Friday, September 30, 2011

St. Crispins Reef

Well we are anchored at St. Crispin Reef. Arrived around 14:00 hrs, but didn't get anchored until 15:00 hrs. We had a look around as we haven't been here before. It is always a bit testy anchoring on the reef especially if you haven't been there before. Our first attempt was in a bit deeper water 45 ft and we couldn't tell if the anchor was going to sand or not. We decided to move and when we tried to up anchor it was caught on a  coral bommie. After several attempts with the windlass shorting out under pressure we freed the anchor. We came in a bit further to a small area that is surrounded by coral and anchored in the middle. With calm conditions all should be well!


 Euphoria at Undine reef
We had a bit of a snorkel with Trish from Euphoria as we met them out here. They were anchored at Undine for the night when we were at Lowe Isles. We decided to meet here and they arrived shortly after us. I should hope to have some photos tomorrow. In the meantime here is some shots of the kind of weather we are in at the moment, and of Undine reef as we were passing by.

We're off and .........

What a beautiful day yesterday was. At first it was a milk pond so it was motoring for us. Eventually the wind came in lightly from the NE and we sailed along slowly at about 3.5 kts. By the way when we put the main sail up we had a little birds nest come tumbling out! In just a few days time while at the marina the little birds were very busy. I took a photo and will post it later. We weren't in a screaming hurry as we were enjoying being out on the water again cruising! Didn't see much activity as far as wild life, a few schools of fish.
Arrived at Lowe Isles at 16:00 hours and anchored up with some protection from the light NE winds.
During the early morning hours the winds did switch to NW/WNW 13 kts which is a little bit bumpy, but still okay. We have this forecast for the next day or 2 with NE to NW winds light. Looking at the charts now deciding which reef we will visit. Thinking of St. Crispin reef. If we have signal I will update later.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

BEAUTIFUL DAY

We had our last walk here in Cairns, and as soon as I sign off and finish my morning cuppa, and last load of laundry, we will be making ready. The tide is high at 10 a.m. this morning  which makes for a good exit! It is a BEAUTIFUL day today with light winds and sunshine. May not get a big sail in but that makes great reef conditions!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ready to go!

I'm back from my training module and Bruce is back from visiting his dad. We have been very busy over the last 2 days, as we are having some calmer weather, and want to go out to enjoy it!
The boat is stocked, cleaned, and ready for our departure tomorrow morning!!
First stop Lowe Isles, then it is where ever we can get to depending on the weather. We would LOVE to have some time on the reef, as we make our way up to Lizard Island. We have some very good friends who are also all making there way north, or will soon be, and it will be good to catch up with them all along the way. Camera is charged and hope to have some good photos to share soon.
Bye for now. :o)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Life in the river

We've been in the river now over a week. While it has been very comfortable here it will be good to FINALLY be moving on!
In a few days we fly south, I fly to Canberra for my Dru Yoga module, and Bruce is flying to Sydney, then driving to Forbes to visit with his father who is not doing to well.

Once back we have a bit more engine work to do....... Did I mention in our last post that we had broken engine mounts AGAIN on the port engine? We have taken care of this earlier this week. We went up to Smiths creek on Friday and the mechanic and Bruce replace the engine mounts front and back although the back didn't need it, and also did the starboard side again. We now have spare mounts, not that we will need them. It is a funny thing every time we mentioned that the boat is right we shouldn't have to spend any more on her for a while bingo something major goes wrong. A bit of the Law of Attraction at work.... the more you focus on what you don't want, the more of what you don't want you will get!!!!!

Anyway we will finally be on our way north again! It has been a long time coming as we have been kind of spinning our wheels since the girls left in August. We have several boating friends, who are now in the area, and will be going to Lizard Island about the same time.

I must say that as much as we have wanted to be going we have enjoyed our time here. Cairns always has something going on!! I LOVE that. Today we got in the dingy and went to the harbour for a walk, which we have done a few times. After our coffee with our friends from Euphoria we heard some music in the park and had a wander over to see what was going on. They were having the Tropical Wave Festival a multi-cultural dance event, and of all days not to bring my camera! We saw some really good dancing sorry we missed the belly dancing, but the group from PNG was OUTSTANDING!

 time on the river....stillness
 up the creek.... Smiths Creek

I will be posting again on our return until then stay well.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

From the reef yesterday to mangroves today, from glass out conditions to strong winds, from reef fish to
CROCODILES! Contrast all around! we found this one sunning itself on the bank while out exploring
in the dingy. Rightfully so to because it was bloody cold here this morning I had to get my ugg boots out!

