DREAMCATCHER VOYAGE
Journal 26B -Scarborough Marina  Brisbane – Darwin
Writtin By: Marilyn
Location and Sail Plan
June 1, 2006

Scarborough Marina

Brisbane to Darwin...... Marilyn's Daily Dairy of the Voyage



John gave us a lesson on weighing the anchor and setting the genoa with a pole. While Henry busied
himself elsewhere John, David and I went for a nice coffee and cake at the Greek coffee shop near
by and we sent a few emails and messages.

Various people, such as customs and surveyors for insurance etc came to the boat to check it out.

I cooked pasta with salmon and alfredo sauce for dinner. After dinner Dave and I went for a wander
through the suburbs – very pleasant.

Friday 2 June
In the morning David, John and I walked to Kippa-Ring shopping centre (this took about 50-60 mins)
to do the fresh food shopping for the trip. We had to wait quite a while for a taxi to take all the
provisions back to the boat.

The afternoon was spent putting away the provisions (stripping any excess packaging and repacking
in unbreakable containers) and waiting for workmen to come and check out the radar cabling and
sailmail problem. David and I went for a walk in the late afternoon to buy some fresh fish from the co-
op for dinner (mangrove jack). Dinner was quite late as we waited for the computer technician to
return as he promised but this didn’t happen.

Saturday 3 June
After re-fuelling (quite a precarious operation – tight manoeuvering in the wind and one of the cleats
gave way under the strain) with nearly $1000 worth of petrol and topping up with water Henry, John,
Dave and I set sail for Mooloolaba at 9:50 am. There were quite brisk winds out in Moreton Bay (25-
30 knots), moving the boat along although we also had the engine going. The way out of Moreton
Bay is quite tricky as there are lots of channels and shallows. Weatherwise the day was very ordinary
and overcast. It was exciting to see a pod of dolphins cross the bow of the boat.

Before leaving Scarborough I took a Sturgeron tablet, which seemed to make a difference as I felt
quite comfortable in the fairly rough conditions.  We arrived at a Mooloolaba marina at 5 pm. It seems
a pretty place with a lot of restaurants around the wharf and marina area.

After a shower at the marina we spent a fair bit of time walking around Mooloolaba looking for a Thai
restaurant that Henry recommended from a previous visit. We finally found it and as it was very busy
we had to wait a while for a table. The food was served on Mexican plates (!) and was quite delicious
and cost less than $50 for the four of us The people-watching was also good value. It seems the
waiter and waitresses were students who could not help examining themselves in the mirror every
time they walked past it. We also had quite a bit of nice wine, which made me really sleepy again.
However, I have since realised that was because of the sea sick tablets. Alcohol should not be taken
with these tablets!!

Sunday 4 June
Woke to beautiful bird noises (at a marina!) and a gorgeous day. I would love to have the time for an
early morning walk – the water’s edge looks so inviting. It was time to say goodbye to Henry.

We left Mooloolaba at 9:45 am and set a main and a genoa as soon as we got outside the
Mooloolaba port/harbour. The wind is between 15-20 knots, mostly 15 knots with a bit of a swell
(swell a bit bigger than yesterday) and we are getting along about 5 knots – quite pleasant. We are
planning to sail day and night for a bit to make up time we have lost.

After lunch John went below for a nap and David fell asleep in the cockpit. I started knitting a vest for
Sal and listened to a radio program about Ten Canoes and watched the coastline changing. It’s quite
different to the NSW coast – flatter with quite interesting relief in the background.

We reached our first way-point  (Double Island Point) just after nightfall. I made a very bad attempt at
cooking fried rice. The weather was very rough. I began cooking the rice but had to retreat to the
cockpit half way through cooking it and then again when I tried to put all the bits together – and that
was with sea sick tablets! I  think I would have been history without them). Thank heavens for some
lovely sweet potato and apple soup Lyn had put together when she was in Scarborough.

We took it in turns to do the watches. I did my watch from 1 am – 3.15 am. It was very dark and cold
(8º C). I had 2 layers of clothes on. The wind had dropped quite a bit so we were motor sailing and
the water was moonlit. I saw 5-6 trawlers on my watch.

Monday 5 June
The wind has dropped right off so we are motoring. We are all a bit weary and are taking it in turns
for snatches of sleep.

About midday we were off Bundaberg and the weather was cloudy with rain squalls, the wind picked
up to about 15 knots, seas became choppy and this continued in much the same way for most of the
day and gradually we lost sight of land. We saw a water spout. Spaghetti Bolognaise for dinner.

On watch (12:30 – 3:30) I saw two shooting stars. The watch was really pleasant, seas were a lot
smoother. We were making a steady 5 knots, there were no boats and we passed Lady Elliott Island
and then Lady Musgrave Island. Although it was a very cold night (4 layers of clothes) I really
enjoyed the watch listening to classical music on my MP3.

Tuesday 6 June
A sunny day today with cold winds. I emerged from my snooze about 7:45 am as we were some way
off Gladstone. There were a lot of white horses with winds about 25 knots from the SW. We were
making a good 6-6.5 knots. Still got the thermals on! Today we came in sight of land again  (some
interesting landforms) as we were about 15 miles off the coast and there was a lot of shipping traffic
going into Gladstone.

After lunch we were off Hummock Island and the boat picked up to 7.5 knots. John has been busy
improvising and making a charger for his phone out of some bits and pieces. Anyway we haven’t had
a phone signal as yet, but we finally got a signal off Great Keppel Island. Received a message from
Cal about Simon’s motor-bike accident and sent messages to Sal, Jo and Cal.

The weather started to get very rocky and rolly. John lost a thumb nail changing some rigging. I made
some tuna mornay and used the left over fried rice – very gluggy and sat heavily in our stomachs.

The night watch was quite scary. It was very dark, full cloud cover and squally, wind a bit wild and
there were lots of little islands. It was difficult to tell how far away they were. Dave took the first watch
and saw some dolphins jumping out of the water. His watch took us to just past Flat Island and as the
name implies it is very difficult to see. John took the next watch and then I had my watch. We kept on
course passing some islands on the port side and thankfully there were no boats to be seen.

