Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Smooth smooth sailing


We delayed departure from the Bloomfield River by a day to miss the blustery south-east/north-east conditions on Monday.
It paid off.
Yesterday's trip southwards towards Cairns could not have been smoother or more favourable.
We lifted anchor around 6am to get out of the river mouth at the approach of high tide. Greeting us was the rising sun and a glassy sea with a slight swell rolling in from the north to carry us forward.
Passing Cape Tribulation.
With just one motor ticking over at 1600 revs, we were making over six knots, gliding past Cape Tribulation within two hours.
It is remarkable how much clean hulls contribute to the boat's speed. Each year as we leave the slipway, we think we must be imagining it but you can actually feel the lack of drag from marine growth on the hull.
Out of the Green Zone around Cape Tribulation, the mackerel lines came out. The first hit was successfully landed, while the second hit made it to the back step before jumping free.
Never mind. Plenty for dinner.
Winding in a mackerel.
Because we were making such good time, we pulled into Low Isles at lunchtime for a last swim and snorkel before Rob and Leigh leave us on Thursday. Anchoring in the lagoon at almost low tide (0.3m), we could just about walk on the bottom over to the reef. Leigh and I saw several turtles and plenty of big fish including coral trout and trevally. We did note that last year there were lots of small reef sharks whereas this year there appears to be one big one who, both times we've been here, circled the boat several times the moment the anchor hit the bottom. Hmm! Slightly disconcerting.

Approaching Snapper Island near the mouth of the Daintree and just north of Low Isles.
As we lifted anchor, the predicted north-nor'easterly breeze arrived so up went the main sail and Code Zero and again we romped along at between six and seven knots but this time under sail - a beautifully peaceful way to travel.
Our intention was to anchor off Double Island (opposite Palm Cove) so as to enter the Moon River (and Bluewater marina) on this morning's high tide, however the nor'easterly had caused an unpleasant swell to develop and with no protection from it we rang the marina and came in on last night's high tide instead.
So here we are in Bluewater once again, ready to farewell Leigh and Rob, and then greet Stuart, Tina and the boys tomorrow.
Anchored in the Bloomfield River.

Fingers crossed these beaut conditions continue for another week or more.

If you look closely there's a big croc on the bank behind this yacht.
Walking into Ayton (general store, community centre, campground) from the Bloomfield River.

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