Wednesday May 13

Strong Wind Warning, 20-30 kt SE turning to the NE today so we were all set for blast over Augustus Island. Best we got was 10kts and that was from the SW late afternoon on the nose after battling to keep sailing all day using every sail we had. Very frustrating and hot day. Only bonus was timing the tide right through the passage over Augustus, getting a 3 kt push along for a while.

Nearly pulled into an old pearling anchorage for the night but a NW seabreeze had come in at about 8 Kts so we put the spinnaker up to get to Sampsen Inlet. No sooner were we passed the old pearl farm anchorage when the wind backed all the way round to the SW. Did the last 5 NM under motor and Genoa. We were over it! 9 hours of frustration!

Anchored up the Southern Gorge of Samson Inlet. Very pretty and sheltered. Had a well earned beer then dinghied up to the camp site where 19 years ago a couple we know of spent the wet season in their little Compass 28 yacht. Great place with a nice rock shelf and a freshwater soak but not our idea a fun camping trip.

A 3 metre croc checked us out as we headed back to the boat and another big Lemon Shark came to visit soon after.

Thursday May 14

Up early to go up to the top of Samson Inlet and check out the gorge and freshwater stream.

Morning light had the gorge walls in shadow which didn't do them justice.

Headed out with bets on the wind. It was another SWW with 20-30 SE-E. Lea thought there would be wind today. I didn't. I was right. Exactly the same as yesturday. We fought our way up to Deception Bay in flukey conditions and called it a day at lunch time, making all of 12NM South. Anchored off another very pleasant beach next to Kid Island. As it turned out a S-SW seabreeze came in early. Will try for Raft Point tomorrow and Montgomery Reef on Saturday.

Friday May 15

All bets off today. The weather had a sinister feel from the early hours of the morning. It was a chilly night and about 0300 I turned on the instruments to see what the wind strength was. It was only 12 kts E but seemed like more. We got up at dawn to get the most out of the remaining flood tide and after hot porridge for breakfast stuck our nose out passed Hall Point about 0640. We started with 1 reef in the Main and it wasn't long before the 2nd reef was in as we close hauled back up to the shore to keep in flat water in the 20 kt plus gusts Easterly. It was another SWW today and this time it was for real. A bit of a shock to the system after 5 weeks of easy light wind sailing.

However, we blasted along at 9-10 kts with some tide assistance. We had to leave the protection of the shoreline at Freshwater Cove to avoid some reefs and expected the sea state to get worse. Fortunately the tide turned as we hit more open water and the ebb flattened off the seas. The wind gradually eased so the 2nd reef came out. The first 20 NM had taken 2 hours. The last 10NM took another 2 hours of working the shifts to climb up to Raft Point finally anchoring around 1100.

Checked out the tides for Montgomery Reef and debated doing it today but decided not to rush and enjoy it tomorrow although with the low tide being late we will not get back before dark.

After lunch we dinghied around the headland to a beach and track leading up to some more Rock Art. There was a helicopter on the beach that took off as we arrived.

Some of the party were still on shore and we had a good chat to them. They were consultants on a work trip researching Rock Art sites and the best way to manage and preserve them. Interesting people and perspective. Wished we could have spent longer talking to them but the chopper came back to pick them up so we headed up the track to the Art sites.

Back at the boat we enjoyed a phenomenal sunset with the sun illuminating the escarpments, with a visit from fisheries thrown in.

Saturday May 16

A bit of breeze all night made it a bit jiggly. Housework and maintenance morning then off to Montgomery Reef after lunch. No breeze so we motored all the way intercepted by ” Silver Explorer” who cut in front of us. We were a bit early and the reef boundary was not clear yet so we anchored and had a cup of tea. Then we worked our way up the “Gutter” into the reef itself as the water level dropped and the reef became exposed. The lagoons on top of the reef continued to drain causing cascades and waterfalls down the sides of the reef.

It was quite noisy. Lots of turtles stuck their heads up in the chanel.

