Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Great Sandy Straits Back to Scarborough

Friday, September  28, 2012 -  We're back!

We are now safely back in a berth at Scarborough Marina outside of Brisbane, arriving Friday afternoon, and are already planning our land travel here in Australia.  Our trip down the coast from the Whitsundays was much faster than our trip up to the Whitsundays.  It only took us ten days to return and included two, 1 night passages.  Fortunately, we had some northeast winds which facilitated our run back.

After we beat our way in to Sandy Straits, we spent two leisurely days winding our way through this protected waterway. 

We are the little green boat in the middle

Mangroves and Crocs
The timing here is important as at low tide there are places that deep keeled boats can go aground.  We waited until the high tide was almost at its peak as we wove are away through the red and green markers.  Only one of the markers seemed out of place on our CMaps.  We were glad that we went through this area during the day so that we could actually see the markers or we may have run over one or gone aground.  But actually, it was easy and we didn't touch ground anywhere.  We stayed on our line from waypoint to waypoint.

The last night of our passage back was one of the most beautiful in our memories. We left Tin Can Bay during the rosey glow of sunset so that we could go across the shallow sand bar at high tide.   The moon was already high in the sky.  

Moon is Already Up to Greet Us  As We Go Over Wide Bay Bar
Good Bye Pelican Bay  - Didn't Spot One Pelican

Breakwater Sunset Watchers

Everyone had assured us that there wasn't anything to worry about going across the bar, but one still has to wonder when you see breaking waves to the right and to the left.  The bar is only about 20 feet deep and then drops down into the sea.  We weren't sure how the waves might kick up in this area.  Even though I was white knuckled worrying about it,  we didn't have any problems as we glided over Wide Bay Bar into the evening.

Gorgeous Night on the Sea
The moon was almost full and a gentle breeze filled our sails on a smooth sea.  Moon and starlight twinkled off the water, and a south setting current pushed us along. No other boats appeared and there were no threatening clouds.   The only sounds were that of the swishing seas and the creaking of the boat.  If only all of our night passages could be this lovely, and this could possibly be our last.   Sadly around 2:00 a.m. the wind died, and we needed to lower the sails and turn on the motor.  

At dawn we were just passing by Maloolabah.  A northeast wind was beginning to pickup, but we were on the home stretch and motoring the rest of the way.  By the time we reached Scarborough Marina the wind had kicked up to 30 knots.  Fortunately, it was on our tail, and we were literally surfing through the channel into the marina which was a little scary.  The boat zigzags somewhat uncontrollably when surfing.  The markers are not very far apart and the channel is quite narrow. Just as we reached the last set of markers, a little sailboat came from outside the the channel and scooted right in front of us then slowed down.  We nearly surfed on top of him.  Not smart or considerate.  Don't know what he was thinking!  He wasn't thinking actually,  and it put us all in a dangerous situation.  Fortunately, we were able to slow the boat down, and sailor finally had the presence of mind as we were nearly on top of him to scoot over to the side in time for us to glide past him.  Phew!  Another bullet dodged.

 By noon, we were snuggly in our slip. The wind howled through the rigging of the boats in the marina.  We took care of the boat chores, had a glass of wine, ate dinner, and were sound asleep by 7:30.

So our Whitsunday adventure has come to an end.  It's now onward to the next chapter of our Australian adventure.  Russ is already working on plans for a Darwin to  Alice Springs camping expedition, later this month.  There probably won't be another blog until we embark on our next adventure as the 2 Land Travel R's.

Worrall Wind's Future.....Indonesia......or For Sale?

We are still undecided about our long range plans.....sail to Indonesia next season and hope the pirate situation either gets better or our investments do so that we can ship the boat to the Med,  or we list the boat for sale here in Australia.  Unfortunately, I think the later will win out.  The charm of sailing long passages and keeping up the boat is beginning to wear on us.  Sailing can be lovely but it is a slow way for us to see all that we want.  Russ is wanting to expedite our travels, and no-hassle charters in the Med are looking very appealing. 

