Its been a while…

June 2, 2011

Island Head Creek

Twas Friday the thirteenth, arriving  at Island Head Creek didn’t go down without a  performance.

Dudley was at the helm, the depth sounder read 60m, and it slowly decreased to 3.5m down down down to  0.0m. I was at the bow, looking out for these shallow patches,that’s how dirty the water is, you cant tell if you’re in 60m or 0m of water under the keel.

Our friends on Memphis were leaving Island head after already being there for a few days, we chatted on the radio and was assured there was plenty of water infront of us! How wrong that was.. We ‘took one for the team’ as it were. Because if we hadn’t come in just then, Memphis would have gone out and hit the sandbar. Baikal sat quite nicely on it, we did try to get her off using the foresail to heel her over, putting the anchor out to starboard and trying to winch ourselves off it, all, to no avail. The tide was dropping, and Baikal could be heard rolling slightly on her keel on the sand/mud and shells.

We sat there for a couple of hours with me preparing some lunch and Dudley keeping himself busy with boat maintenance, luckily we were at the tail end of the low tide. It soon came back in with avengence and we gracefully flo ated off.

This place is an army training ground, and is occasionally closed off  for military purposes, there really is nothing much here, steep hills, mangroves, mud, big snakes, spiders, its untenable really, and just try to walk ashore (below the high tide mark, as you are prohibited from going any further by the military) no sooner are you ashore, you’re up to your knees in mud, be wary of those mud crabs with their knippers that could chop your toes off, just, like that. Oh yes, and that big brown snake basking in the sun, careful, don’t think he’s dead.

We anchored just near the entrance the first night and then decided to venture down further for more shelter as the high wind warning was approaching, so the boys got in the tender with a depth sounder to make sure the mother ships could go down further, and they took the gps so we would have a track of the deepest channel to go down, when we arrived we managed to explore a little, burned some rubbish ashore and spotted a few of the locals.. (snakes, crabs etc)

Well now imagine being trapped here for over a week, confined to your boat, cant even use the tender, waves crashing everywhere, wind a constant 20-30 knots occasionally gusting 40knots. Dudley is getting up all hours of the night to tend to the stern anchor, which needs constant adjusting so as to not wrap itself around the rudder/propellor.  Of  course we had to arrive just as  the moon was at its fullest meaning big high tides and big low tides, which also means massive tidal current. Yesterday there was a tidal difference of 5.5m. Which is why we have the stern anchor out, otherwise you sit beam onto the wind as the current is forcing you to go another way. We’ve been here for 5 days, waiting out a high wind warning before we head further north and into th e whitsundays. We could sail in this however there is nowhere to anchor where we will be saved from the rolliness of the ocean, even in the best conditions, our next place  we’re heading to is rolly, so imagine what it would be like now. Precisely why we are still here. Memphis are still here and also another boat so we are not alone.

Been busy trying to enhance my creativity and artistic knowledge by learning how to draw, fantastic book which I got given from a colleague before I left. Watching lots of movies, eating popcorn, reading horror stories of yachts at sea, and sewing covers for our friends.

Dudley making pvc cover on the deck measuring it up in the wind, hes gotta talk to his union about working conditions!

You cant get the weather on the vhf here no internet no cellphone reception, If there was any disaster we wont even know about it until we’re outta of this place, unless you care enough to tune into aus/nz bbc world service on the ssb radio. We hope to be outta here by Thursday but for now I think we’re in the safest spot, away from the big seas that surely have been whipped up these last few days, whats another day…

After a week, we finally made it out of there. What a fast sail it was! Coming out through the entrance was slightly nerve racking, we were in 4 m of water and the waves were pitching and breaking all over the place, we were so glad to be out of there. 50 miles later we arrived at north east Island, uninhabited, and fantastic shelter from the strong se wind. Spent a couple of days here, beachcombing got us some shark clips which is always handy for hooking things down with. We arrived at middle percy island, there is an a-frame where yachties hang up a plaque with their boat name on it etc. We saw one we knew from Nelson, that was put up in 1995! Part of the Island is privately owned a 10 year lease costing $1 a year.They also sell honey there.



Outside Percy Hilton

Healthy mangrooves Middle Percy

Brampton Island was a fantastic place to walk amoungst the butterflies. There is also a resort there which must hve recently closed down,the second resort we have come across so far, its looking like Tonga! Queenslanders are having a rough time , there are 50shops closed down in cannonvale/airlie beach, it certainly isnt the bustling wee town it was a few years back.



kayaking at Brampton Island


2 Responses to “Its been a while…”

  1. Terri said:

    Hey Duds and Tan, Sounds like you both have had some amazing times, and also nerve racking ones on Baikal. Brampton Island looks amazing, Look at the Colour of that water! Are you still tracking yourselves on ‘Sailornet’ or similar? James and I enjoyed tracking where you were. Good Luck with the sailing ahead! Terri

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