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.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Lizard Island to Lloyd Bay

Sunrise in Bathurst Bay
Lizard Island to Lloyd Bay

coming round Cape Melville
Day 1 - Lizard to Cape Melville
Saturday 6th October 2012
Bouncing in Bathurst Bay
14’11.818S – 144’.27.870
leaving beautiful blizzard island behind
MrJ and I were up before daylight to sit with our cups of tea and discuss the plan for the day. We do the cup of tea and talk thing most morning but not always before daybreak. This morning we were setting off on our next leg of epic passage around this beautiful county island.
After rolling the covers and preparing AR we sailed out of Lizard at 0630hs under genoa on a NNW course with dark grey skies, a sloppy sea and 16knt of wind from the SSE, right up our backs and then the rain squalls began. The rain squalls continued throughout the entire day’s passage only to abate to let the winds increase getting ready for the next squall; at least this was pushing AR along at good speeds. We were moving along at anything between 6.5 - 8.5knts.
Another thing the squalls did was to help the sky produce several wonderful multicoloured rainbows which appeared in front spreading right across our bow like a huge archway for AR to sail under. How magic!
0700hs we picked Andy up on the SICYC radio sched; he was coming in very clear and we were able to report our position.
0800hs there was a long-line fishing trawler off our port beam who had slowed down to let us pass before taking off into the distance with his long-lines trailing.
Howick Island
boat wreck on Coquet Island
running repairs

1030hrs MrJ and I were at Howick Island; it was too early in the day to drop the anchor so we sailed on. We see that there is a wreck of an old sail boat that has been washed up near the light on Coquet Island. I wonder how long that has been there.
1130hs we are passed by three ships and a tug all going in different directions as we sail close to the shipping lane.

We sailed on for Barrow Island and the anchorage in Ninian Bay but this proves not to be any good in these strong trade winds which are kicking up the seas and rolling on into the bay. We head for Cape Melville passing Pippon Island at 1645hs to finally anchor a couple of miles into Bathurst Bay just and another squall covers us with a heavy cloud of rain making visibility almost zero.
seas got worse
and visibilty got worse
This heavy cloud cover interferes with our judgement of the landmarks on shore as to where the correct anchorage is as per the Lucas book as it is near impossible to make out which hill is which but we drop anchor anyway in blustery weather condition hoping that the weather condition will improve with the night.

How wrong were we! The weather condition became worse; gale force wind 33 – 36knts and with every severe blast of wind the shallow waters in the bay would kick up and slam AR keeping us awake for most of the night. This was the worst anchorage that we have ever had, worse than Cape Bowling Green a few years ago and catamarans do hobby horse in severe weather condition.

MrJ spent most of the night getting up to check on thing and at one stage the anchor had been pulled out but did reset its self. We had 40mts of chain out in 5mts of water. No colourful sunset just great cloud and rain.

Stanely Island, Flinders Group
Day 2 - Melville to Morris Island
Sunday 7th October 2012
An Endless Sea and Small Islands
13’29.249S – 143’43.359E
breakfast sailing past Stanley Island
MrJ and I were away most of the night, out of bed and ready to be moving well before daybreak but we did wait for the daylight before leaving and I am so glad that we did. We were to witness one of those breathtaking coloured skies at sunrise, the type of sky that spread red puffy clouds as far as the eye could see. Another magic moment!

Another reason it was good to wait for daylight is that MrJ and I were able to see the outline of the hills along the shore silhouetted against the fading redness and to our suprise we found that we had dropped anchor in the wrong spot. We were sitting right between to large hills and the wind was still fairly bulleting through. I was never so glad to get out of there. Once way from the shore and further out into the bay the wind had dropped away to nearly nothing, 12knts and we sailed off.
Burkitt Island
As were we sailing out of Bathurst Bay we saw an Army landing barge heading in. That might explain the sighting of a faint light further in the bay last night and what I thought was a boat of some sorts right on shore. I was also able to get Macca, Australia All Over, on the SW (Short Wave) radio for about an hour before the station faded out and was nothing but crackle and I was cooking bacon and onion omelette for breakfast as AR was approaching Flinders’ Island Group. We see two boat anchored in the northern anchorage on Stanley Island as we pass.
0850hrs I hear a boat call us, calling the sailing boat just out of Flinders Island and I answered the call. I was Thalisea, one of the boats back at Stanley wanting to know what wind we were getting. I replied; the conversation went back and forth a couple of time due to the static in the airways and then that was all so we sailed on.

Wharton Island and light
0930hrs MrJ goes down for an early nanna nap leaving me on watch with one motor running and the mainsail tracked right out to catch what little wind there is. At this time we are crossing a shipping lane to get a better angle of sail so I am very watchful but nothing comes along. Maybe they all are having Sunday morning off.......ha ha ha........I don’t think so......just lucky.

Before lunchtime the wind picks up, MrJ has been up for a while, both sails are out and the motor turned off. We were under sail power again doing 7-78.5knts with 16 – 20knts of wind from the NE. Not too much to see, a couple of flat islands and lots of sea.