Odessey Explorer joined the throng for the 1630 low tide. We headed back passing the party from “Silver Explorer” on the now exposed sandbank. Quite bizarre given how remote our location is.

Back at Raft Point in the dark another boat had taken our planned position so we went back to our last anchorage. This was fine until the early hours when the breeze came in and made it quite uncomfortable.

Sunday May 17

Cool morning saw us in long pants and jumpers. Up early as wind over tide was making our anchorage very unpleasant. Anchor was up before 0600 and we caught the flood tide up to Red Cone Inlet. With 3 kts of assistance this didn't take long. Nice peacefull anchorage and relaxed as the tide came in enough to go off to explore Ruby Falls.

As we left Gemini Lady Oddessy Explorer turned up. The journey up the inlet was lovely with thick mangroves lining the wide estuary that gradually narrowed and finally into a short gorge before the beautifull Ruby Falls came into view. Plenty of water was still flowing over the falls. We tied up the dinghy and did the washing in the first rock pool, at the base of the falls.

We then scrambled up the escarpment to above the falls where we explored a little then found a lovely pool for a bath.

Dropped in on Oddessy on the way back. Crew were very friendly and we were welcomed aboard for a chat.

During the afternoon I dismantled the Genset water pump again as it was leaking. the tide was going out and the transformation was unbelievable. The mud banks just kept getting higher.

We went out for a fish at dusk and I did catch a small Barra which we let go. However, we were intimidated by a determined 2.5 M croc who made it abundantly clear this was his territory.

Monday May 18

Another cool and quiet morning as we waited for the tide to rise enough for our visit to Saphire Falls. We left a little early as we had to push through and over some Mangroves. The chanel was so narrow we thought we may have taken a wrong turn. However, Lea heard the noise of the falls. A cute little waterfall with a beautifull deep pool underneath it.

Above the falls were lovely pools and billabongs.

Returning to the lower pool and watching carefully for a while we enjoyed a quick swim in the crystal clear water. Very refreshing. As the tide rose we moved the dinghy in closer and filled a jerry with fresh water for washing.

Back at Gemini Lady as soon as the tide turned we were off. Hoping to get to Langgi an open stead anchorage.

Passing Steep Island along the way.

The conditions were forecast to be very light for the next 3 days so we wanted to use the tide as much as possible. We were pleased to get a 5-10 WSW breeze out of the inlet allowing us to motor sail out through Foam Passage with tide assist at 8 kts. Then we bore away and with Main and Screecher and made good progress. As the wind died in the afternoon Oddessy motored passed us. After encountering some shallows along the way we were anchored off Langgi by 1620 having done 30 NM in just over 4 hours with 10 Kts of breeze.

Tuesday May 19

A calm night which was a pleasant surprise in an open road stead anchorage and strong tide flows. Waited for the tide to come in so we could access the gorge.

Lea did an aerobic workout while I played with the Laptop and the Pactor Modem. We were having trouble with the link between the Laptop and the Pactor. I read all the manuals and came to the conclusion that we had an RF problem. This had only happened since I'd tweaked the system to push out max power so I backed off the settings and this seemed to help.

Ashore we visited the lovely beach first and looked for a track leading up to some Rock Art but we couldn't find it.

Then headed up the narrow gorge.

Walked up to the pool and waterfall.

There was a rope to climb up to the next level but it was just out of reach from the cliff side and I wasn't keen to swim for it. Also had to deal with thoughts of potential accidents and evaluate risk reward. How old and strong is that rope anyway? Interesting how insecurities undermine actions that you wouldn't have even hesitated about 30 years ago. Getting older is a wonderful thing! Not!

Lea enjoyed a refreshing dip to wash off the sweat of her workout then we went to visit the bizarre rock formations that resemble a gathering of people. This site is special to the Aboriginal People.

I think this guy was the Guardian

Look! There's our boat!

Great sculptures

Even a furniture collection. We think this design has potential!

Scooby Dooby do!

It was a fascinating and enjoyable morning but a breeze had come up so we left before the tide turned and popped the kite headed for Rogers Strait and Kuri Bay.