After another pleasant sail – I keep using that word – but what I should really be saying is “a pleasant motor with the sails up”. We had whales in the distance all the way up to sunset, but so far just the one close encounter.
Once again the moon made a late appearance – 11pm this time – so I had a really stary night for my 7-10pm watch. I got up again at 4am and there was the moon, along with a very bright Venus and Jupiter. I watched the sun come up over the calm sea as the wind dropped below a couple of knots.
We’d been travelling a bit away from the coast, following the advice of the FSC Cruising Guide, that suggested sticking to the 35-40m depth contours to avoid the pearling and fishing leases. We considered using Sundancer of Bunbury’s waypoints that we got via Smiley, but didn’t like the idea of going over all that shallow water at night, so we gave these a miss on our way to Eighty Mile beach.
Eighty miles of beach – and you can’t get to any of it by boat!
But boy did we try. First attempt saw us park nearly 3nm off the beach in 6m of water at high tide – not close enough and besides the anchor was dragging. Second attempt was to head north to part of a beach that said “”Landing” on the chart. But time was not on our side so we dropped anchor 5nm away as it began to get dark. After waying up to a thick fog, we had a leisurely morning and then made our third attempt by motoring the 5nm and then seeing how close to the beach we actually could get. And the answer was:- 1.5nm from the beach on a rising tide – we stopped and anchored when we got down to just 2m of water, as the engines started to kick up the mud from the bottom. But 1.5nm was do-able in the dingy; we just needed to wait until the tide came in so we could get across the mud flats and onto the beach. We had lunch and then waited until we had over 3m of water and off we set in the dingy.
All the way in we couldn’t see the bottom – it had the consistency of Fijian kava – that grey muddy look. About 150m from the shore, the waves started to break and we started to surf our way in. This was a touch disconcerting, so far from shore and with no idea how deep it was. So once more we handed discretion a win over valour, and turned around (getting really wet in the process) and headed back to Camelot. Time to make a move To Broome – 100nm away with lots more whales to see (already spotted a couple of pods). We will have a week there to explore, whilst we wait for Cas, Dale and Kaz to join us.