Week 3

Post date: May 30, 2011 6:14:46 AM

The most important milestone for our cruising life was being able to use our new autohelm system for the very first time with confidence after the work we did at Bundaberg.. Up to now we have hand steered all the way - across Bass Strait, our aborted attempt to go east and to the Clarence River and back. I didn't know how much difference it would make to our sailing enjoyment. Now we could leave the helm to attend to sails, or other important activities while on watch alone. Paolo made an enormous difference to our lives -

5 islands and 2 continental anchorages, 640 miles and 1/3 of the way to Darwin . . .

Tropic of Capricorn passed at 5:30am on Sunday 22 May.

    1. Great Keppel 128 nm from Bundaberg. A bit rolly all night. Second Beach. Good open anchorage and easy to anchor. Good holding. Cold when we were there Brrr dolphins
    2. Hexham Is 47 miles from Pearl Bay. Beautiful anchorage in bay in 9.8m on north of island. High hills covered in Norfolk pines surrounding it. Safe. went ashore. only time in a week. accidental discovery - glad we did . .
    3. Digby Island, night entry a bit scary but with all instruments going was OK. rough and rolly all night - not as bad as Tangalooma but didn't get much sleep.
    4. Scawfell Is 41 miles from Digby a bigger Hexham on N coastline at Refuge Bay. Lots of room for a fleet. Beautiful with high hills and beaches which went unexplored...anchored well in toward big beach. Big turtle watching us. fish schooling around the boat. Caught 4 trevally.
    5. Shaw Is 41 miles from Scawfell. anchorage marked in Lucas close to south west corner near bird sanctuary. The reefy area marked in his book is actually sand, but quite shallow. Across Kennedy Sound is Lindeman Is Club Med resort. Although it was breezy all night the fetch was short and was well protected from swell. The overfalls getting in there were quite interesting but not dangerous (3kt tide at times)
    • Pearl Bay 47 miles from Gt Keppel. Very sheltered through a narrow channel between islands. shallow in SE corner. Anchored behind hills between reef and beach sheltered from SE swell entering the bay. Area used for armed forces live firing activities and may be off limits. Local VMRs have the details. Very serene here. BLACK before the moon rose. I have never been anywhere outside so dark. Cloud cover meant there were no stars. safe from SE SW winds
  • Shute Harbour in the Whitsundays at last . . .anchored just near the end of the moorings good holding. Tied up at the fishing jetty. Caught bus to Airlie beach ( every half hour from Fantasea terminal)