Wednesday, November 23, 2011
On the morning of the 18th we thought it was a good idea to have a bit of an explore so did a couple of the walks that leave from the Resort. The first was up to the look out at North White Cliffs lookout and we then headed off to the McKenzie Pier and then back to the resort past the remains of the WW2 Commando Training centre which was based on Fraser Island.
After all the morning activity we were back to the boat for a swim off the back and a bit of R&R on the aft deck.
On the 19th we are going back through the Great Sandy Straits. With a bit of luck and good management we seemed to time the tides perfectly and had current with us all the way and also had plenty of depth to get through the shallows. We decided to spend the night at Elbow Point which is just around the corner from the Wide Bay Bar as we will be having an early start in the morning to get through the bar at the best time.
Up at 4.00am on the 20th which means we will get through the Wide Bar Bar just at the end of the Flood. The swells are pretty low at the moment so our exit was relatively gentle which was rather nice as it can get very nasty going across this bar. We had light north easterly winds so had a lovely motor sail down to Mooloolaba - one of our favorite spots! Initially we were only going to spend a night here and then head off to Tangalooma (North Stradbroke Island) for a couple of nights but with some odd weather forecast plus I really like Mooloolaba we decided to spend a couple of nights here so we had a good walk around and also managed to fit in a body surf - always a favorite!
Up again early on the 21st and this time we are heading to Manly (just south of Brisbane). This will be our last sail on Sally until we come back up in January to bring her back home to Melbourne so feeling a bit sad - especially as this means this part of our adventure is actually coming to an end.
The trip to Manly was quite pleasant although the wind did build to 25knts during the day which meant parking procedures were going to be a bit exciting but luckily one of the locals here helped with our lines which was much appreciated as always.
The next couple of days are going to be spent giving Sally a bit of TLC and pack her up before we fly home for a couple of months. We will be back up at the end of January when we finish off the trip and sail her back home to Melbourne.
So far to date we have done around 6200NM (or around 12,400kms) and looking forward to our next big adventure in 2013....
Sorry but we didn't think to take any photos for this entry.
We will be catching up with Leapy Lynda on Friday for a bit of a celebration - she has just finished her first week of work.
This will be the last Blog until Jan or Feb 2012 so thanks for following and hope you will keep tabs on us again when we set off again next year
Monday, November 14, 2011
|A "Tough" Sail to GKI|
|The Percy's at Dusk|
|GKI Sign Post|
|Guess Who at the GKI Light|
As the anchorage as Second Beach was proving to be a bit roly we decided to move around to Fisherman's Beach which is the resort side of the island. We kind of forgot that it was a Sunday but soon remembered as we were met by an army of people on this side of the island who had decided to come for a beach day out from Yeppoon. Despite the chaos we also had a lovely day at the anchorage kind of just hanging out but did go ashore for a bit of a wander around the shops and ended up going to Island Pizza for a spot of dinner! One thing we did notice as we were sunny ourselves on the back deck of Mustang Sally was the poor condition of our very well travelled Little Red Dolphin. According to our log the Little Red Dolphin has now completed around 6000NM (or approximately 12,000KMs) and he still has quite a ways yet before we get him back to his home at Safety Beach however, I think we will be approaching the hierarchy at Safety Beach Sailing Club to see if we may be eligible for a new one before we start our next pacific adventure in 2013. Don't worry we will be finding a good home for our well travelled friend.
|Our Very Well travelled Little Red Dolphin|
I got some really exciting news today as Leapy Lynda and I have re-joined the Carlton Football Club which means, we will hopefully, get to a fair whack of at least their home games in 2012. This isn't going to be anywhere near as easy as it was in 2010 when we were both living in Elwood as it looks like Leapy has moved to Brisbane for a while (she received the good news that she has a job at the University of Queensland starting tomorrow - the 16th) and we now live in Safety Beach however, I am sure with our determination and passion for the mighty blues we will find a way.
