"Over the Top", on passage to Red Island & Beyond
On the morning of the 15th September we awoke to another blustery day, with sunshine. Hooray again. One advantage of the sun and the wind was that the wind generator had not only managed to keep with the fridge and freezer over night, but had topped the batteries, virtually to full. So Windy Woo (Aka the Superwind , wind generator) earned her keep that night! Same goes for the solar panels (Sunny & Cher) during the day (10 till 4). They also have been making a great contribution, providing I keep the panels spotlessly clean. Slightest amount of dirt, dust or bird poo and their efficiency drops off dramatically.
So at 0700 a bleary eyed crew and for that matter skipper,
set about extricating the anchor. This we did with no dramas and by 0725 we
were well clear of Watson’s
We had thought about stopping off at
The coast line here is unremarkable and there is little or nothing of interest to entertain or stimulate the senses. We did see a Turtle in the water and the odd sea bird. Some very cheeky and intent on being feed.
At first light on the morning of the 17th, we
presented ourselves to the entrance of the Albany Passage. This is a short cut
to Cape York which saves time and also avoids having to go around
Despite my best passage planning and tide calculations, I still managed to hit this pass with a 2 knot foul tide. I still cannot fathom how I got that so wrong.
The landscape became more interesting for a while, as the pass is narrow, so we were close to the shoreline. The Magnetic Termite hills we clearly visible on the Port Side Entrance. These cleaver creatures orientate their mud home so it gets maximum sun light on the largest areas, thus giving them the maximum benefit as cold blooded insects.
Once around Cape York, we at last had the favourable currents
and a good sail on
Te approach to
The anchorage was very secure albeit very windy. So not restful, until that is 9 o’clock at night when the wind drops to virtually nothing.
Also as the sun had gone down we saw loads of bats flying
from the uninhabited
So the boat stopping hunting around the anchor chain which enabled me to take a picture of the moon, without too much camera shake………….
The picture above contrasts well with the one below……………………..The same view!
This shows the pier which is used to service the
One very noticeable thing about this anchorage is the
complete lack of inflatable dinghies or ribs. All the tenders used by the
locals are Alloy construction. Now what does that tell you????? Yes, it’s
our old friend the Salt Water Crocodile. Also they launch and retrieve these
boats by trailer, without anyone going in the water. This was totally brought
home to us after we left the anchorage, on passage for
Most nights we have had the company of a bright star filled
sky and a milky moon. In addition there seems to be a lot of Sooty Terns
migrating. One night we had four of them on board for company. Screeching and squawking
at each other, establishing territory on the Genoa Pole and even
Another rather scary moment was a close encounter with a tiny fishing boat, one late afternoon. I had popped down below to mark up the log and make a call when I suddenly heard
the noise of an unsilenced engine…….very close. I raced up to the cockpit to see this open fishing boat, about 16 feet long and 4 feet wide with two guys in it. They had no lights, no radio only a bare boat some nets with markers and a big engine. We were 70nm from the PNG coast and much further from the nearest Australian coast. It certainly pays to be on your guard, when these small craft can easily be invisible in the troughs of the waves until you are almost on them.
Tried a spot of fishing along the way. But either the fridge was full or they were the wrong type of fish (we don’t eat Tuna), so it’s all been a bit of a waste of time really.
Had several technical problems along the way. But I will not go into that as it’s just boring and depressing. This trip has certainly opened my eyes as to just how unfit for purpose a lot of marine equipment is. Just not man enough for the job or simply poor quality control during manufacture.
The sun is shining, it’s another wonderful day on the Bluewater Rally. 10:41:62S 135:04:41E
Until the next one then!