“Dreamer” Kimberley Cruising Continued …

Posted: 15 August 2011 8:18:41 PM AEST

Just less than two weeks have passed and in the last email we were about to dine on oysters at Anjo Cove or had planned to (and we did!). Only spent overnight at Anjo Cove as the plan was to fuel up at McGowan’s and move onto the King George River ASAP.

So it was anchors up early the next morning and we were down at McGowan Island Beach Camp by 1000. Fuel was sorted and cheaper apparently at the camp than in at Kalumburu ($2.50 at camp/$3.75 in town) and plans were made to go into town the next morning to restock on supplies and re-fill gas bottles as the barge had only just arrived that morning and the stock hadn’t actually been put on the shelves yet. Next day arrived and off Mim and I went to Kalumburu, arriving at the local “shop” only to find half of the shelves empty as they had only received half of their ordered supplies…..like the shop manager said” no nappies, no formula for babies, no milk, no bread…400 people in the town, no mobile coverage and one phone booth (phone cards only – which had run out), no internet unless you have a landline…and the list goes on…

We were forced to leave our gas bottles at the local mission store (whose supplies were more expensive than the local?????) as the guy who filled them didn’t get there for another two hours. The camp manager Alex organised to pick them up later as he had another group to take into town for supplies later that day. When we popped back into the camp that arvo at about 4’ish (knowing the shop closed at 1630) it turned out he had not gone into town, hence forgetting our gas bottles!!! We had had a sneaking suspicion his memory was a little to be desired. He promised to get someone in town to grab them ASAP as the shop was about to close and the next day was Saturday, meaning we would have to wait until Monday to get them!! We rearranged pick- up in the morning at 0730 only to arrive on the beach to find Alex gone…with much relief he turned up 2 hours later gas bottles in hand! And so with McGowan’s finally behind us and Bruschetta (yum..fresh tomatoes!!!)for breakfast we made our way to anchor overnight at a small inlet just south of Cape Talbot.

Picking the tides perfectly we had a very smooth trip around Cape Talbot and Cape Londonderry and made very good progress, arriving mid afternoon in Koolama Bay (49.7nm in 8.75 hours). Tides were not as favourable with the bar crossing into the King George River and much scouting around in the dinghies (with handheld GPS and Sounders) was done to verify the waypoints passed onto us unless we wanted to cross the bar at 0300!! And so it was that Dreamer (with only 1.3m draft) tentatively, but successfully crossed the bars into the King George River on the 7th of August at 0630 in only a 1.8m tide, sneaking in with at one time only .7m under her on the outer bar!! Anchored up just passed the bars, she waited there until 0630 the next morning for Uluru to sneak her way in having to wait for a 2.3m tide to cross.

The King George River is without doubt one of the most spectacularly beautiful places I have ever seen, and after travelling through the Kimberly now for a couple of months is most definitely the cream of the crop so far…if there is anyway you can get to see it…DO!!! But don’t forget the bug spray as after travelling through the Kimberly for a couple of months now I don’t think I have ever been so itchy or covered in bites as I am right now!! Despite them, I would go back in a heartbeat as we unfortunately were not able to get to the top of the minor fall to see the galleries due to a rather cranky croc called Brutus who persisted in hanging around the bottom of the rope ladder, and even after a week there I think there is still a lot more to be seen and done!! Many new friends have been made while at the King George…Rob and Henma from Easy Rider, Luke, Romany and kids from Irony. As well as Craig, Kerry, Nina, kids and Rhett the dog from Scarlett, but in particular a lovely and very funny couple Karen and Allan from Opal Lady. Cam in particular would like to thank Karen for her baking as he managed to stuff two more pieces of her caramel slice into his gob on departing their boat after a cup of tea only to discover the next day she had made us more caramel slice, cup cakes, Florentine slice and chocolate crackles…not to mention the exquisite loaf of fluffy white bread!!!

So anyhoo, yesterday we departed the King George and had intended to reach Reveley Island in order to wait once again for tides suitable to enter the Berkley River. Not everything goes to plan however, and with the wind(30kts just off the nose) and tide(3kts in our favour) fighting against each other it became very uncomfortable (bit like a washing machine on steroids), forcing us to take cover in Seaplane Bay with only 25nm covered and about 20 or so to go. On arriving in Seaplane Bay which has a beautiful swell of about 2.5m rolling into it we discovered we had absolutely no power to our anchor and were forced to manually drop our anchor. And so we get to this morning (0900) with Cam and Murray sitting on the deck of Dreamer in Seaplane Bay trying to fix the electrical problem with our hand controller (after a huge process of elimination last night!!), or trying to create some sort of bypass system. If all goes well we will be able to pull up our anchor (with the winch, not manually) and arrive in perfect time to cross the bar into the Berkley River this afternoon. And if my ears have just heard correctly (0920) they have just done that!!! PHEW!!

And so it leaves nothing to be said except …when do we get to Darwin??? A rather sketchy ETA of the 27th of August has been suggested as the tides look favourable for a 25th of August departure from the Berkley, and from there will overnight it to Darwin….but as we have learnt several times before on this journey ANYTHING CAN (AND DOES) HAPPEN!! And so you will all just have to wait until the riveting email arrives!!

XXXXX love to all

Nikki and Cam


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