Sunday, November 12, 2017

Matt's dream

We have now been holed up in Keppel Bay Marina at Rosslyn Bay near Yeppoon for about a week, while a strong south-east gale takes its time to get out of our way.

We have learned to avoid deadlines when cruising; if pressed to be somewhere at a certain time, whether because of a social or other commitment, Murphy's Law throws in a breakage or weather which can turn the pleasure of cruising into a dangerous or stressful activity. Instead, let's take our time, chill, and enjoy going with the flow.

Marinas can be interesting places. We meet all sorts of people from different walks of life.

Our next door neighbour here is Matt, fiftyish, a big man with hair down his shoulders, and the trace of a South African accent. He looks like a bikie. But friendly as, and a heart of gold. He lives in Vanuatu and runs a commercial diving business,  and also services cruise ships.

He was standing on an absolutely huge catamaran. Massive (25 metres), messy, and clearly a big job to clean up and get seaworthy. It has gradually been decaying in Yeppoon over several years, with the owner unable to pay the import duties or realistic costs of maintenance. This massive old super-yacht eventually sold for about the price of a Seawind 1160 like ours! Only to someone with the chutzpah and skills to take on a huge project. 

Matt is such a man.

I bought it yesterday!

The galley

The captain's boudoir

Andy, the sparky. Plenty to do.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

South for the summer

We decided to bring Nimrod south to Raby Bay in Moreton Bay for the summer (cyclone-prone) months. We left Abell Point Marina on Saturday October 28th and enjoyed a catch-up with some friends in Turtle Bay on the south coast of Whitsunday Island.  

Then we set off south, taking advantage of the gentle northerly wind to put up the kite and get down to Keswick Island on Sunday and Middle Percy Island on the Monday. We caught a Big-eye tuna; magnificent sashimi!

Red cliffs in Dolphin Bay, Middle Percy Island, at sunrise

Next day, another kite run down to Shoalwater Bay. There was a military exercise on, but the affected area left us room to go on the west side of Townshend Island and sneak up Canoe Passage between Townshend and Leicester Islands.

For those who don't know the procedure, the best way is to check the 'Notices to Mariners' on the 'Capricorn Coast—outside pilotage areas' website. On this occasion Notice '431 T of 2017' applied, but showed a chart indicating where we could go.

We could hear some distant gunfire, and some thunder. Crab pots were put out, but three were broken, one badly, presumably by a crocodile.

Rumbling noises in the west

The forecast was for an inconvenient Southeasterly, building to 25 knots. We decided to motor round Townshend Island and spend the Wednesday night in Strong Tide Passage near the Triangular Islands.

Thursday a short hop around the coast to our favourite hide-away; Island Head Creek. Beautiful, deserted, and a good place to practice using the Mavic Pro drone.

Then, although the wind direction was adverse, the sea was pretty quiet, so we decided to press on and motor-sail to North Keppel Island, where there are some lovely bush-walks.

Mangrove roots

Grass-tree stump

Sometimes cruising is easy; sometimes things go wrong, or the weather turns against you. Recently we have had a few technical challenges: a pesky flashing light and annoying alarm on the engine panel. A dodgy freezer. An oil leak from the genset.

All of these have been overcome successfully, but now we face about a week of strong SE winds making further progress south difficult.

We will sit the gale out in Rosslyn Bay Marina near Yeppoon and enjoy a bit of land time.

Wind building

View from Bluff Point

Rosslyn Bay

Gladstone ferries at dawn

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The spectacle of Hammo

Hammo was a mixed experience for us. Sometimes I felt like an old bloke in a beige cardigan towing a caravan with lots of angry drivers stacked up behind me, hooting. Bikie gangs and Ferraris zooming past. People screaming out arcane un-friendly rules. Protest meetings. 180˚ penalties. Fear.

On the other hand, it truly was a spectacle.

Here are some of the professional photos put up on the Hammo website. Simply stunning.