causes these sort of symptoms but I could find nothing. Anyway, all good, we just continued motor sailing with one engine, which we often do anyway so that was not an issue.

But just as we were getting close to the passage, the Starboard engine just stopped, no warning, no alarms, just went from 2000rpm running sweet as, to totally not running! I quickly tried restarting, but it just cranked without firing.

With no engines we could not risk trying to sail thru the passage between Bremmer & the Mainland so we changed course, pulled out the headsail and satrted sailing to go right around Bremmer, which would have added probably 4 hours to the trip.

I then tried to see what had gone wrong with the Starboard engine, but again no alarms, nothing obviously wrong, not hot, nothing to suggest a problem. So I tried to restart it again and it fired straight away and ran perfectly!! So we furled the headsail again and changed course back for the passage. A bit later whike we were in the passage I realised the tide was no longer with us and so I thought I would try the Port engine again, it fired up straight away and also ran faultlessly!

So we were back to both engines working perfectly, they continued to for the rest of the trip home and we picked up the mooring about 02:30h

Our decision to return early has been vindicated with lots of rain and wind since we got home, really we have been very lucky over all the years we have been going away for the end of year trip, and this is the first time where we have had really bad weather in that time. (excluding the storm that we lost our tinny in a few years ago, but that was a one off storm.)

 Posted by at 12:27 pm

Dec 102022

sunset drinks on the foredeck

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!

True North

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.

 Posted by at 12:38 pm

Dec 012022

on the trailer

We have finally been able to haul out to replace our port sail drive and change out the propeller shaft on the starboard saildrive. The plan was to pull the port engine and saildrive out, tidy up the engine, heli-coil the threads on the bell housing, service and then reinstall with the reconditioned 2nd hand sail drive we bought from Cap Coast Marine in Yeppoon (shout out to Kelly & Josh). We were also planning to pull the prop shaft out of the old port sail drive and replace the broken one on the starboard side.

Other planned work was 4 new skin fittings and moving the paddle wheel log from under the front bunk to under the front cabin floor for easier access, and a full clean and anti foul.

Of course like always with boats, its not quite gone to plan! When we went to remove the sail drive, 2 of the mounting bolts to mount where it goes thru the hull, broke. Without going into all the gruesome details, that was a long and arduous job on Dave’s behalf to finally be able to remove the two broken bolts without having to carry out open heart surgery on the fibreglass mount.

Then we broke the port propeller shaft trying to get the locknut off that holds the prop in place, so we could no longer use it in the starboard sail drive as originally planned. Luckily I thought of getting the broken shaft machined to insert a 16mm thread in the end of it so it would be functional again. We called on the services of a friend, Tommy Niven, who also happens to be a very talented machinist and he threw it in his lathe and had it fixed within a couple of hours!

Next we picked up the engine from the machine shop and when Dave went to put studs in the bell housing, he found that they had not drilled the holes out straight when they fitted the heli-coils, so we had to load it back in the ute and take it back to the machine shop.

Jobs that so far have gone to plan has been the water blasting to prep the hull for anti fouling and the fitting of the new thru hull skin fittings.

Well after a long hard weekend Lumiel has fresh anti-fouling, I put two coats on the waterline and leading edges, as well as a coat above the water line all by brush. Then I rolled on 2 coats over everything – so most of the hull has 2 coats and the high wear areas have 4. It was bloody hard work on my own, 35º and about 90% humidity, and because the anti fouling paint is so thick its physically hard work as well. Anyway, all done now and we only have the port engine to reinstall and we should be pretty well ready to go back in the water. We have been out for 2 weeks tomorrow, which is how long we expected everything to take allowing for a few hiccups.

So today was the day to put the port engine back in, we picked it up from Darkys Mechanical in the morning and then after fitting the new engine mounts we winched it up on the boom and manoeuvred it back into the engine room. Its a huge plus with the Bahia that we can use the boom to winch the engine and saildrive in an out with it, we have a huge 24v right angle drive, milwaukee drill modified to work as an electric winch handle that makes the job easier, but its still a pain in the arse to line up the engine and saildrive in the engine room, Dave the contortionist diesel fitter did all the hard work while I offered useless advice, something i have had years of practice at. Anyway, by the end of the day, the engine was back in, coupled up to the saildrive and one more day of fitting all the ancillary equipment should see us afloat again on wednesday morning.

As predicted we were back in the water Wednesday morning, it was a very exciting moment to be back afloat again and we had no real issues, just a couple of adjustments. It was a great feeling to have 2 engines and saildrives fully operational again!

We ended up being out for 2 weeks and 2 days, which was pretty close to our goal of 2 weeks, especially considering some of the issues we ran into!


 Posted by at 11:53 am

Oct 162022
Lumiel on the mooring

Lumiel on the mooring

Sal & I had a lovely time sailing up to Truant Island for a few days, we were blessed with the weather, a fresh South Easterly to sail up there on the Friday morning and then a light North Easterly from coming home on the Sunday. It was a bit too light at first and we had to motor sail for the first hour or so until it freshened a little.

