Location: Gove, Australia
Well, Viv has signed off but for all the Wallop followers I have reopened the blog just to say that the Wallop crew made it across the Gulf of Carpentaria in about 44 hours of sailing at about 8.4 knots.
We left Thursday Island at 07:00 on the Thursday and finally dropped anchor at Gove sailing Club at about 02:45 am on the Thursday.
The weather was reasonably king although quite a cross sea for the fist 30 hours.
All manage well and we even pulled out the Code Zero for the last 15hours
We had a great pizza night cooked on the barbeque by Peter on the Friday night and despite some fatigue most slept through the anchoring procedure.
All were up at first light 06;00 am on Saturday, so that all bar Viv and myself were able to get onto the 08:20 am Air North Flight to Darwin.
We had a lovely day with Denise , Mark Colin and Paul getting Wallop onto her Gove mooring at packing everything up so we coul also leave Saturday night.
We were all tired but felt that we had completed a very tough but enjoyable journey!!
Well done to all the Wallop Crew as pictured in the latest addtional photos at Thursday Island.
Gove to Darwin is planned for the 6th of September until the evening of the 8th. About 480 NM.
Stay tuned for more pics and Walloping adventures.
Location: Horn Is. Opposite Thursday Is.
Oh what can change in just a few short days?!!! Well, let me begin....
After leaving Lockhart River our decided destination was Portland Roads. A relatively shortish day sailing to get there, still with the same sailing conditions... fairly rough!! 1-2 meter swells and still gusting over 30 knots, up to 50 knots!! marcus is looking wispier and wispier, and lorenzo's not far behind! (but he did start out with more hair to begin with!) The evenings anchorage was not too bad, still a bit choppy and blowy (don't you love these terms?!) but we had a good nights fishing with Harriet proving to be the superior angler!! A cod, spangled emperor, no less. Sebastian caught a stripy and I caught an ornamental bream! So cute, too cute, I had to throw it back in! Happy feelings all round. Next day was fairly longish, 8 hrs or so to get to Cape Grenville. Not much to be said about that day. Although Marcus could say differently.. white caps, 30-35knot winds, ships, reefs everywhere, same ole, same ole. Really? Aren't we all getting rather blasé!! What can be said about that nights anchorage? Lorenzo-"I slept like a log....in the Colorado river!!".Peter-"it was an excellent anchorage.. to leave!!" I think we all thought similarly, as between us all we would have had about 4 hrs sleep!! There were points of historical note and interest but its been so long ago that I can't remember!!!! We all gladly left C. Grenville early and put in a long day to head to Escape River, and I think that was an extremely aptly named area and anchorage! For Marcus and Lorenzo it only became hairy when coming into the river with low tides, pearl racks, sand banks etc, but all was navigated safely! It was worth us staying for 2 nights because it was such a blissful anchorage. It was as if we were in a marina. Did we really want to leave? Our time spent there included completing chores, maintenance of various apparatuses on the boat, fishing, reading, baking... Never mind, the excitement of getting to The Cape was too much, so we upped anchor on Escape River, a pristine river by the way, leaving behind the pearl farm, pearless!! Once again negotiating the currents, tides, pearl racks, sand bars, etc., Wallop was sailing once again, heading for The Cape, the very northern tip of the Aussie continent! And finally the weather forecasts were predicting lesser winds, far more preferable to a fair weather sailor! Wow, who actually gets to do this? An amazing privilege and opportunity to sail along the Australian coast, turning left and seeing the beauty and wilderness still of this country; blue skies, sandy beaches, fabulous mangroves, windblown trees and bush, 4 wheel drives racing along the beaches!!!! What? Yes, you either get to the cape by 4 wheel drive only, or by boat! Either way, a unique experience.
I'm here now with Thursday Island in the near distance, it being my last opportunity to get this blog out, sitting on Wallop, the guys have just watched Origin, and I'm thinking, well in just a few days time we'll be home in Darwin. Tomorrow, early, we're heading out to get to Gove. It'll be an overnight sail, 36 hrs or so, so that in itself will be a challenge. By the way, Thursday Island is beautiful and it's surrounded by the most turquoise, aqua marine, opal coloured waters, a real feast for the eyes. And the Grand Hotel provides a pretty mean barra burger. It was also a good place to stock up with some more fresh supplies.
Since Cooktown we've had scant service and now again for the next 2 days we won't again. I apologise for my misspellings, bad grammar, poor conjunctions?! Etc., Etc., but I hope you have all enjoyed keeping up with us and our Walloping adventures! So see some of you soon, but for now, over and out, cheers, Viv
No luck! Mince dish it is - Colleen and Daniela are now in the process of practising their culinary arts! The decision has been made to give Portland Roads a go. Quite a few other people have said it's. worth a visit; apparently there's a shack where you can sit down and relax to enjoy your own food and drinks, there is accommodation available as well, but we don't need that.
