Saturday, August 6, 2011

Whitsundays: An Expensive Day Out

4th August 2011
Nara Inlet

An expensive day out

Where were we? Ah yes, we had fuelled and watered and left Mackay for the Whitsundays. The trip across to Thomas Island was beautiful, and uneventful. We anchored as the only boat off a sandy beach in the shelter of Thomas Island, one of my favourites.
All the islands here are stunning but Thomas holds a special place in my heart because I consider it to be the first of the Whitsunday Islands. One can see Lindeman from here, all the subsequent islands are less then 10 miles away, BUT Thomas is outside the area where Charter Boats can operate so it’s still a secluded anchorage. We set anchor, dropped our dinghy into the green/blue sea and went ashore for some beachcombing.
I know I have sung the praises of our plotter long and loud. I love it, and like love it just keeps surprising me. I have now found the Tide function which tells me when the high and low tide is at my location. Big deal, so would the Queensland Tide Tables but it tells me the secondary ports as well as the major ones without my needing to look them up. That’s no hardship either but the next bit is. It applies the rule of 12ths to where I am and at what time so that with my legendary skills at mathematics I don’t  have to calculate how much water is under Dreamagic’s keel now, how far to go before low tide, what the amount of water would be between high and low given the time we are making this calculation, take one from the other, up anchor and move, or sit still knowing that we will float at low water. The Oracle just shows a little +0.9 and sure enough, 3.5 hours later we have 0.9 meters under our keel at the turn of the tide.
We had a great dinner, played backgammon, a game Rona could not play a week ago and now regularly thrashes me at, and an early night.

We elected for an early start on Wednesday and put to sea about 06.30. I elected not to put the dinghy in the davits because we were only going 20 miles to Cid Harbour to rendezvous with Time Lord. We also elected to not put the fenders away but leave them unsecured on the deck.
Dreamagic’s fenders now have natty woven covers on them to try to stop the rubber leaving black marks down our topsides when we berth. Unfortunately if they get wet they suck up water faster than a thirsty otter and ours had done just that whilst in Mackay. Rather than put them away when leaving harbour we had dried them on the deck and promptly forgot about them.

Just outside Thomas Island there is an overfall. This is best described as a waterfall at sea. There is plenty of water, in this case 30 metres but one current falls over a cross current producing a very confused sea for just a few hundred metres. The waves pick up, the boat bounces around alarmingly, and loose things, like fenders fall off the sides. Missing in Action: One fender, $120, one fender sock, $60. An expensive start to the day.

We settled down for our romp across the bay. Wind and waves behind us, 3 hour run, great. We should have had the sails up but we needed to charge the batteries anyway so we elected to motor.

A lot of boats have names for their dinghies and they take on a personality of their own. Good friends with the boat Footprints named the dinghy Thumbprints which I thought was clever. Dreamagic’s dinghy never had a name, until now. We towed that dinghy from Cairns to Brisbane in horrendous conditions including over a very dirty Wide Bay Bar with never a worry. We have also spent a squillion building davits so that we can hoist it out of the water, but because we only had a short way to go we didn’t put it in the davits, nor did we put the other preventer tow line on. 2 miles from Hamilton Island it decided to surf down a particularly inviting looking wave, and flip over. The engine is now in the water, the propeller is now pointing skywards and the shipwrights design to make it aqua dynamic on the surface is working to drive her to the bottom. Full of air she is resisting these loads by making an impression of a submarine attempting a crash dive and things are not looking good. Stopping Dreamagic was probably a good idea so we did that and the dinghy finally came to a halt, upside down at the end of her painter, looking like a large grey pregnant  hippo. We retrieved the painter but even with the dinghy now nuzzling the transom, she was not going to be righted. It appears that she had somehow created suction and was firmly glued to the ocean surface. We finally managed to break her free and with all the strength the two of us could muster, together with a lot of luck she flipped back. Missing in Action: One dinghy seat, one dinghy anchor. Plus I will have to strip the motor, dry it out and get it to restart. An expensive morning tea too.

We motored into Cid Harbour and with judicious use of hammers, ratchets, screwdrivers and WD40 I got the engine to fire. I am no mechanic but I think the engine knows that and really I just need to get the tools out to frighten it into submission. “Start, or I’ll start taking bits off you” usually has the required effect.  Actually you should never criticise inanimate objects. They hate it.

And the name of the dinghy? They call him Flipper!

No comments:

Post a Comment