Apologies this is a long Blog as I haven't had time to update for a few days.
Well we had a lovely sail up from Quoin Bluff South. We left under motor at about 2030hrs after fish courtesy of Ben for dinner. There was no breeze until about midnight when a nice 10-15 building to about 20kn south easter came in pushing us along at an easy 6.5-7kns. I didn't want to go too fast because we wanted to arrive in Carnarvon around 8-9am so reefed in the heady a bit to slow us to about 5-5.5kns.
We made contact with Carnarvon Sea Rescue on the VHF and they advised we would be pushing it a bit to go into the Fascine depth wise, so we decided to go to the fishing boat harbour. I rang DoT and arranged to pull up on the "T-Jetty". Must admit the cost of using the DoT jetties is a bit steep at over $100 per night - someone should do an audit of how they set their fees!!
Wandered into Carnarvon (about 1km from the jetty) and sussed out the local shops and facilities for reprovisioning the next day. On return from town we made the most of what we were paying for by having a cold shower in the public facilities at the end of the jetty. This was a solid concrete structure with corrugated iron used to "form up" the concrete - I'm guessing it is cyclone proof. I said to Nic after emerging from my first shower in two weeks "that really is built like a brick shit-house!".
Thursday morning I refilled our jerry-cans and refuelled the boat from them using my little 12v transfer pump - works like a dream. When I checked the motor I noticed that the High Pressure water maker pump had come a drift from it's mounting bracket. This happened the first time back in Perth and I had to retighten all the bolts which I thought may not have been properly tightened when first installed. However I noticed then a small crack in one of the brackets. This time the small crack had become a catastrophic failure on both of the flimsy steel mount brackets supplied with the pump.
I rang a local steel fabricator and explained my problem - he said "no worries" drove down to the boat within about 10min of my phone call and delivered newly manufactured (and stronger) brackets back at about 4pm that afternoon. In the meantime Nic and I had done our shopping and resupplied. I reinstalled the Water Maker pump and am hoping that problem will be solved (fingers crossed).
We left Carnarvon at 2330 hours after refilling the water tanks from the jetty taps (sorry water maker - just in case!), and headed for Gnaraloo Bay about 70miles up the coast (13 hrs or so). We had a 25kn South Easter so were making fast progress. Nic and I do 2hr shifts and a hand over at each shift - i.e. any thing to keep an eye on etc. On about my second shift 0330 to 0530 I noticed what looked like a fishing boat ahead, they don't normally have AIS and nothing showed up. I got out the bino's and tried to work out which way this boat was going, but I couldn't see any port or starboard or steaming lights - very strange. I figured it may be a fishing boat going in the same direction as us but ahead, so we were coming up from behind and this would explain why I couldn't see any port or starboard lights. I took evasive action and headed about 35 degrees in towards the coast. I watched for another 30mins or so and was frustrated to see the bloody boat was still tracking exactly where we wanted to head. I figured he must have changed course too. I changed course back to about 350 degrees thinking we'll go out and pass them on the ocean side. This seemed to work. Just towards the end of my shift I decided, OK this is the japanese fishing vessel we saw at Carnarvon which had left in the afternoon. They probably don't have normal nav lights but they are going along parallel to us. I relayed all this info to Nic on our handover. When I woke up 2hrs later with the sun fully up, I asked what happened to our rogue ship. Nic said "Oh - that was a Salt Mine on the shore - I took some pictures of it if you want to see!".
We arrived at Gnaraloo Bay around lunchtime. Followed the instructions in the Freo Cruising guide on how to get in. Unfortunately it says stay a cable off the beach, and I had forgotten to find out how long a cable is. Lots of coral and reef around here and I was feeling pretty nervous so we anchored way out in the bay. This was untenable as there was a big swell coming in, so we decided to get a bit closer. A bit of OSAR (Oh Shit Another Rock) navigation was used, with Nic up the mast and pointing out Bommies. We managed to find a sandy patch between two reefy bits to anchor, out of the swell and close to the beach boat ramp as described in the cruising guide. I put out a stern anchor to stop us swinging, but it was a nervous night. In the morning we braved our way around the final reefy bits and found good anchorage in good sand just where the book said - I am going to find out how long a cable is and follow instructions better from now on!
Nic and I did our own "sounding" in the Dinghy this morn and confirmed the track in and out of the bay. We went for a SNUBA on the Power dive in the afternoon. We are going to head up to Ningaloo proper (Maud's Landing) tomorrow, which is 40NM or about 8 hrs, so will leave about 7-8am to get there mid to late arvo. If the snorkelling is anything like here it will be magnificent!!