I think the last time we wrote, we were sitting in Sampson Inlet on the hunt for blue butterflies and fish, with plans to venture into the Prince Regent and Careening Bay…..?
Well time has passed since then and we have moved on well and truly (we have since caught fish, but never found the blue butterflies). We opted to bypass the Prince Regent being advised that the King George and Berkley far outshone the Prince and with the airwaves describing it as a tidal nightmare and currently like the Hay St mall with boats clambering for limited anchorage spots, decided not to risk it. And so from Sampson Inlet we moved onto an overnight stopover at Careening Bay ducking into shore in the early morning (though not as early as the charter boat…move em in and ship em out!!!) to check out the HMC Mermaid (1820) tree and the poor imitation from HMAS Cessnock (1992). Oh yeah and if you thought we were a bit nutty sailing off around the world…get this…there is some crazy nutter paddling around the Kimberlies in a kayak by himself!!!!
So with the tree being seen and the paparazzi well and truly satisfied we headed for our next anchorage Kartja Island with intention of stopping there for a day, checking out Rainforest Ravine then moving on the next day to the Maret Islands. We ended up anchoring in the ravine and spent 3 days there! The guide book had certainly under-rated it as an anchorage and obviously not explored the area very well!! Met up with some fellow travellers (Yawarra II enroute to Broome then Malaysia) at the freshwater creek who advised us that further upstream was an 8m waterfall and swimming hole not mentioned in the guidebook and towards the mouth of the ravine some also unmentioned artworks. The sea eagles, caves and the natural sandstone sculptures were spectacular too and also unmentioned?? So we returned the next day, walked further upstream and spent a beautiful day swimming and (as ya do) sipping on a few bevies!
From Rainforest Ravine to the Maret Islands (20nm off the mainland) and once again the guidebook was sooooooo wrong…stating the islands as one of the “best offshore islands and worth considering”… NOT!!!! Apparently was supposed to be a shell hunters delight and not a shell was to be found. The only thing on that beach was sand and crocs!! So we anchored overnight and moved onto Prudoe the next day, which turned out to be a lovely anchorage were we met a fantastic couple on a 40’ Adams called ‘Tookawile’. We found a beach littered with amazing shells and hundreds of hermit crabs. Spent the next day smoking fish on the beach with Geoff and Cheryl off ‘Tookawile’ then invited them to ours for a pizza night prior to our departure the next day…things got a little messy that night and the next day departure didn’t quite eventuate due to the captain suffering a bout of illness (as he is prone to when the port comes out)…ended up catching up with ‘Tookawile’ for a very late morning coffee and exchanging a heap of cruising info and an amazing recipe for Lebanese bread.. A very handy couple to bump into! One of the many delights of cruising is bumping into like minded people whose generosity is amazing!
The next step of our journey took us from Prudoe Island to Montague Sound, where we anchored south of Winyalkan Island. We arrived late afternoon and spent the next day here fishing and exploring, and managed to catch ourselves a nice feed of black bream, mangrove jacks and yellow fin bream. Still haven’t managed to catch that elusive ‘Barra” yet!
And so it brings us to yesterday…
We left Winyalkan around 0800 and sailed straight into 30kt winds which luckily blew themselves out fairly early in the day as we had some miles to cover to reach our destination. We needed to reach the notorious Voltaire Passage (apparently can get 2.5m overfalls through there) on the slack or flood tide. And so out of necessity we plugged away pushing the tide all the way (and into an average of 17kt winds on the nose…YAY…not always beer and skittles people!!!), but we made it in perfect time, had an easy sail through the passage and in true “Dreamer” fashion anchored up with the sun already below the horizon. Can’t give you the name of the place we anchored as it isn’t charted.
Rudely awoken by a nasty easterly tossing us about and had to head for cover, motoring against the tide (earlier than we hoped). Winds were up to 37kts and the sea was knocking us sideways as we headed for the safety of the headland leading into the Mitchell River, where after a late brekkie(1030)we took the dinghy up the river to Surveyors Creek, climbed the falls and had a swim…Spectacular falls! Tomorrow we explore Seabird Creek, drop a few crab pots, once again try for that elusive ‘Barra’, and make that harrowing decision…where too next??
Freshwater Bay…Jar Island…West Bay…??? Who knows?? What we do know is that we will be in Darwin in the last week of August..A little earlier than first anticipated (by a couple of months!!) and hope to catch up with you all then. But until then our love to you all and stay tuned for the next enthralling and anticipated episode.
XXXX, Cam and Nikki, SV Dreamer