Correct to plan we arrived at the Hervey Bay Boat Club Marina at around 9.00am and are looking forward to a quiet ale or two tonight on the balcony of the Boat Club Clubhouse
Monday, November 7, 2011
We are all up bright and early on Thursday morning and leave the Townsville marina about 7.00am before the tide gets too low plus we are keen to get on our way south. If all goes well the plan is to do an overnight sail and end up at Bait Reef, (~135NM) Friday morning for a bit of a snorkel on the outer reef.
|Feeding the Maori Wrasse at Bait Reef|
We spent a lovely few hours at Bait Reef and did plenty of fish feeding of the back of the boat which included the usual bat fish but also a huge Maori Wrasse and some Dolphin Fish. We also spent quite bit of time in the water and did heaps of snorkelling on the coral in amazingly clear water. No matter where else you go in the world for a snorkel the Great Barrier Reef is definitely amongst the best diving spots in the world. As mentioned the water clarity was excellent and the coral and fishies we saw were excellent. We even got to swim with a few turtles which is a first for me.
After an awesome morning at Bait Reef we are off to the Whitsunday's proper for the evening and are hoping to pull up a mooring at Blue Pearl Bay but by the time we arrived late in the afternoon they were all taken so we sail on for a bit longer and stay the night at Bali Hi which is so named as part of the film was shot here. Up early on Saturday morning to Blue Pearl again in search for an empty mooring and this time we were in luck. The snorkelling in Blue Pearl is still as good as last time and again we managed to find a tamish turtle to have a swim with. Juddy and Andrew also decided that it would be worth taking to the water for a bit of a swim with Nemo!
|Juddy and Andrew getting ready for a snorkel|
|Sunset from Bali Hi Island|
|A bit of R&R for the boys|
|Bye Bye to Leapy Lynda|
Unfortunately Leapy had to cut her holiday a bit short. For those that don't know she took a redundancy package about 1 year ago and has been travelling around to Costa Rica, Bali and Turkey for the best part of the year. We were hoping that she would be able to do the trip all the way to Brissie with us but it looks like she might be in with a job at the University of Queensland so she figured it was best to get things sorted on the job front. We were naturally very sad to see Leapy go as she it is always good fun to have her on board and Juddy just isn' the same without his good mate Andrew Walker. Leapy arranged for a flight out of Hammo early arvo on Monday so we figured it was also a good time for us to start heading south again. Unfortunately the winds are not all that favourable at the moment with light East to South Easterlies blowing (our course is pretty much SE) however, we did manage to make it down to Shaw Island for Monday evening and have just pulled into Brampton Island for the night.
The forecast is looking a bit more promising with very light East to North Easterlies planned for Wednesday and Thursday and so hopefully the BOM has it all correct so that we can make some good mileage south over the next few days.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
|Anchorage at Sabira|
|Welcome for the Water Tank Opening|
|Chief George and the Dancers|
|Official Opening - Guy Chester|
|Quite a spread!|
The festivities were not part of the rally but were instigated by Chief George and his village as they were so appreciative of the assistance offered by the Dim Dims. We were greeted by the villages with lots of dancing and the girls wore some amazing headdresses and outfits. There was also some sing sing before the official opening which was then followed by some games with the kids and refreshments and an awesome sunset!
|Sunset at Sabira|
|Banaba Boat or Sailau??|
|Trading at Hessessai Bay|
Hessessai Bay was again another lovely anchorage with some more good snorkelling to be had. We were the only dim dim yacht in the anchorage for the night and the word quickly got around the locals that we had some fabric on board for trade, which is much sought after in these parts, so we certainly did get plenty of locals dropping by for a visit – we were lucky enough to trade for some beautiful shells and paw paws so all parties were pretty happy.
|Local Sailau - Hessessai Bay|
|Sunset at Nimowa|
|Junior Sailau Skipper - In Training|
|A scene from Apocolypse Now!|
|Our Banana Boat Skipper|
|Waterfall on the Fieori River|
|Local Inland Village|
Back to the banana boats and most of us had a bit of a dip in the waterfall before a spot of lunch and we were back on our way to Nimowa. Our banana boat seemed to have a bit of a fuel issue on the way back but after a bit of attention from Alex (the resident diesel mechanic on Muscat) we were back on our way. We all had an excellent day and the trip on the banana boats was heaps of fun.
|Welcome for the Nimowa School|
|The Nimowa Clinic|
|The local soccer team from the Elementary School|
After a really yummy lunch (including pizza, donuts and banana chips) we had to take on the kids from the local primary school in a game of soccer. Our captain, Janis, the backpacker, (we figured a German should at least have some idea of how to play the game) tried to install some order but found it all a bit challenging to provide some structure to our team although most of the time was spent defending goals and not a lot of time in attack. From the outset we figured there was no way that we were going to beat these little dynamos but we did put up a good show and at least scored a goal which is better than most. In the end we were clearly beaten 2 goals to 1. We certainly provided plenty of entertainment and laughs for the local village that were gathering for the main event which was the semi-final game between Nimowa and Sudest (I think). The locals are all pretty good at soccer and put on a great game but unfortunately the team from Nimowa were just beaten.
