Tuesday 31 December 2019

December Newsletter

News from the Crew of Matilda
December  2019
This was a special moment, our sailing friends Helen & Lester on their beautiful Joule came out to welcome us home........and they had a wonderful surprise install for us.
Ships log 

  • December 1: 58.9nm's to Mourilyan Harbour. Anchored at 17 36.35S, 146 07.47E in 4.8mtrs.
  • December 2: 65.8nm's to Orpheous Island. Anchored at 18 35.732S, 146 29.221E in 13.3mtrs.
  • December 3 & 4: 158nm's to Grassy Island, The Whitsundays. Anchored at 20 09.305S, 148 36.447E in 7.1mtrs.
  • December 5: 10.4nm's to Muddy Bay, Airlie. Anchored at 20 15.58S, 148 43.26E in 5.1mtrs.
  • December 5: 32.5nm's to Shaw Island, Southern anchorage. Anchored at 20 31.27S, 149 03.43E in 9.8mtrs.
  • December 7 & 8: 199nm's to Great Keppel Island. Anchored at 23 11.523S, 150 56.052E in 5.5mtrs.
  • December 11: 54.69nm's to Gladstone, Facing Island. Anchored at 23 51.707S, 151 21.420E in 5mtrs.
  • December 12 & 14: 314nm's to Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club (MBTBC) in a pen - HOME.

Crew log:
December saw us complete 3 1/2 years from Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club (MBTBC) to SE Asia and back. On our journey we traveled a total of 19,338nm's. Not bad for a couple who mainly only sailed in Moreton Bay. We went to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Borneo-Kalimantan (Indonesia end) and had a ball. We landed almost in the same pen as we left from on December 14 2016.

Sandy has been a FB friend from WWSA for many years. It is very rare these days to come across someone who is so incredibly generous with their time and affection. Sandy ran us around in her car to gather loads of supplies, then had us back to Matilda before the northerly blow returned so we could move her to a safer anchorage - being Shaw Island.

On our way to Shaw Island we sailed (yes sailed, not motored) past Solway Lass under full sail - isnt she magnificent.

GKI is still suffering from the effects of erosion after enduring two cyclone's: Marcia in Feb. 2015 and  Debbie in April 2017. These are the largest sand bags we have ever seen.

GKI has to be the prettiest island on Australia's east coast we reckon.

Deb at the big sharks mouth on GKI and happy to be here.

There are some very good walks on GKI. Here Bruce is trying to work out which is the best way to go.

Captain B, taking in the view of Long Beach - its really beautiful.

I love this shot looking towards the main land.

GKI over looking the anchorage off the resort.

Not sure if these are a good thing or a bad thing but because most of the resort is now defunct the goats are taking over.

On another walk we spotted Matilda at anchor through the trees.

Heading into Gladstone under Facing Island, we had to stop and let this big boy pass.

Arriving on Australia's east coast meant as we traveled south we saw the effects of the devastating fires. This is smoke haze,,,,it looked eerie.

Anchored at Facing Island the sunset was showing us the effects of the fires.

After leaving Gladstone, Facing Island we did two nights out to reach Brisbane as there were many storms around. These two Booby birds joined us on our first night out and by morning we actually had 5 on the pulpit. The poo was dreadful but they were incredibly comforting at the same time. 

After all this time the main finally gave in as we sailed past Noosa. There were some cracking storms over us, and a gust of wind changing direction did her in. The sound of the dacron ripping was heart breaking.

Not long after the rip occurred the wind really cranked up and just as Bruce was about to drop the damaged main sail it really gave way.

After two nights out and feeling dog tired our friends appeared from the haze over Brisbane to welcome us home.

Lester was yelling out that they had something to show us and for some funny reason i thought they were going to bring out a puppy. But to our amazement Lisa popped out of the companion way - OMG it brought tears to our eyes, everyone was so excited.

And we have her on board after we saddled up close to Joule, just brilliant. Joule easing back nicely with Lester clicking his camera like mad. 

Lisa and Bruce - happy days.

Having a bit of fun, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

And we are done for now. Matilda back in a pen for a well earn't rest and we get to enjoy Christmas with family and friends.
What a way to finish off the year, we have Matilda on the front cover of Cruising Helmsman. Jeremy took this shot as we sailed with our big blue spinnaker up past Lombok, Indonesia. Then in January 2020 Bruce had his article on washing machines on-board published - congratulations Captain!!

