Starblazer - 24/08/2015 - Darwin
The past couple of days have been filled with highs and one negative.The negative is the wind, barely there and very changeable!We have motored almost non-stop since Saturday morning, only turning it off for the radio net at 0900 and 1800.At times we could have sailed slowly but we wanted to catch the tide down the Dundas Straight at about 1900 on Sunday so we motored.Now for the positives.The seas have become smooth with only a slight swell allowing us to take showers comfortably.The watermaker is now working well, we have filled the tanks to the top twice since leaving Cairns.John has finally landed a fish; since leaving Mackay almost three weeks ago he has lost at least three fish.One broke the line taking the lure and weight with it, a second one mangled the lure and straightened out. read more...
Starblazer - 22/08/2015 – Random Musings
Sailors are rarely satisfied.A couple of days ago we had too much wind, now there is not enough.The direction is wrong, or rather we could sail faster in the weak breeze if it would just wander around 30-40 degrees in either direction.One positive is that the seas are a lot calmer so living on board is easier.My next thought concerns making life easier for the galley slave who often does the provisioning as well.As we sail double handed I know how much rice we like so, to save the trouble of measuring it or weighing it in a rolly boat on an ocean passage, I weigh up meal size amounts and put them in small zip lock bags in my rice canister.I do the same with instant mashed potato flakes, a useful standby, but the packets are always far too big for two people.In the canister with the bags. read more...
Starblazer - 21/08/2015 = Halfway to Darwin
When we left Cairns on Sunday morning our planned trip was a non-stop,rather zig-zag distance of 1022 nM. The predominant winds should beestablished SE trades in the 15-25 knot range allowing for a fast sail andthere are two tidal gates to get right. At midnight Thursday we had sailed622 miles but we are actually more than halfway there because we have had a lotof help from the tide. We had celebratory steak and chips for a slightly earlyhalfway celebration on Wednesday evening because it felt like halfway havingrounded Cape York and navigated through the Endeavour Straight. That was the plan, now for some detail. The first few days of thetrip, from Cairns to Cape York, were in the protected waters within the GreatBarrier Reef however there isn’t just one. read more...
Starblazer - 16/08/2015 - To Cairns
A brief overview of the trip: we motored the whole way, though got a bit of help from the genoa for the last hour before turning into the dredged entry channel to Cairns.However, it was not a boring trip.We had barely set off when a whale made its presence known off to starboard,first of all with a tail slap then various waves of a fin together with quite obvious blows as it moved further away.That is the first whale I have seen on this trip.Early Thursday morning I heard a noise a bit like an underwater explosion from behind us.I looked back in time to see a mass of boiling water quickly followed by a whale blowing and thrashing a fin in the water.Again it was not interested in us and moved further away.The other major experience of the trip was avoiding the shipping.John had the worst. read more...
Starblazer - 11/08/2015 - A delightful week in the Whitsundays
We left Mackay last Tuesday at midday so it was fitting that we left Hook Island on our way to Cairns at midday today.It is a truly stunning cruising ground and a week went very quickly; we only visited a few of the islands and none of the outer reef system.Our first anchorage was on Brampton Island, almost joined to Carlisle Island, north of Keswick and St Bees, west of Cockermouth and Wigton islands.It should come as no surprise that these islands are part of the Cumberland Group!Brampton used to have a resort but it closed a couple of years ago and there was nobody in evidence though we didn't go ashore.Just north of Brampton is the James Smith group, comprising Goldsmith, Anchorsmith, Tinsmith, Locksmith and Ladysmith, not forgetting Bellows, Anvil, Bullion and the 2 Ingot. read more...