Friday, 28 March 2014

Sailing around Australia; Streaky Bay to Port Lincoln Picture Gallery

On Killa's Mooring at Streaky Bay

Welcome to Streaky Bay
Streaky Bay Anchorage from the beach at the end of the jetty.

Steve, Leanne,Brian Maree and Brian at Moceans
Leanne and her friend fishing at Streaky Bay.

Geoff (Killa) and Heather Georgiou.
Killa and Heather took us to Venus bay. Should be renamed Avoid this Bay.
David and Heather came by for a cheerio
Sceale Bay morning

Sceale Bay Afternoon

Sceale Bay Evening.

See ya Sceale Bay

Sceale Bay panorama

Farm Beach friendly pelicans.
Tractor line up at Farm beach

Old Fordson 50's model

Entrance to Venus Bay

The sign on the ...road? 
Oysters and fish for dinner... again

Sailing around Australia; Coffin Bay to Port Linclon

27/3/2014- Farm beach to Port Lincoln

Some of the places we have stopped at on our sailing around Australia adventures have had pleasant surprises. We anchored Easy tiger off a place called Farm Beach at the end of the long winding channel in and out of Coffin Bay.

We arrived there about 4.00pm. I had read somewhere that farm beach is known for a collection of tractors that people used to pull their boats into and out of the water.  So after untying and putting the naughty dinghy into the water I headed off in search of the big boys toys. Leanne declined to come and spent the time preparing more Oysters and fried fish for dinner with B1 and Maree, who had already been to the beach for a swim.

As I approached the beach I was met by six Pelicans and a few other birds who quickly gathered around as I waded the last 20 metres.  I pretended that I was getting something out of the plastic bag so that they would pose for some photos, but once they realised I had no fish they dumped me like a hot potato.

A short stroll over the sand dune track that, according to the sign, is a road and road rules apply, brought me to a fenced off yard that has about 30 old small farm tractors in it. The tractors ranged from 1950’s models up to a Chamberlain that was 80’s. Many were reduced to rusting hulks and obviously hadn’t pulled any boats for a long time, while some were kept under covers, possibly a little more "loved". One even had the kitchen sink bolted on to the side, no doubt for cleaning fish while you are getting the boats out.

There is a small caravan park there, with some people camped out in their converted buses.That brought back memories of our bus and the trip we did in 2000.

I enjoyed a wander around the tractor yard and another chat with the expectant pelicans on my return. They obviously hadn’t remembered that I was the guy who didn’t have any fish.

The next night we anchored in the south end of Avoid Bay. A friendly seal was the only other sign of life in the bay. The seal played with our anchor giving it a few bumps. Not satisfied with that, the seal tried to chomp on our stainless steel bridle shackle as I lowered that into the water. Then it tried chomping on the bridle ropes and that was when I drew the line. I grabbed the other end of the rope and shook it as hard as could. Job done. Seal disappeared. One of those times when if only I had the camera!

Following our stay in Avoid bay we motored all day through glass out conditions around to Memory Cove. As we rounded Cape Catastrophe we waved good bye to the Great Australian bight. We had a little celebration and both agreed that having been there, we wouldn’t ever plan to cross the bight again unless it is in a jet liner 30,000 feet above.

Memory Cove was a beautiful anchorage. Clear water, over white sand and a few resident pelicans and seals. It looked like it would be quite protected but we had nothing to need protection from. The wind instrument was reading zero point zero when we anchored and didn't gain anything overnight.

This morning we really enjoyed motoring past Taylor and Boston Islands, again not a breath of wind. Some yachts were heading out on a race to nearby Islands but were battling to make any headway at all. We motored in an were to anchor at midday a hundred metres or so off the Port Lincoln Yacht club.

We both are feeling very happy to be in Port Linclon. This port represents about a quarter of our planned trip around Australia that we have accomplished. We both feel relieved that we are now in more sheltered waters, at a port with many services (for repairs and maintenance) that we are far better sailors and have grown together from our achievements over the past 5 months.

First view of Port Lincoln, with the green grain elevator in the forground.

