It’s All Hallows’ Eve and we are anchor, in a very light breeze at a beautiful little island called Hope Island. This is where we hope there will be wind tomorrow and we hope we can make it to Darwin without any more challenges! The birds on the island are making a weird, ghostly sound, most appropriate for the evening, but we do hope the stop at night!
We had a good sail today, but still had to run the motor to get us up to 6 knots. This ensured we would arrive with overhead sun, so we would be able to pick our way through the bommies into the lagoon-like anchorage. It was very hot from about 0900, and the less than 10 knots of breeze did little to cool us down. After giving the windows and window seals a good clean out and re-silicon greasing, I was roasting as we arrived at the island, where it was my turn for navigating. We always take it in turns to navigate into the anchorage, while the other person steers. However, because this was a coral cay surrounded by reef and bommies, navigators job means standing on the pulpit path finding through the coral.
There were two public moorings, with a catamaran on the most suitable of course, but we decided to try for the other to save anchoring. After an easy run in, coral became more prevalent and we decided to bail, going back out to clearer ground to lay the anchor. It still took us two attempts, but finally we settled in a good spot. Despite seeing tons of jellyfish on the way in, we were so overcome with the heat, we put the boarding ladder out and dipped into the water to cool off, with the other person keeping watch for jellies and crocs! We figured there were so many turtles, they would eat most of the jellies and probably wouldn’t be hanging around if there was a croc. We survived and felt instantly better, being wet and feeling the breeze cooling on wet skin.
The breeze dropped over night and it was very warm. I had difficulty sleeping with a persistent headache, which I finally cured by taking a hydrolyte. Must have got too hot and taken too much sun, so I knew I needed to be careful the next morning. We were going to try for the long run direct to Lizard Island the next day, and with the forecast still for very light nor’easters, we needed to leave early to make the 65 miles in daylight. As we had been waking early anyway, we didn’t set the alarm, and were horrified to wake at 0700, our proposed departure time!
We immediately started our prep to weigh anchor, deciding that coffee and breakfast could wait until we were under way. We finally got the anchor up without any issues and were on our way by 0740, Pete making the coffee once all the anchor paraphernalia was stowed. It was another beautiful day, but there was very little breeze again, with what there was coming from the right angle, but because we needed to do six knots, the motor gave us apparent wind as though we were close hauled. We sailed anyway, as the sails gave us an extra knot, which made the difference between making it to Lizard, or having to stop at Cape Flattery. We decided that if we got to Lizard, we may treat ourselves to two nights there, and see if we could do some snorkelling.
It was a long hot day, but I managed a couple of hours of light sleep before lunch, and carefully kept covered and out of the sun. Sleep was only interrupted by Pete catching a mackerel tuna, and I automatically woke as the engine was slowed, checked out of the window, got the gaff, and went to help. Luckily I was naked, so it didn’t matter that I was splattered with fish blood, though Pete got blood on his white tee shirt, so hose down on the back deck and an excuse to do some laundry. By mid afternoon, we both felt the need for a shower so had lovely refreshing showers on the back deck. I even shampooed my hair – luxury, as I can’t remember when I last washed it! This was followed by laundry time, to get some of the washing pile reduced, and to ensure the fish blood had come out of Pete’s shirt!
We rounded the headland at Lizard Island as the sun was just sloping down towards set, and by the time it was set, we had anchored, packed away, and treated ourselves to a beer for persisting in the long hot day. We cooked up a quick pasta for dinner and had an early night, both feeling exhausted after the long hot day. Goon Bag launch could wait until the morning.
I got up around 0600, that little headache pecking at me again, but went and sat on the deck where it was still cool, and read a couple of blogs I wanted to catch up on. It was very still and the water so clear, I nearly lept out of my skin when a black tipped reef shark casually swam by. I decided that it was time Pete got up as we had a lot of plans for the day, top of the list being to climb up to Cooks look out, which we needed to do before it got too hot. I dragged him out of bed around 0730 and by 0830 we were heading ashore, with plenty of water and our walking shoes. As we got ready, a couple arrived at the foot of the path and threw themselves in the beautiful clear water of the bay. We gathered it was a tough walk!
In fact it was tougher than expected, a combination of Mount Jim Crow and Whitsunday Peak, with absolutely no shade and a few monitor lizards thrown in! It took us about an hour to get to the point where Cook checked out his route through the reefs for when Endeavour was repaired. It was exciting to be standing exactly where he stood, seeing the same view, and knowing what challenges he had been through. there was a box with a visitors book at the top, which we signed, and then we took some pics, ate a few muesli bars and drank more water, then commenced the descent. This was quicker, and we were back on the beach by 1100, stripped and swimming in the sea to cool off.
Back at WDS, we decided it was a good time to get the measles sorted out (see pics from our haul out in Cairns!) and we spent the best part of an hour cleaning the hull. The water was so warm, it was no hardship at all, and we probably could have stayed in longer, but we wanted to snorkel as well, so we hopped out for a break and a bite for lunch. The snorkelling was amazing, some of the best we have had, with coral in the bay, clear water and tons of fish including some big ones. All the fish were really curious and generally hung around, rather than swimming off. We saw a small black tip reef shark towards the end of our hour long snorkel, but he didnt come very close.
We had hoped to have dinner ashore, but the fancy resort here wouldnt take anyone other than guests, and the Marlin Bar, whihc is open to the unwashed boaties, was closed. However, we were able to arrange to get to jerries of diesel, which was a bit of a relief after 3 solid motoring days. However, the breeze is looking better for the next week, with a bit more and from the right direction, so when we head off tomorrow after getting the diesel, we should be able to sail.
This will likely be the last of the internet until we reach the Cape, so enjoy the read and hang tight for the next installment!