Elliston, Waterloo Bay

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 11 Feb 2023 02:16

Position: 33 38.65 S 134 53.00 E
At anchor Waterloo Bay
Wind: Calm
Sea: smooth Swell: nil
Weather: sunny, mild
Day's run:
69 nm

We weighed anchor from Misery Bay at 1740 in a moderate W'ly breeze. This meant that initially we had to work our way to windward for some eight miles to get around Cape Whidbey. To do so we first made a long board down to the SW, tacking at 1940 to lay the Cape. It turns out I judged this a bit finer than I intended as we ended up clearing the Cape at 2120 by less than half a mile. By then it was of course dark. I reconsidered my options.

When I had departed Misery Bay my inclination was to proceed to anchor in Coffin Bay and then make our way into Port Douglas during daylight hours when the tide was suitable. But now that we were out here I figured we proceeded to Coffins Bay we would not get to anchor until after midnight and I wasn't sure what the anchorage would be like. Also, the tide times did not look very good for making our way through the shallows of Port Douglas on the morrow. On the other hand, the breeze was fair for continuing on to Elliston and would likely be a relatively relaxing sail. Consequently I snugged things down and then did regular battle with Oli for the most comfortable spot on the settee berth each time I returned from getting up to have a look around.

The wind held true for the rest of the night and we enjoyed a pleasant sail, arriving off the entrance to Waterloo Bay at 0800, just as the wind was fading. I started the engine, furled the jib and motored through the gap between the rocky reefs guarding the entrance to the bay. We made our way to its eastern side, off the township of Elliston where another yacht also lay at anchor, then turned into the dying breeze, dropped the mainsail and let go the anchor in four meters of water (the water was too murky to determine the bottom type).

No sooner had I dropped anchor than my new neighbour came over in his inflatable dinghy. I invited him on board for a cup of tea and a chat. His name is Kelly and he is sailing his new Jeanneau 30, Dollface, single-handed out of Adelaide. In exchanging stories it would seem Kelly is also having some anchor issues. In his case the bow roller set up is a bit on the light side and was damaged as the boat swung to its cable, something that should not happen. A somewhat complicated series of unfortunate events followed, the upshot of which is that the rope anchor cable chafed through and now he has lost his bower anchor. Fortunately, due to the issues he was having, Kelly had laid out a second anchor so when the anchor line to his primary anchor parted his boat was still attached to the bottom (though it seems possible that the second anchor might have been what caused the primary anchor cable to chafe through). I offered him the use of mu hooker gear if he needs it but for now he is going to try trolling for it with a grapnel from his dinghy.

That led me to relate the problem I have with the broken anchor winch lever. Kelly immediately suggested someone who could help, as it turns out a fellow Alan Payne boat owner, the Lady Jean, and someone I was hoping to meet while here in Elliston. Now, a phone call later, Dave and his friend, John, have come out to Sylph in a tinny while on their way to do some work on a small Bluebird yacht on the other side of the bay that had recently gone up on the rocks here. Dave has taken the broken winch handle to repair and reckons he may be able to make a new one out of flat bar without the need for a weld which should be less likely to break. All that within a couple of hours of arriving and I haven't even been ashore yet. Hopefully I will have the chance in the next day or so to do a bit of socialising with Kelly, Dave and John and learn a bit more about their cruising and other adventures.

All is well.