Bumming Around Carnarvon

Staying at Fishing Boat Harbour for the night allowed us to give Camelot a good wash, fill the water tanks and go around to the fuel jetty first thing in the morning. It also provided us with a great dolphin show for about an hour and a half as a pack of dolphins went hunting around our boat. At one stage they started throwing fish 10m at a time then racing off to catch them again. An unexpected show for the evening.

With full tanks of fuel and water, we set off early to catch the high tide. The Facine is a body of water (a creek or estuary I suppose) that runs out the front of Carnarvon. It is notoriously difficult to enter and we were on our wits to get in. We had a few tight turns – sticking close to the starboard marker with the water getting down to 2.1m (we draw 1.15m) at one stage. We had a keel boat follow us in with a guy in a dingy with a long stick immediately in front of him helping him pick the deep spots.

Safely in, we sailed past the yacht club and anchored up right in front of down town Carnarvon. We had a car booked for the time we were in Carnarvon and it was time to do a bit of exploring.

Our first destination was the food trail that is referred to as the Fruit Loop – basically up South River Road and back along North River Road. We stopped off at Bumbak’s where the smoothies were to die for – Cas had a banana one and Michael and Elaine had a Mango one. Carnarvon supplies 70% of Perth’s winter fruit and vegies and we bought a few things, leaving the main shop until just before we left.

We then had a choice of going to the blow holes or inland along the Gascoyne River to Rocky Pool, about 55kms away. Given we were spending a lot of time on the coast we chose to go inland and see some of the outback.

Must of the Gascoyne flows underground – its often referred to as an upside-down river, something that makes it rather unique in the world. Rocky Pool is a small stretch where it does return to normality and flows on the surface. With the temperature hitting 37 degrees, we headed for some river gums and had a lovely picnic by the river.

We found a rope further down the river which you could swing up and drop into the river but I gave the letting go bit a miss as you couldn’t see what snags were under the water. Instead Cas and I went for a swim off the bank – that was so, so refreshing.

Back in the car, it was back to town to have a look at the kilometre long jetty, which we did over a coffee.

Then back to the boat and off to town as it was Cas’ last night before flying home for a couple of weeks. We had booked a night in a unit on the water front and the guy that ran it suggested we go to the Gascoyne Pub for dinner and pool. Carnarvon is full of pubs – there’s just about one on every corner so we had quite a choice.

After a nice meal, where we taught a barmaid how to make a Margareta (she nailed the second one),  we took on the locals at pool and managed to take a game off them. The Corona’s were going down well and we had a great chat to a whole group of guys who had just finished a fishing trip aboard Top Gun, as well as some back backers who were working in town.

We ended up all getting kicked out at closing time – Cas was now wearing a different top to the one she started the night in. I think we got to sleep about 3pm although I can’t be sure. What I’m pretty sure about is that we both managed to reach our limit that night.

Friday morning was a slow and steady affair. Bacon and Eggs at the local café was our first attempt at curbing a hangover. Then it was off to the bank, the post office and the fishing tackle shop to stock up on lures and heavy duty tackle.

What was left of the day was spent lounging around on Camelot eating yet more fresh prawns. Then it was off to the airport to drop Cas off after what had been a magic 3 weeks.

After watching Cas get on the plane, it was off to the Yacht Club for their Friday night meal and drinks. I managed one beer and ate their salmon dish then it was back to the boat for some desperately needed shut eye. The whole boat was asleep by 8pm.

Saturday morning it was up early and off shopping and laundymatting. Another whip around the fruit loop saw us with some lovely fresh fruit and vegies and then off to Woolies. Gas and dingy fuel were also procured along the way.

Freo were playing on Saturday afternoon and I ventured back to the pub to watch this as for some reason we could only get SBS on the boat. Three lemon, lime and bitters and NO beers – was quite proud of myself.

Back to the boat at half time and then time to get ready to sail with half an ear on the footy. As soon as the footy finished we were off (well – it was close!!!). It was low tide but we needed to go then to get out before dark and to get to Gnarloo in the day.

We were doing well getting out – passing another cat that had taken a wrong turn and was now parked on the bottom. We were passing through the really narrow bit with 2.1 m still under our keel – that was good but unfortunately the depth transducer is under our starboard keel and at the same time there was 0m under our port keel. The current had pushed us over and we were aground. Into reverse and a bit of throttle saw us back into the channel and out of trouble. We were off on our way to Gnarloo.