|leaving Seisia in the morning light|
Down the Road a Bit
Tuesday 16th October 2012
11’42.058S – 142’00.323E
|MrJ thinks he sees some thing on Parau Is, but it is only a bit of old netting|
This morning we were already heading out of the secure anchorage in Seisia between the mainland and Red Island as the morning sun began its colours, helped by the numerous evening campfires that have left a trail of smoke haze across this wilderness world.
We head AR out of Seisia putting the sail up to include a reef; not knowing what the wind will do as the morning unfolds, and start our southern track down the western coast of Queensland’s Cape York. We were not going too far, a day’s sail, sixty nine nautical miles I recorded in out ship’s log book, to a piece of the sandy beach coastline between the Jackson and Skardon Rivers, Aboriginal Territory and no man’s land.
Several large sea turtles pop up their head to check us out and then dive to swim away lightening fast. I see a boat on the horizon, as it get closer I can see that it is heading for the outside shore of Crab island; I can make out that it is a motorboat and then recognise the outline as a Grainger design power cat. There is only one person in this area that would be out in one of these; Rob off Flash Dancer, a friend who I have never met but exchange conversation over photos on Flickr and Sylvie. I call them up on the radio to have a chat. Looks like they have spotted a few crocs sunning themselves on the sand, Rob and Sylvie have gone in closer for a better look. We chit-chat for a while before going our separate way, they are heading north and us on our south-bound track. Looks like we don’t get to meet once more; there will always be a next time.
|the sun sets over the waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria|
Day One in the Gulf – Getting into the Swing of Things
Wednesday 17th October 2012
|0630hs and the hot sun was beating down - good time to catch a fish|
MrJ and I have been anchored way out in no man’s land but we are still getting internet service through our antenna and Wi-Fi system. There must be another settlement along the coast somewhere or the signal could be coming in from Weipa in the south. (?????)
We had only just left our anchorage near the Jackson River when MrJ put the trolling line out and got a hit almost straight away. I had turned around to walk inside to put the kettle on when I heard the reel run and saw MrJ at the rod. (must thank MrJ for editing this video for me)
The fish was a fighter and it took all of MrJ’s muscle power to get the reeling in going. And then something took a bite at our fish taking the tail, at least a quarter of the length, off the fish. MrJ landed what was left of a good size Spanish mackerel that I was able to cut a couple of feeds off. There be competition in them thar waters!
After a couple of hour I am up and writing up some blog notes when the wind picks up enough for us to put the mainsail up again. The wind is a little on the nose so MrJ tracks and sheets the sail right out as far as it will go to PRT side to be able to catch the wind at a better angle and therefore we do not have to change our course too much.
I have put a pot of Chilli-beans on the stove to cook for our dinner; I am on watch and MrJ is supposed to be down for a sleep. He comes up saying “how can I sleep with the smell of food wafting down into the cabin?”
|here he comes|
It was just after this when the Spotter Plane buzzed us.
|and there he goes|
I’m sitting at the helm in my underwear when MrJ spots the plane coming in fast behind AR; I dive for my sarong while MrJ dives for him camera, in his undies (which look like swimmers). It would be the first time ever that my camera was not the first thing I grabbed for but got some good shots anyway as I am sure the cameraman in the plane would have done the same with us. We get the call on the radio from the Spotter Plane; they called us by our boat name, ALANA ROSE, asking our Port of Origin, our Last Port of Call and our Destination Port. MrJ gives all the right information as the plane disappears into the horizon wishing us a good day and safe sailing.
Dinner is ready; we take our bowls up front on the salon hatch steps to sit and eat while watching the gold and pink colours across the sky as the sun went below the smoke-haze horizon.
MrJ got an hour’s shut eye while I stayed on watch. At 2000hs it was my turn to try and get some sleep before being woken to go back on watch at midnight.
(the supper shift)
Day Two in the Gulf – One Hour Blends into another Hour
|I wake up to messy morning|
0600hs: 11’55.65S – 139’45.45E
|winching the mainsail|
MrJ is awake early. There is a little wind blowing across our faces. We decide to haul the main before the rain comes but are halfway through our manoeuvre when it fairly pours down drenching the both of us. Ha ha, ha – that’s Murphy’s Law!
|adding extra sheets to the genoa|
I go back to bed to get up at 0715 to cook breakfast, mushroom omelette and toast, before I go on watch again.
|looking, looking, looking.........................|
Day Three in the Gulf – I Should See Land – I Hope.
|morning brings a better day|
0600hs: 12’04.243S – 137’34.537E
|MrJ hoists our burgees|
One good thing is that it is Isabelle’s seventh birthday and as soon as we are close enough to land to get a Wi-Fi signal I will give her a ring.
The day passes and the watches continue. I have been keeping my eye on the Garmin chart plotter that we have put in our arrival waypoint just outside of Nhulunbuy and the entrance to Gove Harbour. We are getting closer but it still seems a long way off. I need more sleep!
Midday I see a large ship, it passes behinds us about a mile heading for Groote Harbour for more minerals to load. I can see the first outline of the land ahead just forming across the horizon and what looks like a trawler way off in the distance. Not long now! After a short sleep I’m up and about again to see more land, closer this time and it is the my first time that I have laid eyes on Arnhem Land, NT.
MrJ starts the second engine and we head in, in through the channel between Bremer Island and the Gove Peninsular and all I can see is the red hill and structures of the mining industry.
|we anchor off the Gove Yacht club and go ashore...............|