In the meantime, 

All is Well with the 2 Sail R's on SV Worrall Wind. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Changing Winds, Days 6 & 7

DAY 6 (Continued)
Monday, September 24, 2012 - Great Sailing Day

After studying our weather information, we left Great Keppel Island on the morning of Day 6, anticipating that we would take advantage of the nice northwest wind that we hoped would blow us south for a few days.  We had a great sail on day 6.  We ran with all of our sails up and filled with 15 - 20 knots of wind and pushing current.

The wind dropped off to less than 10 knots after sunset, and we reluctantly took down the sails and turned on the engine, expecting a shift in the winds from the north to south.  We had a waxing moon and a clearing of clouds right over the boat most of the evening as we headed southward.  The night sky on the horizon of the bow was filled with dark clouds, horizontal and vertical lighting over the land mass ahead.  Needless to say, we weren't excited about moving towards it, but we did.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - Winds Shift from North West to South East

I had first watch until 2:00 a.m..  Russ had second watch.  Nothing remarkable transpired through the night, other than the anemometer was spinning around not sure which way to register the wind.  The seas were nearly flat, and lightning ahead calmed down.  By morning, a slight headwind coming from the south, south east and continued to build.

By noon, we were passing by Bundaberg where we could have gone into a marina.  But, we decided to push forward and duck into Great Sandy Strait because the southeast wind forecast for he next couple of days looked brutal on the seas.  We could be stuck in Bundaberg for days until the SE wind and seas settled down.  At least we would be sheltered in Sandy Straits and could still make passage south for a couple of days.

The wind was building, but was only about 10 knots on our nose.  Shortly after 1:00 p.m. the wind increased to 15 knots, then 20.  By 2:00 p.m. we had 30 knots on the nose along with 1.5 meter swells, and 1 meter wind waves.   We had a strong tail current pushing us forward and the winds and waves pushing us back. We were caught between two opposing forces.   The seas were choppy and steep.  Worrall Wind was hobby horsing through them, and the waves washed the decks as she dove into each wave.

I stuffed sponges and towels into our dorads (ventilation from outside to in) that never seem to close completely and when water washes the decks we get salt water splashing through into the lower cabin.
Photos Just Don't Capture the Size of swells and Depths of Troughs
We kept an eye on Hydie, solar panels, and dinghy.  These were the kind of seas we were in off the coast of New Caledonia when Hydie 1 committed suicide last year.  It was only 2:00 and we could expect another 4-5 hours of pitching seas until we reached more sheltered waters.

It was a slow, bumpy slog, our forward speed dropping below 2 knots after a particularly large plow into a wave.  As the sun was setting we reached our first green marker into the strait.  Once the sun sets, here in Australia, there is only about 20 minutes of dusk until it quite dark.  It was only 5:45, and we still had over an hour to go before we would reach an anchorage that we thought would be protected.  Fortunately, the 1.5 meter swells had subsided, and we only had to contend with the wind, wind waves, and the approaching darkness.  Only once before had we anchored in the dark, and that was in San Carlos Bay on Baja Ha Ha when we were in terrible seas and my coffee had spilled into the navigational computer.

At least this time, we had some moonlight and our technology was working.  Great Sandy Strait is like the California Delta.  If we stay in the marked channel, we shouldn't touch bottom.  But if we stray, we could easily go aground.    Our electronic maps and gps were programmed to keep us on track.  We were happy to see that channel markers were lit and with the moonlight we could see vague shadows of the land and islands.  We finally reached our destination by 7:00 p.m.  The wind was dying down, the waves were just a short chop, and we were tuckered out.

We went outside of the pilothouse to the fan tail and prepared to anchor.  We couldn't tell exactly where we were, but had an electronic waypoint and a plan to drop the anchor when we reached the 30 foot level.  All went according to plan, and by 7:15 we were finally at rest after traveling 177 miles in 43 hours.

S   25 23.150
E 153 01.650

Phew!  Another lively day at sea.  With salt on our decks and a well set anchor we retired for the evening.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - Happy Birthday Russ!

