Saturday 30 April 2016

April 2016

April was a busy month on Matilda. We sailed approximately 468 nautical miles (nm) from Pancake Creek through to Magnetic Island. Matilda was hauled out at Edges Boatyard in Airlie for her annual maintenance and anti fouling. We also managed to do a fair bit of running around, even ticked a few thing off the never ending 'to do' list in preparation for the rally. Once the haul out was completed, we refueled at Abel Point Marina, filled up a gas cylinder, got some more provisioning and then we started our migration north bringing us closer to Cairns.

The 1st of April saw us arrive at Great Keppel Island (GKI). We sailed from Pancake Creek for approximately 15 hrs and covered  68 nm . Arriving in the dark is not always favorable but we knew our anchorage, as we have been there many times before and felt confident in doing so. We enjoyed a good walk and swim the next day ashore.

A new day dawning as we left Pancake Creek
The mouth of Pancake Creek - it can't get much calmer in here.

April 3rd saw us do an over night sail from GKI to Scawfell Island - Refuge Bay. We were the only ones in the entire anchorage in Refuge Bay - it felt surreal. We traveled approx 160 nm in 30hrs. We are not fans of doing overnight sails but decided we could cover a lot of ground by doing so. It was interesting sailing along with not one other yacht insight the entire time. Sailing past the Percy Islands made for a few interesting hours. The current wants to pick you up and run you over to the island - like a magnet, so this helped kept us awake for a few hours.

Refuge Bay - Scawfell Island. We had the entire place to ourselves!

April 5th saw us sailing directly from Scawfell to Long Island, Happy Bay - Shute Harbor area. Sailing approx 11 hrs and approx 55nm. As usual the seas can be huge sailing this stretch and they didn't let us down this time. Some of easterly swell we estimated to be around 4 meters high and breaking, all making for an exhilarating sail. We decided to sail on the outside of Shaw Island giving us a different perspective which we enjoyed. It also meant that we could sail past Bruce's favorite island: Pentecost Island.

Pentecost Island

Matilda sailing toward Shute Harbour (Mainland) with the tip of Long Island poking out on the left of the shot

By the  8th we were anchored out the front of Abel Point Marina - APM and felt right at home. We love being in the Whitsundays and have talked about retiring in this area. For the live-a-board sailor this area still is the best place to base yourself. You have access to a public wharf to load and unload groceries and free water is found here. There are anchorages galore to sail to in good deep water to find a good spot for the night out of prevailing winds. Walks, snorkeling, shopping, fuel, gas, repairs its all here - life is good.

Captain refueling Matilda.

Matilda looking very pretty with her polish and anti foul on, ready for her voyage north.

Not many people here at the moment.

The new Yacht Club rooms are ready for members and guests.
While at Airlie we meet a lovely couple who invited us aboard their board for drinks which turned into dinner. They had previously done the same rally we are about do. They stayed on for another 5 years sailing in SE Asian waters and where an absolute wealth of knowledge. The photo below is their boat in an anchorage in Thailand - I cant wait to be there and taking this same image of Matilda.

Seventh Heaven - anchored at Koh Dam Hok - Thailand.

We did our annual haul out at Edges Boatyard from 15/4 to 21/4. To read the blog on our haul out experience go here:

Let the work begin.

Belle the yard cat on duty.

Low tide and the creek coming in that we had to follow - hold your breath!

All done and looking good. Just waiting for the high tide at 2040.

Sunday the 24/4 we sailed up to Gloucester Island anchoring in Squally Bay for the night ready for an early start to Cape Upstart the next morning. Squally lived up to its name with some sensational bullets. The next day off to Cape Upstart sailing for 8 1/2 hrs and covering 48 nm. Arriving at 1430 the anchorage was glorious. However, at night the wind started and it literally didnt stop blowing, it was still blowing when we up'd anchor and took off having little sleep.

Rounding Cape Upstart, the rocks at the front are known as 'The Bun'. 

Interesting houses along the foreshore here. Apparently there are no roads to these houses all by water. Would have made he construction process interesting.

The anchor was dropped in Horseshoe Bay - Magnetic Island by the 26/4 and we stayed here until the end of the month. The trip up from Cape Upstart took us 12 1/2 hrs and we covered 74 nm. It was quite a thrill to have Magnetic in our sights. Its been a destination we have dreamed about being in for many years. Was fabulous to be here.

Once the anchor was down we were keen to go ashore. This is view that we had from the foreshore looking out towards the north eastern point of Horeshoe Bay.

The islands hire cars are so cute.

After the better part of April behind us, many miles of sailing and some long nights - Magnetic Island found us safe and sound in Horsehoe Bay. Every night the sunsets were like this - breathtaking.

Thursday 28 April 2016

Haul out in Edge's Boatyard - Airlie - April 2016

Matilda's last haul out was just before we set off from Brisbane in March 2014 using the Wynnum Manly slipway. Then in November 2015 we applied a thinned down coat of anti foul on a haul out in the Scarborough Marina slipway so come April 2016 she was well overdue for an anti foul. After many phones from Airlie to Cairns we decided to haul out using Edge's Boatyard and are very happy with our decision -

We hauled out at 0600 on Friday 15th April and she was splashed back in at 2230 on Thursday 21st April 2016. As usual we made a list of things to do while we had her out on the hard and these included:
  • Sand off old anti foul and reapply 16 liters of Micron Extra - Dover White
  • Prop speed
  • Grease outlets
  • Polish our hull
  • Paint the water line mark to freshen it up
  • Make new tender seat pieces
  • Remove old anchor chain (100 meters) 
  • Haul up new PWB anchor chain(110 meters) and secure
  • Anode on anchor
  • Cut timber to replace diesel soaked timber under starboard aft bunk
  • Cut timber for ladder steps to be used getting in and out of the tender
  • General inspections
As it turned out one of the slings on her aft end, went under our propeller shaft and it bent it. We felt shattered at the sight. Neil the yard owner was good about it and we all decided to share the cost of either a repair a new prop shaft - as it turned out we needed a new propeller shaft. Also the cutlass bearing was bent and the rubber inside the cutlass bearing was well worn so maybe a blessing in disguise.

Apart from that hiccup all went well and we enjoyed the company of the yard owners, their staff and especially their yard cat - Bella.

Going up and down the ladder always feels precarious but lucky friends are always around to bring a cold beer and lets not let a haul out put an end to our love of cooking.

Tea Cake
Ham & Pinapple Pizza

3 1/2 meters is a long way down from up here.

Karla dropped in with cold beers!

Once the new prop shaft and the cutlass bearing arrived it was all systems go - Bella always around for inspections.

Rope Cutter, all cleaned up.

New prop shaft and the propeller with its prop speed on it.

Stern tube ready for the prop shaft.

Bruce (and Bella) inspecting the flange.

Cutlass bearing inserted and being trimmed in place.

Neil & Bruce inserting the new prop. shaft.

Going up Muddy Creek was an interesting exercise and one we took very seriously. The shallowness demanded a high tide and timing this for the lift was difficult - at one point in time we nearly missed our chance, but didn't.

Haul out pen at low tide.

Muddy Creek coming up to low tide - zero room to maneuver. 

Muddy Creek at low tide - note the creek buoys on the mud!
All done and waiting to be splashed back in.