|A beautiful, calm, but windless start|
DAY 1 – And So We Begin
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - Airlie Beach to Shaw
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
|Good Morning Sunshine|
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.