Sheltered Shore in Great Sandy Straits

We were up by 7:00 a.m., and on the move by 9:00 a.m.  By then we had eaten, dressed, and I had baked Russ's birthday cake.  While doing so, I couldn't help but think of the last couple of birthday cakes - always devils food chocolate with fudge frosting.  Two years ago, I was baking at sea while sailing from Samoa to Tonga.  Last year, we celebrated in New Caledonia with Brian & Claudia, and Danny from SV Regina.

Today we are only motoring about 10 miles down the strait to a waypoint where our friends Brian and Claudia anchored last season when they were here.  So we won't be celebrating Russ's birthday with them, but on the spot where they have been.  We passed by channel markers and and sandy bars as the tide is dropping, and arrived an anchored by 11:30 at low tide in 25 feet of water.  Tomorrow we will go through the shallow areas in the early morning on the rising tide.  But for the rest of the day, we expect to relax.  I promised Russ some braised lamb shanks in wine sauce fore his birthday, and of course there is the chocolate cake to look forward too.

The sky is filling with gray clouds, and it looks like we might get some showers.

All is Well With the 2 Sail R's on SV Worrall Wind

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Airlie Beach South to Brisbane - Days 1-5

A beautiful, calm, but windless start

DAY 1 – And So We Begin
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - Airlie Beach to Shaw Island

Today marks the beginning of our 180 degree turn back to Brisbane. We awoke around 6:30 a.m., ate breakfast, disconnected water and electricity, threw off the bowlines and headed for the fuel dock where we had made an 8:30 a.m. reservation. The sun was up and water glassy an untouched by even the slightest wind ripple. We glided over to the fuel dock and loaded 189 liters, approximately 49.7 gallons of diesel, $286.00 AUS, which is $1.78 a liter or $5.75 a gallon. Russ emptied our trash in the bin, turned in our marina key, and paid up our final bill. By 9:15 we were on our way.

We timed our departure with the rising tide and south bound current. There was a small breeze outside the marina, but not enough to sail, so between the engine and current, we sped along about 8-9 knots, and arrived at Shaw Island around 1:45 shortly after we ate lunch. We dropped the anchor in 20 feet of high tide water.

S   20 30.276
E 149 02.805

This is an island where the bottom raises up quite quickly if you get too close to shore, so we kept our distance. The last time I got too close and could feel the keel digging into the sand. During the afternoon, a few other boats joined us. The cats of course could anchor closer to shore. By the time it was low tide, we had about 10 feet of water under our hull, 3 feet under the keel. We spent the afternoon lounging in the sun and reading. Russ finished his book Desolation Island by Patrick O'Brian, and I finished mine, Heller by J D Nixon. Fortunately, I got enough of an Internet signal to download the Kindle sequels to this book. It was an enjoyable read, and I want to continue the series.

DAY 2 – A Day of Reflection
Thursday, September 20, 2012 - Shaw to Brampton

We were able to tune into the morning news on Shaw Island.  We are so disappointed in our fellow human beings when that which offends them becomes an excuse to let that offense boil over into undisciplined rage. I am referring to the amateur YouTube movie made by an American about Islam's prophet. I have not seen it so cannot personally comment on the content, however, as a proponent of our freedom of expression, I am offended that our officials are bending over apologizing to those radicals who have used this movie or any other expression of thought or opinion adverse to their own as an excuse for unbridled, undisciplined rage.  People all over the world are offended on a daily basis by something they see and hear that does not correspond with their personal beliefs, but it does not lead them to violence.

Freedom of speech and expression is a cornerstone of democracy and our rights as free human beings. I grew up with the saying "sticks and stones can break my bones, but names (words) can never hurt me." Of course, that is an over simplification of the word "hurt". People can be physically hurt and mentally or emotionally hurt by words that damage their reputations or incite violence or denigration against them. These violations of free speech are usually codified as slander, libel, or hate speech and there is legal recourse for these expressions of hate and untruths, but only if damage can be proven.

