Well as I said last time, we only seem to blog when in a marina and here we are in Keppel Bay Marina and we haven't made an entry for three weeks!
We left Abell Point Marina on the 24th October and had an horrific crossing to Hamilton Island to pick up Shona and Barry. With 30 knots on the nose we ended up being a few hours late! We then had a lovely week cruising around the islands. Despite only having a week we managed to stay at Cid Island, Nara Inlet, Border Island, Mays Bay, Tongue Bay, Whitehaven beach, Beach 25, Butterly Bay, Stonehaven Bay and finally Dugong Inlet. We saw lots of turtles and even a manta ray in Nara Inlet whilst we were in the dinghy. We could see it's wing tips breaking the surface and initially thought it was two fish until we got our head around the size of it! There was also a good bit of snorkelling, particularly in Butterfly Bay and Border Island.
We said goodbye to Shona and Barry on the 1st November, left them back on Hamilton Island to recover from a week on the boat and then started heading south. We had our first night on the south side of Thomas Island, followed by Keswick Island on the second night. The winds for the first day were light northerlies which made for easy sailing. We then decided to do an overnight and head down to Port Clinton. Sadly the wind decided not to cooperate and went east and strengthened. Despite a forecast of 10-15 knots we saw 30-35 knots on the nose for over 10 hours with a couple of gusts over 40 knots. It was very dark, pouring with rain, Debi was seasick and I didn't sleep. We tried "heaving to" at one point but couldn't get the boat to steady. We then tried running in the opposite direction but were then doing 8.5 knots the wrong way! We ended up furling the headsail and turned south east again, partly sailing and partly motoring Not a very pleasant 24 hours. We did learn a lot about how poorly we sail upwind with our normal cruising headsail and had to resort to slow motoring to make any progress east. After a moment of inspirational thinking from Debi, we gave up on Port Clinton and ran for Island Head Inlet which is a wonderfully peaceful estuary which we will hopefully re-visit.
The next day (5th November) was a complete contrast with a beautiful sail in moderate north easterly winds all the way to the south side of Great Keppel Island at Long Beach. This again was a very nice anchorage, but was quite busy with all of the cursing boats heading south. We then did the two hour motor across the Keppel Bay Marina where we have been since then. Debi has headed back to Sydney for a rest from the boat and to see Gillian, Ash and friends. I decided to stay on board and tackle the "things to fix" list.
We have covered 245 nm since leaving the Whitsunday's and 1933 nm since we started out from Pittwater on 1st August.
Here are a collection of photos from the last few weeks
|Nearly three months together on the boat now and Debi still hasn't thrown me overboard|
|Much easier than driving a kite|
|Chilling in a hammock at Hill Inlet, having just fallen out of it!|
|Shona giving Bob the auto helm a rest|
|The team at the Hill Inlet lookout|
|Whitehaven Beach - photographs don't do it justice|
|The wonderful Whitehaven Beach|
|Another day, another bay|
|Shona catches the sunset|
|Shona catches the sunset|
|G&T's on the beach|
|Relaxing at Hill Inlet|
|Our berth for the next 10 days at Keppel Bay Marina|