Wednesday 7 June
David joined me about an hour into the watch and I was grateful for that. (he knew I was a bit worried
about the conditions) Then I stayed on for some of his watch. At about 2 pm we had problems. The
wind changed quickly, the auto-pilot went off, we lost course and the boat swung around wildly. John
was up quickly to the rescue, but it took quite a while to get the sails in and the boat under control
and the preventer had snapped off. Lots of rain made conditions difficult.

I felt a bit superfluous so I went down for a sleep until I heard the engine start up. We were nearing
Cape Townshend and John was trying to negotiate a way into the anchorage in really bad conditions.
This was made worse because the sea charts on the computer were showing something different to
the paper charts and the information we had. John was about to give up when dawn light helped a bit
and we tentatively made our way in about 6 am. Three boats had sheltered there but left shortly after
our arrival. Cape Townshend is meant to provide good shelter but even it was windy.

We spent the next little while tending to the boat, repairs (preventer and the problems with the aft
head continue) and breakfast. I did a bit of cleaning up and Dave saw some fish jumping so he did a
bit of fishing. In the daylight we could see that it was a quite beautiful little bay and we had a complete
rainbow happening. The bay has some pimply little islands around it as well as some pretty big
islands. It is also the site of an army encampment, so in some ways it is fairly pristine, but the signs
and radio calls about bombing practice etc are a bit scary. Everyone seems a bit weary.

John and Dave slept for the next little while so I did some exercises and weights. I think we will be
staying here for the rest of the day and then sailing on in the morning. We badly need some R and
R. We’ve been sailing non-stop for 3 days and 3 nights. And Dave and I have been away exactly a
week!

Thursday 8 June
The weather is so bad John is undecided whether to stay put or move on. The anchorage isn’t that
good either so in the end we decided to head a little way north to South Percy (35 nm).

We left about 7:30 am with winds about 30 knots and boat speed 5.5.
The day was overcast with a few sprinkles of rain. We arrived at South Percy about 1 pm. South
Percy is a very pretty, large continental island with lovely sandy beaches that extend back into the
trees like a dune that has moved. The water is a beautiful turquoise.


Friday 9 June
It was a very rolly night so in desperation we upped anchor and went looking for something calmer on
South Percy but didn’t find anywhere so we moved further north to Middle Percy where conditions
seemed a bit better and there was a very small catamaran anchored.

The wind and swell are so bad today that we are staying put in West Bay. West Bay is gorgeous and
it is sunny. We winched the dinghy down and paddled ashore to a big white sandy beach between
two rocky outcrops. There were coconut palms along the beach and a couple of shacks for the use
of yachties. One of them is quite famous. For over 50 years cruising people have been hanging the
names of their boat and date. John had put” Defiant”, his first boat , a 35Ft trimaran, and “King
Harald” names there in the past but we were unable to find them.

We walked around the headlands and had a chat to the owner of the catamaran, who had gone
ashore to cook some goat stew (he had killed the goat on the island – he was pretty low on food).
Dave collected some oysters to use for fishing later. After paddling back to the boat we noticed that
the catamaran had come adrift in the strong winds. We upped anchor and tried to rescue it while at
the same time sounding our horn (very loudly) hoping the owner would notice. We were unable to
clamber aboard the cat as it had things protruding from the sides so we hung around it until the
owner was able to paddle out and retrieve it. He was enormously grateful.

In the afternoon I baked some bread. It was just OK and we ate bread for afternoon tea. The
afternoon was very hot and pleasant. We had a shower after lunch. We washed more carpet in the
seawater and Dave’s hat blew over the side – he debated diving in to get it but didn’t.

Just before dusk another big cat arrived and anchored quite close to us. The weather seems much
warmer now especially at night.

Saturday 10 June
Set sail in the dark at 5:30 am with the genoa and mizzen up and were moving along at 5 knots. The
seas were quite calm but it was very grey with total cloud cover. The way was peppered with islands
and islets. Just as we would lose sight of one island another would appear. The sun came out after
lunch and the wind dropped so we motor sailed for the last 3 hours arriving at Scawfell Island about 6
pm. (60 miles). It’s about level with Mackay.

The island was shrouded with cloud and although we hadn’t seen any boats during the course of the
day there were 4 other boats in Refuge Bay. We have found out that the mast lights aren’t working.

Sunday 11 June
It rained heavily last night and was very windy. We took on water in a few places. John seemed
undecided about what to do but decided to leave around 8:30, heading out into 25 knot winds and
making about 5 knots.

There were lots of beautiful islands along the way, including St Bees, Keswick and the Sir James
Smith group.

The wind dropped later in the day and we needed to motor to make sure we arrived at the anchorage
with daylight to spare so that John could go up the mast and repair the lights.

We arrived at Shaw Island in the Lindeman group about 4 pm. We were thrilled to get a phone signal
and a message from Cal and sent a few messages.

Dave and I winched John up the mast only to find that the lights were working! The sunset was
beautiful seeming to set in a valley between two high parts of the island. I photographed it but the
beauty did not translate on the camera. David still isn’t able to get CDMA signal for the computer.

Had a shower and washed my hair! Passed the 500-mile mark! Red-letter day!

Monday 12 June
Another extremely windy night. The weather pattern is quite at odds with what you could normally
expect (calmer mornings, windier afternoons). The weather is really horrible this morning – overcast,
freezing cold and windy (over 20 knots in a sheltered cove!).

We left Shaw Island about 9:30 am and sailed through the Whitsundays – very beautiful despite the
bleak weather. Some phone messages came in and we phoned Sal. She seemed in good spirits but
we have not received any of the text messages she has sent.

We arrived at Woodwark Bay on the mainland, 6 miles north of Airlie Beach at about 2:30. Beautiful
sunshine now and the sailing was smooth and fast today.