Both hurts challenge thinking individuals to use their brains to evaluate the situation before acting upon those "hurts".  It is hurtful to be told you will go to hell if you don't believe in one thing or another, that you must release your slaves despite your belief that slavery is accepted by the local culture, that you must pay taxes even if you don't agree with your government, that women must cover their faces or blamed for their own sexual assault, or you must stop reading, learning, painting, dancing, singing, writing, speaking, or loving someone because it goes against the grain of the "empowered" beliefs or religion. I was deeply offended to be told there was no Santa Claus, and the adults in my life had been leading me on, but I got over it as do most of us when we reason things out. I no longer believe everything I am told or everything I think.

Human rights as long as they do not trample the rights (not feelings) of other human beings, should always trump dogmatic beliefs. As humans we should be questioning, wondering, synthesizing and evaluating our cultures, beliefs and actions to make our lives and those of other humans better, not worse or less than our own.

I will respect you and your rights, but not necessarily your actions and beliefs because not all actions and beliefs or ideas are worthy of respect.  Even if we are offended or disagree, we should not be apologetic in our defense of our free expression, otherwise we could be forever buried by those who would eagerly suppress and censor truth and reason for their own benefit......nuff said on that cruising-at-sea subject.

We arrived at Brampton Island around 1:30 p.m. and dropped the hook in 22 feet of water at high tide

S    20 47.942
E  149 15.823

to spend a relaxing afternoon reading and enjoying the company of two Aussie cruisers on the catamaran Selkie. Diane and Philip dinghied over to our boat in the late afternoon. We enjoyed a sundowner together. They are headed to Whitsundays from Hervey Island as we head south to Middle Percy and Brisbane. Diane and Philip shared tips and stories of their two-year adventure sailing Indonesia and Malaysia which we greatly appreciated.

It was such a lovely windless evening, we pulled out the bar-b-que and grilled a butterflied pork loin. I served it up with lemon mint quinoa and green salad. Yum! A gentle sea rocked us into early sleep.

DAY 3 – Back to Middle Percy
Friday, September 21, 2012 - Brampton to Middle Percy

United Nations: International Day of Peace
(US citizens are warned about possibility of violent protests today in Sydney and Australia by radical Muslims, raging on about being offended by free expression exercised in America)

We were up before 5:00 a.m. and had the anchor up, motoring along, and enjoying our morning coffee as the sun was peaking over the horizon. On the morning news, we were told that today is the United Nations International Day of Peace. We'll see how this day of peace prevails. It is certainly beautiful and peaceful on the sea this morning. There are no wind ripples only small undulating swells.

Our planned voyage today is about 70 miles from Brampton to Middle Percy Island. We stopped in Mackay on our way down breaking this long passage into a couple of days. With no reason to stop in Mackay we have decided to take advantage of the smooth seas to by going for it. We should reach Middle Percy by late afternoon.

Often and on throughout the day, we motored through a pervasive brownish green scum on the water. It looked like a fine dirt or sand and made interesting patterns as the scum rolled on the tops of the waves. We think the scum might be pollen or algae of some sort.  Not sure, but it isn’t pretty.

During the early afternoon, we caught sight of a bird standing on something that was floating on the water. Turned out the bird was hitchhiking on the back of a swimming turtle. What a sight. The turtle must have known he had a rider because he stayed on top of the water swimming quite quickly in the opposite direction we were traveling.  I barely had enough time to grab the camera and get a quick shot of them before they were out of range.

When we arrived at Middle Percy, the sun was low in the afternoon sky. There were three other boats in the anchorage. 

S   21 39.115
E 150 14.595

Two men came over to us in their dinghy and invited us to “tea” on the beach. Tea in Australia is another word for dinner or a meal.  John and Bob on the SV Curwen were throwing some hamburgers on the "bar-bie". 

Having been eaten at dusk by the midges “no seeums” the last time we were at Middle Percy as the sun was going down, we thanked them for the invitation but politely declined. I could already see the sunlit glow of small flying creatures flitting around me looking for some skin on which to land.