Truant is one of our favourite spots, because its well offshore, about 32nm North of Gove harbour, it tends to have very clear water and there is lots of beautiful coral reef around the island to snorkel and spearfish on as well as lovely white beaches.

We caught a nice mackerel trolling on the way up so we had fresh fish and we really just had a very relaxing few days lazing about, swimming, sun baking, exploring in the tinny, fishing and snorkelling.

I found the track of a small croc which had come up the beach overnight and gone into a freshwater lagoon behind the beach, a reminder that even this far offshore they are around. Lots of turtle tracks from the nesting season too.

My highlight was going in to the beach where we were anchored at low tide to look for oysters on the rocks, there werent really any decent sized oysters and I walked back out to the tinny and climbed in, just as I was about to pull the anchor in to head back to Lumiel (50m away), a pair of big Giant Trevally swam past, followed by a reef shark.

In a moment of madness that I almost instantly regretted, I grabbed the nearest rod, my little light weight flick stick with a calcutter 100 and a little slice for throwing at tuna. I sight cast the slice in front of the leading Giant Trevally – who immediately inhaled it!

Now I had a big GT hooked up, on light gear, in about 1m of water, anchored so i couldnt move to deeper water, surrounded by reef and with a shark to add spice to the chase. There were a few instantly obvious scenarios, in typical GT style, he could peel off enough line to cut me off on the reef, he could just set sail for the horizon and spool me, the shark could attack and chaos ensue, or the line would break as I increased the drag to sunset on the little reel.

Amazingly not of these scenarios played out, instead he pretty much stayed over the sand and while he fought hard for 10 minutes or so, I finally got him to the boat and lip gaffed him so I could release him. While I was battling the GT I had hooked up, its mate behaved in typical GT style – it swam over to the tinny and swum around under the boat the whole time. Part of the reason that I released the one I hooked.

I was yelling and carrying on like a pork chop during the battle and eventually Sal came up on deck to see what all the fuss was about so she caught the last couple of minutes on video.

All in all a fantastic weekend, great sailing, we didn’t break anything and it was lovely just the two of us having the island to ourselves for a few days. Of course we also enjoyed some delicious meals

The sail home was made all the more special by a small pod of dolphins joining us and playing in the bow waves.

 Posted by at 11:28 am  Tagged with:

May 122022

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.


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 152022


still at fantome island, headed out for a dive this morning and shot a spotted sweetlip and a blue bone, again the corals were just astounding, some of the best i have seen anywhere. distinct lack of big fish for the table though. knocked up a guac and had fish tortillas for lunch with a cheeky french rose.

after lunch we headed into the lock hospital site and explored that, the cemetery was much smaller than the lazaret one, but a couple of proper headstones. the stone walls are incredible, 1.3m wide and 1m high creating both paths and pens for horses, pigs & cows. the amount of labour to create the rock walls is almost unimaginable – and presumably slave labour by the aboriginal inmates. there were less ruins and remnants than the lazaret but it was still impressive in its scale. the eastern beach looks across to palm island and the community there can be clearly seen.


layout of hospital site, we are anchored off the top left hand side of the picture.

hopefully this video gives some sense of the scale and size of the walls and pens.


again, click on the ‘i‘ for captions, and read the wikipedia article for details about the lock hospital, HERE

the eastern beach of the hospital site looks across to palm island and the community there,

thats it for fantome island for us, after an amazing 3 days we are heading off to hinchinbrook island tomorrow.

 Posted by at 5:54 am

Apr 142022



Lumiel at anchor at Fantome Island, taken from the top of the hill at the leprosarium.

we spent most of today off lumiel, we packed the dinghy with all our dive gear, water, cameras and oyster collecting tools and after breakfast headed into the beach on the north west tip of fantome island. there is a basic camp built by palm island residents that we could set up in, shaded by big trees, a big firepit, a little mooring for the dinghy, reef for snorkelling accessible off the beach and oyster covered rocks a short walk down the beach!


after unloading our gear we set off to explore the lazaret or leprosarium using the wikipedia article (link) as our guide to finding the elements. as i said in the last post, this site is a stark reminder of australia’s institutional racism, but its also such a picturesque site so there is a certain conflict evident while walking the ruins.

i will post some of the commentary for the photos from the article below,


The remains of the lazaret hospital are located 53 metres (174 ft) west of the main lazaret pathway. The beginning of the complex is marked by a low dry stone and coral wall extending perpendicular to the beach front. The remains of the hospital buildings include: numerous timber building stumps and a rectangular concrete pad which was part of the hospital’s septic system. Two concrete sets of stairs survive – one set climbs to the north, suggesting that these were rear access stairs to the hospital complex and the second set is located towards the far west of the hospital complex and climbs to the east to a position that closely corresponds with the known location of the laboratory. At the rear of the hospital complex are two concrete pads. One pad contains the remains of a stove, fridge, and concrete wash tub. These pads are possibly remnants of the hospital laundry and medical sample collection site.

