Back to Cairns (with photos)

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 24 Nov 2013 12:52
Position:  16 55.20 S  145 47.12 E
At anchor Trinity Inlet, Cairns
Wind:  Light and variable
Sea: slight
Weather:  overcast, showers, warm.
This morning dawned calm and serene, belying the anxieties caused by an unexpected wind shift that had occurred in the darkness of night a few hours before.  At about three thirty I awoke to the grating sound of the anchor chain snubbing at Sylph bow, as Sylph tried to rise to the small sea that had built up, only to be checked and brought up short by her cable. The wind had shifted around to the southeast, bringing with it intermittent showers.  Vlasoff Reef was no longer providing any shelter, instead there was about five miles of fetch to the nearest section of Arlington Reef.  I went on deck to look around and consider options.  There were basically two: stay put or move.  I did not like the idea of navigating in the dark of night in reef strewn waters, even if they were well charted. Further, the forecast was for calm conditions so it seemed unlikely that the disturbance would last for too long.  I decided that the best thing to do was to give Sylph some more cable to swing to so as to reduce the snubbing, and to keep a close eye on things.  As I let out more cable I cast an eye towards Max’s boat.  Being smaller and lighter she was likely to be feeling the sea a lot more than bigger and heavier Sylph.  I could make Murphy’s Law out easily enough, she was bobbing around but seemed secure enough.  Meanwhile, the extra scope I had give Sylph’s anchor cable did the trick, and while we was still bobbing up and down a fair bit, she was no longer being checked short every time she tried to lift her head to a passing sea.  I retired back to the V berth and slept soundly.
So the day dawned calm.  Indeed now there was no wind at all, so it seemed there was little point being in a hurry to get under way.  While Murphy's Law  had already departed (I was to find out later that Max had left at first light to motor back to Yorkey’s Knob) I settled down to a leisurely breakfast and some odd jobs.  At eleven a little bit of breeze could be felt, so, wanting to get back to Cairns to continue preparations for the forthcoming voyage, I wasted little time in setting sail and weighing anchor.  The breeze turned out to be light and fitful, regularly leaving Sylph drifting, with her sails flapping idly.  Nonetheless, I resisted the temptation to motor, and with a little patience we managed to make it back to Trinity Inlet just before sunset, merely motoring the last two miles, against and ebbing tide and the approaching dark, into the inlet to anchor in the same position we had left the day before.
Dawn at Vasloff Cay, calm and serene (except for the noisy little gnat of a helicopter):
Westwind I:
A ship in the distance:
A ship nearer by (Rhapsody of the Sea, a different style of cruising):
All is well.