The point that marks our base for the next five or so months and marks a quarter of our adventures achieved.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Sailing around Australia; Bad Names, Nice Places

  (Coffin Bay, South Australia)

 26/3/2014 Bad names, Nice Places.

We are preparing to leave Coffin Bay today to continue our sailing around Australia adventures. Coffin Bay is at the end of a long winding channel that should be followed, as the surrounding bays and waterway are quite shallow.

Also there is a 2 metre tide so we leave on an outgoing tide so that the current will be behind us and help push us along.

Urchin have felt the effects of these currents while they have been tied to a swing mooring further into the channel than us. They have been in serious trouble of getting dizzy each afternoon as the tidal currents and the wind have literally pushed their boat around in circles.

I realised this morning that I had not taken a single photo of Coffin Bay. It is a very pretty place with more than 20 boats of various sizes and shapes moored in the very narrow bay. The shores are lined with holiday houses that are also various shapes and sizes. Trees surround many of the houses, so it gives a fairly lush look to the landscape.

To my defense it has been reasonably overcast and wintery since we have been here so the light hasn’t been too good for photography.

We were told that King George Whiting abound in these waters. So Leanne and I loaded up our dingy with buckets, bait, fishing lines and all sorts of fishing tools and gadgets. We donned our life jackets and headed a couple of miles out into the bay.

After anchoring right on the edge of the weed and sand following the local’s instructions, we tried here, there and there and there. One lucky whiting barely size was all we had to show for three hours of our time and about 5 litres of dinghy fuel. I say it was la lucky fish, because Leanne couldn’t see the point of filleting one little fish so she threw it back. That’s right, Leanne threw one back!

After bobbing up and down in our little dinghy and having Oyster farm and other fishing boats roar past us throwing us about, I was very glad to pull up anchor and head back to Easy Tiger.

Yesterday we walked up to the Coffin Bay industrial area and marveled at all the oyster farm sheds. I had thought that it was one big conglomerate that does the oysters here, but was surprised to see many small businesses involved.

We bought 6dozen straight off a boat that had just arrived in from the farm. Leanne put her culinary skills in to play and we had a dozen Natural, a dozen Kilpatrick and a dozen fried in beer batter for tea. Superb.

Over the next three days we will complete a major section of our sailing around Australia adventure by arriving in Port Lincoln and leaving the Great Australian Bight. It will take us three or for days to get to Port Lincoln and that will mean having to pass some really badly named places like Misery Cove, Avoid bay and Cape Catastrophe, as well as Thistle Island.

All being well we will anchor at Memory Cove on Friday night, which will leave us a reasonable day sail to Lincoln on Saturday.

Maree's brilliant dolphin photo. I am so jealous.
Easy Tiger on Coffin Bay mooring.
Motoring to Coffin bay from Flinders Island. Glass out.
Rounding on of the many markers coming in to Coffin Bay.
Bigger the gulls, bigger the mess on the deck of the boat!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Sailing Around Australia; Heritage of Frustration

(Coffin Bay, South Australia)

21/3/2014  The Heritage of Frustration.

On our sailing around Australia adventures we have had a couple of nagging problems with Easy Tiger. One of the biggest concerns has been that the port motor just decides every now and then to have a rest. That is it stops. Literally in the middle of nowhere it shuts down. It has done it when we are trying to anchor, when we are coming into a port and it stopped in the middle of the Great Australian Bight.

Before we left Mandurah we paid a specialist mechanic charge over $700 to fix the port motor. “no problem, it’s the lift pump” he said. “Hooray”, we said, finally a logical solution to our dilemma. Wrong. Half way to Albany after running like a dream for 48 hours the port motor stopped as if switched off.

After limping into Albany, I investigated. Nothing of significance was noted. B5 was consulted. We came up with the idea that the fuel tank was not venting, therefore the pump could not draw up the fuel after a while. A hole was drilled in the most inconspicuous place to let air into the tank. Problem solved, so we thought.

To it’s credit, our port motor performed well right round to Esperance and on to Middle Island. At least 30 to 40 hours of work was performed as it should be until the middle of the Great Australian Bight, when out of the blue it stopped again and refused to be restarted.

