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Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
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  • My Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
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    2017 Trip - August/September - Hinchinbrook Channel to Keswick Island
    Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Sailing to Queensland, Winter 2017 - Part 10

    Latest update 20 September 2017

    Click here for previous part of this trip.

    Monday 28 August 2017 – Hinchinbrook Channel, Haycock Island to Scraggy Point

    It was an extremely calm night. Michael gets up at 0630 and takes some photographs and when we get up properly at 0800, the water was still glassy. We have breakfast and do some cleaning. After morning tea we pull up anchor and head off further up Hinchinbrook Channel.

    Another panoramic photograph of Haycock Island and the anchorage, this time it is morning – how glassy is the water!

    We motor for a short distance before pulling out the screecher. The wind is anywhere between 7 and 15 knots, mostly from almost behind. We also have a current of 0.2 knots increasing to 0.5 knots against us as the tide is incoming and we have passed the spot where the two tides meet. With the sail we make about 5.2 knots.

    Like yesterday, some of the navigation lights shown in our guidebook and on our charts are not there. These are mostly leads. They are not really needed as the channel is wide and pretty obvious. The tidal change is said to be at Paluma Creek, but we think it changed well before then. Anyway, Paluma and the next creek, Gayundah look like very protected spots.

    Heading up Hinchinbrook Channel Another shot of Hinchinbrook Island,
    this time from near Scraggy Point

    We pull in the sail past Paluma Creek as the wind drops to less than 2 knots and also goes on the nose. As we near Scraggy Point, we pass Applejack who we have seen many times, both in person and on AIS. At 1345 we drop anchor about 300 metres off the beach in 2.5 metres. We have now sailed 1510 nautical miles since we left the Gold Coast just over four months ago.

    At 1500 we go to the beach. As this is known crocodile territory, although we are very unlikely to encounter one, we make sure we are aware of what is in the water and on the beach before we land. The water is relatively clean so we can see there are no lurking crocs, and the beach is clear and has no signs of crocs entering or leaving the water. We go on shore and have a look around.

    Catlypso anchored off Scraggy PointLooking out from the beach at Scraggy Point

    This is a camping area, not sure if we would want to camp here, even though the chances of being attacked by a crocodile would be very low. We see that a large wallaby has jumped along the beach, at least it is not worried! We head back after about 20 minutes.

    The wind increases to 12 knots and turns north-easterly. It is very protected here. Michael spends some time creating new waypoints on our laptop for the trip to Cairns. He then transfers them to the chart plotter and makes up the routes for the final northern legs of this year’s trip.

    We then have showers (at least Kelly does) and sundowners (no grog for both of us today). Kelly is a bit better than yesterday, but still not 100% (or even 60%). We have some Chinese dim sums for dinner, reasonable, but not as good as the last ones we had. We read and then go to bed at 2100.


  • Departure time: 1055
  • Arrival time: 1345
  • Distance covered: 13.6 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 4.9 knots
  • Maximum speed: 5.9 knots
  • Engine hours: 3.1 hours
  • Elapsed time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Position at night: S18º 17.326' E146º 06.206'
  • Tuesday 29 August 2017 – Scraggy Point, Hinchinbrook Channel to Dunk Island

    We had a pretty calm night but Michael was awake from 0500, so he is a bit tired when we get up at 0710. Kelly is still not feeling great, this flu is very hard to get over. We have breakfast and at 0815 we leave.

    It is quite calm and sunny but once we pass Hecate Point (0855) we get a bit more wind and the new direction means we can pull out the screecher. We motorsail at 5.2 knots with a tide in our favour of 0.5 knot. The wind is 8 knots. However, at 0930 the wind dies and we pull the sail in .

    A panoramic photograph as we leave Hinchinbrook Channel for Dunk Island.

    At Bedarra Island (home of a very, very expensive resort) we put the screecher back out as the wind is back up to 7 knots. We pull it in as we round the western point of Dunk Island. As you can imagine, the seas have been absolutely calm, glassy at times. We anchor off the island’s airstrip at 1320.

    We head into the beach and give Veto a run on the sand spit. We have a couple of swims and Veto comes in as well. After this we go for a walk. There is a small café near the (public) wharf which apparently opens on weekends, public holidays and school holidays. The airstrip is in good condition and planes are permitted to land here ($75 fee).

    Catlypso leaving Hinchinbrook, Goold Island at left The airstrip at Dunk Island

    The resort is mostly derelict, still not repaired after Cyclone Yasi in 2011. Only one accommodation block is in good order, most are missing some or even all of their roof. There are at least seven blokes doing work, cutting grass etc, but no work seems to have been done to all but one accommodation block which is presumably where they are living.

    The dining and bar area seems to have been cleaned up, if not repaired. The pool is crystal clean, with tables and chairs around it. We later hear that a billfish fishing event is on next weekend and they will be staying here (presumably on their boats).

    One of the wrecked accommodation buildings on Dunk IslandThe bar/dining area and pool, seemingly repaired

    We have another swim and then go back to Catlypso. Dunk Island has the best potential of any of the resort islands we have seen while cruising. It has the only beaches that are not mud at low tide and deep enough to actually swim without walking 200 metres from the sand. There are a few boats here, including two huge motor yachts.

