Portland Roads

Stephen Bassett
Fri 14 Jun 2013 02:39
Here is an update of our travels since last post. Have tried to post photos but the bandwidth is limited so am sticking to text only at the moment. Will post pictures when I can. In the meantime we are celebrating Patrick’s birthday today so onboard cake, with candles later. He was woken to an old song from the Sixties bright and early this morning! No long relaxing lie in bed, even today. We are heading north to Cape Grenville, followed by Escape River at the TOP of Australia. Expect to be in Darwin early July, possibly a day or two sooner.
Here is a quick look at our recent days.
Saturday 8th June
As we left Lizard Island, we headed towards Bathurst Bay. As we went around the Cape Melville into Bathurst Bay the wind shot up to 50 knots - Acceleration zone, eat your heart out!! It was not pleasant and the jib
needed a repair after that. It was so difficult to get the sails down. The table in the cockpit nearly went overboard. Did not stop in Bathurst (Blowfast!) but carried on and anchored in Princess Charlotte Bay.
It was so peaceful. Stayed two nights to repair sail and to catch our breath!! The anchorage is just around the point between black rocks and red rocks. We had hoped to see Dugongs, but very muddy so no sightings to report.
Sunday 9th June
Repaired sail and had a rest day. It was lovely.
Monday 10th June
Extracted ourselves from the mud and were clear with anchor up by 7am. The early morning was calm and we are going to Morris Island. The anchorage is about 50 miles today and is by a cay with a single palm tree. Should be easy to find.
Sail repair looks ok and as the wind was 10kts SE we motor-sailed to recharge batteries and run the washing machine, then the water-maker to replace the 50 litres used. By the afternoon, the sun had come out and the wind was up to 20-25 Kts, SE. Anchored at Morris Island in 4 metres of water. We have been keeping in tandem with 4 other yachts and they were already there at anchor.
Tuesday 11th June
Up early again, and left anchorage at 6.45am. We were the last to leave! Wind 16 Kts SE and overcast. Decided not to go as far into the bay as the river but aimed for Orchid Point in Lloyd Bay. There was a hill but it seemed to take a long time before we were in calmer water. Two of the other boats came in behind us. Lockhart River is an aboriginal land and there is a community nearby but no sign of it from the anchorage.
Wed 12th June
Did not leave until 8.15am. Stephen went up the mast while it was calm to replace the lazy jack ties as some were frayed. Made him many cups of tea as a reward! Going to Portland Roads which is only 20 miles away. Heard the other yachts talking about a rally net at 8am on 8152 SSB. It seems to be for all the boats travelling to Darwin. Will try and listen to it.
Arrived at Portland Roads about 12 noon. There is a airfield here which was used in WW2, and supported the fighters in a major battle in the Coral Sea, called Iron Range airfield. It is still in use today to link the communities to Cairns.