We had had a long day with another one planned for the morrow, almost 60 miles from Middle Percy to Pearl Bay. It would be another not-quite-so early morning take off for us. After a green salad with our left over gingered pork loin, we retired to bed were we enjoyed a good night’s sleep on gentle waves. The anchor alarm did not go off once.

DAY 4 – Whales and Kangaroo Curry
Saturday, September 22, 2012 – Middle Percy to Pearl Bay/Delcomyn Bay

We were up and off by 7:30 a.m.. There was barely a breeze as we left the anchorage, and not much to speak of throughout the day except for the huge patches of brown scum on the water, so it was another day of motoring with a high tide current pushing us south.  I put some Australian songs on the stereo as we cruised along the coastline.  We sang Tie Me Kangaroo Down Jack and Waltzing Matilda.

As the afternoon sun was on its descent, we spotted a whale lazily diving about a kilometer off of the boat.  Our destination of Pearl Bay was in sight about six nautical miles in front of our bow.  I spotted three spouts one after the other.  We watched as the spouts disappeared, then resurfaced a few minutes later a couple miles off our beam.

The whales are migrating south, and we are following in most of their wakes as it growing late in their season.  We always have mixed feelings about wanting to get close enough to take some good pictures and keeping our distance for their safety and Worrall Wind’s.  When we are on someone else’s boat, we do not worry as much.  The whales are not mean spirited predators, but their curiosity and enormous strength and size is worrisome to yachties.

No worries mate!  Not today. We kept quite a distance from the pod.  We entered Pearl Bay from the north entrance.  The wind and waves were behind us, which was not a good direction for this particular bay.  On our way north, we were well protected in this bay from the southeast winds and swell, but this wasn’t the case for the northwest winds and swell.  After a sail about the bay and being bounced around by the incoming waves, we changed our mind and decided to go around the peninsula to Delcomyn Bay on the opposite side of the ridge.
It only took about 15 minutes, and we anchored in a more protected environment.  We shared the bay with another sailboat and the wind blew us away from shore rather than on shore, as we would have been had we stayed in Pearl Bay.

S   22 26.993
E 150 4.113

We started the day with Aussie music and ended the day with kangaroo curry.  We had a bag of kangaroo curry in our freezer from Airlie Beach friends Glen and Alison that we decided was time to eat.  Never a fan of venison, I was a bit anxious about my first bite of kangaroo although Russ who had it before assured me that I would enjoy it.  I added some mushrooms, onions, and fresh zucchini to the yellowish minced curry sauce and served it with rice and coleslaw.  Thanks Glen and Alison.  It was great!  Had I not known it was kangaroo, I would have thought it was minced beef, except I had this uncontrollable urge to hop about…haha.

DAY 5 – A Dolphin Morning
Sunday, September 23, 2012 – Delcomyn Bay to Great Keppel Island.

The wind gusted up to 15 knots from the northwest off and on during the night. It wasn’t much really, but just enough to keep me from getting a good night sleep.  We talked about it in the morning.  While I didn’t sleep well because of the wind piping up unexpectedly; Russ didn’t sleep well when it eased off.  At least when it’s blowing WW was being blown away from shore.  When it wasn’t blowing, Russ was not sleeping because he was worried we could drift towards shore.

We worried for naught, as we didn’t stray out of our anchor perimeter.  When I woke up this morning, the water was clear, no scum, some white jellyfish propelled themselves past the boat, and a couple of dolphins were making lazy dives in the bay catching their breakfast.
Good Morning Sunshine
By 7:30, we were once again on our way toward Great Keppel Island.  There is no wind at the moment.  The weather report indicates the northwest winds will pickup later today and prevail for a couple of days, so we are already making plans to anchor on the opposite side of the anchorage of our first trip when the winds were from the southeast.

1400 - The winds and waves have picked up 15-20 knots of wind and 1.5 meter rolling swells aft of the beam.  Since we are close to our destination now, we will continue motoring the rest of the way.

