Wednesday 28 October 2015

A cracking sail to Curlew Island

15 October 2015

After our restless night, dawn saw us begin slowly winching up the sixty metres of anchor chain we’d laid out and flaking it in the locker so it wouldn’t mound up and jam. Rob was concerned the anchor may be jammed in the rocky bottom but fortunately it came up without a problem.

Sunrise over the Percy Groups' South Island signalled time to up anchor and get out of the place.

Before long the all sail was raised, fishing lines deployed in anticipation of more success and a course set for our next anchorage at Curlew Island. The wind was in the high teens low twenties again but had shifted from South East to East and we found ourselves sailing a little below of our lay line which kept the sails filled and the boat moving along very nicely. We are falling more and more in love with how well Our Dreamtime sails.  It was a very pleasant  morning sitting back in the cockpit watching the water rush beneath the hull as she made her way. It would have been even better if we'd caught another good fish but it wasn't to be.

As we approached the passage between Curlew and Bluff Island we came to starboard and more onto the wind which saw her pick up her skirts and make a consistent eight knots. That was until we turned to wind to drop the mizzen soon after and furled away the genoa and mainsail to motor into our anchorage in a wide and very attractive bay on the North side of Curlew Island.

It doesn't matter how rough the sea is the camera always flattens it. Passing Bluff Island was quite boisterous.
South Island to Curlew Island - 33.6 nautical miles - 5 hours 37 minutes
Average speed 6.0 knots - Max speed 8.0 knots
The bay at Curlew Island may be a bit shallow but it is a good anchorage in any wind from South through to East.
You do need to take great care allowing for the large tidal range in these islands when anchoring. The tide at Curlew Island drops over 6 metres from high to low. We like to leave a minimum safety margin of a metre of water under our 1.5 metre draught making 2.5 metres at low tide our magic number.  We entered the bay a while after the high so we checked the tide charts and did our calculations before dropping the anchor in 7 metres of water. At the low late that afternoon we were down to 2.6. A yacht that arrived after us and dropped just a little closer into the beach was bumping the bottom long before it reached the actual low point of the tide and had to hastily up anchor  and move further out before they found themselves in real trouble.

This yacht found his keel bouncing on the sand bottom after not allowing enough for the huge tidal range in these waters.
Curlew Island was very appealing to us and in normal circumstances we would have dropped the dinghy into the water and done some exploring ashore that afternoon but our restless night at South Percy Island was taking its toll. We were both very tired and opted to simply relax on board for the afternoon and have an early night ready for a longer day of sailing on the morrow.  We certainly hope we get the chance to spend a day or two on the island on our way back south or at some other opportunity in the future.
In the four days since leaving North Keppel Island we'd made good progress on our trek North.
Good night from Curlew Island
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If you have only recently discovered our blog and would like to read how it all started, or work through our previous adventures, click the link to go back to our first blog entry. Stuff it. Let's just go sailing anyway.  We hope you enjoy reading the previous posts to catch up on our story.


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