Saturday May 2

We didn't venture off the boat at Parry Harbour but it was lovely anchorage and the water colour was a beautiful deep Aqua.

We left early against the flood tide hoping to use it the other side of Gibson Point down to the Osbourne Islands. However, we seemed to be fighting the tide all the way. As spring tides are building it is more important now for us to get them right but we still don't seem to get it. We have had a feeling ever since arriving in Darwin that Navionics has the current flows wrong.

A light ENE came in around the point and we drove to windward under full sail very nicely. The wind started to get a bit gusty and flukey as we neared the islands. We also had to do a major detour around a Pearl Lease that we thought had been cleared out. Tested our tacking skills which proved to be a little rusty.

Anchored in a lovely little bay noting much seemingly abandoned pearling boats and infrastructure in nearby bays.

We went in search of “Castle Rock” and rock art but our info was vague and we found nothing. Caught a large Barracuda which with much difficulty went back.

Sunday May 3

Studied up on our info for the art sites and headed off in search for “Castle Rock” again. Couldn't work out the creeks our notes refered to but found the one with the beautifull freshwater oasis.

We explored for a while and walked to another large beautiful billabong.

Then returned to do some washing and have bath.

Our fresh produce from “True North” is still holding up so we are still enjoying fresh salads. No sign of scurvy yet.

We moved across to the bay on the south of Middle Osbourne Island and checked out all the pearling stuff left there but found the bay too shallow for an overnight stay. We were seeking anchorage protected from the NW seabreeze. We kept on going around to SW Osbourne Island and had another few scares as underwater cliffs, rocks, reefs reached up to grab us. We hate unsurveyed areas!

Finally dropped the pick under the big escarpment, reassured by a Navionics community layer note that someone else had anchored here.

Monday May 4

A hot and hazy day with very little wind forecast for the next 2 days. We weren't planning to do the Mitchell River but it looks like that's the plan.

Another heart stopping moment leaving the anchorage as fangs from below reached up for us again. We crawled along until back in surveyed open water. Actually managed to catch a nice Queenie on the final point. This was quickly dispatched and in the fridge.

Light southerly so we reached across to Point Pickering at a very leisurely pace until the wind died completely and we turned on the motor. Decided to test the watermaker and fortunately it all worked fine after I had cleaned out the Diversion Valve. However, we did solve the mystery of the fresh water in the port midships bilge a few weeks ago. The fitting where the Watermaker fills the tank had broken and was leaking when filling, overfilled or on rough seas. I was removing the piece of broken fitting remaining in the tank with an Easyout and had just thought this doesn't feel like a thread when the fitting and Easyout dropped through the hole into the tank. I suppose a bit of extra iron in the water won't hurt!

We were running a bit late with the tide but managed to get to Middle Rocks before the ebb flow really started to run.

Fresh fish and chips for lunch.

Watched the tide go down exposing lots of sand and rocks. Not very inviting but Surveyers Creek looks like it would be worth the effort. Pickled some fish. Yum!

Tuesday May 5

Lea used the heavy dew to give the boat another clean while I fought the radio to get a connection to send a 50th Wedding Aniversary message that Lea had written. Couldn't get though last evening nor in the early hours this morning but finally cracked it. Got the latest GRIB file as well that confirmed we have another day of no wind on Wednesday. No excuse, we will run the 2 NM gauntlet up to Surveyors Creek.

Set off at 7.30am about half tide and made our way around Middle Rocks, then back into the centre or the river to dodge some big rocks we noted last evening. From there it looked like just sand banks which don't hurt as much. We got down to 1.7M at one stage but found our way in to the anchorage just outside Surveyors Creek without hitting anything. We found 5.0m of water at the deepest point and dropped anchor. Then we had a maths problem. Would 5.0M of water mean we will still be floating at low tide this evening.

Here is the info we had.

Port Warrender High 11.34am at 7.19M, Low 17.54 at 0.77M. At Middle Rocks tides are about 0.8 of Port Warender Tides and about 30 min. later. We anchored at 8.30am when tide height at Port Warrander was 4.2M and we had 5.0M of depth.

So will we still be afloat at 1800 hours or not?

My gut feeling was that we didn't have enough water. Anyway, after a coffee we headed up Surveyors Creek and were not disappointed. About 2Nm in we came to the rock barrier with a convenient dinghy dock. From here we scrambled up over boulders to reach the first freshwater pool.

We explored this level for a while admiring the falls. We then climbed the escarpment up above the falls for a great view back toward the river and found a wonderland of swimming pools and cascading waterfalls. Absolutely beautifull!



We enjoyed a quick swim in one of the pools, neither of us quite relaxed in deep water even though well above croc and saltwater level, then back down to the first level to do a little more washing.

I went and checked the dinghy and found it settled nicely on a set of natural careening rocks. Fortunately it was still half afloat so easy to move into deeper water. Half an hour later we were on our way back to Gemini Lady for lunch and to make a decision re staying at the anchorage overnight.

My gut said no but my calculations were:

Adjusted depth increment for Anchorage 5.0M – 4.2M = 0.8M

Adjusted high tide height for Middle Rocks 7.19M x 0.8 = 5.72M

Adjusted tide range for Middle Rocks 7.19M – 0.73M = 6.46M x 0.8 = 5.16M

Adjusted low tide height for Middle Rocks 5.72M – 5.16M = 0.56M+ 0.73M = 1.29M

Adjusted depth at low tide for Middle Rocks 1.29M + 0.8M = 2.17M

So we should be floating as we draw around 1.3M

We stayed and the rocks and sandbars appeared.

As I write this it's 1728 and the depth is 1.7M

We are also very glad we aren't downstream another 50 M because there are rocks there too.

We are encircled by sandbanks to the south and west, shore to the east and rocks north.

It's 1754 and the depth is 1.5M and still the river ebbs.

It's 1815 and the depth is still 1.5M. Looks like we made it with 200mm to spare. Not that there was a big problem as we are over clean sand but we prefer to stay floating to avoid at least some of the sand flies. We haven't swung yet but I suspect our hole will fill from upstream and we won't swing until nearly 1M into the flood.

1846 and Nope! Forgot about the delay. Depth is now 1.3M and l think the front of the mini keels are just aground on the sand.

1900 and we are aground. Missed by about 60mm, but didn't feel a thing. Fortunately it's very calm. Tomorrow mornings low is over half a metre higher so we should have no further problem.

1930 and we are 150mm from being afloat. So much for tide tables Depth is about 1.1M nearly 1 M shallower than my estimate.

2007 and we have just floated off and reversed direction into the flood tide.

Wednesday May 6

Still afloat this morning during the low tide. Attempted to do rock survey using radar. Good waypoints for the bigger ones closer to us but not enough to trust. Can see a deeper channel close to island then western bank but think we will stick to our track in to get out as we made it in and will be leaving on a tide 1.5M higher than we came in on.

Waited until the tide turned about 1130 then idled out of the anchorage following our path in. Shallowest part was 4.7M as the tide height at port Warrender was 7.2M. Continued on into Walmesly Bay and anchored for a quiet afternoon and night ready for a quick departure tomorrow for Cape Voltaire and Swift Bay. Had trouble with the Pactor modem; it would not talk to the computer. Frigged around a lot with cables and driver installs and it finally worked. Not sure I've got to the bottom of this problem yet but managed to send out birthday greetings to my sister and best wishes to Lea's parents for their 50th wedding Aniversary as well as get an updated GRIB file.