Continued from last part
Sunday 7 June 2015 - Pancake Creek
The wind during the night was a lot less than the forecast, with almost calm conditions till about 0300 when the wind came up to 10 knots southerly. By 0800 it was 17 to 20 knots with later some gusts to almost 30 knots. Michael gets up and puts on the watermaker as the tide is now incoming and it has been a beautiful blue, so we figure we might as well make water.
He also takes Veto to the sandspit for a run and then back on the boat, he puts on the generator as it is cloudy and we might not get much sun today. We also need to charge laptops and put some extra power in to make up for that used for the watermaker. We have breakfast and then settle down for a day where we know we will not do much due to the wind.
Michael also times how long it takes to make a litre of water, as the containers we use do not have any indication of how big they are. It took exactly 2 minutes and 45 seconds. This means we are making about 22 litres an hour, although we know we have made 25 litres per hour before.
At 1040 we hear a boat called Oceanmaster call VMR Round Hill saying that their engine has died and they are drifting towards rocks at Bustard Head. This is where we walked to yesterday. Round Hill is having problems hearing them, so I act as a relay. The woman on the boat tells me they are a 5 metre boat and they have their anchor down but they are still drifting.
A yacht near us, Quintessa is leaving and they tell VMR they will go and check on them after they exit Pancake Creek. It is too far for us to take Thunderbird 2 to check or assist. Quintessa has AIS so I can follow where they are. I advise the boat that Quintessa has rounded the headland to the north-west of them and they tell me their anchor has caught. That is great news.
It turns out that the boat is north-east of the lighthouse in open ocean rather than in the bay to the north-west as we thought. When Quintessa gets to the location, they cannot approach close as the winds are 30 knots and the seas 4 metres. They patrol slowly near the boat. VMR has advised that their rescue boat is now on its way. When they arrive at 1250, Quintessa leaves for Gladstone.
To be honest, I cannot believe that a 5 metre boat went out in the ocean today given the forecast of winds of 20 to 25 knots. Back home in Sydney I will not take my larger power cat out in winds over 15 knots as it is too uncomfortable, let alone dangerous. Anyway, they are lucky that their anchor bit when it did and that people were around to assist.
|Walking Veto on the sandspit with a storm to the south. Luckily it did not come near us.
After this excitement we go back to doing nothing much other than reading. The wind has dropped a bit to 10 to 15 knots, but there are occasional gusts of 20 or 25 knots. Michael transfers 50 litres of water we have made to the port tank, it should now be almost full again. We end up making about 105 litres all up.
Late in the afternoon we take Veto to the spit again for a run and then come back to the boat for sundowners. Kelly makes a chicken curry and rice for dinner (by the way, it is her decision to do most of the cooking, not mine).
After dinner we read some more and go to bed early as we propose to leave here about 0600 and sail to Great Keppel (if possible) or somewhere closer if the winds and seas are not as conducive.
None as we did not move.
Monday 8 June 2015 - Pancake Creek to Hummocky Island
Originally we were going to leave just after 0600 but the wind was blowing a lot so we decide to sleep in and leave a bit later and only go to Cape Capricorn or perhaps Hummocky Island. We get up at 0745 and Michael takes Veto to the sandspit. It is still blowing strong here, at least 15 knots.
We have breakfast and at 0825 we pull up the anchor and motor out. We have no problems, the minimum depth at low tide is 2.6 metres. We get out in the open ocean and pull out the screecher. The wind has dropped a bit and for the first 20 minutes we need to run one engine. However, it soon picks up to 17 to 22 knots south-easterly (straight behind us) and we are going at 6 knots.
The wind is quite variable, sometimes as low as 8 knots, sometimes 22 knots. It is cool and overcast and the wind behind us means we need jumpers on. At 1110 Kelly suggests we goosewing our genoa and screecher. We already have the screecher out on the starboard side, so we pull out the genoa on the port side. This gives us about 1 to 1.5 knots extra speed.
|The genoa to left and screecher to right as we goosewing the headsails
|This shot of our chartplotter shows some
of the many coal ships off Gladstone
We have to pass about 20 coal ships anchored off Gladstone, now one of the biggest coal ports in the world. We pass inside a couple, within 300 metres of two of them. There are so many, they use helicopters to put the pilots on board so they can go into the port. We hear them talking to the boats as we pass.
We are now averaging 7 to 8 knots when the wind is 20 knots. There are gusts of up to 27 knots around 1200 and we are doing 8 to 9 knots, hitting 11.5 a couple of times. The seas are about 1.5 to 2 metres, with some larger 2.5 metre waves. For most of the day we use the autopilot, but as we have noticed before, in very strong winds behind us and with large seas, it gets very erratic. No matter what we do to its settings, it is the same. We end up turning it off when the wind goes over 22 knots and manually steering. This works better.
|One of the coal ships off Gladstone
|Cape Capricorn and its lighthouse
By 1300 the wind is back to 17 to 20 knots and we are going 6.5 to 7.5 knots. At 1300 we dump our holding tank, a very important thing to do before we get to the shallows near the islands.
We cross the Tropic of Capricorn just south of Cape Capricorn which we pass at 1450. Kelly contacts VMR Gladstone to change our destination and ETA as this is where we said we were heading to today. However, as we have sailed so quick, we decide to continue on to Hummocky Island, another 9 nautical miles.
