Camelot’s Back in Freo

The March long weekend was our swan song in Geographe Bay and boy did we make maximum use of the wonderful weather. We started early with Andy, Jane, Amanda and Lee-ann arriving on Thursday night. Friday we sailed to Eagle Bay but we had a north easterly and it was very rock and rolly. We retreated to Quindalup and spent the afternoon anchored up over a nice bit of green sandy bottom. Saturday, we sailed to Port Geographe and filled up with water and fuel. the front deck was respondent with bikini clad girls as it was a great day for a nice sail. That night we caught a feed of herring with Jayne and Leanne catching their first fish ever. I even scooped one up in the net. Sunday the swell had died to nothing, so it was off the Castle Bay – the only bay we were yet to visit. Lee-ann had departed for a wedding and Paul and Jenny arrived in her place to tell us stories of their pilgrams walk across Spain. It was one of those magic days with the water incredibly clear and lots of swimming and paddle boarding. Life doesn’t get much better than that. Back to Quindalup at 4.30pm to see Tracy – again anchored over a nice sandy patch and more swimming and stand up comedy. A Lagoon 47 was moored up next to us so we hopped in a dingy and introduced ourselves. Michael and Helene had owned her 4 months and for a 12 year old boat it looked superb.

Monday we decided to stay put on our nice sandy patch as by now the whole bay had glassed over. Another magical day in paradise. Andy, Jayne, Paul and Jenny headed back to Perth and Cas, Amanda and I headed off to the pub for a bit of pool whilst we waited for Peter to arrive by bus. Having left our sandy spot we headed over and picked up our mooring ready for an early morning start back to Mandurah.

Or so we thought. After battling northerly winds on our way to Mandurah for what seemed like hours and hours we gave up and instead turned right and headed for Bunbury. The change of heart impressed the crew no end. Got to Bunbury about 2pm and caught up with Mum and Dad, plus Kate and Steve. Amanda also managed to catch up with some of her friends at the Rose Hotel and Peter got some more fishing gear – determined to catch a tailor or two in Koombana Bay. Alas, poor Pete – all we got all night and all day was a single herring.

11 and a half hours to cover the 78nm from Bunbury to Fremantle (and no spinnaker) on Wednesday. Not bad going – especially since the wind was right behind us with limited opportunity to get a nice reach going. Hit 10kts a couple of times.

So here we are back in Perth getting ready for the next phase of our our excellent adventure! Roll on the 31st March when we set sail for Lancelin then the Abrolhos and beyond!!!

A Good Shakedown Cruise

A key part of coming down to Geographe Bay was to check out how Camelot would go on a much longer cruise around the top of Australia.

As such, we came up with the following:

Electricity: This is always going to have to be carefully managed. During the middle of the day (10am to 4pm) we can hold our own pretty much, provided there is some wind and some sun. However without the genset or the engines we can’t really top up the batteries. The outside fridge is a real electricity gobbler (because of its lack of insulation) and turning this off at night helps keep the batteries from running down too much at night. To make things a bit more manageable I will buy another solar panel (a stick on 68W Uni-Solar PLV 68 – see http://www.12volt.com.au/).

Water: 20lph water maker seems to be enough so long as people take “boat showers”. Enough water to make sure people still rinse off after swimming to keep salt out of the boat.

Anchor: Needs to be fixed. New chain stripper ordered and will be fitted back at Freo. Chain needs rust removed where last 10-20m has sat in chain locker.

Dingy Wheels don’t work – need some better wider ones.

Other than that all good. Looking forward to this (long) weekend with everyone coming down, and then a nice sail back to Freo via Mandurah. A few jobs left to do but hopefully some time left to do a couple of trips to Rotto. Not long to go before we head north.

Floating Around Geographe Bay

Been Having a great time in and around Dunsborough. Lots of day sails to Eagle Bay, Meelup and Bunker Bay as well as shooting across to Busselton one afternoon. Still haven’t got to Castle Bay – one of my favourites. The Geographe Bay Race Week was on earlier and we went out and watched them go past a couple of times. Kinchega (another Seawind 1160) was down for a few days and we managed to hang out with Jamie, Keith and their friend Richard. We even gave them a race, which was declared a draw after some rather dubious tactics on their behalf.