Tuesday 13 June
Left Woodwark Bay at 7:30 am. Winds at 30 knots, seas choppy, grey cloud cover and misty rain. It
was an interesting sail though as we went close to the coast past several islands through the
Gloucester passage (tricky with the tide, not much water under the boat), across Edgecumbe Bay to
Bowen boat harbour. It was very hard manoeuvring the boat in the harbour (winds, tides, confined
spaces, inept crew) while we found out if there was a spare place in the harbour. The wind was
ferocious and kept pushing us on to the boats which were moored there. Eventually we tied up
between two poles by 1:30 pm. After lunch we went ashore to get sorted with the boat master, bought
some fish at the fish co-op (Green Job!) then walked into town to look for an auto electrician (mast
lights aren’t working again – hard to fathom). This was harder than it sounds as the wind was at gale
force and we were walking at 45º.

Bowen seems like a lovely country town – very wide streets, nice old, well-kept pubs and shops and
gorgeous tropical plants growing everywhere. The people – large numbers of immigrants (Japanese,
Sudanese) and interesting Aussie types abound. There are very lean men with pinched faces, stout
women in shorts, jumpers and hiking boots, quite a few backpackers and a Tim Winton look alike
carrying a pumpkin down the street. We contacted an auto electrician and did a little shopping at the
IGA. Fruit and vegetables were very expensive – most things are about $8 per kilo. Dave bought
some fishing gear .Then we headed into the wind (literally) and back to the North Queensland Boat
Club (right next to the wharf) for a beer before “paddling” the dinghy back to the boat. I cooked fish
and chips for tea and we rang John.(son)

Wednesday 14 June
It is still blowing a gale and cold. Dave and I walked into town to do the laundry, hair cut for Dave,
knitting needles for me from the Op shop, PC’s etc while John washed the carpets with fresh water
and waited for the auto electrician.  The Op Shop experience – there were 2 women working in the
Vinnies shop. I asked one of them if they sold any knitting needles. She directed me to a wine cooler
at the back of the shop. The wine cooler contained quite a few needles and had $1 scrawled on the
side. I selected the needles I wanted and took it to the counter. There was a fair amount of
consternation because they didn’t know the price of the needles. I said I thought they were a dollar.
The 2 ladies looked at each other strangely and I thought they may have thought I was ripping them
off. Anyway it turned out that they thought $1 was far too dear and said 50c was plenty. So they
wrapped the needles in newspaper and the deal was done.

The sparky (electrician) came out to the boat but was unable to help except to say that he thought
the problem is up the mast and he wasn’t going up there. So John was winched up the mast again
and found the problem – a broken fitting. After a cup of tea and a lot of thought, John came up with a
solution (improvisation again) and we hoisted him up the mast again in the howling wind.
We think we will stay at Bowen at least another day as the Marina fees are quite cheap ($9/night).
Mind you there aren’t many facilities apart from 2 poles to tie to and water at the wharf.

In the late afternoon we went into the pub in town for dinner which was really nice and then we went
to the North Queensland Boat Club to watch the state of origin match and have a few more drinks.
The crowd seemed quite friendly and one fellow we met, John (previously from Woy Woy) offered to
take us on a Cook’s tour of Bowen in his car in the morning and invited us to his 60th birthday bash
the following evening. Such friendly people!

Thursday 15 June
At 9 am we set out in John’s 30 year old Datsun (he and his partner Denise live on their catamaran
just outside the boat club and keep the car parked in the boat club carpark) and checked out the
beaches and sights to the north – Kings, Queens beaches and Greys Bay. It was a really beautiful
area but changing fast as development impinges on the surroundings. Huge expensive apartment
blocks are planned and some are under construction. You just have this awful feeling about it all and
know that the change is not for the better.

After visiting the coke works side of town John dropped us in town. We all had shopping to do so we
went our separate ways and met at the coffee shop for coffee and cake. Post coffee we went to the
hardware to find a tap fitting. I got talking to a nice lady who offered to take us out to the lagoon in
her car.

Mullers lagoon is a bird sanctuary with some lovely gardens around it and plantings - over 60 types
of frangipani. We walked back from the lagoon to the boat (quite a distance) and had some lunch.

After lunch Dave and I walked up to Flagstaff Hill and visited the interpretive display there and then
walked back into town, did some internet and then went to the local library to look at a quilt depicting
the history of the town.

Back on the boat I had a shower and washed my hair before going to John and Denise’s party at the
boat club. We found out it was also Denise’s birthday today. Nibbles, BBQ and salads, live music and
dancing – good fun.

Friday 16 June
In the morning we attended to the boat – stowing stuff, hoisting up the dinghy and motor, transferring
fuel and filling up the water tanks at the wharf. We had to wait for the tide to come up a bit so that we
could get out of Bowen. We left about 10 am honking our horn at John and Denise’s catamaran as
we went past.

The wind was about 24 knots and we got along quite nicely – a bit different to the last several days –
very cruisy, the day was alternately sunny, then cold. John and Dave saw a whale.

The coastline was quite interesting – basically we just sailed across Abbott Point where the coal
loader is and rounded Cape Upstart and anchored there about 40 miles north west from Bowen. So
far we’ve come about 600 miles (about 1500 to go!)

Apart from three coal ships we didn’t see any other boats today.

The Burdekin River, amongst others flows into Upstart Bay. There are lots of holiday houses along
the shore of Cape Upstart and there is one other boat anchored here. Some lights along the shore
from the houses were an unusual sight for us. There were also three distinct light glows in the
distance. I guess this would have been Ayr or Townsville or Home Hill. Bullets of wind hailed down on
the boat all night.

Saturday 17 June
We left Cape Upstart around 8:30. It was fairly sunny with winds about 18 knots, but it was very rolly
the whole way across the bay. We were heading for Cape Bowling Green. Dave caught a fish on the
trawl but it got off as he was bringing it in. Not a very interesting day and I felt a bit sick today.

Cape Bowling Green is hard to spot as it is the lowest cape on the coast – it’s a very long low sand
spit. There were a couple of 4-wheel drives parked on the very end of the cape and people were
fishing. You could pick them out before you could see the cape! We spent a bit of time trying to get a
decent anchorage but it was rocky and rolly everywhere. After we anchored another boat arrived and
made radio contact to see if we had a less rolly anchorage than they did (this is the only boat we’ve
seen today). Then the coast guard made contact with us by radio and said they would pay us a visit
in their boat. Apparently there is a small abandoned vessel on the shore (we could see it from where
we were). The owner is missing and there are eskies on board with rotting food in them. Later, on
dark, a helicopter made a sweep of the area, but we didn’t hear any more about the boat or its owner.