|The Main Event - Nimowa Vs Sudest|
Tonight we had the official closing BBQ for the rally which was a great opportunity for us to catch up with everyone before we all start to head off our own way.
|Anchorage at Wanim|
Most of the fleet decided to spend the day in Wanim although a few of the boats did head off to other anchorages. Based on the weather it doesn’t look like any of the remaining boats (Reliance and Attitude are already on their way home) will be leaving till late in the week. Sanctuary were kind enough to have us all on board this evening for some pre-dinner nibbles and to rid them of their cheese problem as we are not able to bring cheese back into Australia.
Most of the fleet are wandering off although we decided to spend another day at Wanim. The feeling is a bit flat today as everyone is heading off and it really feels now like the rally is over and we are all now looking to the trip home. After all the preparations I am definitely feeling a bit out of sorts and quite sad that the big adventure is quickly coming to an end.
|Walk along the ridge at Wanim|
We went for a bit of a walk in the afternoon along the ridge towards the village at the north of the island and was good to get the chance to give the legs a bit of a work out. During the days the clouds had been building and in the evening we had an amazing light show and plenty of wind and rain but were happy as clams aboard watching it all go by. The only other boat with us still at Wanim in Love of Gaia who, due to some anchor issues, will be at Wanim until it is time to head back to Australia
|The Very Famous Chief Gulo|
Spent the day at Bagaman and as the weather is pretty stormy and wet outside spent a day hanging out on board which was kind of a nice change as we haven't had too many chances to hang out and not do too much
As predicted the forecast is still standing up and looks like we will be leaving the Louisiades tomorrow (Saturday 22nd October) so we spent the morning doing chores to get the boat ready for the ocean passage and prepared a few meals to make the cooks job easier on the way. Headed ashore in the afternoon and wandered up again for one last look from the Worship Hill. We also took the opportunity this afternoon to distribute the last of our trade and donation items. The rest of the fleet is all meeting here this afternoon (apart from Sanctuary. Love of Gaia, Rex and Honeywind) as it is a good spot to leave from when departing from the Calvados Group. It was great to have most of the fleet back together again (Leyla, Moonraker, Desire, Finesse, Tinker, Little One and Sally) although everyone was getting ready for the voyage so there wasn't a lot of socialising going on but Moses was been kept very busy finishing off the last of the carvings before the cut off tomorrow morning.
We have also made arrangements with Chief Gulo for a visit in 2 years time when we hopefully pass by through the Louisiades again on the way home from our inner pacific trip - we have been put on orders to bring back Milo which is apparently one of his favorites!
22 - 26 October
Leyla is off early in the morning but the rest of the fleet are hanging out to do a last weather check be
fore we depart. Forecast hasn't changed and everyone is off and it is nice to be heading home as a group. The fleet is splitting up as some will be heading back to Cairns but a number of the boats (especially the ones that are heading south) are planning to head to Townsville (Little One, Moonraker, Desire and Sally). The first couple of days on the trip home are a bit windy and the sea state is a bit uncomfortable but progress is good - Sally even managed 180NM on the second day out which is an average of 7.5knts - not bad for a cruiser.
The wind started to back on day 3 and conditions became very pleasant - this is a good thing as it is Bruce's birthday today and we would hate to have a grumpy birthday boy on board. We served up one of this favorites, Tuna Bake, for dinner so a birthday at sea isn't all that shabby.
We were lucky enough to sail most of the way home but did start motor sailing around lunchtime on Tuesday as we were keen to get into Townsville as planned on Wednesday morning to meet Customs and Quarantine.
All went to plan and we were tied up at the fuel dock in the Breakwater Marina around 6:00am on Wednesday and were cleared and in our pen by 10:30am. First stop as you can imagine was a shower and then the laundry.
What a treat - our first dinner off the boat for a while and would you believe it we ended up at the yacht club!
The rest of the Townsville fleet went through there clearance formalities in the morning. We must admit we were pretty impressed with both customs and quantine people and they really made clearing back in pretty easy and certainly not an issue at all.
