Dancing With The Stars

Nothing like a lazy Saturday.

8am Get up and make Cas a coffee.

9.30am Cas gets up after making major inroads into her book.

10.30am Set sail for Quoin Bluff

1pm Two mackerels caught and in fridge.

2.30pm Arrive at Quoin Bluff and anchor between Bluff and Egg Island on southern side for protection against light NWers. Needed two goes at anchoring as we picked up weed on the first go.

Eat one of the mackerels for lunch.

3.30pm Afternoon nap.

5.30pm Beer o’clock. Well G&T o’clock followed by Champagne o’clock followed by Wine o’clock.

7.30pm Cas and Elaine dancing on back deck to The Monkees “I’m a Believer”.

Michael and I join in shortly after.  Beer and BBQs soundtrack. Downloaded Pulp Fiction and other Tarentino film music from iTunes. Pretend to be John Travolta.

Dancing in the rain.

9pm Pancakes and hot pineapple pieces soaked in Rum. A piece de la resistance from Michael.

More dancing.

11.10pm Off to bed.

 

Well – come on – it was Saturday night :-)))

Sunday Bay

Allan's Pet for the Night

 

Wednesday

The Freo Sailing Club WA Cruising Guide’s entry for Sunday Bay says “Fishing: Reportedly Good”, so off went Michael and I to try and validate the entry. Came back thinking we should update entry with “Fishing: Lots of small stuff”.

Allan and Joan came over to Camelot for dinner and brought a nice side of Mackerel with them, which they had caught earlier in the day (one more than we got).

We’d left our lines in the water whilst we caught up over some drinks, and just after sunset one went off.  It was going all over the place – good sign it’s a shark. I was more than keen to separate the shark from my fishing line but Allan had other ideas. I pulled it up the side of Camelot and Allan grabbed its tail and removed the hook. Then he grabbed it under the belly in his other hand and brought it on board – ALIVE!!!

I had to laugh as my brother Brad caught a shark in the same bay last year and he wanted me to grab it by the tail – I passed and it didn’t come anywhere near the boat.

After the obligatory photos were taken and he had managed to scare Cas out of her wits by shoving the shark in her direction, back it went into the water. A bit of excitement for the night.

Next morning, it was over to Kinchega for a bit of carpentry. The boys on Indigo had built a neat filleting table that fitted neatly in front of the BBQ and Allan had gone to Mitre10 in Denham to pick up some ply to build one the same. He had kindly bought twice as much timber as was required some Camelot could get one as well.  Once finished, he wrote “Copyright Kinchega” on the bottom. I’m not sure how Bob from Indigo will take that! Anyway, it should be very useful just as soon as we catch some fish!!!!

Lunchtime came and went and then it was time to move a couple of miles across to Shelter Bay. Allen started to pull his anchor up and found his anchor stripper had broken (as well). Never mind, he hopped in his dingy and headed to the beach where there was a couple of bombed out cars and other junk rusting away. He came back with some pieces of aluminium that he could fashion up a repair out of.

Shelter Bay is beautiful. The water was really clear and in went the shark shield followed by everyone for a swim. Then off to the beach for a walk. Had a chat to some fishermen who had caught a bucketload of fish – norwest snapper and pick snapper just I the channel. Quick as a flash, Allan and Joan were back to the dingy and back out in the channel fishing for tea. Michael and I followed them out and we got a few hits but couldn’t land anything significant. Michael hooked something big and we got towed around briefly but he lost it. I got a small Rankin Cod but it was a little undersize so back it went.

Meanwhile on the other dingy, Joan had hooked something really big and they took turns trying to bring it in for about 10 minutes before losing it after being towed round all over the place. A little latter Joan hooked something edible only to have a shark take it and then swim up to the dingy. Joan let out a little scream as Allan reckoned it was longer than the 3.4m dingy. We quickly left that spot.

Closer in Joan managed to catch a norwest snapper and got it into the dingy without any sharks bothering them. We had a lovely meal on Camelot as this was our last night together. We waved goodbye to Kinchega next morning as they made their way south to the Abrolhos. We had lots of fun hanging out with Allan and Joan on their Seawind 1160, Kinchega.