We went to bed early, as the conditions were a bit awful. It was a very rocky windy, night.

Sunday 18 June
We were all keen to get up and doing something after hardly any sleep and we left Cape Bowling
Green around 7:30 am. The day was sunny and fairly calm by comparison to the previous days. We
did about 5.5 knots in 18 knot winds. The scenery is pretty with Cape Cleveland and Magnetic Island
in our sights.

We sailed into Townsville Harbour about 2 pm, after sailing a little way up Ross Creek looking for an
anchorage. I was a little disappointed we weren’t going into a marina as I was really hanging out for a
decent shower etc. Anyway the weather was nice and warm. After a late lunch we got the dinghy
down and tried to go ashore, but it was too windy and we retreated to the boat. I finished Sal’s vest
today and we were able to phone Sal and John.

Townsville is dominated by Castle Hill a huge rock feature in the middle of the town. There is white
paint grafitti halfway down the side of it. It never ceases to amaze me why the Queenslanders want to
paint inane things on exposed rock faces. Townsville harbour by night is amazing – hotels along the
beach side by side with big ships at the wharves and coal loader. There is a live animal transport
ship here that is just massive (about 8 storeys above the deck) and lit up brighter than a 5-star hotel
at night.

Monday 19 June
Today is warm and still (at last!) and we went ashore early and walked up to the main part of town. I
posted Sal’s vest, had coffee and then John went on a bus ride to try and track down a phone
charger while Dave and I did internet and grocery shopping and laundry.

While waiting for John to return to the dinghy I went for a walk along the foreshore and ran back
along the beach – wonderful! Back on the boat I cooked a date loaf (burned it a bit) and some
vegetable soup for dinner.

We also have another problem with the boat. The battery hasn’t been recharging properly and the
fridge and freezer aren’t working properly and the engine is sluggish to start. This spells trouble
because the auto-pilot relies on the power and also uses a lot of charge! We are going to have to
check into the marina and get hooked up to some power, but the marina is currently booked out.
There is a possibility that we can get a berth tomorrow as another Dreamcatcher is meant to be
checking out!

Tuesday 20 June
The marina still didn’t have room but said we could moor the boat in an area for much bigger boats
(this costs more – you pay by the length of the boat). So finally we got hooked up to the electricity.

Lyn arrived mid morning. It was great to see her and she seemed very keen to catch up with what
had been happening on the trip. She had been following our progress on Yotreps and checking the
weather and was fearful that we had had a rough time.

After a cuppa Lyn and I walked into town to buy perishables and to gossip. We ate lunch on the boat
and after lunch I had a wonderful shower at the marina and washed my hair. “Shower experience” –
while in the shower I heard a man enter the toilet next door whistling Fur Elise. I thought this was
wonderful and was marvelling at the acoustics. Later I found that I had gone into the men’s bathroom!

Dave and I walked into Townsville to buy grog and check emails. We had emails from Gaz, Kerry
Rose and Jo. What a goldmine! While we did this Lyn made a nice curry for dinner.

The charge on the boat is starting to look healthy again and it seems that we are going to have to
run the engine at a high level for some time each day in order to maintain the charge.

Wednesday 21 June
Been away 3 weeks today! Walked to the marina showers and had yet another great shower, then
we stowed things on the boat, hoisted the dinghy and set sail about 9:30 am. We were going to sail
through the West Channel between Magnetic Island and the mainland  (a shorter route than going
east of Magnetic Island and around the seaward side) to make up a bit of time.


We motored/sailed to Horseshoe Bay, on the north side of Magnetic Island, anchoring about 6:30
pm, in the dark.. There were quite a few boats and trawlers anchored here and a lot of lights along
the shore.


Thursday 22 June
We were up at 4 am and left by 4:40 am. The conditions were very rolly but settled down by mid-
morning. We were averaging about 5-6 knots in 14-18 knot winds. Lyn did the sums and we have to
average at least 60 nautical miles every day to arrive in Darwin by 16 July! So we are going to do
some day/night sailing. Palm Island and Hinchinbrook were very impressive and took a long time to
sail past

Just off Palm Island Dave caught a huge Spanish Mackerel – great excitement. So it was filleted and
packaged up for the freezer and we ate some (fried) for dinner – yummy.

In the evening (about level with Innisfail) we got a phone signal – a message from Sal and a phone
call from Robyn, and then we called Mum. Contact with people always lifts the spirits. It is a pleasant
evening weather wise.

I did my watch with David from 8:30 till 12:00 and then Dave did another lot at 4 am while listening out
for the World Cup Soccer game – Australia vs Croatia. I joined him about 7:30. There were lots of
trawlers, islands and islets on the night watch but no yachts.

Lyn is suffering badly with a sore back. It must be so uncomfortable for her on the boat.

Friday 23 June
We arrived at Low Islet about midday. Low Islet is an isolated sand-surrounded cay as well as a large
mangrove forest on the same reef, but separated by a stretch of water. The geography is quite
different now as the continental islands give way to coral cays. Because there are greater numbers
of coral reefs close to the mainland the navigation is a bit trickier and it is a bit restrictive with the big
ships in confined channels.

Anyway this is a gorgeous little tropical islet with beautiful beaches and a lighthouse and lots of day
tourists from Daintree River/Port Douglas. We briefly saw a turtle and a dugong here and a number
of boats anchored.

We had a great pancake and real maple syrup extravaganza (there is a kg jar of maple syrup on
board!). After a siesta we got in the dinghy and went ashore as the day tourists had left by now.
Dave did a quick snorkel and I walked around the island and I am paying the price for eating too
many pancakes!

Curried fish for dinner.

Saturday 24 June
Left the Low Islets about 7:30 am in strong winds – 30 knots – and rolly seas for Cape Bedford, doing
84 nautical miles and arriving in the pouring rain and low visibility at 6:45 pm. Hopevale aboriginal
settlement is nearby but we did not see any evidence of it. Cape Bedford is just north of Cooktown.

