Friday 18 December 2015

Sometimes you just have to suck it up and go to windward

November 20 -22, 2015

We spent four days enjoying ourselves in Cid Harbour sheltering behind Whitsunday Island from some 20-25 knot south easterlies but the calendar was ticking so to speak. We really needed to start heading south if we were going to be back in Brisbane in time for Christmas with our kids and the grandies. The problem was that although the winds had eased, the direction still stunk for sailing south.
You can’t have perfect sailing days all the time so in the end we decided to start our trek home with a couple of shortish hops. We upped anchor early on the Twentieth, raised our main and mizzen in the hope we’d be at least able to motor sail when we exited the Hunt Channel between Whitsunday Island and Cid Island to head south through the Whistsunday Passage.

If we feel the sea state might be a bit rough on a passage we believe it's no inconvenience to don our PFDs just in case.
What we found was 15+ knots from the South East so the sails did provide a minor lift to our speed but more importantly they reduced the amount of rock and roll we were experiencing punching into and across the swells.
It's nice to be dry in our cockpit when the swells start splashing over the decks

The lighthouse on Dent Island looks like a nice place to live.

We didn't expect to find two Thunder Cats bouncing from wave top to wave top as we cleared the end of Dent Island.
We hugged the west shoreline of Dent Island for the protection it provided from the sea state before passing by the light house and clearing its southern end. Then it was a case of bouncing our way across to the shelter of Burning Point at the western end of Shaw Island. We planned to make the start to our passage south as non-stressful as possible so after almost four and a half hours of bashing into the seas we anchored up here in calm, secure water, opened a bottle of wine and relaxed for the afternoon.

Nice and calm at Burning Point - Shaw Island

Cid Harbour to Shaw Island – 18.7 Nautical Miles – 4 Hours 21 minutes
Average Speed 4.3 Knots – Highest Speed 6.4 Knots

 Despite needing to anchor well out due to the shallow depths nearer the beaches, the northern side of Shaw Island is well protected in the prevailing south easterlies.
The weather the following morning was much the same but we were decided we should keep going and at least put some miles under our keel. Our target was Brampton Island 24 miles away but if we found the conditions too uncomfortable there was a secure anchorage about half way at Goldsmith Island.

Passing by Goldsmith Island on the way to Brampton. It was quite bouncy but the camera always flattens the seas.
The sea state was a virtual repeat of the day before. Fortunately however the wind did swing a little more to the east so we were again able to just keep our main and mizzen filled on our south easterly course. The angle was far too high to fly a headsail but once again the other two sails did a good job of steadying the ride for us. It was a droning and boring passage but we were anchored up in the comfort of Brampton Island by lunch time.

Shaw Island to Brampton Island – 24.2 Nautical Miles – 5 Hours 16 minutes
Average Speed 4.6 Knots - Highest Speed 6.1 knots
Sunset in our Brampton Island anchorage.
Our next hop was going to be quite a long one down to Middle Percy Island so our plan was to sit at Brampton for a day or two until some predicted northerlies arrived. It’s a beautiful island so doing so would definitely not be a hardship.

Just a little lunch whipped up by Karen and taken on the stern. You can see her recipes etc on the Our Galley page.
We spent a leisurely Sunday on the boat and doing some exploring. Marc tackled the walk to the top of the mountain that Rob had done on our way north and was rewarded the awesome views.

The magnificent views from the top of Bramptom Island are well worth the climb.

While Marc was doing the climb we made the most of the extreme tides in this area and walked across the sandbar to neighbouring Carlise Island on the low.

Aptly named Pelican Island lies off Brampton Island at the northern end of Carlisle Passage

When the tide goes out at Brampton Island it really goes out.

We walked across from Brampton to Carlisle Island at low tide.

Our dinghy awaits us for the trip back to the anchorage.
On our return to the boat we made a very nasty discovery. Our refrigeration was off. Upon investigation it appears the compressor had seized which was very bad news indeed. We’d filled both our fridge and large freezer before leaving Airlie Beach and despite having been out for 10 days by now they were still very full. Catching a fifty kilogram wahoo had a lot to do with that but regardless, we now had a serious problem on our hands.

Fortunately the refrigeration on our Whitby 42 features very large eutectic tanks which stay cold a long time and the cabinets are very well insulated.  The contents of the freezer were still frozen solid and the fridge quite cool but they wouldn’t stay that way forever. We decided on two courses of action. Number one, we would start eating like crazy to reduce the amount of food we had to worry about, and number two, we would make an unplanned trip into the city of Mackay in the morning to come up with a solution.
So let the feast begin.

Marc looking to get THE perfect shot of his Pina Colada for his Facebook page

Marc and Karen enjoying our pre-dinner cocktails and nibbles as the sun dips lower.

Good night from Brampton Island.

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