Saturday 8th July 2017
Distance run: 230 nm
We lifted the anchor at 1600 on Thursday and it was so nice to turn the boat around and have the wind behind us for the first time in days. It was suddenly incredibly quiet! With a fair wind we raised the sails and set off on a two-night, one day passage to Margaret Bay on the mainland. Again we used the ship channels between the reefs as these have been surveyed, and we decided to use the 'Lad's Passage' which is a second ship channel which runs just inside the outer reefs. It was wonderful to sail past the sand cays and hear the waves breaking on the reefs, knowing that on the other side there was a sheer drop down from the continental shelf into 2,000 metre deep water. Inside the reef we had 25 metres.
For this trip we had an almost full moon to light our way and mainly clear skies at night, a sunny day in between and a decent breeze to sail by, making it a very enjoyable passage. We made good time and arrived in Margaret Bay around 0800 this morning, joining three other boats in the huge anchorage. All settled, we headed to bed for a couple of hours, and when we woke we found we had been joined by half a dozen more boats. Like us, they are heading to Thursday Island to check out and then head off to Indonesia as part of the Sail2Indonesia Rally. It's good to be in company with other boats, but we do wonder how it will all pan out when 67 rally boats all try to squeeze into a tiny anchorage....