Feeling a bit low today. It was a very windy, rolly night with the dreadful bullets of wind again.

Sunday 25 June
Today was a shorter sailing day. We left Cape Bedford around 8 am – the conditions are still very
windy and choppy (winds about 25 knots) and we were making about 7 knots. We sailed between
very low, flat, wooded islands, which were difficult to see. There were also lots of reefs. I seem to be
very tired today and found it easy to fall asleep during the day. We saw a few turtles today.

We made it to Lizard Island anchoring in Watsons Bay around 2 pm – first impression – beautiful
turquoise lagoons. There were 4 or 5 yachts in the Bay and there was an exclusion area to protect
the coral. We had to anchor a fair way off the beach.

We all went ashore on a beautiful white, sandy beach and David and I walked up to Cook’s Look
(358m) while Lyn and John moseyed around the beach. From Cook’s Look there were fabulous views
of the reefs, and passages through the reef, as it was low tide and late afternoon. The walk seemed
quite strenuous after 31/2 weeks of very little exercise. We saw a couple of lizards (goannas) on the
track and orchids, hoyas and rainforest everywhere.

We have now sailed over 1000 nautical miles.

Monday 26 June
We spent a leisurely day at Lizard Island, cooking sourdough bread, Anzac biscuits and date loaf. As
a number of the yachts had moved on early in the morning John decided to move the boat in closer
to the beach and coral area.  David rigged up a float arrangement so that I could go for a snorkel
with him towing me over the coral. The snorkel was superb and the water temperature good. We saw
some terrific clams, spaghetti coral, bright yellow fish and multi-coloured fish. Later when we chucked
some burnt date loaf over the side some big, flat fish surfaced and fought over the bits.

After lunch we went ashore again and pumped some fresh water from the swamp to do our laundry
as well as washing our hair. Dave and I walked along the beach, collecting shells and saw Mrs
Watson’s cottage. There is an interesting story attached to this. Mrs Watson was married to a beche-
de-mer fisherman who had a base on Lizard Island. While he was away fishing she was left there with
2 Chinese servants until about a month later one of the servants did not return from the garden.
Eventually the aborigines ambushed the other servant spearing him twice before he escaped back to
the house under cover of Mrs Watson’s gun. They launched a beche-de-mer boiling tub and made
their escape with her baby. They drifted onto Watson Island where they all perished from thirst.

Tuesday 27 June
4 am start today. We left Lizard Island in strong winds and rolly conditions, but this eventually settled
into a very pleasant, fast sail (7 knots) with squalls, making 80 odd miles today. There was some
terrific coastal scenery and lots of islands and brown boobies following the boat as we headed
around into Princess Charlotte Bay. We arrived at the Flinders Group about 4:30 after sailing
through Owen channel between Flinders and Stanley Islands. After anchoring in very calm water
(hooray) off Flinders Island we were visited by a family in their dinghy. (Geoff Wilson, a vet, his wife
Sarah and there children Jade, Java and Kitale). They had just been talking with the fishermen on a
nearby trawler and had been given a box of prawns. They invited us to barbecue the prawns later in
the day. Apart from their boat “Calypso JJ” there was one other German boat in the anchorage.

We went ashore just before sunset for a bit of a poke around. The sunset was just glorious (don’t
think I have seen one quite as spectacular for a long time) and you wished you could spend more
time here. After sunset we dinghied over to Calypso (previously owned by Phillipe Cousteau) for the
BBQ of garlic prawns - delicious. Their boat was really spacious and luxurious. Geoff offered to
recharge our phone and camera batteries for us overnight.

Wednesday 28 June
This was such a beautiful morning and we left Flinders Island about 8:20 am. The sailing was quite
pleasant but the wind kept dropping and we motor sailed for most of the day (also we needed to
make a reasonable speed as our destination – Morris Island – was further than we originally
calculated). We came across many more brown boobies as well as blue-banded sea snakes and
dolphins. There were many flat islands and reefs and trawlers sitting in the lee of reefs and islets.
The wind picked up in the late afternoon to gale force.
We came in behind Morris Island about 5:40 with the wind blowing 37 knots, but the anchorage was
surprisingly good. The island is a coral cay with a single coconut palm on it and some stick like sisal
trees. There were a number of boats there including Calypso, which had experienced problems with
their auto helm. Geoff had been trying to manually steer in today’s awful conditions with a hand that
he had stitched the day before – the stitches ripped out!

Thursday 29 July
After a rough night (it was rolly, raining and the rain came in) we left Morris Island at 6:40 am. The
day proceeded pretty much along the same lines – rain squalls and winds in the high 30’s. Lyn made
some nice date scones for morning tea. A lot of black terns followed us today.

We arrived at Portland Roads at 4 pm with the winds at 34 knots. There are a few houses here, lots
of mangroves and a few prawn trawlers, which left for the night’s work not long after we arrived.

I cooked stir fried fish and vegetables in plum sauce tonight.

Friday 30 June
The trawlers returned just before we left this morning at 7:15am. There were dolphins swimming
around the boat and frigate birds overhead. There were more rain squalls today but they seem to be
easing. We averaged about 6.5 knots today with winds in the mid 20’s. We saw a lot of fish in the
water and some white terns as well as black terns fishing. Most of the day we sailed in line with two
other German boats – one on either side of us. Many reefs and small islets had trawlers sheltering
behind them. Dave had his line out today and we didn’t know it until the end of the day but his lure
was taken.

At 2:30 we arrived in Margaret Bay/Cape Grenville. After a cuppa we put the dinghy in the water and
went ashore for a walk. There was a lovely sandy beach (interesting ripples) with mangroves behind
the beach and some rocky cliffs (painted of course with people’s names, in true QLD style). The
weather was quite hot and steamy. On the beach we met Elke and Wolfram from “ Orion” and then on
the way back to the boat we called in on “Pepe” and met Pieter and Petra. Both couples seem to
have been travelling constantly for about 6 years.