    A panoramic photograph of the beach in front of the resort on Dunk Island

    Michael takes Veto into the beach later for another run. We have showers and then sundowners. The wind picks up to 12 knots but later it drops back to 7 knots. We have Scotch fillet, sausage and salad for dinner. We go to bed at 2130.


  • Departure time: 0815
  • Arrival time: 1320
  • Distance covered: 23.0 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 4.5 knots
  • Maximum speed: 6.1 knots
  • Engine hours: 5.4 hours
  • Elapsed time: 5 hours 05 minutes
  • Position at night: S17º 55.971' E146º 08.210'
  • Wednesday 30 August 2017 – Dunk Island to Haycock Island, Hinchinbrook Channel

    It was a bit sloppy till 2300 and then calm till about 0430 when it got a bit rolly again. The wind is less than 4 knots when we get up at 0710.

    Last night we looked at the forecast for the coming week in the area between here and Cairns. The predictions were not good, with winds over 25 knots till about Monday. This would mean we could not get to Cairns till about late Tuesday at the earliest. We decided to look at it again this morning after the new forecast is issued. It is no better. We decide that this weather would delay us at least a week or more, so we decide to turn around and start heading back to Sydney. The forecast for south of here is much better for the same period.

    We have breakfast and at 0805 we leave. The wind is 7 knots and we motorsail with the genoa close hauled. We do 4.4 knots into a current. By 1025 the wind has died we pull the sail in. By 1130 the wind picks up and turns to the south-east from the previous south-west. We pull out the screecher and turn off the engine. We are doing anywhere from 4.7 to 5.5 knots into a 1.0 knot current.

    The peaks on Hinchinbrook Island really are spectacular Two of the dolphins we saw tonight

    As we round Hecate Point into Hinchinbrook Channel, the wind goes back to south-west so we motor only. Later we have the genoa out to help, at times we are making 6.2 knots. At 1610 we anchor off Haycock Island where we were two nights ago. There are two other yachts here, one is Thor which we first saw four months ago on Moreton Bay.

    We have showers and while having sundowners, we ring Michael’s 82 year old Mum. She has just got home from hospital where she has been since Sunday suffering from a bad case of the flu, the same type Kelly probably has. She is much better. We have yellow curry chicken and rice for dinner and go to bed at 2100 as we are getting up early tomorrow.


  • Departure time: 0805
  • Arrival time: 1610
  • Distance covered: 36.6 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 4.5 knots
  • Maximum speed: 6.4 knots
  • Engine hours: 7.8 hours
  • Elapsed time: 8 hours 05 minutes
  • Position at night: S18º 28.431' E146º 13.246'
  • Thursday 30 August 2017 – Haycock Island, Hinchinbrook Channel to Orpheus Island

    It was a very calm night and at 0545 we get up. We are underway by 0600, there is enough light to see where we are going. We have a very nice sunrise as we motor out. The tide changes about 40 minutes after the high by our computer. As we go, we have tea and coffee and then muesli.

    An hour and a half later sees us passing the molasses wharf at Lucinda. This is not used any more, but part of it is maintained as a fishing spot. We follow the main channel using the leads. The shallowest spot is right before the depth starts to drop deeper. We have 1.6 metres under our keel, that is, 2.7 litres deep all told. This means there was only about 0.9 metres at this spot at a 0.0 tide.

    Just before sunrise as we hear down Hinchinbrook Channel The molasses wharf, now abandoned, partly used for fishing

    We leave the entrance channel and head towards Orpheus Island. The wind goes to about 15 knots and we head straight into it. We also have about a 1.0 knot current against us. We run at 3400 rpm and do about 4.4 knots. As we near Orpheus Island, a tug goes past the channel between Orpheus and Pelorus Islands. It is towing a very large barge. All the moorings at Little Pioneer Bay are taken, so we anchor to the south of the yellow marker at 1010.

    Once we have a bit of a relax, we decide to do oil changes for both engines. We pump out the starboard oil and then fill it with new oil. We then do the port one. The port engine had cleaner oil than the starboard engine, no idea why considering they were both changed at the same time and about the same number of hours. It was about 170 hours rather than 150 as it should be, but a lot of hours was only idling while dropping or raising the anchor.

    We then decide to change the oil in both sail drives. Well, the oil was awful and very bad. We remove as much oil as we can using the pump and then put new gearbox oil in each drive. We will do this again in the next few days again. Later Michael checks the manual and realises that the drives should be changed every 100 hours. We thought it should be 250 hours but now know that SD20 is 100 hours and the SD50 250 hours. It is 280 hours since we changed the oil! Oops! Hopefully there is no damage to the sail drives.

    A tug towing a very large barge between Orpheus and Pelorus IslandsMichael in the port engine room changing the oil

    We are very hot and sweaty from changing the oil, so Michael has a swim and Kelly a cold shower. After lunch Kelly goes to bed as she is still sick and helping Michael change the oil has tired her. Michael sunbake and reads. Four of the yachts anchored and moored head off over the afternoon, two to Hinchinbrook Channel, one heads north and one south. We decided to stay anchored rather than move to one of the moorings.

