Tuesday August 12

Up early to catch the flood tide South back to down Marchinbar Island to Lagoon Bay and catch up with Troy on Mirool. Lea cooked pancakes for breakfast on the way. We dropped anchor near Mirool after fussing about trying to find shallower water with a sandy bottom.

Dropped the dinghy and said a quick Hi to Troy as we headed in to explore the Lagoon while the tide was right up.

Good Barramundi country

Sea Eagles best up in the dead tree.

Beautiful coase, firm sandy beach.

Little bush Wallabies

And a halo around the sun

Troy joined us for lunch and bought over some pickled fish he had prepared. delicious! He recounted his trip across the Gulf from the Jardine river to Cape Wessel in just over 3 days. He has been enjoying the fishing in the Lagoon here for a couple of days.

Ashore in the afternoon Lea went for a run along the beach while Troy showed me the use of a cast net. Too much wind and sun in the fishes favour meant very little success. Asked Troy to take me Barra fishing with him when the tide was in far enough to get the dinghy into the Lagoon.

Successful trip as we returned with 2 good size Barra and caught and released a couple of Trevally. I got a couple of Barra strikes but couldn't hook one. Troy was using a “Poppa” which I'd never seen before. Basically a floating lure with a blunt front end that creates a pop and a splash when jiggled. The Barra just exploded on them. Great fun.

Back on Gemini Lady for dinner Troy joined us with the 2 Barra all filleted. First time Lea and I have had Barra. Flesh is quite mushy. Nice taste but we prefer our Mackeral and Queenfish. Another good night was had with a full moon and a lovely sunset.

Wednesday 13th August

A bit jiggly last night and the wind is forecast to strengthen for the next 2 days so we left Troy to his fishing and moved around the next headland, Hammer Point, into the Bay between it and Nip Point hoping to get closer in for more shelter.

It was soon blowing a solid 20-25knots so a trip to shore was not very inviting. After lunch we stripped off for a wet ride to shore. It was a bit calmer there but no shade from the afternoon sun. Found a few oysters but lemons and limes are scarce on Gemini Lady so we left them alone.

Thursday August 14

Once again up early to catch the light winds and flood tide down to Hopeful Bay on the SW end of Marchinbar Island.

We had to anchor well offshore and as the wind had more South in it today it was a bit jiggly. Stripped off again for the wet dinghy ride into the estuary in the SE corner of the Bay. We couldn't get far up it so landed on the beach and had a fish.

 

No luck so we went for a dinghy ride in the Lee of the SE shore. Came across some huge Manta Rays frolicking in the shallows

Wind relentless once again and increased during the afternoon.

Friday August 15

Today's short hop is across Cumberland Strait, retrace our path to Gulgari Rip then on to Guruliya Bay , Raragala Island. Another brisk beam reach with double reefed Main and Genoa.

Half way across the Strait we hooked up a nice fat Spotted Mackeral.

The anchorage was lovely but the wind was still blowing hard. We spent the morning preparing fish. Pickling some as per Troy's recipe. Froze heaps and prepared some for Sashimi and fish cakes. It was a big fish. We won't be trolling for a few weeks now.

After lunch went ashore and sank into the beach in front of the anchorage. Abandoned that as a muddy idea and went in search of another. Found a lovely little sheltered cove between the rocks. Went back to Gemini Lady for chairs and a cold beer. Lea even enjoyed a little dip while I was on croc watch.

Saturday August 16

Set off for Elcho Island. Started in a 15 knot SE but it was soon up to 20 and I was pleased we had both reefs in the Main. It was a fast blast to Stevens Island and Lighthouse.

Here we ran into 4 knots of current against us and a boiling sea. Fortunately we were doing over 8 knots so we slowly forged our way through.

Once out of the grip of the worst of the tide we had to harden up to a close reach to head down the Island chain. After so many months of running with the breeze it was a bit of a shock to be driving into it with up to 30 knots apparent over the deck, groaning from ropes under huge loads, and pitching and rolling all over the place. The boat handled it all well and we maintained our 8 knot average. The boat is now absolutely covered in salt. Dropped sail at Refuge Bay and motored in to anchor in front of a commercial fishing boat having a rest.

All good but there is a slight concern that we will run out of beer and wine before Darwin. OMG!

Sunday August 17

Left Refuge Bay and headed down Elcho Island. Began with double reefed Main despite Lea's request to shake out a reef. before long we were close reaching in 20 knots with the biggest gust at 28. In quick time we sailed the length of the Island in flat water then hardened up to reach the anchorage on the SW of the Island. We were going to head for the anchorage of the settlement but the wind was blowing hard so we pulled into the first sheltered bay. First phone service for a while so we caught up with friends, Facebook and researched the next stage of our journey.

Afternoon calmed off so we enjoyed our first calm anchorage in ages.

 

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