The remains of St Mary’s Catholic Church are located adjacent to and immediately west of the main lazaret pathway. The remains include a large concrete pad. A low wall with a small square recessed section on the outer side, presumably for the placement of a plaque, is located on the end of the pad. In line with and south of the church building pad is a circular concrete feature with a rectangular plinth at its centre.



“The remains of the sisters’ quarters are situated parallel to the north beach front and immediately east of the main lazaret pathway. An extensive scatter of building rubble is found across the site, particularly asbestos fibro fragment, CGI sheets, galvanised iron, steel pipes, and some bricks. The most intact remains are those associated with the nuns’ changing rooms. The site is marked by a concrete pad which is recessed into the ground, with raised concrete surrounds. Internal spaces can be read through the presence of the bases of room dividers, marked by concrete strips. Two iron bath tubs are situated side by side in the centre of the floor area. Adjacent to and east of the changing rooms pad, is a CGI water tank and timber stumps representing a collapsed tank stand. An iron pipe runs from this tank and parallel to the beach front towards a second set of concrete pads. These pads contain the remains of an iron stove and system of concrete spoon drains. Their location set back from the access track and behind another, since-removed building suggests an ancillary use such as a kitchen or laundry.”

“Located east of the visitors’ quarters are the remains of the grotto. The grotto is accessed by a stone-lined path that leads off the main path in front of the remains of the visitors’ quarters. The grotto contains a large shrine consisting of a tall mound of local stone. The shrine features a statuary platform close to the apex though a statue is no longer present. Adjacent to and to the north-west is a concrete altar. The face of the altar is marked with three arched shallow recesses. The largest central arch features a rough outline of Australia that has been constructed of small shells applied to the surface. The path to the grotto terminates at the site of a small steep pyramid-shaped shrine constructed of stone. The shrine has a flat concreted top section probably for a statue, though a statue is no longer present.”

approach path to grotto

“Located at the southern end of the main lazaret pathway are the remains of multiple structures that comprised the supply centre for the lazaret. The supply centre complex consists of a cluster of attached concrete pads comprising: office and store, sewing room, oil room, butcher, and open-air cinema (between the sewing room and the office/store). Immediately east of this complex are the remains of a vehicle garage. Remnants include a concrete pad with a short ramp on the northern end. East of the garage are the remains of the lazaret’s school. Abandoned and partially deconstructed machinery (generator) is bolted to school building pad.”


The married quarters are located immediately adjacent to the single men’s quarters and include huts, two communal kitchens (one later converted into accommodation), a garden area, cess pits, a midden, and general laundry buildings. Former structures are marked by concrete pads. East of the married quarters and 160 metres (520 ft) along a small creek line, are the remains of several wells and pumping equipment. The area includes four circular concrete wells, one rectangular timber-lined well, the remains of a single piston water pump, and a scatter of steel water pipes.


“The cemetery is located on the southern bank of a tidal creek 60 metres (200 ft) from the married quarters. Positioned within a small bend of the creek, the cemetery is bordered by water to the north and east with resulting erosion problems, particularly at the northern end. The cemetery is marked on the east side by an incomplete line of timber fence posts. The individual graves are orientated east–west and are organised into six rows running north–south. The total number of marked graves is 120. Many of the graves are lined by stone surrounds, however, according to the oral history of a former patient these are possibly later additions and may not accurately reflect the number, size and/or location of all the graves. There are some timber crosses marking graves but none of the extant markers retain the name of the deceased; many of the timber crosses now also lack the horizontal member.”


our exploration of the lazaret took a couple of hours and we were glad to return to the shade of our camp site and the fresh water in the esky! after a rest we went snorkelling on the beautiful coral gardens around the north west tip of the island, full of stunning soft and hard corals and many small fish varieties, turtles and sting rays. the tides are pretty big here, about 5m at the moment so the current rips thru the narrow channel between fantome and orphelia islands making for a fast and furious drift dive!

after snorkelling it was back to camp, build a fire and collect oysters to cook. green casuarina fronds provided the smoke to achieve the extra flavour for the oysters!

after pigging out on oysters it was back to the boat for pre-dinner drinks and sunset, todays special was mojitos!


a long and amazing day, we were all deeply impressed, but in quite different ways, for sal the highlight of the day was finding the grotto and the powerful feelings it evoked about what life might have been like for the unfortunate souls incarcerated in the lazaret. for dave the confrontation of the cemetery and it’s stark statement about the horrors of fantome island was his main takeaway. brian was struck by the sheer scale of the site – its much bigger than we expected and sprawls over a large tract of the northern end of the island. it was obvious it must have been a significant population in total.

being a more shallow and simpler soul, my highlight was collecting, cooking and eating the oysters on the beach. for me that connection with country and environment of wild food collection and cooking is always an emotional high.

tomorrow we will explore the lock hospital site and see what we find there.


 Posted by at 4:41 pm

Apr 122022

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,

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.



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,









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