Saturday 30 November 2019

November Newsletter

News from the Crew of Matilda
November 2019

Australian warship 92 at anchor beside Lizard Island - its nice to home.
Ships log 
  • October 30 & 31 to November 1 & 2: 416nm's to Guruliya Bay, Raragala Island, The Wessels, Northern Territory, AUSTRALIA. Anchored at 11 35.924S, 136 17.607E in 5.7 mtrs at low tide.
  • November 3: 6.8nm's to the west side of Gugari Rip (to wait for the slack tide). Anchored at 11 32.72S, 136 21.72E in 18mtrs.
  • November 3: 47.8nm's to Inverell Bay, Gove. Anchored at 12 12.007S, 136 41.913E in 5.3mtrs.
  • November 5, 6, 7 & 8: 404nm's to Cape York Peninsula, South of Slade Point, North of Vrilya Point - QUEENSLAND. Anchored at 11 07.366S, 142 07.396E in 8.7mtrs.
  • November 9: 36.3nm's to Seisia, Bamaga. Anchored at 10 50.695S, 142 21.896E in 7.1mtrs.
  • November 11: 26.4nm's to York Island. Anchored at 10 41.15S, 142 31.47E in 4.9mtrs.
  • November 12: 29.38nm's to Escape River. Anchored at 10 58.45S, 142 40.14E in 5.8mtrs.
  • November 14: 75.1nm's to Schelburne Bay. Anchored at 11 54.27S, 143 04.67E in 4.6mtrs.
  • November 15: 56.9nm's to Portland Road, Cape Weymouth. Anchored at 12 35.60S, 143 24.28E in 7mtrs.
  • November 16: 62.3nm's to Morris Island. Anchored at 13 29.48S, 143 43.21E in 14mtrs.
  • November 17: 59.6nm's to Flinders Island. Anchored at 14 10.67S, 144 13.73E in 9.5mtrs.
  • November 19: 39nm's to Ninian Bay, Barrow Point. Anchored at 14 21.13S, 144 35.95E in 4.4mtrs.
  • November 20: 71.9nm's to Lizard Island. Anchored at 14 39.54S, 145 26.96E in 12.9mtrs.
  • November 23: 37.2nm's to Cape Bedford. Anchored at 15 13.558S, 145 19.462E in 4mtrs.
  • November 24: 43.1nm's to Hope Island (West Island). Anchored at 15 44.45S, 145 26.12E in 14.2mtrs.
  • November 25: 41.2nm's to Low Isles. Anchored at 16 22.83S, 145 33.66E in 11.2mtrs.
  • November 26: 37.7nm's to Marlin Marina, Cairns for quarantine then moved out to Trinity Inlet dropping anchor at 16 55.13S, 145 47.12E in 9.2mtrs.
Matilda in Australian waters after 3 1/2 years in Asia - a surreal feeling.
Crew log:
November was a big month for us covering 1491 nautical miles. We set off from Saumlaki, The Tannimbars, Indonesia into Australian waters to The Wessels, Northern Territory, Australia were we dropped Matilda's anchor. From there we went across the Gulf of Capentaria to Seisia and then sailed around Cape York and down to Cairns. 

The plan had originally been to arrive at Thursday Island but like previous journeys we could not make east so we dropped down to the NT. It felt unreal to be in Australian waters and we had a giggle at our low key fan fare with just the two of us to celebrating having Matilda's anchor down in her home country. 

The month saw us mostly on the move so this blog will be mostly told through picture images. 

The Wessel's offered great anchorages and looking at the charts we could see the attraction for those who like to spend time being isolated in these parts.
After we caught up on some sleep we moved Matilda to be east of the Hole In The Wall. A small gutter between two island saving us sailors many many hours if we had to go on the outside. It has a reputation of being a little nasty if you don't go on the slack tide. After all our planing and timing we had a very uneventful pass.

The rock formations looked like slate.

Dean and Shane went through in 2011.

Once through the pass the water was quite choppy and gave us an incredible ride over towards Gove.
Once through the pass we had planned on stopping at Elizabeth Bay but the current was giving us such a great free ride we kept going. We arrived at Gove around 2000 hours in the dark. Next day we had Boarder Force arrive, who are Immigration and Customs at the same time. They were very welcoming and we were officially back in Australia with no fuss. We felt relieved that all our hard work preparing her was not in vane as they commented that Matilda was very well presented. 

Deb on the pontoon at Gove.

From the car park looking out at the anchorage, the red dirt was amazing.

Not sure if this was a notice board or what but not much as going on.

The intense heat made for some really beautiful colored plants.

A few sad sights.

and another.
It was a busy place one way or another, this ship was being loaded (we think with aluminum, bauxite) as we arrived and they were still loading as we left 2 days later.

We couldn't catch any fish while in Asia but once home we caught a few.

Motor sailing across the Gulf of Carpentaria to Seisia we had beautiful sun sets.

