Wednesday 22nd April

At the Berkley River entrance at 0630. High tide was 4.8m at 0800 so we were still pushing a bit of rising tide in case we got into trouble. We were at 4.2m with a 15 Kt SE and a slight swell. The sounder showed 3.5m at the bottom of a wave. Much of the passage was at 4.4m In other words we were travelling mostly through the tide not the channel using the KCCYC waypoints.

Once safely across the bar and heading NW I went below to check the bilge pump that was alarming. Thought it was just caused by the rocking and rolling but found the middle bilge port side with 10 cm of what I thought was diesel in the bilge. Turned off the bilge pump and left to deal with later. Holding tank was full and motion was causing it to stink so I pumped it out. Result, I got seasick. A Stugeron and a little lie down and I was ok.

Conditions got quite boisterous as we romped up the coast under Screecher. The ebb was helping us at first but we were going faster than the tide so we caught up to the high tide peak moving west. The seas got very steep and short coming at us from different directions and throwing us around a bit. 40 Nm including the 1 hour bar crossing in 5 hours.

Arrived Kalooma Bay at midday pushing against the ebb with 27Kts behind us. Anchored off the beach inside the first headland.

Pulled everthing out of the Middle bilge locker and found it was full of fresh water, not diesel. Thank goodness but WTF? Pumped and dried the bilge out but could not identify any leaks. Another thing to watch. Northbound Charters boat politely asked to anchor nearby.

Wind eased in the evening and a very pleasant after dinner drink on the tramps listening to music. No bugs out here.

Thursday April 23

Enjoyed a walk on the beach and a fish while waiting for the high tide to enter The King George River. Caught and released a small Barracuda. The boys on Northbound Chaters had already landed a good size GT.

A small cruise ship, “Silver Explorer”, came in and anchored in the Bay and lowered all its boats.

High tide was at 1010 @ 2.65m. We crossed at 2.1 m following the KCCYC waypoints and the shallowest part read 2.1 m on the sounder. 2. boats were about to exit the river. “Restless M” rudely pushed past us on the wrong side. The other boat whose name we can't remember polititly radios their intentions to pass on the wrong side also. Bar crossing etiquette is that the incoming vessel has right of way. Restless M did give us a look at an alternative route with more depth and we got a few waypoints off her AIS as she wove through the bar. She draws 3.2 m so her path must have been deeper than ours.

We took the remainder of the flood tide up the River all the way to the famous Twin Falls. The Gorge walls are redder and taller than the Berkley with more greenery.

Twin Falls was flowing well and we took the dinghy right up to the falls after anchoring just back around the corner. We tried to fill the water jerries but the there was just too much volume and we ended soaked and laughing with a dinghy full of water but very little in the can.

The walk up to the top was festooned with walkers from the cruise ship so we decided to leave the walk untill tomorrow. We went to find the hidden swimming hole but we're disappointed to find that not enough water was flowing to make it look clean.

The crew of “Silver Explorer” came by with a couple of beers for us; very thoughtful of them.

First contact with Australian Customs who flew over us in their chopper. After lunch we explored BBQ Beach and Steep Gorge. Lea enjoyed a bath in the shady pool in this little narrow side Gorge.

After beer o'clock went for a fish and came back with dinner. A nice little GT.

Friday April 24

Up early for a walk up to the top of Twin Falls. Very spectacular in the smokey early morning.

Explored up the top but didn't risk the strong flow in the eastern creek to get accross. Had a refreshing cool down in a nice little pool. Scrambling down the cliff back to the dinghy we found the “Gremlin Box” in its cave and gave the Gremlin a gift of a packet of salt.

The big Cruise Vessel ” True North” had just arrived as we got back to the dinghy and we watched her put her bows under the western falls. We went over and had a chat to some of the crew in the already offloaded tender boats. Amazing to see a 35m vessel manoeuvre so close to 30m cliffs.

She anchored close by and the skipper sent across a tender to advise us that helicoptor tours were about to commence. We heard that she would be crossing the bar about 1300 which was later than we thought we could do. I radios the skipper and asked if we could follow her out. He was very helpful and asked if we needed any fresh food. They were finishing their cruise the next day in Wyndham and would be restocking so we said we would take anything surplus to their requirements.

This apparently quick decision was the result of a number of factors we were trying to juggle. First strong Easterlies were on their way, second, high tides were getting smaller and later, meaning we were losing the opportunity for a daylight rounding of Cape Londenderry weighed against the desire not to miss anything in the King George. A late departure across the bar today gave us the extra time we needed.

We still had time to go down to explore East Arm Falls. After motoring back down the river we re anchored and took the dinghy. It was a long ride against the wind into East Arm Gorge. The falls were flowing well and the ropes and ladder were there waiting for us to climb up to the ” Fountain of Youth” as the falls and pool above are known.

The climb was very difficult and scary. Some sections needed upper body only to pull up the rope as there were no footholds. Lea couldn't make it to the top which was a shame as it really was beautiful up there. She sat on a ledge 3/4 of the way up waving at the “True North” chopper.

The climb down wasn't quite so bad but Lea did kiss the dinghy when she was down and sat while her pulse rate settled. On the way back to Gemini Lady we saw a Dugong.

As we were pulling up the anchor “True North” came into view. We let her pass and fell in behind her but couldn't keep up. She was in a hurry, running late for the fast ebbing tide. Again we tracked her path on AIS and followed. She went via a similar route to “Restless M” but overshot a bit and ran into shallow water. We were fine but we created a route on our chartplotter combining info from both boats for the future.

We anchored in Kalooma Bay next to “True North” and A tender came across bearing 2 huge trays of fresh fruit and food for us. Mick introduced himself and we had a bit of a chat. He has a cat back in The Gold Coast and hopes to cruise to PNG next year. We radioed the skipper and expressed our appreciation to him and the chefs on board.

It was a glorious afternoon with a nice 15 kt SE blowing so we thought we would go for a sail. Glycosamis Bay was only 20NM away.

Lea dealt with all the new fresh food while I got us sailing. Heart in mouth moment as we took a short cut though an uncharted area between a island and a reef. The contour lines looked like they should continue on but they didn't. A rock wall came vertically up at us from 18m. Fortunately it stopped coming up at 4.2m and we held our breath as we were committed. Depth slowly increased back to 18m. No more short cuts for us!

Anchored offthe beach just before the sand bar into the inner anchorage. A bit rolly at first but settled down nicely as the wind dropped out.

 

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