We have now been at Guruliya Bay for 6 days, this was never our plan – to spend nearly a week in one spot at the Wessel Islands, but the enormous surge in the wet season this year has put paid to the best laid plans of Rick & Sal! We had already had the wettest wet season on record by the middle of April, and now the last week has just been unrelenting.
We had some sun the first day we got here, since then it has just been wave after wave of storm fronts, typically with strong gusts in front of them (41 knots or 80kmh the strongest), and then driving rain. Every time we think it has cleared we get smashed an hour or so later!
The waterfalls in the picture above only flow when its raining heavily, its purely runoff from the large rocky ‘plain’ on the shoreline closest to us – we are only anchored about 150m off there and the roar when its full flow is incredible! Within 20 minutes of so of it stopping raining there is barely any water flow left! Anyway, that’s what it looks like most times I look out!
We decided to stay put here because its a superb anchorage, 360° protection from the wind and swell and fantastic holding, it also has some good fishing in the mangrove creeks at the head of the bay. The holding was definitely tested the night we had over 40k of wind, but she didn’t drag an inch. Also were we to move we would just be in a different spot in shit weather, with very little ability to do anything outside of the boat anyway.
So there is not a lot of interest to talk to you about! The fishing has been next to non existent due to the weather, the couple of chances we have had we had no success anyway. So there is a lot of Netflix & chill, reading, cooking, eating, and needless to say drinking! Thank god for Starlink!
Here a few pics from the moments the sun was out!
One interesting find while the weather was good enough to do some exploring was some graves that a friend had told me about, they are just above the high tide mark and have been damaged by king tides to the extent that some of the bones are exposed. They are clearly human remains. It is not at all the way Yolngu treat their dead so I am pretty sure they are not Yolngu graves. The possible alternatives are probably, Macassan sailors shipwrecked, Japanese airforce crash victims from WW2, more survivors of the Patricia Cam sinking in WW2, Indonesian fishermen shipwrecked, white Australian victims of some sea/air tragedy.
The presence of a few middens of Dhumpala (mud mussels) suggests there were survivors, presumably who then buried the dead, the middens are scattered amongst the 6 or so graves which are marked by small collections of rocks and stones that have clearly been carried to the site as they are not present in the immediate area. Permanent fresh water for the dry season was not obvious to me, plenty of sources at the moment but I doubt any of it is spring fed and persisting into the dry so that would have been a serious issue for them. The creek in the bay would have provided the Dhumpa
la and other seafood. Nearly every bay up here has a little creek in it that could provide food to anyone with a bit of knowledge.
Anyway, for the time being the mystery remains, there are no obvious candidates in terms of missing people, shipwrecks or plane crashes and no evidence other than the graves and middens that I can find.
I am not going to post any photos as it feels a little….disrespectful in the circumstances.
So here are some more photos, of the moments when we felt inspired enough to take any!
Our plans our now to spend another day sitting here in the rain, and then tomorrow we will make our way back down to Elizabeth Bay and hang there for a couple of days waiting for a window of weather to go from there to home. Its looking like that will eventuate Friday or Saturday. This will probably end up being a week less than we thought we might be away, but the persistent poor weather and the likelihood of favourable conditions later this week to sail home have somewhat forced our hands. Also not sure I have enough coffee on board to last another week without rationing!
I will close with a video of the waterfall, you can see this is at a lower tide than the photo at the start of this post, the tide here is about 3.5m range so it makes a big difference.