How many people get to live their dreams? I am..........!

This is my story from the time when Capt'n John and I first decided to sail around the big block, to circumnavigate this great land of ours, AUSTRALIA.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Wistari Reef

Sunday 8th May 2012

23’26.886 S – 151’53.847 S

Warm, light SSE breeze

Wistari Reef
Sunrise at Lady Musgrave
Two hours before the high tide MrJ and I head AR out of the passage at Lady Musgrave Island. Looking back I do not see Neriki making a move; they are supposed to be sailing along with us. MrJ radios back to them and it is a stressed Shelly on the other end explaining that their anchor winch has broken down and that their anchor chain has been snagged on a coral bommie. Not good news! There is nothing that we can do for them; Ric will have to dive on the anchor to free it and then pull it up by hand. We wish the well and continue on our way hoping that Neriki will follow tomorrow.

Two hours out the winds drops and we are now motor-sailing under the genoa and STB engine. By mid-day we are passing Fitzroy Reef. It is now high tide and there is not a boat to be seen inside the reef. The sea water has covered the reef and we are not too sure as to where the exact entrance is, so we think better to be on our way. Sailing further north along the Capricorn Reef and Island Group we pass by Lamont Reef and One Tree Island, which is nothing more than a tiny sand cay with a large surrounding reef. The sea is fairly flat; this enables me to be able to take a little rest in the tramp up on the bow of AR. The tramp (we have two – Port & STB) is a big trampoline mat stretched between the hulls across the bow. It is so peace lying up there, watching the wind in the sails, watching the clouds in the big blue sky and the occasional bird fly past and listening to the rush of the sea pushing through the hulls of the boat as we move through water. I never stay up on the tramps for too long as the strong sun will do me a lot of damage.

Back in the cockpit it is my turn at the helm while MrJ get his rest in the cabin. I have to phone in our position to VMR Roundhill as there is still no radio contact. The reason I am calling in the middle of our trip is that VMR were expecting us to stay over in Fitzroy Reef and were waiting to hear from us. Now that we are going on I will have to contact VMR again when we finally put the pick down and anchor for the night.
Passing Heron Island
MrJ is back at the wheel so I am free to do other things. Inside the saloon I make myself busy photocopying some information about the passages and place of the top of Australia (Cape York, Darwin and the Kimberleys) that I have borrowed from Neriki. We have been collection all the information that we can from all kinds of sources and now have a huge library of information; cruising guides, mud maps, blog writings, charts, CDs, DVDs and the list goes on. I believe that no matter how much information you collect it is always up to you to find the ways!

No much wind; we are still motor-sailing between 5-6knts with a 0.5mt E swell and SE wind wave, we are heading NNW at 298* true and this beam on sea with conflicting wavelets is making thing a little lumpy when we arrive at the entrance to the channel between Heron Island reef and Wistari Reef. Through the channel which is very deep, well over 30mts in most places, about ½ n/m wide and is an easy passage at this time of day with the tide being at its low water mark making the surround reef shelf exposed to our view. We motor out of the channel and around the NE corner of Wistari Reef; this is where we drop our pick in about 7mts of clear water, just where the “good book” tells us to round 1530hrs. There is a goo 3mt range in tidal difference out here or just about anywhere on the coast at this latitude; I pay out the extra chain to allow for a 10-11mt anchorage and then wait for the anchor to set before attaching the bridle. Here we are, the only boat in sight and we have this reef to ourselves in a glorious warm sunny afternoon that soon slips into another magical sunset at sea.
Sunset at Wistari Reef
After dinner of steak and veg, MrJ hits the sack early as he is so tired from a full days travelling. The salt air, the glare and the motion of the boat at sea all make you very weary. I stay up a bit longer to read some of my book and I couldn’t sleep; the chain was rubbing over the sand/coral bottom and vibrating through the hull. Not very loud but just enough of a new noise to keep me awake. MrJ says that I am always on anchor watch.

Lucky that I was! Around 2145 I could hear a different louder noise coming from the chain. The tide was high and the rolling swell was coming over the large reef causing AR to a bit of “hobby- horsing” on the anchor. I was not comfortable with this; got up to check our GPS that we set as anchor alarm and the graphic picture has shown the we have swung around slightly to the N. Maybe this is due to being pushed by the sea and the tide change, maybe not. I stay up in the saloon being very alert to all sounds. By 2215 we have swung right around with our stern facing the reef – “not happy Jan” – and then the anchor alarm sound. I just about jump through the roof! The GPS shows that we have move a short distance from where we had first anchored (the depth is at 10.5mts) and there is a chance that we would drift over the reef. My third reaction is to wake MrJ.

1055hrs we are out of there; leaving Wistari Reef for a night sail across to Great Keppel Island. I leave MrJ at the helm and  head for my bed – good night.

No comments:

Post a Comment