We pass between Ship Rock and Hummocky Island and just after this we pull in the screecher. However, we have a problem. The furling rope has again moved around the furler so that the join (where the rope ends make a circle) is hitting the furler before the sail is furled. This has happened before, but not as bad. We still have about 25% of the sail out. We try to furl the opposite way but this does not work. We pull in the genoa and put up with the screecher flapping a bit.
We round the eastern side of Hummocky Island and in the relative calm of the northern side Kelly drops the screecher to the foredeck. We anchor in about 4.5 metres off the western end of the beach. There are two other boats here so we have to anchor out a bit. We are anchored by 1610.
|A panoramic photo of the beach at Hummocky Island
Kelly goes to work on the screecher, wrapping it up on the deck. Michael climbs out on the bowsprit and attempts to pull the furling rope through the furler. He does to a certain extent, but it is hard work. He decides to put Thunderbird 2 in the water and take it to the bow and do the work from there.
After a lot of work, Michael ends up pulling the rope through the furler so that a couple of metres are back the way they should be. Also, with Kelly's work, it means the join is now about a metre from the furler (we think). We think this problem is caused by a worn rope that can slide through the furler where there is vibration (like we had today).
We have showers, very welcome after a couple of days without and also after the hassles of the last hour. We sit outside and enjoy some beers and wine with a nice camembert cheese, salami and crackers. Kelly then makes meatballs and spaghetti.
We have almost gone backward in power today (see below) as we have hardly run the engines and there has been very little sun. The autopilot uses a fair bit of power, so we gain only 4 amps over the whole day. No problems, as we are still over 50% of battery power, but we will probably need to run the generator a bit over the coming days as we will not be moving much in the next five days due to weather.
As mentioned, it is a bit bumpy here with the south-easterly swell coming around the point. However, it is not too bad and we have had worse on this trip. We read for a while and then go to bed.
Tuesday 9 June 2015 - Hummocky Island to Great Keppel Island
Well, last night was not the best anchorage we have ever had, in fact, it was the worst. We had south-easterly or southerly winds but the swell was wrapping around the north-east headland of Hummocky Island and coming into the bay. This meant we had swell side on to us. Even in a catamaran this is not comfortable, especially when you are trying to sleep.
In the first two hours after we went to bed (2100), Michael reckons he got about 15 minutes sleep. After that we got a bit more. In addition, the anchor alarm went off about six times as the boat moved all around, we faced every direction it seems during the night. It was not till about 0300 when the swell eased that we got some decent sleep.
We woke just after 0630 and lay in bed till 0800. We lower Thunderbird 2 and attempt to take Veto to the beach for a run. However, when we get close, it is obvious that we were not going to be able to land as there is a small swell breaking on the beach and also there are lots of rocks in the surf zone at low tide. We head back to the boat.
|Approaching Great Keppel Island from the south
|Michael on the beach with the buoy tree
We have breakfast and then up anchor at 0840. We motor out of the bay and within a few minutes have the screecher out. We have 20 to 26 knots of south-easterly wind, right behind us. We are making 5.5 to 7 knots. There is a lot of cloud around but it is warmer than yesterday and the seas much calmer, only 0.5 to 1.0 metre.
Later we hit a one knot current from the north but this disappears and then comes back closer to Great Keppel Island, our destination for today. We pass Humpy Island, just off Great Keppel, at 1115, our speed is now 5.5 to 6.5 knots in 17 to 22 knots. We pull in the screecher at 1145 as we approach the narrow channel between Middle Island and Great Keppel Island.
We motor into the large bay on the north side of the island and after checking out the three anchorage areas, decide to anchor off the rocks between Second and Svendsens Beaches. There are about 20 boats anchored in the boat, most in this area. We are in 2.6 metres about 3 hours before high tide. We have had another great sail, averaging 5.6 knots point to point and over 6 knots while sailing.
| A panoramic photograph from Second Beach where we took Veto after we arrived
Once anchored, we take Thunderbird 2 to the beach so Veto can have a run. We will have to work on this, as we both soak our shorts as the water is a bit deeper and there is a very slight swell. There is a tree here that is covered with buoys which have probably floated ashore and yachties have attached to branches. We go back to the boat and have lunch. We read for the rest of the afternoon. There is about 10 to 15 knots of wind coming over the island and a very slight swell coming from the north, nothing to worry about at all.
Michael adds 22 litres of diesel from one container to the main tank, it is now full. At 1530 another Lightwave comes in, this is Asif, a 35 footer that we were considering last year when we were looking for a boat. In fact, it was probably the one we would have considered if we did not get Pieces of Eight (now Catlypso).
Michael puts the generator on and runs for 75 minutes as our power is below 50%. This is because we have hardly run the engines over the past week, there has been lots of cloud and our autopilot uses a lot of power.
|Great Keppel Island and the location of the resort,
some of the buildings have collapsed onto the beach
|Kelly and some of the yachties at the sundowners on the beach
We decided this morning that we were going to have a barbecue dinner on the beach tonight. There are a couple of places where there are shelters and some chairs and tables. As it turns out, quite a few of the yachties go to the beach and there is a fire going by about 1615. We head there at 1630. There are about 20 people there all up.
We have a good chat with most of the people there. Some are new cruisers like us and others have been doing it for 10 years. Brian and Lyn, the new owners of Asif are there and we tell them we were looking at it when we bought our boat. They purchased it in September 2014.
|A panoramic photograph from Svendsens Beach where we had sundowner drinks
After it gets dark Michael gets out our new bidji barbie, a smaller version of the one we have used for over 10 years when camping. Using twigs collected on the beach and some waste paper and cardboard, he cooks us onion, capsicum, Scotch fillet steak and sausages. Together with a salad Kelly put together on the boat, we eat dinner on the beach. An excellent end to the day.