On dusk David fished again and caught a small shark (we think it was a grey nurse) that ended up
taking the hook with it. Then he lost another hook to something else so he gave up on the fishing for
today. We had bolognaise, then pancakes and maple syrup for dinner. We did 53 nautical miles
today.

Saturday 1 July
We left Margaret Bay at 6:50 am, a bit later than we intended. I think we were all a bit weary as the
anchorage turned really rolly after 1 am. We have a long way to go today (74 miles) and the winds
were only 12-16 knots so we had to do a lot of motoring as well. Early in the day we went past a few
islands including Bird Island surrounded, not surprisingly, by thousands of birds. The rest of the day
was spent following the coastline which was very low in relief (150 m max) and was mostly white sand
dunes with some vegetation. As we approached Escape River the sand dunes were interspersed with
red cliffs (bauxite). There were also magnetic ant hills on shore. We had a few squalls and lots of
rainbows today and then a sunny afternoon.

No luck with the fishing but we did see another sea snake. We arrived at Escape River about 4:30 pm
and got the usual storm-while-anchoring routine. Oyster beds for pearling lined the river and it was
difficult to find a place to anchor. One of the oyster farmers told us to move further into the mouth of
the river. There were a few buildings associated with the pearling in amongst some coconut trees.
Lyn cooked up a sweet slice for morning tea and then tofu and rice for dinner.

Sunday 2 July
With only a short distance to go (20 miles) we made a later start today setting off at 8:25 in a shower
of rain. This alternated with sunny spells. We sailed past Turtle Island along a bit of bauxitey coast
and into Albany Passage, which can be a bit tricky with a very fast current. There was another
pearling settlement about halfway along the channel. After passing through the channel we sailed
past Sentinel Rock and then looked for the gap between Cape York and York Island. We were
getting along about 6.5 knots today with the motor going as there was not much wind and not much
current going with us.

As we approached the Cape we could see the silhouettes of tourists walking out to the end of the
Cape. The Cape is not what I was expecting – it is almost barren with rugged outcrops of rocks, no
vegetation to speak of. It was quite tricky getting through the passage with only 0.5 m under the keel
at times. Around 12:30 we put the anchor down. After lunch we went ashore, walked on the beach,
then through the forest on a boardwalk (amazingly rainforesty – it doesn’t look it from a distance) to a
carpark, overloaded rubbish bins, 4WD’s, derelict buildings and lots of tourists. Welcome to Australia’
s most northerly point.

We walked out along the ridge (the end of the rainbow serpent) to the very tip of Cape York taking
lots of photos of the lovely views looking across the bay. The water is a gorgeous pale aqua colour. It
was a great surprise to come across a Cooktown Orchid in full bloom. After getting our photo taken
on the tip of the Cape by some other tourists we walked along the beach in the rain, then dinghied
back to the boat for a cuppa. The knitters finished Jo’s slippers and Daniel’s jumper.

For dinner we had a celebratory drink and nibblies, then last night’s leftovers and smoked chicken
and asparagus.

We saw a lot of ships today when we were sailing and also when anchored in the bay. There were 2
other boats (catamarans) at anchor.

Monday 3 July
Today is a beautiful day – no rain and a short sailing day (24 miles). We left the Cape at 8 am and
arrived at Horn Island at 11 am. It was an interesting sail with islands visible all the way, tricky areas
off rocks, reefs and buoys and quite a bit of activity. There was a lot of boat traffic between Horn and
Thursday Islands and lots of people fishing from the wharf on Horn Island. The wharf is very high as
there is a huge tidal range here.

We got the washing and rubbish together and went ashore, stopping at the little supermarket which
looked like a corrugated iron shed. We posted the slippers to Jo, did some food shopping, then John
did everyone’s laundry while David and I got the ferry across to Thursday Island ($9 each way per
person). We wandered around the streets, checked out the supermarket, bought an icecream each
and then rushed back to the wharf to meet Lyn on the next ferry. This time we walked around the
other end of town and found the post office where we posted some letters and phoned Johnny.

We bought some fruit from a shop run by an interesting fellow named Garry Wright. He is a white
fellow brought up at Bamaga. He was so muscley, he was as wide as he was tall. His head was shorn
except for the top of it, which was divided into about 10 sections each with its own little 2” pigtail.

Thursday Island and Horn Island are both very pretty, sparkly in the sun, and the water surrounds
are teal blue with patches of turquoise – so beautiful. Thursday Island reminds us very much of the
Solomon Islands.

On the ferry back to Horn Island we met a guy from Wyong and had a chat to him. Back on board the
boat we had showers and washed our hair and then went over to the Wongai Hotel on Horn Island for
a nice barramundi dinner and wine – very yummy but very filling. Dave gave Sal and Mum a call from
the hotel, but wonder of wonders, we were able to get emails on Dave’s computer.

The Thursday Islanders on the wharf were very funny to observe – lots of little, very dark, very
friendly gorgeous children fishing (catching salmon and other big fish).

Funny scene 1: Thursday Island lady sitting in a child’s stroller with the child lying in her lap. She fed
the child a bottle of juice with one hand while she played with a mobile phone with her other hand.

Funny scene 2: After dark, as we were going to the hotel to eat, we followed a group of children who
had been fishing. They had their catch (bleeding and dripping) slung over their shoulders as they
walked back along the wharf to their homes. (Photo)

Tuesday 4 July
It was a gorgeous, sunny but cool morning so I did some weights on the deck (for once it was calm
enough to do this!). This morning we had to top up our water from the tap at the wharf – this is
trickier than it sounds since you can only tie up to the wharf in between the ferry visits. So you have
about three quarters of an hour window of opportunity. Also the tide and wind are against us and the
wharf is a hive of activity with people fishing, prisoners being escorted ashore, illegal immigrants
(about 20 Indonesians) being taken to the airport and general boat traffic. One very large Thursday
Island lady (same lady as yesterday) was sitting atop a big wharf support pole (same pole as
yesterday) with a line out doing her fishing. The presence of our boat did not interrupt her fishing
and she brought in a finger fish while we were getting the water. Getting the water was made further
difficult since our hose fitting did not fit the tap, so it had to be held to the tap. It was quite a busy
time, fending the boat off the wharf, filling the tanks and watching out for the ferry’s return. A council
worker helped us with the ropes – the tide was out so we were a long way below the wharf.