Seisia is a small town about 1/2 hour out of Bamaga and boasts Australia's most northern town. As of the 2016 census the entire population was a whopping 265!!!

Bruce in a very red car park, we just couldn't get over the color.

The Food Store was a welcome sight after being in Asia for so long. All the goodies we loved and had missed so much where on sale and they were not at a bad price considering its location. Walking up and down the isles we felt like we were in a candy shop.

Matilda resting after getting us safely from Indonesia to Gove to Seisia - just under 1000 nm's. Time for a well earned rest. 

Oh dear this hurt after being in Asia.

Bruce getting a load of diesel at the only servo up in these parts. We had 3 offers of help to get him and the jerry's back to the tender - friendly people up this way.

Yep this felt good.

Now this was interesting. I was on the phone and next thing you know we spot a croc circling around a fishing trawler.

The jetty was a busy place.

We enjoyed the sunsets each night.

Our next stop after Seisia was into the Escape River on Queensland far north eastern side. It was so still I could took a fairly clear shot of the full moon. We spent a day here.

Once we left Portland Road bound for Morris Island, we had to give way to this monster as we went around Cape Direction.

Morris Island looked like it was covered in birds of all kinds, they kept flying in until dusk and the noise was imperssive.

Then it was on to Flinder's Island were we stopped for a day off. The sunsets were glorious.

As we headed into Ninian Bay we were joined by Psycho Puss (Heather at the helm and Captain Underpants is about to drop his main) and Chris off Delaney arrived after dark. After many months apart (last time we saw this lot was in Pangkor, Malaysia), it it felt so good to be anchored with sailing buddies. 

And another fish was caught. We threw this one back only to read later in the fish guide it was a top table fish!
From Ninian Bay the three boats were bound for Lizard Island. This was a very long day against wind and tide. Matilda and Delaney arrived very late, with tired and cranky crews but very glad to be at Lizard for a few days off together. 

Next day we went on a walk which gave us great views of our boats. This is Delaney sitting pretty at anchor.

We moved Matilda in further the next morning as coming into any anchorage in the dark with lights on shore, some boats with no lights on and it was late so we had anchored out. 

It ain't called Lizard Island for nothing.

A local seagull - so photogenic.

Not sure what he is but its wing span was incredible.

The view from the path that leads to Captain Cook's lookout where he made a successful plan to get the Endeavor out of our Great Barrier Reef.

One day we did an easy but very hot walk over to the Blue Lagoon. It's an interesting natural lagoon, as it has a small gap to access it from the surrounding and extensive reef.

The Blue Lagoon.

Just before you enter the walking track (which was very well done) to the Blue Lagoon there are two chairs. It was kinda weird as there was no shelter over the chairs.

There were loads of Kapok trees around.

Another load of guests arriving on Lizard. We saw quite a few planes as the walking track up to the Blue Lagoon is literally beside the airstrip.

From another walking track we got a great view of the anchorage. You can clearly see the walking track that leads you to the Blue Lagoon.

Spotted this little guy on our walk.

After Lizard Island we went down to Low Isles, a beautiful little place before entering Trinity Inlet, Cairns.

Our Greeting party at Low Isles, a shark.

Delaney coming into the Low Isles, Chris at he helm.

Chris dropping anchor in what looks like a sea of sparkling diamonds.
Pulling into Cairns was like signalling our official end to our Asia trip. We had to pull into the Marlin Marina for quarantine to complete our check in. Which happened again with zero issues or stress. Lucky for Deb one of the WWSA (Women Who Sail Australia) ladies was there to welcome us with a wine, thank you Leanne!!!

Another long over due catch up was with Justine and Glen off Shima. Justine is another WWSA and long time friend of Deb's. It was hilarious that Bruce and Glen both wore exactly the same shirt....just too funny.

Deb right, Justine in the middle and Leanne left. 

Trinity Inlet is a very busy little place. One of many cruise ships passing Matilda at anchor.

And another cruise liner passing.

The Black Panther did a crew change almost off Matilda's stern.

Just before we take off Bruce is off to do one last diesel run.

Same cruise company, different ship departing Cairns.
Incredibly the day we went to leave Trinity Inlet Matilda's anchor was fouled we are pretty certain on an old mooring block. We could not raise the anchor at all and felt really despondent. Justine and Leanne were great helps at getting divers numbers for us as we did not feel confident diving on the anchor due to it being croc country even though we were only in about 9 meters. After spending a few hours trying to get a hold of the divers to no avail, we gave in and had beers in the cockpit to help us think of plan B. Next morning at o'dark thirty and facing the other way we tried again and it worked. Off we went feeling relieved we had our anchor in tact with no damage.

Our last night in Cairns before our two week trip to Brisbane was spent watching this glorious sunset.