1500 - We are now anchored off of Long Beach on the south side of Great Keppel Island.  There are probably 20 boats in this large anchorage, taking harbor from the northwest winds.  Tacos tonight.  Then we are off for a possible overnight to Great Sandy Straits before the wind shifts around to the Southeast on Tuesday.  We may or may not have any Internet or Cell for the next couple of days.  This is the first time in a couple of days that we've had any or enough of a signal to post a blog.

All is Well with the 2 Sail R's on SV Worrall Wind

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Great Barrier Reef

Testing out the Snorkel Gear

After a year of hiking.....not diving, we decided it was time to get back in the water.

Lion Friend Sue Takes Us on a Rainforest Hike

We've been wanting to do some diving out at the Great Barrier Reef, but didn't want to hassle taking Worrall Wind out of her slip. Anchoring in this area can be tricky because of the bombes (coral heads).  Russ and I signed up for a three day dive trip on the Anaconda III, a large sloop.  As it turned out, even the Anaconda had some difficulty and lost its main anchor.

We boarded the Anaconda on a Friday night and sailed out to Blue Pearl Bay on the backside of Hayman Island. We were probably the oldest guests on board, but it didn't matter.  We met some wonderful people from around the world on this ship.  The captain and crew were delightful and made our trip fun and relaxed.  Photos below are of the Skipper and his crew.

In the morning, we had our first dive.  Saw some great fish, including a giant wrassse that was very curious about us.  Russ and I were side by side, and the wrasse was right under Russ.  If he dropped his legs down he would have been riding the guy.  Since it was our first dive, I didn't have the new camera out yet.  I wanted to spend my time re-familiarizing myself with my dive gear first.

After our dive, we headed out to the Great Barrier Reef.

We snorkeled at Hardy Reef.  The reef extends for miles.  Dropped off at the top of the reef, the current carried us back to the mother ship.  Snorkeling turned out to be a better option than diving.  The water clarity on top was better than the diving clarity below.  Here are some photos.

We opted out of the next two dives, the night dive and the dawn dive, but did do a mid morning dive at Bait Reef.  We swam through some lovely coral head canyons and saw some fish, but nothing as lovely as the day before.

This is where the anchor got stuck, and we had to leave it behind.  The skipper and crew were quite disappointed.  That's a big investment of chain and anchor sitting on the ocean floor.

On  Sunday we sailed back to the Whitsunday Islands where we dove again later in the afternoon at Luncheon Bay and then found a mooring at Stonehaven Bay.

Due to our lack of anchor ability, our plans to spend the night at Whitehaven beach had changed.  The following morning we motor sailed to Tongue Bay where we could pick up another mooring.  Cruisers hiked over the rise to get the spectacular view of Hill Inlet and then enjoyed a day walking in the beautiful white silica sand.  We sadly then headed back to the mainland, enjoying a great sail.
Russ enjoying someone else raising the sails.

We returned to Airlie Beach on Monday afternoon, had a fabulous curry dinner prepared by Lion friends, Harry and Faye, and their friends Suzette and Adrian.

On Tuesday, we prepared Worrall Wind for departure, rinsing and stowing the dive gear, provisioning, bar-b-quing meats for passage salads, laundry, stowing, folding up the port note, putting on Hydie's wind vane rudder, putting up the jack lines, finding our life vests, gloves, harnesses, checking the weather, and working on the this blog to get it posted before we no longer had cell reception.  We had dinner on Tuesday evening with Russ's sailing buddies.  I will post these photos at a later date.

Wednesday, September 19.  We are going to the fuel dock within the next hour to top off our tanks then starting our voyage south to Brisbane.  There will be spotty cell reception along the coastal islands.  You can follow our progress by watching SPOT.  We hope to make it back south in a couple of weeks.  The winds are not favorable in this direction, so we we may be motoring if there are no winds or hanging out in sheltered bays if the wind and waves are too much on our bow.  It's all about the journey.  Good Bye Airlie Beach and Whitsundays.  Cheers!

All is Well with the 2 Sail R's on SV Worrall Wind