Our water maker is working perfectly so longish showers (sort of) can be had and we can also do some of our washing, so not so grotty yachties yet. Marcus is even now doing a wash!!!! See what one is reduced to when there's nothing else, or no sailing to do! OK enough for now, cheers Viv
Location: Lockhart River, Australia
Howdy folks, last nights anchorage was a good one, peaceful compared to the last few evenings. A bit of rain as well but that still hasn't dampened anyones enthusiasm yet. Lockhart River is beautiful with its pristine mangrove forests. I know from some fishos that they see these unspoiled forests in parts of the territory, but this is the first time I've seen them, hopefully my photos will do justice to this magnificent river system. The fellas are trying their fish hands at fishing for barramundi. Hopefully we'll be eating fresh barra tonight rather than the mince that was on the menu! Sorry, I know the meal tonight will be delicious either way, but fresh barra on the bbq - surely you couldn't beat that.
The plan is to stay overnight here in the Lockhart and tomorrow we'll head to Cape Grenville, bypassing Portland Roads as 'Snowy', the refuelling guy working on 'Temple Bay' said it was shit anchorage in these blowy conditions, so there you go!
i'll let you know whether the boys and Harriet were successful or not, stay tuned in, cheers, Viv
Blissfull anchorage tonight as compared to the last few. Marcus and Lorenzo navigated the sandbar around the entrance to the Lockhart river exceptionally well (we're here safely and Marcus needed at least two glasses of prosecco to relax!) After my last entry, conditions became a little too rough to continue typing, all sorts of languages appeared on screen which I didn't understand so I thought I'd better stop. I think I'm lucky to be here and so are all the others who have lived their lives down here in the main saloon over the last few days! Mattresses have been sliding over to the downside of cabins, cushions have been flying, water has been sloshing over too full sinks, I've been hurtled and tossed across the stern head while trying to do up my pants!! Amazingly no head injuries as my head was down!! Unsightly! And top side has been no better with Marcus getting gobfuls of salty water and Lorenzo enjoying the bow sinking below the waves! Well, hopefully the BOM's forecast of lightening winds (25kn) and more prayers to Huey will sort things out for the next few days, so keep in touch and thanks again for your messages, cheers, Viv
Location: between Night Is &Lloyd Bay, Australia
Finally, we're back in communication! We're heading to Lockhart River in Lloyd Bay to fuel up and satisfy everyone's 'I' addictions! Well, Huey finally listened to Marcus and has given him more than enough winds to satisfy his needs. Sadly though it has meant that we've been unable to stop off at any of the reefs that run along this amazing coastline; so, no fishing, snorkelling or swimming. The weather system we're in at the moment is lasting at least to the weekend, so our plans to get to Darwin by the 20th have at this stage been scotched and Weipa it might be! But our time at Lizard Island was very enjoyable. Our privileged mooring was near a spectacular reef which had an abundant sea life; coral, clams, beautifully coloured fish and other invertebrates. Friday afternoon we welcomed colleen and Peter on board. They had flown up from Cairns by Hinterland Air and had flown directly overhead of Wallop on the descent to land: They said we painted a very pretty picture! Mind you, the sun was still shining at this stage! Saturday brought with it the expected forecast, so the decision was made to set off to Cape Melville before the winds became too bad. I take my sailors cap off to Marcus and Lorenzo who did a magnificent job sailing that stretch of coastline in winds up to 33 knots with a moonless night anchoring as well. This is also after having negotiated a very busy shipping channel - why do all things culminate at the worst possible time?! Our boat, a shipping tanker, a fishing boat towing a barge and another sailing boat! Anyway as I said I take, by now, shredded sailors cap off to the boys. Our nights anchoring was the best on offer, but it still proved to be a rough old night. Marcus and Lorenzo kept an eye on the anchorage overnight. It held well even in gusts of up to 45 knots! A hairy night! Just to let you know Marcus has now even less on top of his battered head!
We were going to stay in Bathurst Bay until the weather lessened but no such luck, the BOM was still forecasting heavy winds (thank goodness for satellite phones!) Sunday proved to be a long day - we were heading to the Flinders group of Islands, and apparently Owen channel which runs between Flinders Is and Stanley Is is the best anchorage for all sea going vessels in heavy weather. Some of us sailed, some read books, some baked, some played games, but we all spent the day somehow and finally reached Owen channel. I think all of us sighed with some relief and a glass or two. The water was much more settled and it was less windy so a good opportunity to get into our tender and get onshore to Stanley Is. It's mainly a mangrove muddy shoreline but with lots of lovely rock oysters. Harriet ended up having a salty feast and loving it. We decided against swimming as the guys from the Marine Parks boat (which was also anchored here) had warned us that crocs had been sighted along these shores, so who's going to argue? It was a good nights anchorage and we all ended up having a good nights sleep finally!
