Posted 8th July 2011
Yep I know…I know.. its been a while.So I thought I’d bore you all completely to death with a reeeeeeeally long spiel this time!! I see by the little date thingymagigger in the bottom corner of my screen it is the 8th of July(have absolutely no idea what day of the week it is though). Time is forgotten here and Tide becomes King!!The only things that seem relevant in regards to time is Sunrise, Sunset, Ebb Tide and Flood Tide. But anyhoooo to put all your minds at ease we are both alive and well and have managed not to become fodder for snapping handbags!!
After safely returning the beloved Davo to Broome and him eventually returning home after the volcanic ash debacle, we restocked and sailed off, anchoring overnight at James Price Point (we hear through the nautical grapevine(VHF)there is some action happening there with protesting of the Woodside venture). We had then set our sights on sailing overnight and the whole of the next day to Raft Point to rendezvous with our sailing companions “Uluru”, this did not eventuate however(remember tide is King and Sunset was slowly creeping up on us again) and we diverted to Silver Gull Creek to anchor overnight. On approach to Silver Gull, we radioed ahead and took the opportunity to fuel up at Dog Leg creek (just around the corner) where we paid the bargain price of $2.75 per litre CASH (which is also King in the Kimberlies). Accepting that this was probably a bargain in this supply and demand situation.
On leaving Silver Gull we headed for Raft Point, eventually making it at Sunset(by the skin of our teeth), and the next morning headed into Red Cone Creek where we spent the next several days. Red Cone Creek is absolutely surreal…every morning was glassed off and we spent each morning watching the sunrise trying to breathe it all in ( I find it very hard to find words to describe but eventually, come Darwin, we will be able to send photos). We had heard also on the grapevine, that Red Cone was crawling with mud crabs (this is not all it is crawling with!!) So after a beautiful mid morning was spent picnicking and exploring (beers in hand) Ruby Falls, we thought we’d drop a few nets in.
We had been advised not to leave the nets in for longer than an hour or the crocs would get them, so after about 1/2 an hour, and in the meantime attempting to catch the very elusive “Barra” fish uneventfully, we decided to see if they’d caught. 8 crabs and a small altercation with a croc later (he decided that he would like to take his packed lunch with him and was dragging the pot with the float in his mouth…Weir was not however going to part with his beloved net and felt that if he just taunted the croc enough he would eventually get that pissed off he would let go….and he did…only to return later in the middle of the night taking them anyway, as Weir had stupidly broken the golden rule and left something hanging off the side of the boat…..the words “I told you so” come to mind!!!!) This is also what happens when Sundowners get out of hand and you can’t be arsed dealing with Mud Crabs and their bad attitudes(and big claws) late at night. So Weir(being the tenacious sort) went back the next day and caught another bunch, keeping the biggest two and bagging them to be dealt with later. That arvo we were determined to catch a fish, as our last catch was back at James Price where I hauled in a nice big 1.3m Narrow Barred Spanish Mackerel (beautiful smoked!!)
So Weir, Myself and Mim from Uluru set off determined to get something(anything!!). The fish were not however biting that day(nor have they been since), nope the only thing biting was the No-can-see-ums (as the locals call them)….the only way to describe them is “nasty little b@$+@^#$”….you can’t see them(hence the name) and they feel like acid burning your skin….then a couple of days later they start to itch like all buggery to the point that two nights in a row I was awoken with my legs on fire, chucking down antihistamine and applying an ice pack (the stingose was useless). A week later I look like I have a severe case of chicken pox, because they come up in little blisters. But to cut a long story short we failed at fishing and on return Weir discovered that mud crabs can crawl out of bags if the top is not secured and were once again crabless! Still not to be deterred Weir set off again, this time returning with 5 crabs, keeping 3 sized ones which were turned into very tasty Chilli Crab. But even that is a story in itself as we discovered that trying to drown a mud crab in fresh water doesn’t necessarily work…infact they seemed quite refreshed and perky when we checked on them a couple of hours later…the only thing that does in them in is the deep freeze!!!
Feel like I’m rambling a little, but after spending a few days at Red Cone we decided to return to Raft Point, using it as a base to view the aboriginal rock paintings in a nearby cove and to day trip on Uluru out to Montgomerie Reef. Weir and I were quite keen to explore the reef as we had heard great things about what an amazing array of life and colour that miraculously revealed itself on the lowering tide. And it is quite a spectacular thing to see…the water running off in cascades. The reef itself though was a bitter disappointment, as it turned out the coral was quite grey and dead looking and we felt like a pair of eco terrorists walking on it crushing it as it crumbled under our feet. On return Murray from Uluru was having difficulty with his anchor winch so Weir spent the rest of the afternoon helping him with repairs (the poor man has had a really bad run of breakdowns and must have rundown a whole village of chinamen somewhere in his travels). So far since the return of our wind generator we have only had one thing “go wrong” and that was a fan on our refrigeration unit being replaced (thank christ we had spares)which we luckily spotted was malfunctioning prior to anything even beginning to think about defrosting.
Our next move was to use the flood tide and day trip to Deception Bay…this meant a midday departure and having to push the tide on the way out of Raft Point (from memory I think we were pushing 3kts) to gain the 3kt push up the coast to our destination. The late departure meant we were only able to see the amazing rock formations at Langii by doing a close up “sail by”, viewing it with binoculars and taking a few happy snaps with the telescopic lens. But we managed to get to Deception Bay by the skin of our teeth, arriving right on sunset. The next morning we were going to try our luck and do a spot of fishing off the back of the boat only to realise that a massive lemon shark(12ft) had taken up residence underneath us, resulting in a near heart attack as it popped its head up near our feet on the transom steps, and ending any hopes of catching a fish. The plan was to stay here, until once again we were able to use the tides to get to Sampson Inlet (just before Kuri Bay) the next day, as the forecasts are stating a strong wind warning approaching. An early afternoon departure, with only 12nm to go, we sailed up the coast and on approach to Wilson Point spotted a small pod of whales frolicking quite close to the coast.
And so we find ourselves this morning(late) in Sampson Inlet sipping on cups of tea recovering from a great day (our first full day here) of exploring and great company. Managed to find a lovely little waterfall to have nibbles and beers at for lunch and after further exploration found some hand paintings under a ledge. We had our traveling companions from Uluru over for dinner, and the obligatory game of monopoly ensued. As always when wine, great company and Weir is involved, the next morning would rather be forgotten! So as you may have guessed (for those of you who know and love him well), after his monopoly success he is suffering from one of his famous “only he can do it” hangovers (yep one of those famous “Weir Ones” which amaze us all and make us think, “how the hell does he continue to do it to himself”), but I suppose it takes his mind off the broken toe he is supporting (yep Afa, his hobbit feet just keep getting in the way!!). This afternoon (after his highness has recovered) we plan to use the high tide to go right up the end of the gorge and try and find a little spot of rainforest which is supposed to contain these amazing blue butterflies and then troll along the edges of the mangroves in hopes to catch a very elusive fish(of any variety would be nice).
Our next destination is the Prince Regent River and then onto Careening Bay (huge Boab tree here with inscription from the HMC Mermaid (1820) on it), this will be in a couple of days time as we need to wait out a little bit of weather. We will be going around the top of Augustus Island rather than through Brecknock Harbour as we have heard going through Rogers Strait is a little gnarly. So thats it for now folks….will try to be a little more regular with the updates.
Once again, we both hope this email finds all our family and friends safe, happy and in good health.
Wilson and Weir