When we head back to the boat at 1840, there are only a few people left on the beach. A nice evening.
We have showers and then read and write up this blog before going to bed. We have a bit of sleep to catch up on tonight.
Wednesday 10 June 2015 - Great Keppel Island
The wind blew a fairly constant 10 to 15 knot overnight, with a slight change to more southerly about 0300. Even though there is a small swell coming around the headland, it was constant and mostly from the stern. We both slept fairly well after the night before's bad sleep.
We get up at 0810 and before we take Veto to shore for a run, Michael puts on the generator. Our power is well under 50% at this moment so we will run for a couple of hours before the sun gets high and then let the solar add more. It is more efficient to run the generator when the batteries are at their lowest as you get more amps per hour going in.
We are back on Catlypso by 0845. When we check, we only have 0.8 metres under the keel and it is still over an hour to low. We probably will move later today to a bit deeper as there are some lower low tides coming in the next few days.
We turn off the generator at 1020 after two hours. It was putting in around 50 amps at the start when the batteries were only 342 amp hours but at the end this was down to the high 30s. We end up with 420 amp hours. Kelly also does some clothes washing.
|Catlypso from a viewing spot on the walk to Wreck Beach
|Kelly on the track between Butterfish
Beach and Wreck Beach
Once the tide has come in a bit, we pull up the anchor and move about 50 metres to the west. The water here is 3.8 metres deep, that is, about 3.0 metres deeper than where we were. We have lunch and then once we are certain the anchor is holding, we go ashore again and do a walk from Svendsens Beach to Wreck Bay on the east side of the island.
The walks starts near the small Svendsens Eco Resort which is at the eastern end of the beach. It consists of a house, a studio and a few permanent tents. Very nice spot and from their web site, very reasonable pricing. We head up over the headland to a lookout which has views to the north. A bit further on is Butterfish Beach. This is quite protected and in calm seas and winds might be a nice anchorage. The track is narrow but well formed (sandy) and well marked and signposted.
From here you walk over a sand dune and through a sand valley to Wreck Beach. Today the beach is very windy and the seas rough as it is open to south-easterly winds. You could walk along the beach and take another track back, but we decide to backtrack.
|A panoramic photograph of Wreck Beach on Great Keppel Island
Back before we rejoin Butterfish Beach, we take an alternative track. This leads to the top of a large sand dune and has great views of the beach (see photo). We slide down the dune to the beach, it is very steep. We walk back the way we came and then take another track that leads to the resort. We have a look and then go back to where we left Thunderbird 2. The walk is about 3.2 kilometres return.
|One of the unique track signs on the walk
|Kelly and Michael on the sand
dune above Butterfish Beach
The tide has come in over the past 90 plus minutes so Thunderbird 2 is now about 20 metres from the beach. Michael strips down to his undies and wades and then swims out to it. We head back to Catlypso. The wind is still very strong and the swell hitting us broadsides a fair bit.
We laze around for the rest of the afternoon. Later another Lightwave 38, Spy Panda comes in and anchors to the south-west from us. This boat was launched last year and has a piano built into it! We have sundowners and then Michael cooks a pork roast on the barbecue while Kelly does roast vegetables. An excellent dinner as usual. At 1830 another yacht comes into the bay and anchors near us, a bit late to be entering an anchorage.
We read for the rest of the evening before bed.
None as we did not move.
Thursday 11 June 2015 - Great Keppel Island
It was very windy during the night and the swell rolled a bit, but we got a good sleep. It was one hundred times more comfortable than Hummocky Island that is for sure. We get up late at 0825 and take Veto to Leekes Beach near the lagoon. This spot is totally protected from the swell. After a good run, we head back and have breakfast.
It is windy, cool, 100% overcast and there is some drizzle around. It does not look like we will be leaving the boat today at all. At 0945 there was some heavy rain, this came off and on for most of the day. The wind is blowing up to 30 knots. At 1030 it is still raining, so Michael decides to make some pikelets for morning tea. This is something he used to do when he was young on cold and wet Sunday afternoons. They turn out great.
|Michael cooking the pikelets
|Pikelets ready to eat, with apricot jam.
The little ones are for Veto.
We read some more. Around low tide, a lot of the boats move spots, just like we did yesterday. The low tide today is a fair bit lower, so we figure they must have got too close to the bottom. There are now 19 boats in the bay, 11 of which are catamarans. Michael transfers 44 litres of water from containers to the port tank ready for running the watermaker tomorrow (it must be run every five days or at least flushed). Michael also calculates that we have used about 9 litres each person each day over the past 25 days, about what we thought we would use.
We have lunch and at the same time, we defrost the fridge. It has built up a huge layer of ice on the freezer area (which we do not use) and water is now dripping down from this to the bottom of the fridge. It is a bit easier than we thought, using some hot water to speed it up. The wind eases for a while but then comes back stronger than ever. From 1430 it was very uncomfortable with side on swells of about 1.5 metres.
|The loaf of bread Kelly made
|The two bread rolls Kelly baked
Kelly decides to bake some bread, so she mixes it up and then cooks it. Not bad for a first effort, but we think the yeast is a bit old as it does not rise fully. Michael takes Veto to the lagoon area again for a quick run, it is a rough trip.
Michael cooks curry sausages and rice for dinner. The wind gets even stronger, sitting on 30 knots or more for minutes at a time. Later the swell drops a bit, we think that low tide must provide some more protection at the headland as it is seems better than high tide. The weather looks like it will stay like this till Sunday at the earliest. We probably will leave here Monday and head to the marina at Rosslyn Bay for a night or two so we can restock supplies.