    The wind is about 12 knots from the east and it is very calm here. At 1620 we go to the beach for a walk. We have showers and then sundowners. Michael makes fried rice and then we cook lamb loin chops with the fried rice. We listen to the radio and read. We decide to stay here tomorrow and if the yacht near us leaves, we will move to the mooring near us. We go to bed at 2130.


  • Departure time: 0600
  • Arrival time: 1010
  • Distance covered: 18.7 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 4.5 knots
  • Maximum speed: 5.4 knots
  • Engine hours: 4.4 hours
  • Elapsed time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Position at night: S18º 35.931' E146º 29.267'
  • Friday 1 September 2017 – Orpheus Island

    The wind was at least 12 knots the whole night, but the seas were calm. We get up at 0800 and the wind is blowing 17 knots from the south-east. After breakfast, Kelly takes Michael to the beach and drops him off. Kelly is still sick from the flu, so does not feel like walking to the top of the island.

    Michael heads off, it is an easy walk along a well defined track. A few minutes from the beach there is a very old stone hut. This has fallen down on one side, but the other walls are pretty intact. Not sure what it was built for, probably a grazing lease at one time. Michael continues the walk to the top of the hill overlooking Little Pioneer Bay.

    The old stone hut just behind the eastern end of the beach A close up of the bay from the hill, Catlypso in centre

    It does not take long to get to the top (well, it is not really the top, just the top of the ridge between the eastern and western sides of the island), perhaps 15 minutes. The views from here are fantastic, you can see Palm and Fantome Islands as well as back into the anchorage. He takes a few photos and then heads back, calling Kelly on the VHF when he gets closer. She and Veto come and pick him up.

    A panoramic photograph from high on Orpheus Island. Palm Island at left rear, Catlypso is middle boat

    While Michael was up the hill, the boat on the mooring next to us left. We decide to pull up anchor and move to the mooring. This only takes us a few minutes. After lunch, Michael decides to go for a scuba dive. As Kelly is still sick, he will do a solo dive. When he and Ian were here a few weeks ago, they did a snorkel on the point to the south of us and said it was nice. This is where he is going to dive and last weekend we saw a professional dive boat there.

    Michael gets all his gear together and runs over in Thunderbird 2 and anchors off the point. He dives to the south around the point and then back to the anchor and to the north-east. He sees a nice nudibranch (magnicient chromodoris), some large parrotfish, lots of butterflyfish, an anemone (but no clownfish), a Moorish idol and more. The hard and soft corals are very good here and there are plenty of large seawhips.

    A magnificient chromodoris, a very
    colourful species of nudibranch
    A small goby on a sea whip

    The visibility is not fantastic, perhaps seven metres. The water is very nice at 24.3⁰C. He exits the water after 45 minutes and comes back to the boat. Later he flushes the watermaker, refuels the generator and then runs it for 30 minutes to heat water for showers.

    Later we watch as a ship is manoeuvred into the sugar wharf by two tugs, we can see them on AIS and through the binoculars. We also spot a mother and baby humpback whale slowly swim past about 300 metres from us.

    The mother and baby humpback whales that
    swam past right on sunset

    After showers and sundowners, we have roast pork rack and vegies. Michael then watches South Sydney play Parramatta on his phone. Despite getting killed last week, Souths play really good and were very unlucky to lose, going down 22 to 16. Considering perhaps the eight best players were out sick or injured, a huge turnaround from last week. We go to bed at 2200. The wind this afternoon has been 15 to 17 knots and even gusts of 23 knots. It is a lot calmer now.

    Saturday 2 September 2017 – Orpheus Island to Palm Island

    It poured rain about 0400 for 45 minutes and then there was some more later. When we get up at 0800 it is very overcast and rain is threatening, although we do not get any more. After breakfast Kelly does some cleaning. Before lunch four boats come from the AIMS research station and the school kids in them snorkel where Michael dived yesterday.

    We have lunch and then at 1225 we leave the mooring and head south. We motorsail most of the way using the genoa, just pulling it in for the last section which is right into the wind. We make anywhere from 3.3 to 6.2 knots, with over one knot of current against us. The wind varies from 10 to 22 knots.

    Catlypso anchored off the Palm Island runway

    We anchor at 1455 off the middle of the Palm Island runway, where Ian and Michael anchored a few weeks ago. It is pretty calm here, the wind is only 13 to 15 knots and the seas flat. We have a cup of tea and then change the oil in the sail drives again.

    When you change the oil like this (sucking the oil out), you can only get out about one third of the oil each go. We remove this (about 0.7 litre) and then top up with new oil. We noticed today that the sail drives seem to have less vibration and also change into gear with less clunking. Thicker oil!

    We then head to the beach around the corner and give Veto a run. Back on the boat we have showers and sundowners. We see a few more whales and then Kelly makes spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. The wind is now only 8 knots. We go to bed at 2100.


  • Departure time: 1225
  • Arrival time: 1455
  • Distance covered: 11.1 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 4.4 knots
  • Maximum speed: 6.6 knots
  • Engine hours: 2.8 hours
  • Elapsed time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Position at night: S18º 44.497' E146º 34.201'
  • Sunday 3 September 2017 – Palm Island to Magnetic Island

    It was very calm last night. We get up at 0615 and Michael takes Veto to the beach while Kelly gets breakfast ready. We have breakfast and at 0705 we head out. We motor to Miranda Point (the south-western corner of Palm Island) and then pull out the genoa and motor sail.

