It was still quite windy when we left Windy Bay and weren’t quite sure where we were actually heading to, so we decided to do a scenic sail. We went past Chalkies, then across to Whitehaven, both looked a little uncomfortable. Without stopping we headed North around the lumpy and rough top of Whitsundays Island, seeing if any anchorage there looked nicely protected. In the end we anchored at Marcona Inlet, Hook Island.
Our friends from Gypsy Pearl untied our lines for us and off we went saying goodbye, bonjours and fair winds. Well it was quite rough once out of the breakwall with wind and tide against each other, the waves were decent and steep. Along the way we at first thought we saw some kind of a tanker run aground but on closer inspection it was a tug boat towing a barge. We also named our autopilot Captain Downwind, finding that he does a better job than us keeping the sails open.
It has been 3 1/2 weeks since we left Gladstone, provisioned and had been amongst ‘civilisation’. With a 45 nm passage ahead from Curlew Island to Mackay we left at 6:20 am motoring out of the bay with our new friends on Glidepath just a little way ahead. We knew it wouldn’t be long until they would be way ahead but it was nice to cruise in company even if for a little bit. We felt the breeze and up went our sails as we set off on our downwind course. After some flapping and frustration we got on a tack and goosewinged her sails out. Ahh much better, she was sailing along nicely.
After not enough wind yesterday, today the predicted increased wind strength occurred. It actually started last night along with a direction shift which made the anchorage at South Percy feeling not very safe, nor the most comfortable. So again another weather based decision; where to go now. Never having been to Middle Percy we were unsure how the anchorage would be considering the weather but it was only 2 hours away. Our other option would be 6 hours to Curlew Island.
The wind was up to 25 knots with choppy swell in mixed directions. As we came closer to Middle Percy we saw a yacht leaving, considering what they were leaving into we decided to just go to Curlew, having more confidence in its’ protection.
It was off early in the morning for us, but we hoped not too early as the tide was still low and according to our Navionics it gets quite shallow. Surprisingly where it was showing 2 – 3 m of depth on the gps we were in 6 -8. So we got out no problems.
Unfortunately the wind was around somewhere but we just couldn’t seem to catch it so the motor stayed on and the headsail ended up getting furled in due to its annoying flapping. Well it wasn’t long until there were 7 boats all out dotted across the ocean and we weren’t the only ones having trouble catching the wind. We saw one boat a fair way out east with spinnaker flying and it was then we made a vow to learn how to fly one of them and bring our spinnaker next season.
Port Clinton to Island head was to be a short trip, a little hop that helped reduce the length of the next part of our planned passage to Hexam Island. Radha worked out a route for us to take that would include some sight seeing and possible going ashore somewhere, depending on the weather and swell. It was expected to be rather light winds so we knew the headland conditions would be better than when we came in but were not sure how different. It was a world of difference. We even left with the tide coming up. Although this meant going against it to get out of Port Clinton, once outside the tide would help push us up to our destination. As predicted the wind was very light so our trip up was a combination of downwind sailing and motorsailing.