We head to bed early as we expect it to be an uncomfortable night in bed and we might not get a good sleep.
None as we did not move.
Friday 12 June 2015 - Great Keppel Island
The wind dropped to 10 to 15 knots for most of the night and the swell stayed lowish. However, about 0530 the wind picked up again to 25 plus knots but by 0900 it was back to 15 to 20 knots. Michael gets up at 0810 and puts on the watermaker.
He transfers some petrol from one of the 20 litre containers to a small container so he can refuel the generator. However, he has a problem when the jiggler device pulls off the hose when he attempts to remove it from the larger container. Bugger! He later uses the diesel joggler hose to move petrol. Once the container is empty we will need to figure out how to extract it.
We take Veto to the lagoon for a run, it is really windy there, we are much more protected at our anchor location. We come back and have breakfast. Michael also ruins the locking strap which we use to hold the two 20 litre containers of petrol in place under the rear table. It works differently to others we have, but luckily we have a spare.
The watermaker is only run for two hours as we will be going into the marina in a few days. We really only ran it as we had to either do this or flush it.
We notice that Spy Panda, the new Lightwave 38 that is anchored to the south-west of us has moved and reanchored. Strangely it now has a rope anchor line out. Just before lunch we decide to go to one of the beaches for a walk. We try Svendsens but it is too rough to land and then the lagoon area of Leekes. This is now too shallow to land. The wind is also blowing well over 20 knots. We abandon this idea.
On the way back to Catlypso we decide to go to Spy Panda. Geoff the owner is still on the bow and invites us aboard to have a look. Geoff and Naomi had the boat purpose built for them and it was launched in November 2014. It has a built in electric piano with full size keyboard.
As we suspected, they do have anchor problems. Either the shackle on the anchor broke or the chain itself broke. They heard a large bang when it broke during a strong wind gust this morning. The backup anchor, with rope rather than chain, is holding.
Michael offers to help Geoff find the anchor when the weather is better, explaining that we have scuba gear. We have a good chat, they are heading home to Townsville where they live. They also have Naomi's parents aboard as well as a two year old boy and a nine week old. We tell them to call us on the radio if they need assistance and also when they want to recover the anchor.
We have lunch and then Michael adds two stroke to Thunderbird 2's tank and empties the first of the 20 litre containers into the smaller containers. By now it is 1345 and the wind has dropped back to 15 to 20 knots again. Michael has for a while thought that our battery ammeter is not all that accurate. We know that it is not taking into account the amps produced by the wind generator, but it seems to him that there are other problems.
He goes on the internet and finally finds a manual for the ammeter. This gives him some idea about the connections and how it works. It seems that it does not actually measure the amps, but uses a formula to calculate incoming and outgoing amps. He plays with it a bit and now also knows how to adjust the settings. It looks like the settings for the batteries might be wrong, we know that we have gel batteries rather than lead acid, so the setting for this is incorrect.
However, we need to reset a couple of settings but cannot do this till there are no incoming amps from the solar panels. Later he resets this and it seems a bit better.
At 1340 we put the generator on to heat water for a shower. We head to shore while this is running, back to the lagoon. We go for a walk for about 15 minutes along the beach and then head back to Thunderbird 2. It is very open once we get out a bit, we are far more protected where we are anchored.
There is a bit of drizzle starting as we head back. We finish heating the water and have showers, very nice after not having one for three days. We have sundowners and then Kelly makes pork pesto pasta for dinner.
The weather gets worse after we get back on the boat. From 1830 the wind blows a constant 25 knots with lots of 30 knot gusts. This lasts for over 30 minutes, and even after that it is still blowing very strong. There is also a lot of rain, some heavy.
South Sydney Rabbitohs are playing tonight against the Wests Balmain Tigers. We tune the TV and watch the match. Souths lose 36 to 6, just confirming my earlier views that Souths cannot win the competition this year.
None as we did not move.
Saturday 13 June 2015 - Great Keppel Island
It was a bit calmer during the night and at 0530 the anchor alarm went off, the first time since we arrived at Great Keppel. The wind picked up a bit to 15 knots too. We get up late at 0840 as it has been raining.
We have breakfast and then take Veto to Svendsens Beach for a run. We walk over to the tiny beach behind where there are a couple of gutters. This would be a very nice beach when the seas are calm, but today you would be crazy to enter the water.
|The boats have all gathered to the west of
Svendsens Beach due to seas and shallow water
|At the small beach over from Svendsens Beach
We go back to Catlypso and Michael has a look at the house batteries. When we purchased her, we were told there was 800 amp hours of batteries. Michael has a good look and as far as he can see, this is incorrect. There are two Lifeline GLP-8DA AGM batteries. These are 255 amp hours each, giving 510. There are also four batteries that are also AGM, but we cannot see what make or model they are. From the size of them, they must be at least 100 amp hours each. This means we have 910 amp hours rather than the 800 amp hours we thought.
What has led Michael to investigate this further is that despite our ammeter showing that our amp hours are below 50%, the voltage in the batteries is indicating we are almost, if not, full. He has already worked out that the ammeter works on an algorithm rather than actually measuring amp hours remaining and also does not count the wind generator input.
Michael searches the internet and finds the specifications for the larger batteries. This shows that if the voltage is 12.8 volts or higher, then the batteries are at 100% charge. Michael turns off all the power and also the wind generator and the solar panels. He leaves it for a while and sees that our house batteries are at 12.9 volts. Based on the specifications, this means they are full.