    At 0800 we swap to the screecher and turn off the engine. We sail at 4.5 to 6.2 knots (current of 0.8 against us) in winds of 12 to 15 knots. At 1020 we have to put the engine back on as the wind has dropped to 9 knots. About 1110 we swap to the genoa again as the wind goes more on the nose.

    We pull the genoa in at 1230 as the wind is again on the nose. We motor the rest of the way and at 1310 we anchor in Horseshoe Bay. We have lunch and then change the oil again in the sail drives. It is still pretty awful even though we have now changed about 100% of it.

    Later we go over to another Lightwave, this one is a 35 footer called Chances. This is owned by Gary and Sue Ryan. We saw them here two years ago as well! We have a bit of a chat and then go to the beach and walk to the west for about 20 minutes before turning around. This is the first good run Veto has had in two weeks.

    We are back by 1710 and have showers and then sundowners. We have leftover spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. There is no wind but it is a bit rolly, probably left from the wind this afternoon which stayed at 15 knots for a long time.


  • Departure time: 0705
  • Arrival time: 1310
  • Distance covered: 28.5 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 5.6 knots
  • Maximum speed: 6.6 knots
  • Engine hours: 5.0 hours
  • Elapsed time: 5 hours 05 minutes
  • Position at night: S19º 06.857' E146º 51.466'
  • Monday 4 September 2017 – Magnetic Island to Townsville

    It was quite rolly all night despite the wind being under three knots. We get up at 0645 and make tea and coffee. We leave at 0705 and motor all the way to Townsville as the only wind is right on the nose. We pull into the marina at 0955 and tie up to the fuel wharf.

    We purchase 176 litres of diesel, the most we have ever bought in one go. Of this, 110 litres goes into the fuel tank and the other 66 litres into our three empty containers. We also get 22 litres of petrol. Note that the diesel and petrol prices are about the same as at a normal service station, amazing! We then move to our berth and at 1020 we are tied up.

    While Michael takes Veto for a walk, Kelly heads off to the doctors to have her cough looked at. This is from the flu that she has had for the past two weeks. After Veto’s walk, Michael takes her back to the boat and then heads off himself. He walks to the bus stop near the Reef HQ building and catches a bus. He goes to Hermit Park and then walks to Castle Town shopping centre.

    At this first centre he purchases a few things from Big W and then walks back to near where he got off the bus to go to SupaCheap Auto. Here gets three containers of gear oil to do some more changes on the sail drives. He catches the bus back, taking a bit over two hours to do his chores. Kelly has been given some tablets for her cough.

    After she gets back, Kelly puts on some washing. She later does two more loads when washers are free and then dries it all. We later dispose of the engine and sail drive oil in the marina's courtesy tanks and Michael exchanges some books at the laundry. This now has much better books than it did three weeks ago, just shows what happens if you put some good ones in like we did.

    We walk up to Coles and Kelly purchases some food items and Michael gets some more beer. After we get back we fill the water tanks and change the sail drive oil once more. We also give back to Eloise, the daughter of our friend Colette, the seven books she gave Michael to read two weeks ago.

    After very long showers, we then order a pizza over the internet at the only place nearby that delivers. We go up to the barbecue area and have some beers till it is delivered. It is quite good. We go to bed at 2130, we are tired from all the walking today.


  • Departure time: 0705
  • Arrival time: 0955
  • Distance covered: 12.1 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 4.3 knots
  • Maximum speed: 5.1 knots
  • Engine hours: 3.4 hours
  • Elapsed time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Position at night: S19º 15.191' E146º 49.412'
  • Tuesday 5 September 2017 – Townsville to Cape Upstart

    We get up at 0530 and while Michael takes Veto for a walk, Kelly makes tea and coffee and then gets the sails ready. We leave at 0600 and once outside the channel to the marina, we haul up the main sail and head for Cape Cleveland.

    Kelly after hauling up the main sailThe lighthouse buildings at Cape Cleveland

    The wind is about 7 to 9 knots from the south, so we pull out the screecher. We are making 5.0 knots with the engine on. We need to average 6 knots to get to Cape Upstart before dark. Three other yachts leave Magnetic Island about the same time and are a bit ahead of us. They are Heatwave (which assisted in the mayday four weeks ago), Subzero which has been shadowing us for the past few days and Cat Play which came from the duckpond outside the marina.

    At Cape Cleveland we turn for Cape Bowling Green, avoiding Four Foot Rock. Trevor from Roma phones, he heard Kelly log on with the coast guard. They have just left Dunk Island and are also heading south. We swap from screecher to genoa and back again, the wind never more than 7 to 10 knots.

    The seas are glassyPassing outside Cape Bowling Green

    We round Cape Bowling Green and the wind increases to 13 to 15 knots. Later it drops to about 10 knots. We pull in the sails as we near the anchorage at Cape Upstart and at 1815 just after sunset we anchor. There is a sunken cruiser near here and it took us a while to figure out where it was (it has a yellow lit bouy). It sank a week or so ago. Also anchored are the three yachts that streaked ahead of us and Notorious, the old style ship we first saw in Port Hacking two and a half years ago.