Tuesday was going to be a long transit up the coast so we up anchored early. Winds were still up at 25-30 knots, so once again we all bunkered down doing what we all do best - nothing (some of us anyway!)
I haven't mentioned much about our diet but needless to say we've been eating very well and this boat has numerous nooks and crannies where stuff can be stored. I don't think we'll be running out of supplies in the near future at all! Daniela and Lorenzo have done a fantastic job at provisioning this boat with all the absolute essentials! Prosecco being one of them!
We reached last nights anchorage in good time around 5pm, which gave us plenty of time to anchor in well. We spotted the Marine Parks boat anchored as well which obviously proved that Night Is was the best anchorage around. Lucky as the next best was two hours away. A catamaran turned up after us but had no luck in getting a good hold. They either didn't have a long enough chain or heavy enough anchor as they kept drifting from where ever they tried to put down anchor. Eventually they sailed off, presumably in the same direction as Wallop is taking today. Today being Wednesday the 10th. We have to keep checking with each other as to what day it is because they all seem to harmone (my word) into one another!
I'll post photos once we've anchored tonight, cheers, viv
Location: Lizard Island, Australia
Hi all, today has been the best day sailing yet. Perfect conditions for walloping. The rainbow this morning in Cooktown did bode well for us. As we sailed out from Cooktown, with the rainbow behind us, grey clouds were shrouding the coastline ahead of us. We were getting around 15 knots of breeze, no white caps and sunshine ahead. Conditions just kept getting better, no more chill in the air, obviously those few degrees north count for a lot. Wallop was speeding along at 8 to 10 knots and doing it easily. Superb coastline views kept our attention, varying from green rocky hills to sand dunes, we passed Cape Flattery deciding not to stop as it was to good a sail. Amazingly industry has hit this area with ships transporting this pristine sand to wherever. Marcus was opening up a hot topic of conversation, no doubt still to be debated endlessly, (especially with Colleen and Peter who will be joining our crew tomorrow) "why isn't this part of the world used, populated, agricultered, developed by anyone? Perfect solution for allowing refugees into our country, instead of Manus or Nauru". But this is far too political for this blog site, and can only really be discussed properly over a few glasses of lovely red! Anyway we're now moored off the beautiful Lizard Island, we even have a private mooring!! OOOH!! And that's because Daniela and Lorenzo are totally induldging themselves and have booked their family a night at the resort with all the bells and whistles to boot!!. But what a place... the waters are clear, the little harbour is surrounded by beautiful rock formations. Tonight we saw a, possibly Lemon shark, 3m long swimming around our boat! I believe they're totally nocturnal and never appear in daylight, are totally harmless etc., etc, and we all plan on going snorkelling and swimming here tomorrow!! And on that I'm going to say goodnight! Cheers and I'll see you again, Viv
Hi all, I think I'll miss Cooktown, it's dusty streets and convoys of dusty four wheel drives and their trailers. We even had to wait for them to pass before we could cross the road safely when we were doing more last minute shopping! OUr anchorage was good last night and we were greeted this morning with a glorious rainbow, seabirds and eagle flying above fishing easy pickings from the fishing trawler that had just come in from a hard nights work. Hopefully the rainbow bodes well for a safe sail to our destination this afternoon, Cape Bedford or Cape Flattery, depending on good anchorages. So enjoy the photos, cheers Viv
Location: Cooktown, Australia
Well, Endeavour Reef safely traversed, we didn't go near it due to an extremely over cautious captain, but no one is complaining! Sorry, sorry, sorry I have someone objecting to this story so far..."oh come on Viv are you kidding we were under 4 nm to it and winds were greater than 25 knots, so sensibly the captain gave the crew a broad view of the reef but no one wanted to go up the mast for a birds eye view!" so is everyone clear now about the situation?!! Luckily walloping over the reefs safely we've finally arrived in Cooktown. I love the look of this place, it reminds me of an old country town except in a tropical setting with reminders and memorials to the great Cook himself, Leichhardt, and some cannon to fend off a russian invasion, a gold discoverer, etc., etc. we're now being cooking slackers and all going on to our tender to go and get a pub meal! what else would you do in Cooktown?....... Well I'm back and I have to confess that it wasn't a pub meal but a delicious fillet of coral trout served with chat potatoes and spinach; the best fish meal I've eaten at a restaurant in a long while! Thank you 1770 Restaurant in Cooktown! I failed to mention our day at Cape Tribulation yesterday; it's not usually considered an anchorage but never the less we anchored overnight, it wasn't a still night, fairly 'rolly' but we all managed enough sleep. for all it's remoteness there were quite a few people on the beach, all having nibbles and drinks, kids playing etc., it all seemed very suburban-home away from home?!! So tomorrows plan is to head to Cape Flattery or Lizard Island depending on conditions...tune in, until then, cheers Viv