Lest We Forget

ANZAC Day

After a very pleasant overnight stop at Broadhurst Bight, Cas and I had a lovely walk along the beach up to the red cliffs, passing fishermen in their four wheel drive filling up their bucket with a nice feed of whiting. Back on board, it was another 5 hour sail to Denham in light to non-existent winds (and NO fish except for a small Mack that we had to throw back!)

We pulled into the jetty and headed for the IGA. As we had an early morning rise and the winds were light we decided to stay on the jetty for the night. We filled up with fuel (only 70 litres required), water and shore power.

Then out came the plastic table and we had a lovely curry, courtesy of Elaine, sitting on the jetty, watching the squidders go by. Allan managed to catch a sole squid but nobody else did. Then out came the cards and champagne and the girls and Michael were having a great time. Allan and I retired to our beers and talked boats.

Next morning, Cas had both boats up at 5.30am ready for the Dawn Service. It was a short walk to Pioneer Park and we got there just in time to hear the bag pipes starting the service. The service was conducted by the president and secretary of the Shark Bay RSL and there was great crowd there – standing room only. There was even a sailor there in his nice white uniform standing to attention during Reveille. My thoughts wandered back to my Pop who fought in the Eighth Army in Egypt, to Tony Green, a Vietnam Vet who I used to go hay carting with as a teenager, and to how the nurses in Bougainville struggled to deal with war wounds and how horrible it must have been to actually go to war. I’m so glad our particular generation and our children’s (touch wood) didn’t have to front up. Lest we forget those that actually did.

Back on the boat, it was still only 7am and we hit the water with Kinchega – heading South to Boat Haven Loop. It took 3-4 hours to get down to the narrow channel in and once there we quickly hit shallow water. We followed Kinchega (and her insurance company) in over the first shallow bit but further down the channel it really started to shallow up. Got down to 1.3m and we decided to give it a miss. Bummer. Consulted with Allan about heading down further into Freycinet Harbour to Charlie Island but we were concerned about the NE winds and Allan was keen to get back to Steep point so he could use the NE winds to get to the Abrolhos.

So back we sailed. Past the Useless Loop salt mine and wharf and through the two sets of leads that provided a channel through Heirisson Flats and Bellerfin Flats. With the current from the tidal outflow giving us a few extra knots, we made it through the narrow channel and into Sunday Bay (on Wednesday) at 5pm with enough sunlight left in the day to get us in safely.

Monkey Mia

After a five hour sail we finally made it into Monkey Mia. We had a few dolphins come to greet us but no fish jumped on our lines. Smiley was already there, and they had the same plan to leave on Monday but go north to Carnarvon via Turtle Bay.

We dropped anchor in a very scenic little part of the world, just to the SE of the resort. We sat on the back steps watching the dolphins play and fish all around us. Cas even had a few come right up to the back step as she sat there.

Then it was over for drinks and a meal on Kinchega – everyone brought over a meal and we mixed them all together. Allan was having a few problems with his anchor and we were trying to work out if he had a smaller one (anchor). He suggested I go up the front and take a look. So off I went (half way) before I realised what a stupid thing I just did (as the anchor was currently anchoring the boat at the bottom of the bay!!!). I thought I had been set up by Allan but Allan had suggested it quite innocently so I wasn’t the only fool. Everyone had a great laugh at the one. We spent Saturday lazying around Monkey Mia and the resort. We must have spent 4 hours on the beach soaking in the sun, swimming, reading the paper and eating an icecream. Then it was back to the boat to change and off again into the Monkey Bar to watch Hawthorn (Michael’s team) play the Eagles (Cas’ team). It was a bit bizarre watching it bucket down in Perth after we had a beautiful sunny afternoon in Monkey Mia. Anyway good on the Eagles for slogging that one out for a win. Michael’s footy team may have lost but he was cleaning up on the pool table. We didn’t really mind as the Monkey Bar had the last palette of Corona’s to be had in state (evidently) and we were helping them to finish it.