    NotoriousThe wreck in Shark Bay at Cape Upstart

    Michael takes Veto to the beach while Kelly tidies up. We then have showers, sundowners and Kelly makes beef fajitas. At 1930 it gets very rolly when we turn side on to the swell. At 2045 we go stern on and it is a lot better. We go to bed at 2130.


  • Departure time: 0600
  • Arrival time: 1815
  • Distance covered: 69.0 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 5.6 knots
  • Maximum speed: 7.4 knots
  • Engine hours: 12.6 hours
  • Elapsed time: 12 hours 15 minutes
  • Position at night: S19º 43.268' E147º 45.264'
  • Wednesday 6 September 2017 – Cape Upstart to Gloucester Passage

    It was calm from about 0115 till 0415 when it got a little more rolly. Then from 0500 it was calm again. This was despite there been very little wind all night. We get up at 0615 and Michael takes Veto to the beach. At 0650 we leave.

    The rocks on the north-western corner of Cape UpstartAbbot Point coal loader

    The three boats which sailed with us yesterday (well, ahead of us) all leave about the same time. We motor out with our main sail up and over the next few hours we swap from screecher to genoa to nothing and back again many times. The wind is all over the place and the strength varies from 1 to 10 knots.

    Just before the Abbot Point coal loader we see two or three whales. They swim parallel to us for about 20 minutes before crossing in front of us forcing us to change direction. They then appear behind us and start fin slapping the water only 50 metres away. Brilliant! All the way till here the seas have been millpond, even glassy at times.

    A humpback whale flapping its flipperAnother photo of one of the humpback whales

    Finally, at 1330 we get a decent wind, 15 knots, and we turn off the engine and sail at 5.2 knots into a 1.1 knot current. A slight chop comes up but it is comfortable. The wind later gets to 20 knots and we are doing well over 6 knots, hitting 7.3 maximum. The wind then goes over 20 knots so we pull in the screecher at 1420 and change to the genoa. We are still doing 6.7 knots.

    At 1445 the wind all of a sudden drops to 7 knots and goes right on the nose. We pull in the genoa and motor with only the main sail up. A short time later we hear a loud crashing noise and the boom moves left and right. We look up and see that the main sail is now in its bag!

    We assume at first that the main halyard has loosened and the sail has just fallen down. A closer look shows that the main halyard has broken right at the top of the mast. This rope is only three years old and has really hardly been used. We put very good quality Spectra rope on when we had it changed, so it is hard to see why it has broken.

    Of course the problem is that the halyard is now probably totally back inside the mast and we cannot easily get it out to fix. We will have to contact the bloke who did our new furling rope seven weeks ago in Airlie Beach to see if he can fix it. We will do that tomorrow morning.

    The broken main halyardSunset at Montes Resort

    The wind picks back up to over 20 knots, now right on the nose. We have slowed to 4 knots. We motor the rest of the way to Gloucester Passage and at 1555. We anchor south of the Gloucester Passage Eco Resort. It is very calm here, with 17 knots of wind but millpond seas. By 1800 the wind drops to 8 knots.

    At 1800 after showers, we get in Thunderbird 2 and motor around to Montes Resort. We take Veto with us and get a table on the beach in front of the restaurant. We end up having a few beers and dinner. Kelly has her usual “reef and beef” and I have a beef Guinness pie. The pie was nice, but the gravy was way too thin. We are back on Catlypso by 1915. We go to bed by 2100.


  • Departure time: 0650
  • Arrival time: 1555
  • Distance covered: 46.8 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 5.1 knots
  • Maximum speed: 7.3 knots
  • Engine hours: 9.0 hours
  • Elapsed time: 9 hours 05 minutes
  • Position at night: S20º 04.243' E148º 26.402'
  • Thursday 7 September 2017 – Gloucester Passage to Double Bay East

    It was a calm night with only a little rolling for a while after 0400. We get up at 0615 and Michael takes Veto to the beach while Kelly gets breakfast ready. We have breakfast and at 0710 we head out through Gloucester Passage.

    We motorsail with the genoa, then screecher and back to the genoa. The wind is 15 knots at first but drops to 5 to 7 knots and changes from southerly to easterly. We have a current (tidal) of 1.5 knots with us after rounding George Point. We head to the east of Olden Island then west of Grassy Island. We are making good time with the engine only at 2400 rpm.

    Kelly phones the rope bloke, Greg Southern (Rig Art Yacht Rigging) and arranges for him to come and fix our main sail halyard on Saturday. This means we will need to go into Abel Point Marina that day, something we had not planned on doing (since they are double the price of every other mainland marina).

    Gloucester Passage, Shag Island on right, Montes on leftLooking back at George Point in the distance, Grassy Island on right

    At 1035 we anchor on the eastern side of Double Bay East, just past the small headland south of Datum Rock. At 1200 we go to the beach near the mouth of the bay on the eastern side. This has a largish tin hut/shed. It seems to be now used by fishers, but its original purpose is not obvious.

    The beach is mostly rock with some coral, so it is not a really great place to land. Inside the hut is a lot of water (presumably in case people get stranded), an old kerosene refrigerator and an ingenious toilet seat (to take outside).