There was a trawler anchored off Pelican Reef and two more trawlers at another reef. These trawler men go out from late afternoon till mid morning then rest and or sleep for a couple of our before getting ready to go out again; day in day out every day of the week while the season is running. They lead a very hard life but would not be doing anything else.
Hannah Island

We had to pass a couple of smaller island sand cays before getting to our destination for the night. MrJ had a couple of running repairs to do one being a small leak, more like a tiny seep in the port diesel tank every time there was a violent movement to AR which is what we had been through all yesterday and last night. The fuel tanks are fairly full. MrJ packed the tank with paper towel and rags and then jammed a block down the side to stop any movement. So far so good!
The other repair was that one of the lazy jack lines (lines holding the sail bag up) gave way just before we were due to drop the mainsail. That was an easy one to fix; with a spare piece of small cord MrJ climbed up on the boom and ties a new line. Job done!
Morris Island
It was 1730hs when we anchored off Morris Island just in time to catch all the different birds returning for the evening and a beautiful sunset across the sea.
sunset from Morris Island

Monday 8thOctober 2012
Island of Birds - Time on Morris Island
13’29.249S – 143’43.359E
sunrise across Morris Island
MrJ and I had a great night’s sleep with only the gentle motion of the sea rocking AR. We were up at day break to catch the spectacular sunrise over the sea and Morris Island. Some of the birds on the island were stirring.
morning above Morris Island
We dropped the dinghy to go ashore to pure white sandy beach that circled the tiny coral cay island which is roughly mid-way between Princess Charlotte Bay and Lloyd Bay. There is a break in the mid-tide rock ledge which gave us access to the beach. This break is shown to be true in the Lucas book. The island has two notable palm trees one larger, the noted coconut palm in the Lucas book, than the other. Morris Island is covered in large sisal plants, planted along with the coconut palms by early Europeans as a means of support for ship-wrecked crew. These sisal plants which produce a long stick from the middle of its large needle-sharp leaves are a haven for the hundreds of bird that habituated the island. Mostly we saw Pied Imperial Pigeons (Torres Strait Pigeon), these I have never seen before, very distinct with their white bodies and black tipped wings and tail, can be found from cape York to new Guinea. The Torres Straits islanders considered these pigeons a delicacy. The islanders would regularly visit the pigeon inhabited islands in the pearling days. They would go ashore at night with torches, blind the birds and then knock the birds out of the trees with clubs. The pigeons are now a protected species.  Other birds on Morris Island were Herons, Egrets, Cormorants, Gulls, Terns and Pied Oyster Catchers.

The other thing that is most noticeable is all the rubbish that has been washed up on the beach on the SW side of the island. It was a foot deep in places and must have been accumulating there for all time, occasionally being wash back to sea in heavy weather to return another day or move on to another island to be replaced with more rubbish from somewhere else. A viscous circle I do think!

On the western beach I did find the small track that leads in to one of the palm tree where and old grave has been marked. It is a diver’s grave harking back to the not so distant days when pearling and trochus shell luggers ranged far and wide from their home post of Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. They would be away for months at a time, so deaths in the crew were dealt with on the spot and graves being dug wherever necessary.

There was also a report of a crocodile being seen on Morris Island back in 2001; we didn’t find it and it didn’t find us. The waters surrounding the island were a beautiful warm crystal clear blue but I was not going in for a swim.




Sailing to Lloyd Bay
After our little adventure on Morris Island MrJ and I weighed anchor at 0740hs, sailing out for parts further north. We were motor-sailing in light winds doing about 5knts with the help of the port engine.

MrJ made himself at great reading station with back rest and shade at the help to keep comfortable on a lazy passage. I was spending some time on the computer catching up with writing and photos.
At 1020hrs we were passing Lowrie Island and then MrJ went below for a little nap while I stand on watch. Once again we are passing through shipping lanes but it is very quiet. The only thing I did see was a large motor boat/ fishing boat/ Rivera style boat further out passing down the other side of one of the reefs. The motor boat stops to pick up an orange buoy and then continues on.

1420hrs we were passing Chapman Island and light with a helipad. On the chart this island has been marked as an anchorage, it did look very pretty as AR went passed but I have not managed to find out any info on the anchorage.

Next thing you know we are heading past Cape Direction and into Lloyd Bay. MrJ tries to call another boat, a sailing boat on the horizon that has come in from the reef. No answer was the stern reply!

MrJ and I decide to go into Lloyd Bay to anchor behind Lloyd Island instead of trying to go on to Portland Road to be getting in after dark. A fellow Flickr photographer, who travels this coastline often, gave me the heads up on the anchorage behind Lloyd Island and it does get a short mention in the Lucas book. Lloyd Island lies fairly close to the mainland in the top part of Lloyd Bay and could possible harbour crocodiles. The upmost care need to be taken with the cockpit partition being put into place just in case there was a boarding.

On the way into the bay we see our first merchant ship for the day and there is a barge anchored behind Lloyd Island.
We anchor safely at Lloyd Island just in time for another spectacular sunset.
Sunset across Lloyd Bay



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