Wind against tide yuck

We anchored in the river last night and as the tide changed we realised that we were too close to the big catamaran next to us. He must of had out more anchor chain then us although when we pulled up our anchor we were fairly close to his boat. We re-anchored and thought to be in an okay spot. At the change of the tide the winds started which woke me, so I got up to watch where we were going to be sitting with the wind and the tide. Not good really a bit close to our friends Euphoria and there was a big blue catch which was moving different then us and brought us fairly close to each other. I wasn't comfortable. Bruce did finally wake and came out to have a look and said we were fine. With that advice I gladly crawled back to bed and fell back to sleep only to be woken by Bruce getting out of bed because he felt we had moved. When I looked at our gps it looked like we had dragged anchor, but that wasn't the case at all. We were sailing on our anchor the tide carrying us one way and then the wind sailing us back. We ended up staying awake watching the dawn break in the sky had a cuppa, and got ready to move. We decided we would move up river away from all the other boats during this spring tide and strong winds. We are now anchored up the river and it is so peaceful. I think I will sleep good tonight! We plan on taking the dingy for  ride and checking out some of the creeks, maybe at low tide today. I'll bring my camera as we may find a crocodile sunning itself on the river bank!

Vlasoff Reef

 Dolphins with a baby behind the boat while we were having breakfast.
 I was So happy to be here I took so many photos. Through polaroid lenses it was stunning!
 some underwater shots the water was so clear!

 We finally had a glass out day!
We saw a small window of opportunity for a reef trip, and took it. We were scheduled to be at the marina until friday morning, but saw if we headed out on Thursday we could get some good weather on Friday! Friday was showing a glass out day on the wind maps!! It was only blowing 7 to 10kts at first on our way out, but we motor sailed as we wanted to make the reef before it got too late. We have never been out here before so we didn't know what to expect.  Once we got further out the winds increased as they seem to do around this area we had 13 to 15 kts on the nose. We arrived 2 hrs after the low so it was still relatively calm close to the reef. There are 2 moorings here, but only one to suit our size, and luck would have it no one was out here when we arrived at 2:30. Being so late in the day with a 4 max stay we thought we would be ok to stay the night. We were joined by another cat who was small enough to be on the other mooring, and another boat who seem to know his way around as he came in on dark and left first light. As soon as we were situated we took a splash off the back of the boat, a bit cold but oh so good! It has been a long time coming waiting for the right weather to be out here, and right conditions for us to have the time to be here!
Friday morning I did my yoga in the cockpit in awe of our beautiful surroundings. After a big breakfast as I knew we weren't going to be back for lunch until after our snorkel, we suited up and left the boat at 10:30. Well, it was 1 pm before we made it back to the boat! We had been in the water exploring the whole time knowing that it will be a while again before we will get the weather window. Once back at the boat Bruce did a bit of bottom cleaning as our speedo was stuck again, and the bottom is so muddy! I washed our gear and made lunch. We set off a little after to 2 although it would have been nice to stay! No chance as the strong wind warning had been issued and the winds were due in the early morning (2am).  Being a glass out it was a motor back in but one I didn't mind as it was so worth the trip. One of the nicest reefs we've been to! I was up on the cabin top looking for whales. I spotted a couple of dolphins and one came by for a quick hello before carrying on. We also spotted a whale but only saw it swimming along, and later saw it behind us but only its spouts, but at least we know they are still in our area. What a truly magic day! We came in and anchored in the river and had a lovely dinner!


Road trip sight seeing in Barron Gorge





Our sight seeing trip earlier in the week lead us to a couple of spots. The Barron Gorge, and Crystal Cascade. The Crystal Cascade will make a lovely swimming hole in the summer months and was being used as such while we were there.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cairns Festival






Well now that we are in the Marlin marina we can enjoy some of the festival. Tonight was live music and fireworks. Was a bit chilly tonight, but it won't be long before it is going to be So HOT! We have decided we are staying up here through the cyclone season. We are going to be leaving for the Kimberlies for next cruising season, so it makes sense to stay up here to get a head start around to Darwin.