    A panoramic photograph of the beach at the mouth of Double Bay East showing the old hut

    Back at Catlypso we have lunch and then Michael puts 66 litres of diesel from containers into the fuel tank. To date we have used 917 litres of diesel in four and a half months, averaging 2.3 litres per engine hour. Cost has been $1,168, far less than we would have spent in the same period on fuel for our cars at home.

    We then install the new lazy jacks (these are ropes that guide the main sail back into the sail bag when it is dropped). The old ones are falling apart and three weeks ago Kelly brought back from Sydney new ones. We just have not had the time to work out how to install considering the forward ones are attached very high up the mast.

    Michael has thought about this and works out how it can be done easily. We tie another thinish rope to the end of the first lazy jack and haul the old one down. This gives us a means to attach the new one and pull back up high. We install the new rear ones on the starboard side and all works out well. We then do the port side. Easy!

    Catlypso in Double Bay EastKelly adjusting the new lazy jacks

    After this we do yet another oil change on the sail drives. This is the fifth change, so we have now almost changed the total oil twice. It is certainly looking much better now. We will change it a few more times at least in the coming days.

    We later have showers, sundowners and Kelly cooks chicken schnitzel and mash for dinner. There is only one other boat here and that is on the western side. We later watch as a tinny comes in (without any lights) and goes to the head of the bay. There are at least two groups of people there, no idea what they can be doing apart from fishing and there does not even appear to be any place to camp.

    Michael ends up updating this blog, there is one bar of mobile coverage and intermittent internet. We go to bed at 2130.


  • Departure time: 0710
  • Arrival time: 1035
  • Distance covered: 17.2 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 5.1 knots
  • Maximum speed: 6.4 knots
  • Engine hours: 3.8 hours
  • Elapsed time: 3 hours 25 minutes
  • Position at night: S20º 11.843' E148º 37.654'
  • Friday 8 September 2017 – Double Bay East to Cannonvale

    It was a very calm night and when we get up at 0800, it is sunny with less than four knots of wind. We have breakfast and at 0930 we motor out from the anchorage. We put up the genoa and motorsail.

    From Grimston Point we have a current against us, up to 1.2 knots at times. We can just motorsail with the genoa out. The wind is all over the place, changing direction and speed all the time. As we cannot use the mainsail, we have to motorsail. The wind is 15 knots by the time we get to Cannonvale.

    At 1145 we anchor off the boat ramp, further out than other times as there are so many yachts here. After lunch we walk to the shopping centre and get three containers of diesel (66 litres). We are now almost totally full again. At 1530 we pull the main sheet winch apart. We had looked at this four weeks ago but did not have the oil to use to clean it. It is filthy!

    We strip it down and clean using petrol, a toothbrush and rags. We then grease and oil it as per a YouTube video we find. We cannot find a manual for the winch (Harken), in fact we do not even know the model as it is not marked on the winch anywhere. It takes us about 50 minutes to completely the servicing. As far as we know, it may be the first time they have ever been cleaned.

    Kelly collecting the dripping waterMoonrise over Airlie Beach

    At 1630 we go to Shingleys Beach and let Veto have a run. On the way back we stop off at True Companions to say hi to Michael and Karen. We have showers, sundowners and then dinner. Kelly has the mackerel we were given three weeks ago and Michael has sausages.

    After dinner Kelly decides to remove a press stud from the cockpit roof. We have had water sloshing around in there for the past week since it rained. It dripped out the hatch one day while sailing, but we can still hear it there. Sure enough, as predicted by Michael, the water comes pouring out. There is probably two litres in all.

    We have no idea how it is getting in, we have checked a few spots, but not the solar panel mounts. Looks like that will be the next job. There is a brilliant moonrise tonight, almost full. We watch some rugby league on TV as the semi-finals start tonight.


  • Departure time: 0930
  • Arrival time: 1145
  • Distance covered: 10.3 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 4.6 knots
  • Maximum speed: 6.1 knots
  • Engine hours: 2.6 hours
  • Elapsed time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Position at night: S20º 15.950' E148º 42.089'
  • Saturday 9 September 2017 – Cannonvale to Abel Point Marina

    It was a calm night and again we get up at 0800. When Michael takes Veto to the beach, there is a charter yacht, Cats Whiskers on the beach. It must have been put there after high tide late last night. The port sail drive is not in place, so obviously this is being worked on. When Michael leaves, there is probably only 30 minutes before the water will be covering the hole it sits in, so hopefully the bloke will get it back in place soon.

    As Michael leaves the beach, the bloke from Cats Whiskers comes over and asks him for a favour. His dinghy has floated off the beach and is now up against the rock wall to the east. Michael goes over and luckily the water is deep enough for him to be able to get it. He ties it up to the stern of the yacht, not wanting to disturb the bloke.

    The outer part of the winch before servicingThe winch before the drum is put back on

    After breakfast, we service the port stern winch. This is the one we use most, as it pulls up the dinghy and is also used for the screecher. Again, it is filthy. It takes about 45 minutes to pull it apart, clean it and put back together all greased and oiled. This winch is different inside to the other one, but we worked it out okay.

    At 1205 we pull up anchor and motor into Abel Point Marina. Even though in a straight line it was probably only 400 metres to our berth, we had to go through the main entrance as the other one is blocked by buoys. We end up on V arm which is opposite Shingleys Beach.

