The next day, after having enough of the rolly conditions at White's Bay, we up anchored and headed over to North East Island. The forecast was for WSW 10-15kts by the afternoon and SW 15-20 the next day. The anchorage at North East was uncomfortable so we prepared Manatee for a 0400hr departure to make the most of the current and wind.
We both were awake at 0230 with Manatee on a lee shore. Winds were 30kts (N) and the swell was 2-3M. We departed the Island at 0300 into rough seas, unable to raise the sails due to conditions. We were abeam Digby Island by 1030hrs-a leg that should have taken 4hrs! Thirsty Sound VMR was still giving weather of SW 10-15kts with seas 1.2-1.7 and a swell less than 1.5. The reality was SW 25-30kts with seas/swell 3-4M. It was a very unpleasant trip. Marg was very heroic at the helm while AK continued to woman the deck, attempting to raise sails. We were both getting very bruised and battered while the girls were safe down below deck.
We were abeam Purdhoe Island around 1500hrs with very low fuel and a tattered headsail. We discussed anchoring here and re-grouping but decided to keep going.Just outside Mackay Harbour (at 1730), a tanker radioed asking for a clear passage into the departure channel as they had limited manoeuvrability causing further stress- would we make it inside the harbour prior to the fuel running out?
Of course in our attempt to tie up at the fuel wharf we had the current against us and with this and a combination of very little sleep and a 16hr rough trip, we were both very short tempered and uncoordinated. We scraped Manatee into the fuel berth at 1900hrs with an impressive scratch down her starboard hull. AK kissed the ground and vowed to not continue until agreements were made about safety. We had 2.5 litres of fuel in Manatee's tanks.....goddess bless her.
We remained at Mackay marina for 2 weeks-negotiating, waiting for the generator to be repaired (7 days-it was a 1 in a million fault!) and due to strong wind warnings. Marg painted Manatee while AK made a dinghy cover.
We left Mackay with several lessons learnt, new resolves and a monkey chattering about the Percy Islands.
|strong wind warning at Mackay- that's why the palm tree trunks have a bend!|