He then turns everything back on and changes the ammeter settings to give a maximum of 910 amp hours and also resetting the level to 910. We will see what happens. By the way, 12.5 volt is 75%, 12.2 volt is 50% and 11.9 volt 25%.
|Michael about to dive to look for the anchor
|Geoff and his father-in-law in front of Spy Panda
After lunch Naomi from Spy Panda calls on the VHF and says that Geoff has marked where he thinks the anchor was when it was lost. She also advises that it was the chain that broke as there are 7 metres missing. Geoff is out snorkelling, but the visibility is very poor. We say we will grab snorkelling gear and come over. She later calls and says that Geoff is coming over to see us as the visibility is so bad he cannot see the bottom even though it is only just over two metres deep.
When he comes over, Michael has put his scuba gear together and we head out soon after. Once on site, we see where Geoff has put a buoy where he things the anchor should be. We drop an anchor a bit behind and Michael enters the water and starts a search.
He first does a search in the line of his buoy and our anchor and a bit either side. The visibility is less than 0.25 metre. No luck. He then starts a grid pattern search, 15 kicks to the north-east, two kicks to the south-east, then 15 to the south-west. This brings him back to the centreline of the search. He does another 15 kicks south-west before going two to the south-east and heading back to the north-west for 30 kicks. He repeats this on a centreline to the south-east and then north-west which is the way the anchor should be lying.
Despite repeating this a few times and seeing underwater the anchor of the buoy, our dinghy anchor, their dinghy anchor and the backup anchor chain and rope from Spy Panda, he does not sight the anchor or chain. Michael spends 51 minutes searching before giving up. He agrees to give it another go tomorrow when hopefully the swell has dropped and the visibility increased.
|Sunset from sundowners on Svendsens Beach
|Michael at right with others around the fire at sundowners
Back at the boat, Michael has a luke warm shower to wash off the salt after the dive. At 1630 we head to shore to have sundowners where we had them three nights ago. About 15 attend, it is a nice evening, despite a very heavy downpour towards the end. The owner of the resort at the end of the beach, Carl Svendsen, is there with his wife. She is the one who created the walking track signs, we compliment her on this. Carl has lived here for 58 years!
We head back to Catlypso once the rain clears and are home by 1835. Kelly cooked dinner before we left so she finishes it off. We have chinese stir fry beef and noodles. We watch some TV before heading to bed at 2115.
None as we did not move.
Sunday 14 June 2015 - Great Keppel Island
It was calm overnight till 0345 when the wind changes to an easterly and the swell picks up a bit. We have an awful rock and roll from then on and we sleep badly. Also, the anchor alarm goes off at the same time and a few more times during the next few hours as we turn around a fair bit. At 0730 the wind goes back to south so it is better.
Michael gets up at 0800 and takes Veto to shore for a run. Just as he leaves the beach, a huge rainstorm comes over and he and Veto get totally soaked. On the way back he drops into Spy Panda to confirm arrangements for after lunch when he will again use his scuba gear to look for their anchor. He comes back to Catlypso and we have breakfast.
The wind is all over the place and Catlypso is turning a lot. Over half the boats have now left the anchorage as the wind is a bit down on the past few days. We are staying as we promised to look for Spy Panda's anchor. At 1030 we attempt to go to Leekes Beach near the lagoon entrance to go for a walk to the resort. However, it is now too shallow to get anywhere near the beach and further along the sea is too rough.
We head back to Svendsens Beach and go for a walk there. At the end, when we attempt to launch back off the beach, we get swamped by two small waves that break on us. We are both soaked and Thunderbird 2 gets a lot of water in her. We have to pull out the bung as we motor back to let all the water out.
|Michael at the entrance to the lagoon, Leekes Beach
|One of the amazing patterns made
by crabs when feeding
A few more boats come into the bay and after lunch we head over to Spy Panda to have another look for their anchor. Last night we recalculated where the anchor was dropped and both Geoff and Michael have come up with spots about five metres apart. The water is looking a lot dirtier today, so it is not looking good.
Michael descends down Thunderbird 2's anchor line and attaches a 20 metre rope to the anchor. The visibility is about 150 mm, he can barely see his hands when he puts them in front of his face. As he attaches the rope to the anchor, he cannot let go of the chain as he will never find it again.
He swims out to the south and pulling the rope behind him till it is taut. He then swims in an anti-clockwise direction keeping the rope as tight as he can. This way the rope is running across the sand bottom. If there is anything in between him and the anchor, he should feel it. He does a complete 360 degree circle without striking anything at all. The anchor is not in this spot.
Due to the extremely bad visibility (fine sand floating because of the swell this morning), there is no point searching further as the anchor could be half a metre away and he would not see it. We feel so terrible about them losing their brand new anchor. By the way, it appears it was a link in the chain that failed as seven metres of chain is missing as well as the anchor. Geoff and Naomi later head off for Rosslyn Bay as the rough conditions have been bad for them and their children's sleep.
Back at the boat Michael warms up with a cup of tea before putting the two tanks on the dive compressor for filling. At 1600 we go to Leekes Beach, it is now easy to land at the lagoon entrance. We walk for about 25 minutes each way along the beach.
We have sundowners and then chicken schnitzel and mash potato for dinner. Tomorrow we plan to head to Rosslyn Bay and the marina as we need to do some washing and also get more supplies for the next month or so.
None as we did not move.