    The inside of the winch before servicingAfter being cleaned, greased and oiled

    While Kelly goes to pay, Michael makes chicken curry for dinner. Soon after, Greg the rigger comes. He says that the way the main halyard was done, with a spliced bit of raw Spectra rope at the end, was not a good way to do it. He cuts the remaining bit off. He then goes up the mast and drops a “mouse” down inside the mast which we pull out. He then hauls up a thicker line and attaches the halyard and we pull it back down. He attaches the end to the mast.

    While he was here, we also have him look at the screecher halyard. As we suspected, this was only 8 mm and should have been 10 mm. We decide to get him to change this and he will come back tomorrow with the new rope.

    The torn halyardGreg the rigger up the mast

    After this, Michael flushes the watermaker and fills the water tanks. Kelly heads off to do some washing and to have a shower. Michael takes Veto for a walk and when he comes back, Kelly advises that Peter and Toni from Heatwave are going to have drinks on the top of the Ocean Club floating facility. This has the showers and laundry for this end of the marina.

    After Michael has a shower, we go there and have nice sundowners with them. We are later joined by Glenn and Margaret (Catina) and Alan and Meredith (Free Spirit) who are anchored at Cannonvale.

    It ends up getting quite cool as the southerly wind is strong. We have dinner once back on Catlypso and then watch TV for a couple of hours.

    Sunday 10 September 2017 – Abel Point Marina to Cannonvale

    We are up at 0800 and after another nice walk for Veto, we have breakfast. Greg comes back at 1000 and changes the screecher halyard. He also tightens two lower inner diamonds on the mast which were a little loose.

    At 1110 we motor out and anchor back in the same spot where we were yesterday morning. After lunch, we go to the boat ramp. Kelly walks to the shopping centre while Michael and Veto walk to the larger shopping centre. This is 50 minutes away. He goes to SupaCheap Auto and purchases two more containers of gear oil for the sail drives.

    On the way Veto gets tired and Michael has to carry her for a while as she refuses to walk any more. However, on the way back she seems more energetic. Kelly finished the shopping ages ago and has gone back to the yacht. She comes and collects them. Both Michael and Veto have very sore feet and are exhausted!

    After a rest, we go to Shingleys Beach and Veto is totally refreshed, she has a good run around, even playing with another dog. We watch the last rugby league semi-final for the weekend, this one between Cronulla and North Queensland. It is a great match, but again soured by poor referring decisions like the other weekend matches. NQ end up winning in extra time by one point.

    We have sundowners and Kelly cooks a rack of lamb with vegetables. We read some more and go to bed at 2130. It looks like we will be able to start south again tomorrow, but we will not be going far so it will not be an early start.

    Monday 11 September 2017 – Cannonvale to Happy Bay, Long Island

    It was a pretty calm night but at times we had some side-on rolling. Strange as the wind was quite light. We get up at 0710, it is calm, the wind is less than four knots and it is nice and sunny. While Michael takes Veto to the beach, Kelly makes breakfast.

    At 0835 we leave, motoring out from the anchorage and then pulling out the genoa. We have about 14 to 19 knots of wind, far more than was forecast, hence we do not put up the main sail. The wind is almost on the nose, so we get some assistance but it varies a lot. We do about 5.2 knots into a 0.3 knot current with the engine at 2000 rpm.

    We pass the P&O cruise ship Pacific Dawn which is anchored near Pioneer Point. This is the second ship here in three days. As we near Pioneer Point and Rocks, the wind increases to 24+ knots and also looks like it will go on the nose, so we pull the sail in. Sure enough, we are soon heading right into the wind as we go between the rocks and the point. We soon turn and head down Molle Channel towards Long Island. Now we are really heading right into the wind.

    Pacific DawnThe board walk leading to the wharf at Happy Bay

    Luckily we have the current behind us now so it is not too rough. We motor the rest of the way to Happy Bay, anchoring there at 1110. After we have settled in, Michael opens up both the screecher winches by taking off the drums. The port one we serviced two days ago is not working properly, it is hard to turn and also slips now and then.

    Once they are open, we spot the problem. One of the bottom cogs appears different. We pull it apart and see that the cog is in upsidedown and the washer that sits under should be totally recessed in the cog. Michael fixes it up and reassembles the winch. It now works perfectly.

    We have lunch and then then pull the starboard one apart and clean it. This is nowhere as dirty as the port one, as it certainly gets far less use. After cleaning, oil and greasing, we put it back together. It also works much better now.

    After a break, we do another oil change on the sail drives. This is the sixth change we have done in the past two weeks. This means we have probably changed the oil more than twice. Certainly the oil now looks pretty good, it has lost the dirty appearance and smells much better. We decide that we will not do another change now till at least the Percy Islands or even Keppel Sands. Michael also checks the engine oil.

    A panoramic photograph of Happy Bay

    At 1500 we go to the beach. This time we are not harassed by the “caretaker” of the derelict resort. We have had reports of him telling people that they cannot come on the island or beach. This is not true as the resort does not extend past the high water mark.

    Later we have showers, especially nice after the work on the winches and sail drives (hot and sweaty work) and then sundowners. Kelly cooks a corned silverside which we have with mash potato. There are six boats here tonight, most appear to be heading south. The wind is still much stronger than the forecast, blowing 15 to 20 knots. Luckily it is very protected here.


