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.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A Close Call - Two Nights at Samson’s Inlet, the Kimberley

Monday24th June 2013
A Close Call - Two Nights at Samson’s Inlet, the Kimberley
sunrise in Camden Harbour
0830 MrJ and I leave Sheep Island to catch the last bit of the outgoing tide to get AR out of Camden Harbour timing the change of tide to get us through Brecknock Harbour and then into Sampson’s Inlet a short 15n/m around the corner. Once again we had done the calculation right we were into the inlet and anchored by lunchtime.
Our passage took us out of Camden Harbour sailing in a westerly direction through Brecknock Harbour on a course that would pass by Slade Island and bring us close to the mouth of Kuri Bay which was the main Kimberley base for Pasparley Pearling Company. Funny, we had not seen or had not come across any of the pearling bead lines in Brecknock Harbour that were marked on the charts. We had also notice this, the lack of pearl lines, in some other places. The pearling industry must be on the down turn.
AR had not been much more than an hour into the passage when we saw a large motor boat in the distance heading towards us. It had stopped not too far ahead, lowered a small runabout and which was heading our way. Then there was the familiar squawk of the VHF radio; someone was calling us. It was the WV Dept of Fisheries. There were two very friendly people, a female and a male, who gave MrJ and I a friendly chat about the rules etc (much stricter in WA then on the eastern coast), asked to see our fishing licences (MrJ presented his) and then we just chatted about boating life in general and my herb garden. I gave the female officer some bits and pieces of the fresh herbs. My herb garden gets them every time! ;o)
Another hour went by; now we were passing Kuri Bay, officially named Kuri Bay in 1962, an abbreviation of the Japanese pearling industry executive T. Kuribayashi. The fishery people told us that the whole pearling operation in Kuri Bay had been shut down. Looking from outside the bay as we passed, the infrastructure was still all there; a multitude of buildings, sheds and their own slipway. The place was huge!
Kuri Bay as it is today, a ghost village - everything has been left just as it was
entering Sampson's Inlet
MrJ and I arrive at the entrance of Sampson’s Inlet still riding the in-going tide through the deep narrow entrance and into the inlet. We keep to the middle as AR passes through, the entrance is marked with a rocky reef off both points, the north point reef has been said to dry at LW. The inlet runs in about 3.5n/m with a sharp right elbow turn about halfway along. The bottom seems to be fairly flat; we did not come across any intrusive sand bars. There were several narrow gorges leading off on either side of the inlet. Sampson’s Inlet was a large gorge in its self, land-locked and steep-to; the guides say that it was a good cyclone anchorage with little effect from the currents, that there were cyclone mooring towards the bottom end and crocodiles frequent the inlet. Around the corner we could see what looked like one large and one small pontoon plus two small moorings. These were what were left behind by the pearly industry, to be used again when their season picks up.
MrJ and I anchored in Sampson’s Inlet (15’30.039S – 124’29.567E) away from the mooring in a good sandy mud bottom with 13.7mt of water at HW (8mt tidal difference). We had our lunch and then lowered the tinnie to go exploring. It was close to the top of the tide as we took the tinnie up Sampson’s Inlet towards the head of the inlet; motoring further up through a narrowing inlet past a cliff face with a large rock ledge on the left and still further up through the narrowing watercourse then around a bend to the tidal rocky creek bed.
the creek dries out
Later, when reading the Kimberley Guide I discover that we had motored right over the top of the tidal rock bar at the HWS and on further to where the rocky creek bed was exposed. MrJ and I clambered out of the tinnie and across the slippery unstable rocks carrying our water containers with all thoughts on getting some fresh water. We knew that we had to be as quick as possible; no mucking around is what MrJ would always say, as the tide would be going out soon. MrJ had put some fresh water in two containers when he looked to see if I was OK and happened to notice that the tinnie behind me was high and dry. The tide was going out faster than we had realized. We had to get out of there fast!
It must have been a scene right out of an old comic film to see MrJ and I trying to scurry back across the slippery rocks as quick as we were capable of carrying all the containers; it was not comic to me. I was scared! I had visions going through my head of us being stuck here, high and dry for hours or even days till the next big tide came in and then there was the potential croc threat. Holy cow............!!!
happy to be outta that creek
MrJ and I threw the containers into the tinnie and grabbed the sides of the tinnie to either drag, lift, push, shove and/or all of the above, taking all our strength to get the tinnie of the large rock and back into some shallow water again. We had to use the oars to paddle some of the way across the every shallowing rocky bottom waterway before MrJ could fire up the outboard. The tinnie hit the rocky bottom in a couple of places as we negotiated the waterway and at one spot right near the bend we had to use the oars again. I think this is where the first rock bar was. And then we were free, out in the deeper water and motoring back up the inlet and back to the safety of AR. What a close call! (but I didn't get any photos)

Tuesday 25th June 2013
This was washing day! MrJ and I had not done a proper wash since the 10th June at McGowan’s Camp anchorage. I had washed some things, including the bedding, in seawater and done a quick freshwater rinse when we have been able to get the fresh water somewhere in between there and Sampson’s Inlet or we wash our smalls in the hand basin at night after our tubs but that was about it.
MrJ dragged our little washing plastic twin-tub machine onto the aft deck while I gather up all our washing – clothes, bedding, towels, t-towels and a couple of toweling floor mats. MrJ had to lift the 20gal (USA) blue water containers out of the forward shed (locker); had something to do with not getting very much fresh water the day before. :o(
the boat makes a great clothes line too
We used 100litres of fresh water to do our washing. I pegged everything on the lines I had rigged up out forward over the tramps and then I left them to dry in the gentle breeze and warn sunshine. Outside Sampson’s Inlet the wind was reported to have been fairly strong, that’s why we came in here for two nights. I watched the gentle breeze playing with the bed sheets. I could now understand how the inlet would make a good cyclone anchorage.
rewarded with a brilliant sunset

1 comment:

  1. Those are breathtaking! I’ve been reading some of your posts, and I must say that I’m very amazed on all your adventures! You definitely are living the dream. Being in the middle of the calm sea is always a breathe of fresh air. (Olivia Taylor)