Monday 15 June 2015 - Great Keppel Island to Rosslyn Bay
We had the best night's sleep for over a week as the wind dropped and the swell also became smoother. Michael gets up at 0800 and takes Veto to the lagoon for a run. There is not much sand here at high tide that is for sure. He meets a couple from a monohull who have been stuck at Rosslyn Bay by the weather for most of the past week. They tell him they had the worst night's sleep. Benefits of catamarans perhaps?
Back for breakfast, Michael later checks the oil, water and makes a minor adjustment to the port engine v-belt. We pull up the anchor at 1015 and motor out heading for the marina at Rosslyn Bay. Within a few minutes we have the screecher out in a 16 to 22 knot south-easterly. This wind stays much the same for the trip to Rosslyn Bay.
|Leaving Great Keppel Island
|Sailing towards Rosslyn Bay, check out the filthy water
We are doing 4.5 to 5.5 knots at first and we go around Miall Island as this is easier. Once we turn from there, we sit on 6 to 6.5 knots all the way across. At 1150 we pull in the screecher and at 1210 we enter Rosslyn Bay Harbour. This is a man made marina type harbour and we have booked a berth for two nights at the Keppel Bay Marina. This is huge and we have a spot one leg in and two berths in.
After our problems with marinas, we are a bit apprehensive about this one. However, it is a very easy approach. We have a worker on the arm to catch our lines, this is very important as there is a 15 knot minimum wind from behind us. We end up tying up okay, although the worker could have been a bit quicker on pulling the stern line in when he got it. We also get some assistance from Wayne from Walkabout who are two berths from us.
After we are all tied up, Kelly goes to pay and work out where the laundry etc is located. When she comes back, we take all our washing with us and put on as many loads as we can ($4 each for wash and dry). We end up doing four loads of washing. While we are waiting, we have an excellent lunch at the marina cafe, one meal and some hot chips between us is more than enough.
After all the washing and drying is done, we take it back to Catlypso and then take the empty petrol and diesel containers to the petrol station. This is located to the east of the boat ramps (east of the marina) and only a short walk away. We have a portable trolley that makes it easier (you could use the marina's trolleys). We fill both with 22 litres at a good price (diesel only $1.33 a litre).
|Approaching the Rosslyn Bay harbour
|Dinner, from left, Wayne, Kelly, Michael,
Lyn, Brian, Jillian and Tahleah
We have already arranged with Wayne and Jillian from Walkabout to go out for dinner tonight. We had planned to go to the yacht club, but this is tiny and does not seem to open every day and seems to have food only on Fridays. They suss out a restaurant near the petrol station, so we make plans to go there at 1800. We have long, hot showers, so good to spend more than one minute under a shower!
We go the restaurant with Wayne, Jillian and their daughter Tahleah. Also there are Brian and Lyn from the other Lightwave, As If. We have a great dinner, a very enjoyable evening.
We come back to Catlypso and relax before bed.
Tuesday 16 June 2015 - Rosslyn Bay
It rained a bit during the night, especially in the early morning. Michael gets up at 0800 and takes Veto for a walk on the park near the marina buildings. We then have breakfast and once we have finished, we change the oil in the sail drives. You cannot get all the oil out unless the boat is out of the water.
Using a pump, you can only extract about one third of the oil each go, so we are changing it gradually. Michael changed one third before we left Sydney. We figure that by doing it three times we have almost totally changed the oil. We will change again further up the coast. This takes quite a while to do as it is fiddly.
After this Michael climbs the mast. We have steps on the mast, so he really does climb it. He has a safety harness on and Kelly uses the main sail halyard to keep Michael's harness tight so that if he slips he will not fall more than a few hundred millimetres. Michael's aim is to look at the anchor light which has basically not worked this whole trip. It does work sometimes, but it is normally very dim. In addition, when we sailed down to Sydney from the Gold Coast last year, the tricolor light (navigation lights) which sits above the anchor light fell off and nearly hit Kelly. Michael hopes to reinstall this.
|Looking down from the top of the mast. Michael is attempting to repair the anchor light and tricolor.
Michael has been up the mast before, but not right to the top. His tools and the tricolor are hauled up the mast by Kelly using a spare halyard. Michael climbs up but when he nears the top, it is a bit hard as there is a spot where there is no step on the port side. Why the hell there is not one is anyone's guess. He has to put his foot on the genoa furler to push up.
At the top, he takes off the anchor light cover/lens and sees why it is not working. The LED appears to have broken between the light part and the terminal pins. He wriggles it around a bit, but all he seems to get is three LEDs alight. He decides to take the cover down with him and see if he can at least get the tricolor working. It is too hard to do this up there, as the screws that fell out are tiny, the nuts even more so. He climbs back down.
It is now almost noon, so we need to get ready to go shopping. The marina has a courtesy car which we have booked for two hours from 1230. We get the car, a tiny two door hatch, and head off to Yeppoon. This is about 8 kilometres away, but there is a detour which adds at least 8 minutes to the trip.
We go to Yeppoon Central Shopping Centre where there is a Woolworths, Big W, liquor store and more. Everything you need for a regular shop is there. We spend up big, almost $500 worth of groceries. We have not done a real decent shop since Sydney, so this is not too bad for six weeks. We do not expect to do another big shop for at least six weeks. We get some more beer and wine as well.
We also purchase another carbon dioxide cylinder for our Soda Stream as we do not want to run out. We also go to the local Mitre 10 hardware store to get a few things, a mallet (to replace the one that broke in Port Macquarie), dowel (for a fuel dipstick for Thunderbird 2), contact adhesive, some 100 x 18 mm board (cut into one metre lengths) and a box for our screwdrivers.