After filling with water we anchored the boat again, had a coffee and organised the sails. We put the
main up today, the first time in weeks. Around 10:30 we upped anchor and sailed through the most
gorgeous islands and out into the Arafura Sea. With the wind doing about 15 knots and a main and
genoa up we managed 6 knots – very pleasant although the sea was a bit sloppy. We had our last
sight of land around 4 pm and the customs plane flew low, over us and then radioed us. A black
naped tern circled us a few times and tried to perch on the solar panel but kept slipping. Then a
brown booby did similar things perching on the dinghy. Later at dusk they both settled in for the night
in their respective perches. After a bolognaise dinner David and I kept watch until 10 pm then John
took over till we’d crossed the shipping lane (lots of ships) then David and I took the watch again from
5 am...all harnessed up...wind about 20-25 knots with 332 nautical miles to the Wessel Islands.

Wednesday 5 July
We’ve been away 5 weeks today. It’s a sunny day and we’re getting along at 6-6.5 knots. Today we
saw: a ship in the distance, a Wilson’s storm petrel, a flying fish, tuna. Everyone seemed a bit
whacked today. JC did the first shift tonight and David and I did 10:45 to 2:30.

Thursday 6 July
Got up at 7 am for the watch which lasted till 9:30 then I hit the sack.....for the rest of the day. Lyn
and I slept below and felt decidedly off colour, didn’t eat. Coastal patrol plane zapped us about 4 pm
and we arrived in the Wessels at Jenson Bay on Marchinbar Is about 5 pm. It seems very low and flat
and from a distance appears to not hold much interest ashore. A single boat (possibly owned by
aborigines) on the beach. Seas were about 2-3 metres with winds 20-28 knots, seas very lumpy
today. Dave put out an orange mesh bag with smoked chicken and sinkers in it and the whole things
got snaffled!!! Shepherds Pie for dinner.

Friday 7 July
Went ashore and explored. The place seems very barren – bare sand dunes, dead tree trunks and
pioneering dune plants. We walked over the dunes to find a scene of destruction – a Telstra station,
solar panels, huge concrete foundations and a building all upended. Cyclone Monica must have
wiped out whatever was here. A bit further inland was a lagoon with reeds and lily pads. The trees
around the edge were trying to reshoot. Back on the beach John collected some oysters from the
rocks, Lyn and I skinny dipped (blissful) and then collected shells. This is paradise. The boat on the
beach seems to have been abandoned for quite some time (it was called Jenson Bay Boat). There
must be some story attached to this! After lunch we saw some manta rays flipping around the boat.
The coast guard zapped us again and told us they could see some crocodiles just a short way from
us. Shepherds Pie for dinner.

Saturday 8 July
After breakfast I went fishing in the dinghy with Dave...no fish. Then later in the morning we all went
ashore for a walk along the beach to the south, shell collecting again. We saw some emu prints
around a fresh water stream that crossed the beach. There were lots of washed up fishing nets near
the dunes. Back at the boat we saw another 3 manta rays swimming (!) and twirling around in the
water.

We pulled up the anchor around 11:30 am and headed off on a fairly sunny day (about 50% cloud
cover) with strong winds, 25-32 knots. We got along at a fair rate but it was a bit rolly (though not as
bad as the trip to the Wessels). Dave did some fishing with his new lure which he had fashioned out
of a Coke can and used John’s new bungy arrangement with a cork and some flexible tubing he had
picked up from the cyclone ravaged site. Still didn’t catch any fish!!

I took a Sturgeron tablet before we left today and didn’t feel too bad but Lyn and Dave felt a bit
poorly today. The coast guard radioed in again today.

We had mince, beans and rice for dinner. The swell picked up and so did the wind towards evening...
had to put a couple of reefs in the main. Dave and I did the first watch till midnight and then picked it
up again at 6:50 am. It was a cold night – long pants and a blanket needed for the watch. 355 nm to
Port Essington.

Sunday 9 July
Cool day today, the wind is averaging 20 knots and the boat is doing about 5-6 knots, and the waves
aren’t too bad. It’s a fairly slow day today and nobody feels much like eating. We have seen
absolutely nothing but the sea and the coast guard since we left the Wessels. The coast guard has
been chasing (calling) an unidentified barge to the north of us. Perhaps they are illegals? David has
been right off his food and is not eating at all. The seas and the winds became calmer in the
afternoon. Red curry beef for dinner. I took the first watch from 7 – 9:30 and saw some lights marking
the reef – the first sign of civilization for a while. It was a beautiful moonlit night. David took the next
watch till 2:30.

Monday 10 July
By 7 am we were in sight of land again and we could smell rather than see bushfires from about 7
miles off shore. We sighted a catamaran leaving Port Essington as we were entering – the first boat
we’ve seen since Thursday Island.

There were bright red cliffs here (with a low flat profile) alternating with yellow sandy beaches along
the shore. We sailed a fair way into Port Essington to Berkeley Bay arriving at 10:40 am. (just across
the water from Seven Spirit Bay Resort) Dolphins played around the boat when we arrived. They
seemed a different type of dolphin with white bits on their snouts and fin. Another catamaran, Ocelot,
contacted us on the radio and had a bit of a yack about the boat. He was from California and
recognised the boat type we were in (Cal 46).

In the afternoon we motored back to Black Point near the entrance to Port Essington. (This took at
least an hour) and then went ashore. There is a long, high, disused jetty there, a couple of
boatsheds and boats and a red dusty road leading inland. We followed the road to a ranger station
and cultural centre. We were in Garig Gunak Barlu National Park on Cobourg peninsula. The
vegetation is low, broad-leafed and dense – didn’t recognise any plants at all. The ranger who spoke
to us was a Dan Bolla look alike. We phoned Sal from the telephone box there and after a brief
wander around (it was really hot) we motored back to the anchorage where it is less rolly than
Close to the entrance of Port Essington.

