Anchored Curlew Island
21 35.794 S 149 47.515 E
So much for being seduced into thinking you have found a calm/pleasant anchorage in this part of the world. We enjoyed a beautiful peace and tranquility in the afternoon and into the night hours as we went to bed. It was so seductive that we decided to stay another day and head on to McKay on Tuesday.
Awakened about 4 am with a wild rocking and rolling; the notorious/infamous conditions (said to be quotes and abominable swell) had arrived and taken over our tranquility…..and it kept getting worse. One of the boats in the anchorage asked for help to tow his boat closer to shore for him to address a propeller problem he discovered when he decided that he should abandon the anchorage about 7 am. David from Kilkea and I took our Sea Mist dinghy over to see it there was any way we could tow S/V Fandango closer to shore which was his request….he felt he could either dive and fix what was wrong if he was close in on the beach….OR…that he might let the boat lay over and dry out on an ebb tide and repair while the boat was out of the water before the next flood tide later in the day. We really didn’t think that it was safe to attempt to respond to his request as we thought we would swamp our dinghy in the process….BUT…we went over to size up the problem and hooked on lines but had to quickly abandon the idea to avoid injury or swamping.
Now the problem was what to do with our dinghies; we looked at optional anchorages between Middle Percy and McKay and decided that Curlew looked best for protection from the winds and seas then present. That meant sailing in fairly rough seas a distance of 28 nm. The seas in the anchorage at Middle Percy were just too tough to consider lifting the dinghy on to the davits. The rolling and pitching motion of Sea Mist given the swell meant that I would just sever davit wires or something worse in trying to get the dinghy up….so the choice was to remain in that terrible anchorage or tow the dinghy the 28 nm. We decided to do the latter and all went well for the distance to Curlew.
The last time that I was forced into that situation was when we left Niue heading for Tonga in early Sept 2010…and the result was a punctured tube in the inflatable dinghy about midnight by some big., pointed nose, fish….and a treacherous recovery of the dinghy onto the forward deck of Sea Mist in the dark and terrible conditions that were then present. I really don’t ever want a repeat of that!...and neither do Cheryl , nor Ian (if he was now with us) who were both instrumental in creating the successful recovery that time.
At least now we have a shorter run tomorrow as we move on to McKay and into the marina there for a couple of days.
DTG to McKay: 49 nm