We also go to the BCF store to get some rope for a new anchor line for Thunderbird 2, some stainless steel polish and salt treatment spray for the anchor chain. We also get another four litres of gear oil for the sail drive so we can do another change.
All this takes us two hours and that was really rushing it. Back at the marina a bloke on our marina arm helps us take our things down in the little trolleys. It takes ages for us to put everything away, especially as all the meat needs to be broken up into meal sized portions and labelled.
While Kelly is finishing this off, Michael fills the water tanks and containers. We end up taking, as far as Michael can guess, about 286 litres, most in the port tank which was almost empty and the four containers. This is the first water we have added (apart from watermaker) in four weeks. We think that we have used about 750 litres in four weeks which means 12.5 litres a day per person (this excludes water used for flushing the watermaker).
Michael installed the timber that we bought for the engine room. If you have read about Catlypso in detail on this site, you would be aware that the engine rooms have an upper and lower compartment. The lower is where the engine is located, the upper is a storage area. However, the frames that hold the floor in place are very flimsy. For the port one, we had Kelly's Dad Tomas modify it to make it work better. However, we did not get him to do the starboard one. Well, of course this one also failed early in the trip, the frame ripping out of the fibreglass surround.
As a temporary measure, Michael has purchased an almost four metre long piece of 100 x 18 mm timber and had it cut into four pieces. He now places two pieces in each compartment. On the port side these will support the five 20 litre diesel containers. On the starboard side, they will be used to support Michael each time he needs to go in there to look at the engine. He has already fallen through the floor a couple of times.
When we are each separately walking back from having showers, we both notice that our anchor light is working. Not only is it working, it is brighter than we have ever seen it. What the hell! Looks like Michael will have to go up the mast again tomorrow. He decides to see if he can use some Superglue to hold the pins in place.
We then walk to the Capricornia Cruising Yacht Club. This overlooks the harbour/marina. It is very small but nice, lots of great timber decking and tables. We have a couple of beers. It is also dog friendly, so Veto is with us. It closes at 1900 (at least on Tuesdays), so we walk back to Catlypso.
We have dinner of roast chicken (great special at Woolies today) and creamy pasta. We do some updating of web sites etc and then go to bed. Tomorrow we will look at the anchor light again and then head off, probably to North Keppel Island.
None as we did not move.
Wednesday 17 June 2015 - Rosslyn Bay to North Keppel Island
Michael gets up at 0750 and takes Veto for a walk. We have breakfast and then Michael goes up the mast again. The wind is light and from the north. His arms and legs are hurting a bit from yesterday's effort, but he needs to go up while the weather is good.
He takes with him the combined anchor light cover and the tricolor which fits on top. He also has a tube of superglue and a pair of multigrips. Unlike yesterday when the bits went up in a separate bag on another halyard, this time he has them in a bag over his neck. Once he gets to the top, he appraises the situation again.
Michael removes the glue from around the LED globe. This seems to have been put there by a previous owner to fix the problem. Once this is removed, he sees what the problem is. The globe has two prongs, a bit like a normal halogen downlight. The sockets where these plug in is very loose. He uses his fingernail to try to make the sockets tighter. He then attempts to put the globe in. This takes a number of efforts as the prongs have been bent quite a few times by the previous repair attempts.
Finally, he has the globe in and it is working. He then superglues the bulb body to the surround of the socket. First part finished. He then turns to the tricolor. He takes this out and pushes it into the bayonet type fitting in the base. It goes in but straight away Michael sees he has made a mistake, a big one. When he put the two parts together last night, it looks like he has put the anchor light lens on the wrong way around. This means the tricolor is back to front, so it will give the wrong colours and be facing backwards. Shit!
|Michael right at the top of the mast
|Sailing towards North Keppel Island
What to do? The anchor light lens does not have a forward direction marker like the base and the tricolor. Why? He decides to use the multigrips to break off one of the lugs that guide the lens into the base and lock it in place. He nips off a few pieces and tries again. It still will not go in, but it is only just missing out. A few attempts to tidy the work up fails as he cannot get a clean grip on the lug to break of off more. He decides to put it on back to front and go up another time to fix it up.
After Michael comes down, Kelly suggests that she could have sent up in another bag our file so he could have fixed the problem. Yes, that would have worked, pity Michael did not think of it before he came down. Anyway, we now seem to have an anchor light that works.
Just after this a small squall comes through with winds that hit 30 knots according to a boat near us. Luckily Michael was already down.
The boat next to us is called Best Seller. We had seen them at Pancake Creek about 10 days ago. Michael speaks to Jim, the owner, and asks the origin of the name. As we suspected, it is because his wife is a best seller. She is Anne Rennie and written seven best selling novels.
Later, he comes over to give Michael one of her books to read. Kelly is now present and when she hears her name she exclaims "She is my favourite author". Turns out Kelly has read all of her books. Anne later comes out and Kelly is thrilled to met and talk to her. We end up meeting again in the Whitsundays.
The weather is now a bit better so we decide to leave. Jim helps us with our lines as we reverse out. We head out of the marina at 1125 and once outside we pull out the screecher in about 15 to 17 knots of wind. This is from the north and we are heading about 60 degrees, so we are close hauled all the way to North Keppel Island.
|Kelly and Veto relaxing as we near North Keppel Island
|A brilliant rainbow at North Keppel Island,
Walkabout at far right
The wind varies a bit up and down, from 10 to 22 knots and for a short while goes to north-west. We make anywhere from 3.5 to 7.3 knots, mostly around 5 knots. We end up not being able to sail exactly to the point we wanted and at 1255 we pull in the screecher and turn on one engine and motor the rest of the way.
