North West Island to Airlie

Sorry it has taken me so long to get around to this post. It’s not like I can blame my hectic lifestyle.

My pilgrimage to Sarah’s resting place complete, I was called back to reality by the need to get back within communication range for a video conference the next morning. I weighed anchor and headed into Great Keppel, arriving around 8pm. Anchored in Johannsen’s Bay I had a comfy night and an unpressured morning before the conference call. Cometh the hour however, the call was called off. Released from the commitment I then had to figure how to spend the rest of the day.

Having been able to sail most of the way since Southport I had figured I wouldn’t now need to fuel up until Airlie. I also had most of the day to get somewhere. I thought about Port Clinton or Pearl Bay but the temptation for a long sail to Middle Percy won over with the possibility that I would be there for the Friday goat. It would be a longish sail with an arrival time of around midnight. I had company though. Some of the race boats that weren’t competing in the Brisbane to Hamilton Island race were making their way north and would be passing me during the day. I had a brief chat to Ichi Ban as we crossed paths.

Pretty much to plan I arrived at midnight and dropped anchor. I had messaged Cate, the lease holder of the island, a few weeks back and she had said she would be back on the island for a while, having moved to Proserpine a couple of years back. I was keen to catch up with her. After a lazy morning I headed ashore and headed up to the homestead, calling ahead on the VHF to find where Cate might be. They weren’t sure where Cate was but also informed me that the Homestead was closed to visitors for the day but I was welcome to walk through on my walking loop. I needed the walk and assumed I would run into Cate anyway. It’s not like she could have gone far.

As I arrived at the Homestead, fortuitously Cate was just arriving. The reason for her visit, and the Homestead closure was then made apparent. Cate was back on the island to work through a continuity plan for the island. None of us are getting younger and Cate was adamant that after all the efforts she had gone through to rescue the island from parties not consistent with Andy’s original idea of the island would not go to waste over the inevitable passage of time. Cate is in the process of setting up a Trust to become the leaseholder with the hope that a board of Trustees and a clear constitution would allow the island to remain the haven it has been for all these years, into the future. I am sure many of you reading this will agree with this sentiment as Middle Percy hold a special place in many, if not all, Coral Sea cruisers. In whatever way we can we should all get behind Cate in establishing this Trust and ensuring its success in the future.

After a run down of these activities Cate then took me to “A Room with A View”. Its is a residence on the island I had never been to before but apparently it has the most stable mobile reception on the island. It is where I did my last series of blog posts from. The name is not a lie. It has the best view down over West Bay. After punching out the blogs I headed back to Wine-Dark Sea. On the way down the hill the most eerie sea fog rolled in. You could barely see the boats in the anchorage

Kinda spooky

Given all the admin that was going on however, it did mean there would be no island goat for dinner. I have been promised island roo or goat on my return. There was even talk of the need to cull a peacock or two (yes there are peacocks on the island too).

Goats safe….for now

I did return assure for the compulsory sun-downers in the A-frame and some more beer, boats and bullshit talk with my fellow cruisers.

The next day was a relatively easy passage to the idyllic anchorage that is Scawfell Island. An uneventful trip but for the fact that I didn’t realise I had forgotten to retract the wheels on Goon Bag (the tender) until I was 50 miles into the 60 mile voyage.

The next day I was wondering where I might go, having made good enough time to be able to have a couple of days in the Whitsundays before heading into Airlie. That was before I realised that I wasn’t getting any charge of the alternator. The worst part about that was it meant that the espresso machine was out of bounds, due to the high current draw. This could not be tolerated and required IMMEDIATE rectification. I set about finding the issue and changed plans and decided to head into Happy Bay, Long Island so I was within easy reach of Airlie if I needed extra assistance.

There’s the problem

As you can see, corrosion, like most things on boats, was the issue. It no doubt didn’t help that the alternator sits below where the pre-filters for the water maker use to live. This meant that every time I changed the filters, the alternator and associated wiring, would get a shower of salt water regardless of the care and attention I paid during the extraction. Not only was this wire caput but many of the lugs on the alternator were corroded beyond repair and I suspected there were some under-sized wires in there to boot. All of which would need to wait until anchoring to fix.

I contacted my mate Ed Saafeld in Airlie to find a marine electrician that might be able to help should I need it once I got into dock. Despite being a Sunday I had most things arranged so that I could get it all sort on Monday. Given that most “5 minute jobs” on boats end up taking all day, I decided to head into Airlie the next day in a hope I would have it all sorted before the crew arrived for Airlie Beach Race Week.

Despite communications being a little fleeting with the electrician, when I arrived the replacement alternator was ready and slipped in easily, despite being an upgraded 80A alternator, to replace the old 55A. I did make a day of it though replacing all the cables and termination. If its worth doing, its worth over-doing it.

Next stop, RACING!!!

One thought on “North West Island to Airlie

  1. Yes it was marvellous to catch up with you Peter. So glad you made the hike up the hill and I’m also glad you had fun at the A-frame Percy Island yacht club meeting place; where we shared a toast to your darling Sarah ; your beautiful “Welsh dragon” RIP. May we all meet again for happy reunion in the next world. 🙏🥰🦋. I was very happy to hear that you have met a lovely lady as your companion in life, so you can be at peace as well in this world . meanwhile back to everyday ; I’m busy here tidying up and sorting out . Officialdom is time consuming too . The garden is blooming thanks to Malcolms green thumbs and hard work . Lettuces will be available on your return trip . So any day is goat or Roo stew day ; it needs advance warning though to get organised! yes it’s racing time and the boats are all up in the Whitsundays. so I hope you have a wonderful occasion catching up with your dad and enjoying lots of cups of fresh coffee with your brand new alternator ; what an efficient mechanic💖with love peace and Fairwinds from Cate and the Percy Island team 🥰💓💕👍🌺🐝🐐🦘🌴🦋


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