We also have managed to catch up with quite a few other friends. Kate took a week off from her Vet duties to hang out with us and Steve joined us on his days off (including for Kate’s birthday at Amigo’s Restaurant) . As well as sailing, swimming and sun bathing we also gave the galleries and wineries a good going over. We also managed to spend some time with Scott and Tracy out at their property a couple of times. Back on the boat, we also had the pleasure of Mick, Dale and Karen – Dale and Karen own an original Seawind 25, which did a sail past of Camelot when we were anchored up in Bunbury.

One of the highlights so far was rescuing a dolphin off the beach at Bunker Bay. We’d just pulled up on a mooring when we saw a crowd gathering as a bleeding dolphin floundered in the surf. Mick, Steve and I hopped in the dingy and went over to see what was going on. As everyone else was just looking and taking photos, Steve grabbed its nose and fin and lead it out into deep water where it swam off. It was bleeding from its underbelly from scratches gained from thrashing about on the rocks. Didn’t look too bad otherwise. We got a cheer from the crowd which the girls heard on the boat, before we started to head back in the dingy. But we were a little premature as the dolphin circled around and beached itself 200m up the beach. This time someone else managed to push it out and we used the dingy to steer it out into deep water. But 10 minutes later it was back on the rocks and this time I thought it best to get some professional help. I rang the Dolphin discovery Centre in Bunbury who put us onto DEC. They send a couple of rangers out. By this stage the dolphin was resting in a rock pool and we watched it trying to determine what sort of dolphin it was. It was long and slender with small fins – definitely not a normal bottle nose. It sounds like it was either a stripy dolphin or a small bottle nosed whale according to the rangers. Whilst we were discussing this, the dolphin (or small whale) having rested a while swam off into the deep – and was not spotted again all day. Success!

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Camelot’s Excellent Adventure is underway!

Camelot’s Excellent Adventure is underway!

We had a wonderful sail down to Geographe Bay, spending a night in both Mandurah and Bunbury along the way.

Had the wind on the nose all the way down to Mandurah. Anthony, Denise and Dave joined us for this leg. It was a bit squally going out past Garden Island but by the time we got to Mandurah it had turned into a nice day. Decided to turn the motors off and do some tacking into Mandurah as we had made good time. Pulled up to the Fish and Chips jetty and had lunch before saying goodbye to Denise and Dave, who had to work the next day. Pulled off the jetty after they left for the train and picked up a mooring off Doddies Beach for the night. Busy watching dolphins playing when there was a rattling of the swim ladder. Mike and Tess were in Mandurah and saw us off the beach and decided to swim out and see us. They own a Seawind 1250 which is currently in NZ, having been to New Caledonia over the winter. They ended up staying for dinner – it was good to catch up.

Got up early at first light and took off for Bunbury, 50nm away. The wind was (initially) easterly which was a nice surprise and we made excellent time down inside the Bouvard Reefs. It was a really beautiful sail down. Like a mill pond. The admiral did some good sleeping. Got to Bunbury about 2pm in time for Mum and Dad to take Anthony to the train station. We had a lovely afternoon drinking gin and tonics and watching more dolphins. Anchoring off the yacht club and took the dingy across to Aristos for some fish and chips, coffee and desert with Mum and Dad.

Next morning up early again ready for the 30nm sail across to Quindalup. Had some troubles with the anchor – it’s a bit rusty where it isn’t used often and the chain stripper looks a bit bent. Two more boat jobs. Down to Cas and I on Camelot and we had a great motor sail across from Bunbury to our mooring at Quindalup. More motor than sail – wind got down to 0.4kts at one stage – sea was a millpond. After several hours of reading, got organised and got some cleaning done so we could enjoy the champagne when we got there (being Valentine’s Day). Then off to the shops in the dingy to get dinner of squid and prawns organised. Watched a magnificent sunset (over land) to top off one of those brilliant days.