We decide to anchor in Considine Bay off the southern end of the main beach. We motored around a bit before checking out the depth. It is very shallow anywhere within a few hundred metres of the beach. We anchor in 3 metres about two hours before low tide. We estimate that the depth will get to about 2.3 metres at low. This turns out to be correct.
A few rain squalls come over and then we see a front approaching from the south. We get some strong wind and a lot of rain but it soon passes. After this we have very light winds which come from all directions over the coming hours.
|A panoramic photograph looking from our anchor spot in Considine Bay
The huge marine parks boat comes in and anchors to the west of us. We saw it at Pancake Creek 11 days ago. So much for taking Veto to the beach, but as it turns out, the weather really blocked this anyway. Meanwhile, Wayne and Jillian on Walkabout have anchored in two places before moving to a third one close into the beach from us. They only draw 0.6 metre so can go much shallower than us.
Michael decides to have a look at the windex which is again not working properly. When we left Sydney it was not providing the wind direction but within half a day it was working. However, it has not worked since we arrived at Great Keppel Island. Michael pulls out the port engine controls to get to the back of the wind display. He fiddles with it a bit and it is working. It seems that the relevant wire might be getting pushed on the hole cut for the instrument. He thinks if it happens again, all he will need to do is push the instrument up and it will work.
He also pulls off the connector for the engine hour meter which is not displaying for 90% of the time. He also puts some WD40 on the connector, but it makes no difference. Maybe it will work later.
We have sundowners and then Michael cooks creamy pasta for dinner. We are happy, our anchor light is working and can easily be seen, this is a first.
The second match of the rugby league State of Origin series is on tonight. We watch it, hoping NSW will get up over Queensland and level the series. NSW ends up winning 26 to 18 at the MCG in front of 91,000 people.
Thursday 18 June 2015 - North Keppel Island to Pearl Bay
It was calm overnight but about 0400 it gets a bit bumpy. We get up at 0600 to find a relatively thick fog blankets everything. We have breakfast and at 0710 we up anchor and motor out from North Keppel Island. The wind which was blowing 8 to 10 knots drops back to 5 knots.
We have one engine at 2200 rpm giving us 5.5 knots. The wind picks up again so we hoist the spinnaker. However, we have it tangled and have to pull it down before refixing its sheets. We soon have it up and flying. While we are doing this we notice a wave break to the north-west of Conical Rocks. This is only marked on our chartplotter by a single + symbol, nothing else. We have to dodge this before going back to our course.
|The view of the mainland with all the fog this morning
|Kelly and Veto on the foredeck with spinnaker flying
Once the spinnaker is up, we pick up about half a knot and drop the engine revs back to 2000 rpm. For the next hour we have the spinnaker collapse every 10 minutes or so because the wind drops or moves a bit to the west. In the end we re-rig the spinnaker so it is attached to the port and starboard screecher sheets meaning it is straight out in front. This is better as it now stays mostly full. The wind varies from 5 to 12 knots, but mostly 5 to 7 knots. We sit on about 5.5 knots with the engine running, but occasionally hitting 7 knots. It is really quite spectacular country along here, it is all part of the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area and the land is out of bounds to everyone.
At 1030 we pull down the spinnaker as the wind is consistently less than 5 knots. We have a couple of other yachts around us, one matches our speed while the other pulls ahead. Must have both engines running we think. At put the screecher out at 1200 and gain half a knot. We pass Port Clinton at 1310. We have now decided to go only to Pearl Bay rather than further on to Island Head Creek.
|One of the dolphins leaps high out of the water
|The entrance from the south into Pearl Bay is narrow
We pass between Delcomyn Island and the mainland despite the chart saying this is not surveyed. We have a book that shows it is okay to do this. There is a two knot current against us here and it causes some waves to stand up a bit. We take the narrow entrance into Pearl Bay, fairly easy really, although we later meet a yacht who hit rocks here and caused $20,000 of damage.
|A panoramic photograph looking out from the beach in Pearl Bay
Pearl Bay is pretty nice, a fairly protected bay with three excellent beaches. It is relatively shallow as far as we can see, but there is plenty of space to anchor. There are a couple of boats here already and a few more will soon come in. We anchor in 2.8 metres. We figure that this will drop to 1.9 metres when the tide is low in about two hours. We are anchored by 1455.
After tidying up the boat a bit, we go ashore and Veto gets her first run since yesterday morning. She has a great time. The beach is very wide. Although this is a military base, you are allowed to go on the beaches, but no further. We end up meeting Michael and Karen from True Companions who we spoke to a few days ago at drinks on Great Keppel Island. They have come from Port Clinton.
|A panoramic photograph of Michael and Veto on Peal Bay Beach
We go back to Catlypso for a short while. A stinkboat that comes in flies a drone around once he has anchored. Kelly really wants to get one to take video and photos of us. Maybe for next year.
We later go ashore again for another walk. We decide to stay here tomorrow it is so nice. We head back to Catlypso and have showers, sundowners and then Kelly cooks a chicken curry. Michael again hauls his phone up the mast to try to give us some internet access to update this site. However, we get no access, despite occasionally getting one bar on the phone while at anchor. We read some more before bed.
Click here to read next part
Return to Our Yachting Adventures