Tuesday May 19 continued.

Had a great spinnaker run all the way to Needle Rock in Rogers Strait. We were considering keeping on going but as we got to Kuri Bay and noticed what looked like a big settlement we decided to stop and check it out.

The settlement is an old Paspaley Pearling Village that closed after the GFC in 2008. We had read it became a resort in 2012 but then a fire damaged it.

We went ashore, tying up to the floating jetty, and walking up to the main building overlooking the Bay. We noted old tramway tracks nearly rusted out so this place has a long history. The mess area was spotless with highly polished tables and chairs.

The large comercial kitchen was locked. Lots of accomodation dormitories many of which were quite dilapidated and a couple of them were just gutted frames following the fire. Lots of seperate buildings with ornamental trees and shrubs. A few large Mango trees. We also found a Lemon and Kafir Lime tree so we stocked up on both.

Further round the Bay was a slipway which would have done Gemini Lady very nicely. An old steel yacht was sitting forlorn on the cradle. The big generator shed and workshops were locked up. It was sad to see a place that has had so much invested in it over the years fall into disrepair. Running water system was still operational although we did find a burst water main. We enjoyed wandering around trying to picture the place in its heyday full of bustle and people.

Wednesday May 20

A hot still night interrupted by frequent checks to make sure the wind hadn't changed to push us close to the reef we had anchored too close to.

Bit surreal to see the village at the head of the Bay and not a soul there.

Waiting for the tide to turn it was back into the engine bay to sort out the still leaking genset water pump and the sticking diversion valve in the Watermaker.

Pulled out the water pump and pressure tested it only to find it didn't leak at 40 psi. This was indicative of a bigger problem of salt crystal build up in the heat exchanger core blocking flow. Small job became a bigger one needing the exhaust elbow removed. Then I could partly clean the core out using a wooden skewer. To remove and properly clean the core the whole exhaust manifold needs to be removed and that's a really big job that I'll put off until Darwin.

With the partially cleaned core the genset was fine with no water leaks. On to the Watermaker. The problem her was how to unscrew the diversion valve. It hasn't been removed for 8 years and looks like it is corroded in and has 2 shallow holes to grip to. My circlip pliers wouldn't move it but in the end, using long nose pliers and a shifter, I got the bugger out without damaging the solenoid shaft. Cleaned it all up and reassembled. Hopefully that's fixed it but suspect we may need a new electric coil.

On the turn of the tide we headed off into the glassy waters of Rogers Strait, a wonderfull place filled with strong currents, uncharted reefs and rocks. We passed Camden Harbour, the site of a failed attempt at settlement and sheep farming back in the 1800's. Then out into the clear and surveyed waters of Port George IV. We continued up to the south side of Round Bluff and after anchoring went ashore for a quick dip to cool off.

Another beautiful anchorage and it was so hot we had dinner up on the trampolines to catch what little breeze there was.

Thursday May 21

Up and off before dawn to use the last of the ebb out of Port George IV and then the flood into Hanover Bay. A light and variable wind forecast so it was motor all the way again. We are not doing too bad on fuel usage though. We estimate that we have used about 200 of our 880 litres since topping up at McGowan's.

As we approached The lovely beach anchorage we were debating the Prince Regent issue. 1. It was a bloody long way in just for another waterfall and a creek. 2. It was difficult navigation. 3. All motoring. 4. The tides weren't ideal. Ok for getting in but getting out in daylight was a problem.

Then there was the route issue. Quickest and shortest was a narrow straight past Treachery Head, where Phillip Parker King's party was attacked by Aboriginals and the surgeon died, into Munster Water then onto Whirlpool Point. Our Intel suggested this was quite doable but our main guide book advised it was dangerous. In the end we decided to go via the recommended Passage North of Unwins Island. A bit longer but better surveyed.

Having sorted that out, after anchoring off the beach, we took the dinghy up the nearby gorge as far as the rock bar and fresh water. Had a lovely linger and soak in the crystal clear water.

As we left the local guardian was relaxing on his rock in the middle of the creek watching us with 1 eye open. Lea likened him to a Gatekeeper or the Troll under the bridge.

This was our first close encounter with a big croc and there is no doubt there is something primeval and intimidating about them.

Stuff paddling out through the rocks, the engine went on and we didn't linger. We felt very vulnerable in our little blow up boat.

Afternoon bonfire on the beach to burn rubbish with a run through glutinous sand to work out the cardio system followed by a quick dip finished a good day.