Sunday we were up early to see the Dolphins, which Monkey Mia is so famous for. They do a great job of protecting the dolphins natural way of being, whilst allowing everyone to get a good close up look at them. At all times it is done on the dolphins terms. If they don’t want to come in they just don’t come in. They only feed 5 of them and sometimes only one of the 5 takes the free feed. And its only a snack so the dolphins still have to continue to hunt. They only do it three times a morning for 30 minutes each time so the dolphins have the afternoon to hunt and feed their young. The mothers need to go into deeper water to feed their calves. We got a great look at one of the dolphins in particular as it was chasing fish and a fish used the line of people standing knee deep in water to hide from the dolphin. The dolphin came right up keeping its eye on the fish. We all had to back out of the water to let the dolphin continue hunting. It was quite a show. They feed the dolphins right at the end of the 30 minutes and after that they all swim off to do their own thing. It was quite a show.

That afternoon Cas and I checked into the resort to spend a night on land. The resort is really relaxed with great staff – it felt a bit like the resort at Happy Bay in the Whitsundays. The emus, however, were a bit of a pain and got very cheeky when there was a sniff of food to be had. We were treated to an unbelievable sunset in the bay with the Leeuwin in the background and a couple of charter cats doing their sunset sail. We topped off the day with a great meal at the restaurant that night with far too much food. It didn’t seem to deter me as we had a buffet breakfast the next morning which was challenging but achievable. Then it was back to the boat and off to Broadhurst Bight along with Smiley and Kinchega. We caught the tide going out and this gave us an extra couple of knots going round Cape Peron. The winds were gentle and right behind us and we chugged along at 5 knots as we sailed straight past the Leeuwin on the way out. We tucked in between the bommie and the beach at Broadhurst Bight after a 5 hour sail and saw Allan and Joan heading for an oyster patch on the beach. Despite having just poured a Gin and Tonic, the words “fresh oysters” invoked a prompt set of instructions to follow suite. So off we went with a hammer and crow bar and started to separate the oysters from the rocks. Allan was eating every second oyster and Cas managed to down a couple as well. They were small but tasty and we brought a good catch back to the boat where there was much hammering and extraction of fresh oyster flesh. We had them all sorts of ways – cooked on the BBQ with with blue cheese, lemon juice, between crackers and au natural. A nice bit of hunting and gathering.

Quoin Bluff

Having picked up Cas and dropped off Amanda, we headed off, together with Allan and Joan aboard Kinchega, on Monday morning bound for Quoin Bluff on Dirk Hartog Island. Dirk Hartog Island is about 80kms long and is Western Australia’s largest and most western island.

It was a lovely sail across, with the winds light and behind us, right up until when we finished our 20nm passage when they picked up above 20kts. We tucked in nicely behind the bluff, dropped anchor and had a great walk along the beach.

Image

Quoin Bluff is the site of the now famous Shark vs Brother Brad in a dingy fishing incident last year where the dingy came off second best with the shark managing to puncture it nicely. Michael and Elaine took the dingy fishing that afternoon and managed to avoid hooking any sharks, instead catching a nice mullaway for dinner.

Next morning, we hit the beach again and headed left to climb to the top of Quoin Bluff. It was very spectacular up there with great 360 degree views up and down the coast and back towards the mainland. We saw Egg island on the other side of the Bluff and took lots of obligatory photos of the two Seawind 1160’s. We also could look down othe cliffs and see all the sea life including quite a few sharks. It was so clear you could easily pick the Tiger Sharks as their stripes stood out quite spectacularly. There were also giant turtles, sting rays and lots of fish as well as sea eagles circling round.    ImageBack on Camelot and Kinchega, we put the sails up and headed for Turtle Bay on the top of Dirk Hartog. Along the way we managed to catch a couple of mackerel but lost my old faithful lure when something managed to cut the rope that I use to fish. Allan thought it might have been a North West Blowie as these are known as Northern Boltcutters. Oh well.

