Friday, August 7, 2015

Into the blue

We set out for Howick Island, 30nm from Lizard, in SE winds 20-25kts. Furler trouble, so we sailed with 3 reefs in the main and the storm jib. The seas were horrendous and we experienced gusts to 30kts. Happy to anchor at Howick Island after 6 hours where we then took turns at anchor watch overnight.

Passing Watsons Island named after Mary Watson

Exhausted the next morning, we pulled up the anchor at 0930 for the 25nm journey to Ninian Bay. All tired and grumpy we motored with the storm jib up as a steadying sail. Arriving in the bay we saw our first dugong since Great Keppel-very exciting. We motored around trying to find the perfect sheltered spot and finally dropped our anchor in very shallow water at 1430. We chilled for the next day!

We were all more relaxed the next morning so made the decision to head for the Flinders Island Group 30nm away. Perfect choice! The seas were kind and we experienced great sailing at 7kts, even managing to kick start the furler. The seas picked up outside Owen Passage which runs between the two main islands- Stanley and Flinders.

Approaching Flinders Island

We anchored off Aapa Spit (above) which for thousands of years was the meeting place of  the Yiithuwarra people. For 70 years in the 1900's the spit sited a shop, sheds and a house for the fishing community which was established here. The advent of barges which can supply fuel and water meant the demise of this regular community. We spent a few days here exploring, walking and eating oysters off the rocks, being croc aware after noticing a slide on our first walk. One night accompanying Ruby on one of her midnight wanders around the deck,  I saw that the bay was filled with a dozen or more dolphins - what an amazing experience.

The days were very windy and at night we started to roll at anchor. Khylie and Christian from SY Brunhilda dropped by for a cuppa and suggested we move to Frederick Point which was a little more protected. So after 5 days at the spit we moved Manatee where we enjoyed sundowners at the National Parks Campsite with the crews from Brunhilda and SY Overdie.

One morning at high tide we took the dinghy across to Stanley Island for a walk to the Aboriginal art caves.


beach on Stanley Island

A very spiritual place. The islands had many sacred spots including burial and initiation sites. What a fantastic history we have.

After a few days (the crocs were getting too close) we bid farewell to Erica and Andy from Overdie who were going no further north and agreeing to meet up again with Khylie and Christian who are also sailing to Darwin, we headed around to Stokes Bay on Stanley Island prior to heading further into the blue. 

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