Saturday 28th August (day 41)
Anchors up before the break of dawn, and we want to get to Pearl Bay with plenty of daylight as we had not taken this boat there from the south.
Motoring out away from the coast we hoped to catch some breezes and we unfurled the genoa for much of the journey. Any other sailing craft seemed to be doing the same, and we kept an eye on the dark shape of Notorious which seemed to hug the coastline for a while. Apparent breeze is less than 10 knots but true wind speed about half of that.
Several whale sightings kept our eyes on the water, and one half grown juvenile kept us in company for some of the trip although not closer than 50 metres.
With Geoff’s working background, a contingency for every possible event is high in his mind. Even though he is ex-navy, it was many decades ago, and his sailing experiences are fairly recent, so being cautious, and trying to cover all possible issues can cause him great anxiety at times. Hence our approach to Pearl Bay with some sizeable swell and strong current was somewhat stressful for him. However, the electronic chart was clear and accurate depicting the reef that projects from the South Island of the Hervey Islands group laying just off the southerly entrance, and we arrived at around 3.00pm.
There were several boats already anchored and in the best spots, but with a draft of 2 metres we were happy to stand off from the beach, and the reef.
Although we now were in possession of the new oil pressure switch, it hadn’t been installed. I was getting pretty good at coming into anchor at the lowest speed possible without triggering the alarm. And then changing into neutral gear while keeping up the rev’s and then into reverse and with enough rev’s to keep that bloody alarm at bay. The throttle is clunky and difficult in those transitions, but I must be boss of it and not allow it to falter.
Sitting in the cockpit to keep watch on our depth and swing was a timely reward as a visit from mating turtles and dugongs kept us entertained and enchanted for a couple of hours. Capturing images and video of wildlife is a folly for us amateurs – but fun, nevertheless. The dugongs were as elusive as one we saw here 12 years ago – I wonder if it is the same one.
There are sandflies about, so we have taken measures to keep the biting bastards at bay – see our romantic canopy?
Sunday 29th August (day 42)
This morning most of the other boats have departed – we are happy to be in the company of only one other sailing monohull, the occupants of which had enjoyed yesterday’s displays by the dugongs as much as we did.
After a leisurely morning we have gone ashore to look for my beloved pearly shells that I discovered here a dozen years ago. I rescued one from beneath the tinny that we’ve dragged ashore – just in time, but while we collected a lovely assortment of beach detritus, the pearl shells I’d hoped for were scarce.
We’ve really enjoyed the walk ashore, but I have not applied the pest repellent and the sandflies have made a meal out of my legs. Still, we’ve taken some photos and played with some angles – I have no talent for this but I enjoy it anyway!
I really love this part of the Queensland coastline, but I am at times aghast that the Australian Defence Forces use the Shoalwater Bay area as their training ground for military exercises including with other nations. It seems an assault on the senses and injustice to the landscape but at the same time, at least it has protected it from development. Even if it was proclaimed national park, I fear that the day trippers and campers would soon wreck the surrounds or at least the serenity.
Our neighbours aboard FarAway have departed and given us a wave goodbye, and we enjoy the anchorage to ourselves…for a time. Late in the afternoon a tall ship approaches and it is the familiar sight of South Passage – well known identity of Moreton Bay. It is a pretty sight to behold and appreciate.
Tonight’s fare is panko crumbed chicken breast stuffed with avocado, jalapeno cheese, mushrooms, and salad.
More photos will be seen in the sailing photo gallery
Pearl Bay is another probable stop on our way south later.
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Maybe or maybe we can try somewhere new like Island Head Creek or Port Clinton?