The rally still hasn't quite finished yet as we had dinner tonight with the Townsville team (including Dennis and Annette) at the Seaview Hotel for a good catch up.
We say goodbye to Bruce this morning as he is heading back to Melbourne. I am off to get a much needed haircut and Gina is out getting a pedicure as she is flying out to Brisbane tonight to spend the weekend with a good friend before she also heads back to Elwood. They have a busy time in front of them as they are now getting ready to head over to the Caribbean to go cruising on their new yacht Wyuna which is a 47' Leopard Cat - how exciting is that
OK this has to be the end of it!
One last BBQ for those of us that are left - the numbers are now quickly depleting as crews are returning back to a more normal way of life This time Team Tinker (Dan & Belinda) join in as they are driving back down the Mackay so that they can get back to work on Monday - which is already 1 week late due to the delay in our departure from the Louisiades.
We are now waiting for Leapy Lynda to join us so that we can start making our way down south.
Qantas is causing her a few issues but at this stage the weather is indicating that we wont be leaving until Thursday or Friday so all good at the moment.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Life in the Louisiades is simple and unburdened by the ownership of many material possessions. Many place are completely self sufficient and have little need for money. The economy of many islands is not based on cash and the only use for such would be a long trip on a sailing canoe to a trade store
The sailing canoe (Sailau) is the main form of transport for locals to get around the Louisiades. These are hand crafted from trees growing on Paneati.
|View of anchorage at Bagaman from Worship Hill|
After the sail we were all so full of beans we decided to go for one last snorkel at Bagaman and headed over to the east side of the bay and found some lovely coral and plenty of fish which kept us entertained for a good hour or more. Amazing how much time one can spend with one’s head under the water looking at fish and coral especially when the water is a balmy 28oC
|Elementary School Welcome|
|The Dim Dims on display|
(local for white folk)
|Miss Misima Contest|
|The Pem Pewa - Local Style|
|The Pem Pewa - Dim Dim Style|
The local kids were keen to help us get our load of Pem Pewa gifts back to the boat so we ended up with a what must have looked like a scene from the Pied Piper as we all wandered back down the main street to the dinghy wharf. After much sorting and negotiations we eventually made it back to the boat for a clean up and also a sorting of the Pem Pewa gifts - you wont imagine how much fresh fruit and how many baskets we ended up with and were lucky enough to be able to give some of these goodies to some locals as we were never going to get through it all. After a bit of a break we are on the move again and this time off to the Guest House for a yummy dinner and auction. As with many of the activities on the program they are aimed at raising funds for the Nimowa clinic and other worthwhile causes (there are plenty of them!). We ended up with the highest bid on many items with some of the stand outs being a really lovely Bagi, Bundy Bear Wind Sock, and a bottle of marmalade which ended up costing 60Kina (~$30AUD) .
|MV Reliance Crew|
|The Local Drop|
After the fun of Misima we were still keen to move on and took the opportunity to depart from Misima once we had finished our morning tasks. We decided to head for Robinson's anchorage for the night (~30NM) which proved to be a great spot for the night before we head over to Sabira in the morning. We followed Little One over to the anchorage and we ended up being the only 2 yachts here for the night. Mark and Lisa from 'Little One' were kind enough to donate some of their HUMUNGOUS Mackerel that they had caught on the trip over. Mark was even kind enough to fillet them for us. We decided the best thing to do was wrap the fillets in foil with some herbs and chuck them on the BBQ - this was all pretty YUMMY - especially as fish hasn't exactly been a staple food in our diet so far On the fishing front Mustang Sally hasn't been doing all that flash and seem to have developed a reputation for losing lures and being fish lovers not killers!. So far the score is fish = 4 and Mustang Sally Dim Dims = 0.
Up early again as we have about 20NM to do today on our way to Sabira and are keen to get there as we have heard that it is a really beautiful spot surrounded with small limestone islets. We arrived just before lunch and were not disappointed with the beauty of the place, crystal clear water and sandy bottom – YAY – no bommies to worry about here. Chief George was pretty keen to come out on his dug out to greet the yachts as they arrive and in most cases hoped on board to lead you through to the best anchoring spot
|Village at Sabira Island|
After lots of swimming and snorkelling in the arvo we head to the shore to participate in the five o’clock drinkies with the five or so other yachts that have decided to come to Sabira.