  • Departure time: 0835
  • Arrival time: 1110
  • Distance covered: 12.1 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 4.7 knots
  • Maximum speed: 6.6 knots
  • Engine hours: 3.0 hours
  • Elapsed time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Position at night: S20º 19.840' E148º 50.747'
  • Tuesday 12 September 2017 – Happy Bay, Long Island to Shaw Island

    It was windy till 0400 but the water was calm. We get up at 0710 and it is very overcast, the wind only 4 knots. Michael takes Veto to the beach and we then have breakfast. At 0805 we pull up the main and leave. We motor out around the top of Long Island and head south-south-east for Shaw Island.

    We pull out the genoa and turn off the engine. We are sailing at 5.0 knots into 0.5 knot current. The wind is 12 to 15 knots. However this only lasts for less than 30 minutes as the wind drops to 8 knots. For the rest of the trip, the engine was on and off, mostly on and the wind mostly around 8 knots.

    Approaching Shaw IslandSunset at Shaw Island looking towards Burning Point

    As we pass the Dent Island Lighthouse, Michael takes some video of it. This is for our scuba diving friend Max who wants it for his documentary on the SS Yongala. Not sure it if will be good enough as the boat is a bit rocky and it is hard to get good footage.

    We see a few more whales today. Nearly every group we see has a calf. One of today’s has perhaps the smallest calf we have ever seen, it is tiny. For the last 30 minutes we pull the genoa in as the wind goes on the nose. We anchor at 1200 off Burning Point Beach near where we have anchored a few times before. Also here is Seabreeze who we last saw at Happy Bay about five weeks ago.

    A panoramic photograph from Burning Point Beach

    Michael adds 22 litres of diesel to the main tank. After lunch we read and then at 1500 we go to the beach for a swim and a walk. We spend about 45 minutes on the beach. The water is fantastic. On the way back we drop in to see David and Nerida on Seabreeze. They are hanging around here for a while as their daughter is coming on the boat soon.

    We head back to Catlypso and have showers and then sundowners. Kelly makes pumpkin gnocchi for dinner. We go to bed at 2130.


  • Departure time: 0805
  • Arrival time: 1200
  • Distance covered: 17.4 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 4.4 knots
  • Maximum speed: 6.5 knots
  • Engine hours: 3.8 hours
  • Elapsed time: 4 hours 00 minutes
  • Position at night: S20º 30.337' E149º 02.842'
  • Wednesday 13 September 2017 – Shaw Island to Victor Bay, Keswick Island

    It was very calm overnight, even though the wind picked up to 11 knots around 0300. We get up at 0710 and after breakfast, we leave at 0810.

    We motor out and then once around Burning Point we pull out the screecher. There is not enough wind to sail, so we again motorsail. We start off at 4.4 knots into a 0.5 knot current (wind 7 knots beam). Later the wind picks up a little more and the current goes behind us. We drop the engine revs by 600 and go faster at 4.9 knots. Michael also turns on the watermaker and makes about 68 litres.

    Veto finds the strangest places to relax!Some of the humpback whales we saw today

    Our speed varies a huge amount as the wind changes speed and direction all the time. We see more humpback whales, all with calves. We also see a sea snake on the surface. We travel between Silversmith and Anchorsmith Islands, past the western side of Goldsmith Island, past Bullion Rocks and then Brampton Island to Keswick Island.

    A panoramic photograph looking into Victor Bay

    We approach Keswick Island by rounding the southern side of Singapore Rock and then motor into Victor Bay. This is on the southern side of the island. Last time we anchored not far away on St Bees Island, but this is a far superior anchorage. The wind is only 7 knots and the water is millpond.

    Victor Bay would have to have one of the nicest beaches we have seen on our sailing trips. It is beautiful. The water is very clean as well. After a cuppa, we go to the beach at 1600 and have a swim and walk quite a few laps of the beach. The sand is very fine, although there are a few sea lice in the water. There is supposed to be a camping area behind the beach, but it is even worse than the one at Orpheus Island, there is no flat land at all apart from the sand. Do not NPWS ever visit to see how awful it is?

    A panoramic photograph looking out from the beach at Victor Bay

    We are back on board by 1650. After showers and sundowners, Kelly makes chilli peanut beef and noodles for dinner and curry sausages for tomorrow night (since we will be having a very long day sailing). We will be getting up at 0345 tomorrow as it is 72 nautical miles to South Percy Island and this will take at least 14 hours at just over 5 knots. As the wind forecast is light, we need to leave early to get there by nightfall.

    This is the camping area at Keswick IslandThe beautiful waters of Victor Bay

    Tomorrow night there is a very strong south-easterly change of 25 plus knots, so we have to be in a location protected from that wind. It looks like we will have to stay there for three or four nights at least before we can continue south. We go to bed early at 0830.


  • Departure time: 0810
  • Arrival time: 1520
  • Distance covered: 34.8 nautical miles
  • Average speed: 4.8 knots
  • Maximum speed: 6.7 knots
  • Engine hours: 7.6 hours
  • Elapsed time: 7 hours 10 minutes
  • Position at night: S20º 55.156' E149º 24.020'
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