Orpheus Island

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 1 Oct 2013 11:05
Position: 18 35.81 S 146 29.21 E
At anchor Little Pioneer Bay, Orpheus Island
Wind East F3-4 gentle to moderate breeze
Sea: slight, Swell: nil
Weather: sunny, warm
Day’s run: 11 Nm

This morning, a review of yesterday’s plan led us choosing to weigh anchor and sail to Orpheus Island, rather than visit the township on Great Palm Island, as being the more relaxed of the two options. Once again the morning was calm, so we did not weigh until ten. Our destination was only a short distance so at just after midday we sailed into Little Pioneer Bay, clearly a popular spot with the cruising fraternity based on the number of yachts here. The four public moorings were all being used, so we anchored among the small fleet of yachts, which continued to grow as the afternoon wore on.
My next job was to try and get Peter ashore for a bit of a look around. I offered him four options for getting ashore: dinghy propelled by outboard motor, dinghy propelled by sail, dinghy propelled by oars, or swimming. Peter chose the first mode of transport, so I rather dubiously pulled the outboard out from its hiding place, a place from which it had not emerged for longer than I can remember. I was of course not a little concerned about the probability of its starting so before I even put it on the dinghy I dismantled the carburettor and cleaned it, and pulled the starting mechanism off to see if the engine would turn over. It took a screw driver jammed into the flywheel to free up the piston. This was not looking good. I rotated through several revolutions, then mounted it on the dinghy and used a starting chord to try and give it a good spin. Unsurprisingly the friction was excessive, and it was obvious that I needed to strip the whole engine down and clean up the piston and cylinder, and probably replace the rings before there was any hope of getting the thing going. It occurred to me that I had been rather thoughtless and should have serviced the outboard at least a few weeks before Peter arrived.
The fringing reef which sits at the head of all the bays in these waters meant that we had to anchor a fair distance off the beach, so rowing ashore was not an attractive option. I decided I would rig the sail and go for a recce to the beach to see whether I thought it was practical for us to both sail into the beach, and indeed to see whether it was worth the effort. While I enjoyed my little sail to the beach, I regret to report that my answer to both these questions was in the negative. The third and fourth options were clearly not practical either, so we resigned ourselves to remaining on board for the rest of the day. A little disappointing, but we have enjoyed a nice boat cooked meal, namely vegie stir fry and pleasant conversation.
Tomorrow we will weigh anchor early so as to get to the southern entrance to the Hinchinbrook channel by half past seven, when the tide will be at its peak, which we will need to cross the bar that guards the entrance. One time previously I timed this very badly, thinking I could find deeper water marked on the chart around the bar. Instead, I found the bottom, and with the fresh south easterly that was blowing at the time, all those years ago now, the waves lifted Sylph up and dropped her onto the hard sandy bottom so that she rang like a bell. Fortunately I had at least had the good sense to attempt the entry on a rising tide, so it was not long before we floated free and found our way over, but it is certainly not an experience I wish to repeat, nor one I wish to put Peter through.
Now it is time for a bit of study and bed.
All is well.