Portland Roads to the Top

Post date: Jun 22, 2011 4:21:11 AM

Portland Roads 61 miles

a beautiful sheltered spot. There are a few buildings on the shore. This is where aircraft left to fight the Battle of the Coral Sea in WW2.It would have been good to have had the time to go ashore and look around.

Margaret Bay 41 miles

Highlight of the sail here were whales breaching near the Paluma Passage at Cape Grenville.

Here there was extremely white sand, a sheltered anchorage deeper against the eastern wall. We walked across the headland to Indian Bay following "the blue trail" - a trail of blue bits and pieces, watching out for crocodiles (we saw their trails. . .) On the wilder ocean beach , Indian Bay, there was mountains of the same sort of rubbish we saw at Morris Island washed if from the Pacific Ocean. It was an amazing walk. The beach was lined with rows upon rows of coconut palms at the top of the beach, obviously they are washed up her and then germinate. We found a beauriful, perfect nautilus shell and some other flotsam and jetsom from the high tide mark which we carried back to the boat. We collected some of the blue bits to distribute along the pathway where it was indistinct. By the time we arrived back at the beach the tide had gone out and it was a long way to carry the dinghy. The day before, when someone else returned to their dinghy, there was a large crocodile between him and his dinghy which resulted in a 2 hour wait.

The next day there was something BIG lurking under the boat. Little fish were fluttering around the waterline like butterflies. A big dark shadow hid under the boat. Greg dropped a line and started fishing. He caught the best fish he'd ever caught, a small tuna or something similar on a very fine line so was reeling it in gently so that he did not lose it. Just as it was almost alongside something HUGE came out from under the boat and took the fish, hook, line and sinker... sideways...A swirl of water, brown leathery skin, an enormous eye and a fin like a pingpong paddle...gone in a second. And the “Thing” caught Greg's best fish. It was enormous. Was it a fish or a crocodile? We think that it was a giant grouper – didn't look right for a crocodile, although there was one in the bay that morning. There was definitely SOMETHING down there...

Mt Adolphus Island 90 miles

A midday departure put us on track to arrive at Cape York in daylight. This is the furtheset north we will go in Australia. It is only 6 miles from York Island at the Cape. We arrived at 6 in the morning for a couple of hours sleep. It was an uncomfortable night at sea so, again we didn't get much sleep. The sea state was uncomfortable and sloppy and the auto help kept on not coping. Something had stretched or moved and needed readjusting. So it was hand steering, noisy and uncomfortable. Neither of us slept well so we were glad to drop anchor at Mt Adolphus Island for a few hours.

The anchorage here is very quiet in south easterly wind and we rested before sailing on around the top of Australia. We wanted to do it refreshed and alert.

It was a gorgeous, breezy day and we were looking forward to clear visibility to pass Cape York. There is a fearsome current flowing past Cape York and we flew past at 10 knots, taking photos, comparing the headland to our book on light houses. We had now seen all the lighthouses on the East coast of Australia. and settled in for the afternoon sail into Seisia

Seisia 26 miles

We arrived at about 3 after rounding Cape York at 12:30. This was a major landmark for us. There were 7 other yachts here - most of which we had met heading up the Queensland coast - and a ship”Trinity Bay” transport to and from Cairns. It is quiet here, pretty but there are crocs here too. We wait here for the weather window to cross the Gulf of Carpentaria. A farewell picnic was held on the beach before 7 yachts left early the next day. We were not ready to leave then - we needed to find another alternator and fit it.

Facilities: laundromat at the Caravan Park, garage and well stocked supermarket.

We like it here. We might be here a few days got to get the alternator fixed. Got to wait for weather window. . . Waited a week...some more yachts came in and waited too. Some left during the wind and had a shocking crossing of the gulf - we were glad we waited.

Seisia is the most northerly township on mainland Australia. It is literally the end of the road. Many 4WD vehicles are driven here each year and are left there. Others drive up and catch the ferry back, with their vehicles, to Cairns, or come up by boat and then drive back. It would be a great adventure!