We also managed to see a couple of manta rays, which swam right up to the boat – very exciting – and some dolphins as well as a whale tail. Another lovely sail. Image

Floating Around Denham

After pulling up anchor at Gerritson Cove, the anchor stripper pulled away again and we knew we needed to fix it once and for all before we anchored again. Allan got onto the phone with his son Chris, who was driving to Denham for a couple of days to go out on Kinchega; and as a result Chris brought up a nice thick piece of aluminium with a strategically place hole for the anchor chain that would fix it for good. Our sail across to Denham was uneventful. The wind died right off, the water glassed off and we didn’t catch a fish. We headed straight for the jetty and filled up with fuel and water. The desalinated water usually requires $1 coins to be fed in but the coin machine was broken so we got the water for free. Next problem was how not to anchor. We’d rung around to see if we could get a hire mooring but the only guy in Denham that hires out moorings was “Motor” who works at the shire, but he was out on his jet boat somewhere and nobody could get hold of him. No worries, Patrick was going to leave Blade Runner on one of Motor’s moorings and knew where another one was. After refuelling we went out to pick up one of Motor’s moorings only to find that Patrick had pulled out one of Motor’s moorings and was now using the other one. Bummer. However there was another nice unused mooring next to Blade Runner and we decided we’d hop on that one and see what happened. Next morning I found a very grumpy fisherman visiting us in his tender complaining he’d had 4 boats just use his mooring in the past 4 weeks and it’s just not right. I apologised profusely, explained my anchoring problem and offered him a good rate. His mood improved dramatically and we had ourselves a mooring for our stay in Denham. It turned out that he was in the process of selling it and he was busily cleaning it, before someone came out to dive it later in the day. As we got chatting, he gave us a heap of local knowledge about not only Shark Bay but further up the coast as well. Our next problem was the propeller. I had rung ahead and booked the boat lift, which it turns out the shire runs, but on arriving in Denham and checking it out I’m not sure I’d lift my tender on it, let alone Camelot. We rang the shire and politely cancelled the lift. Our local fisherman had suggested we beach it on Charlie Island, which we may do or leave it to Exmouth. Joan and Chris had bought up some new stainless steel locking screws which will tide us over on the old prop until then. Saturday rolled round, and Michael and I headed for the pub to watch the Dockers beat Brisbane in a pretty average game. Then Joan and Chris arrived with our brand new prop and our new aluminium plate for our anchor. Allan helped Michael and I attach it and it works a treat. No more anchoring problems! This left us enough time to head for Ant Island along with Kinchega to meet up with Patrick on Blade Runner. We left about 5pm hoping to get there by 8 or 9, but the wind picked up and it was right on our nose and with only one engine running we were barely making any head way. For the second time this trip and turned around and headed back – better to look after the boat than to push too hard to get somewhere. It turned out to be an exhilarating sail at night with the breeze behind us. It was quite dark and it took a bit of searching with our torches to locate our mooring as the moon didn’t rise til after midnight. Next morning it was time to say goodbye to Claire and David who were travelling back to Perth by car with Patrick and Craig. It was nice to have my daughter on board for a week. They seemed to really enjoy themselves on board and were quite proud of their night watches. But first, we had to help Patrick secure his mooring so that Blade Runner would be safe and sound whilst he was in Perth for a month. Patrick had bought some chain which he proceeded to hook up to his bridle and a lump of metal on the ocean floor. Denham is quite a nice looking bay side town, despite it being the worst anchorage in Shark Bay, There’s talk of building a marina there – good old Royalties for Regions in action. We managed to find most things there – the Service Station/Hardware Store managed to provide us with all the boat bits we required and the IGA had everything except avocados. The guy that owned the IGA gave us a lift back to the boat with all our groceries. Procuring cash was an experience. The service station had a sign over their ATM saying no cash but that turned out to be a ploy just to keep the back packers away. Businesses kept ATMs as a way of banking cash as there is no bank in town. $1 coins are at a premium as the laundry mat uses them. Was having trouble getting them until I ran into the IGA owner, who gladly handed over the required 8. Sunday was a big day as that was the day that Cas arrived. It was a big job shaving off 14 days of growth. Cas had a great flight up, stopping in at Kalbarri and then looking out over Shark Bay as she came into land. It was great to see her and we celebrated at the pub playing countless games of pool and eating Shark Bay Whiting. It was also Amanda’s last night and we bid her farewell next morning. Then it was off to Quoin Bluff, and then Turtle Bay where we will have limited internet and mobile access.