Friday, August 7, 2015

Cruisin' in 15

We bid adieu to Port in late June and sailed across to Low Isles to get our heads and Manatee into cruising mode. Weather forecast was for a strong wind warning so we walked the island and relaxed on the near empty beach. Felt sorry for the tourists who came across to enjoy the reef-visibility was very poor due to the strong winds-ferocious enough to blow our HF radio antenna off the mast! Needless to say we didn't feel like swimming.

Beautiful Low
After 4 days we had a weather window so Ruby vocally encouraged us to get a move on-a walk was overdue. We had very heavy showers in 20kts of wind so sailed under genoa only. Off Cape Tribulation a very large wave entered the wheelhouse which surprised us all - Ruby looked accusingly at us! Of course the genoa wouldn't re-furl when it was time, shoulda had that shakedown cruise. 

After a 8 hour sail we anchored at Hope Island lagoon and noticed the genoa halyard was off- shoulda, shoulda.

We completed many circuits of the island which pleased Ruby. The winds were 30kts+. The only notable moment was a shark feeding in the shallows. Needless to say we didn't fancy swimming. After 4 days the winds abated so we sailed to Cooktown to get bits for the furler.

Ruby was very excited to be back at Cooktown (or Kookytown as some call it). She made a beeline for the Sovereign Hotel where, months previously, she enjoyed a sneaky night watching TV in a air-conditioned room. We caught up with friends and replenished our fresh food supply...and just enjoyed being there.

Cray boat seeking shelter in Cooktown's entrance channel

Sunny but still windy-locals at the jetty

Five days later the winds had dropped to 20-25, gusting 30kts so it was a chance to move further north. We almost turned back on the way to Cape Bedford which is so rough it causes seasoned sailors to spew! After 4 hours sailing we ducked around the corner of the Cape to anchor in shallow protected waters. The site of the old Hopevale Mission was here (it has since moved), and the soil is so sandy it is obvious why the move was necessary-they were expected to grow their own food which would have been virtually impossible given the site. We were so close to shore Manatee sat on the bottom at low tide.

The next morning we managed to sail up to 5kts in variable winds to Cape Flattery. The southern (ish) side of the Cape is a huge wharf for the silica mine and the northern (ish)  aspect is the site of many fishing camps. After 3 hrs Ruby was walked on a gorgeous beach. We all wanted to luxuriously roll in the beautiful sand. Very happy, alas no fish. The locals camping also had no luck.

Cape Flattery beach

The next morning we awoke to a pod of dolphins around Manatee- very auspicious.
At 1300 we pulled up the anchor-destination LIzard Island.

Chris and Ray- Marg has temporarily lost your email address! Could you email!

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