We showered (whoohoo!) and sat around on the deck. The deck is getting covered with ash from the
bushfires. We saw a shark with leopard spots on it – really gorgeous. Dave went off fishing in the
dinghy closer to the beach. It was a lovely afternoon with the sun shining on the red/orange/brown
striped ochre cliffs and a nearby white and red cliff. We had Rogan Josh with the mackerel for dinner.

After dinner Dave had another attempt at fishing from the boat and this time caught some sort of
catfish.
Port Essington, and the township which was known as Victoria or Port Victoria, is another instance of
an unsuccessful attempt to settle the northern coastline of Australia. The settlement lasted for over a
decade. The impulse to settle the northern extremity of Australia was largely driven by the prospect
of a rival French settlement. The area was extremely difficult to settle. Problems  were caused by
monsoonal weather, voracious wildlife, very unfriendly local Aborigines, and the lethargy which
inevitably affects Europeans who try to work in the tropics. The settlement was abandoned in 1849.

Tuesday 11 July
Very calm (no wind, no rolling) night – best sleep in ages, but the boat had a bit of a list and I felt like
I was sleeping uphill.

Pre-dawn was a beautiful morning – it is hard to describe the beauty in what seems to be a
nondescript area (obviously it isn’t) after a leisurely breakfast we left Berkeley Bay about 9 am – it
was very hot and there was no wind at all. We motored all the way making between 5 – 51/2 knots.
John opened up the front of the dodger and sides and we got a really nice breeze as we went along
– fantastic, provided you were out of the sun. There were gorgeous colours in the water today – a bit
like the colours in Sal’s bedroom, really strong, bright colours, but translucent.

Made wholemeal scones with dates and craisins for morning tea and Lyn made some sourdough
bread. We arrived at Popham Bay at 12:30 doing 36 nm today.
We had drinks and nibbles on the back deck – sourdough bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic
vinegar with olives and sundried tomatoes. Yum. The sunset was just glorious, the water was like a
millpond and there was a Gilligan’s Island silhouette on the horizon – paradise. We had leftovers for
dinner.

Wednesday 12 July
Early start today, left at 4:10 am on a beautiful, calm, moonlit morning. There was no wind but we
were getting along at 12.5 knots (woohoo!!) with the current, out into Dundas Strait and into Van
Dieman’s Gulf. No land in sight and a smoke haze reducing visibility. The day was really hot and we
arrived at Cape Hotham at 1:15 (70 nm in 9 hours). We had motored all day without even setting a
sail. We saw a few flying fish and not much else, not even a yacht although there was a bit of
communication happening on the radio. When Cape Hotham came into view it had a very low profile
just as Melville Island did on the port side. Top End – flat as a pancake!!

In the afternoon Dave and I sat on the back deck being entertained by the turtles (small and large)
periscoping their heads in and out of the water and flipping their flippers as they dive below the
water. Everyone seems a bit flat today.

Nibbles and dinner (bolognaise) in the cockpit as the sun sets – how good is that.

Thursday 13 July
Last day of sailing today. Another early start, anchor up at 5:10 am. No wind, current against us – we
made 1-3 knots for the first 4 hours then the wind picked up to 8 knots. We put up the genoa and the
boat kicked along at 3.5 knots, arriving in Fanny Bay, Darwin at 2:45 pm. Jeff Wilson and his kids
came by the boat even before we had dropped anchor. It was nice to see them and know that they
had made it OK.

We dropped the dinghy in to go ashore when John recognised their friend’s boat, “Nerissa”, so we
stopped by their boat to have a drink and a chat. We went ashore and had a shower at the Darwin
Yacht Club – wonderful!!! Then we walked along the waterfront to the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.
There were huge crowds there and after our quiet life at sea it seemed a bit overwhelming. The
sunset was nice but the food was ordinary, the waterfront walk, gorgeous. We made a late night trip
back to the dinghy in the dark. Back on the boat we got email at last!!.

Friday 14 July
Dave and I spent the day together, firstly on a trip in the bus to Casuarina ($1.80 each) where I went
to the doctor and Dave got a hair cut. Then we got the bus back into Darwin and did some Internet
and phoned Greg.

Later we caught the bus to somewhere near Cullen Bay, then walked to the marina and had dinner at
the Thai restaurant we went to 2 years ago with Sal and John. We rang Sal and John from the
restaurant. After dinner we walked back to the Yacht Club at Fanny Bay where we were to meet Lyn
and John at 8:30 pm. It was a beautiful, balmy night and they partied on for a while. Then it came
time to retrieve the dinghy (out beyond the waves), get in the dinghy, start it and push it out through
the surf. First of all we got changed into our swimmers and then attempted the task.(Photo) This
provided great entertainment for all the onlookers at the Yacht Club.

Saturday 15 July
Up earlyish, packed bags and cleaned cabin as best we could. After showers at the yacht club we
walked to the Museum/Art Gallery. Lyn and I went to look at the quilts (National Awards exhibit). They
were technically brilliant but not my cup-of-tea artistically. I prefer patchwork. We got the bus into
Darwin had lunch at Ducknuts and then went to see Ten Canoes.

When we got back to the Yacht Club Dave and John dinghied out to “Dreamcatcher “to get our
luggage which we stowed at the Yacht Club. Said an emotional goodbye to Lyn and John and then
waited for Greg and Sally to arrive.

After drinks and a very ordinary bistro meal I drove everyone out to Humpty Doo (I had not been able
to drink so I became the driver!). Greg and Sally were very welcoming, they had a sofa bed made up,
covered with a quilt I had made 30 years ago. This was a very strange experience – at first I did not
remember making the quilt at all, but recognised the fabrics and then it kind of came back to me.
Greg said that when he and Hil split up their belongings this was the only item they argued about who
was to get (grammar!). How nice was that!

Sunday 16 July
Leisurely breakfast, then a wander round the garden, leisurely coffee, leisurely lunch, leisurely
afternoon, dinner...very nice ending to a great holiday. Greg drove us to the airport for the long wait
for the 1:30 am flight and then....back to work straight from the airport.
CLICK HERE TO SEE LYNN AND MARILYN'S
PHOTOS OF THE PASSAGE  26, A and B