After again consulting with everyone I knew who had an opinion, somehow fuel fungus became the next thing to investigate. Apparently, when diesel fuel sits for some time it can condensate. The water created then sits in the bottom of the tank, as oil floats on water. In between the water and the diesel a layer of fungus can grow (in the right conditions). The spores then are mixed in with the fuel, finding their way into the filters and injection system of the engine.

Bio-cide was ordered off the internet after Leanne researched the possibilities. We applied Biocide to the tank and then set up a program of filter changes every ten hours to clean out the dead fuel fungus.

I also installed another filter into the system as a back up for the primary fuel filter.

Since then, the engine has performed well again. We used it for about 20 hours in between Streaky and Coffin bays.

Today I decided that I would tackle the ten minute job of changing the fuel filters. We know what happens to 10minute jobs don’t we? I started at 9.00am and finally got the engine going at 4.15pm.

Lot’s of lessons learned here today, folks. One of them is that shouting at the engine will not make it go. Lesson 2 is to start with the simple things first. I shouldn’t have pulled all the fuel hoses out, modified them and then put them back, only to come up a bit short on one end. Lesson three was that if I had retraced my steps backwards from the moment I started the job, I probably would have found the screw that I had unwound and not wound up again, which was the cause for the pump to be sucking air instead of fuel.

At times like these, I do wonder why frustration sets in so early on. From my memory though I come from a long line of shouters, cursers and spanner throwers.

I particularly remember a time when we still lived on the farm. My Dad had gone quite bald at an early age. He had taken to wearing a toupee as was quite common in those days. Unfortunately it wasn’t really the right fashion accessory for rounding up frisky young cattle.

I was in the passenger seat of an open top tractor working with Dad who was trying to get the cattle to go through a couple of gates. The cattle did not follow the plan, Dad started to get agitated. The tractor was driven at a greater speed. The cattle still did not comply, the tractor was thrashed around after them as they ran off in the wrong direction, The shouting started from Dad. I learned six new words in a minute. The cattle took off again in the wrong direction, so we hurtled after them attacking them with a tirade of abuse. That’s when Dad’s toupee decided to fly off and land somewhere in the grass.

During the search for the toupee, the cattle gathered and then wandered through the gates.

Unfortunately I only recalled this story after I have spent the day cursing and swearing at our port engine. It didn’t actually make it go. It was only after a lunch break and taking a breath did I realize the problem.

Getting frustrated with things on the boat is like beating ones head against a brick wall. It feels damn good when you stop.

But if you come from a line of swearers, cursers and spanner throwers it can be very hard to deny your heritage at times.
Leanne took a nice photo of the Coffin Bay Pelicans while I swore and cursed at the Port Engine.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

A bit of fun with a video of our time in Streaky Bay

(Sceale Bay, South Australia)

Another video. A bit of fun with our time in Streaky Bay.

dolphins swimming along with us

(Sceale Bay, South Australia)

Some film of Dolphins swimming along with us between Streaky and Sceale bay. 


Sailing around australia; Core Values

(Sceale Bay, South Australia)

13/03/2014   Core Values. 

On our Sailing Around Australia adventures, Easy Tiger, Urchin and Zofia find journey planning one of the more tricky parts of sailing together. Trying to get 3 different boats with 6 different people from one place to the same next place in roughly the same time frame with the same weather conditions creates quite a lot of discussion.

Getting three different boats all to go in the same direction at the same time is proving to be difficult. Brian and Eva on Zofia find upwind sailing quite easy while Brian and Maree on Urchin cannot sail under 40dgerees to the wind, as the boat will slam into the waves.

We all have different requirements of anchorages as well. B2 for example has a requirement for a bakery to be close at hand. Leanne requires large sand patches surrounded by weed for whiting fishing. B1 prefers a solid jetty to tie on to Eva would like interesting shops to explore and I prefer to go somewhere remote, no shops and no spending.

Mostly our journey planning discussions end in a plan that we like to say is written in sand at low tide. That is, it can easily be changed. We study the weather up to five days in advance, but within those five days changes regularly occur. Often apprehension, anxiety or overthought scenarios lead to a sudden change to the plan.

There was thought to be a weather window on Thursday. By Tuesday it looked like getting even better, with Wednesday seeming OK too, because of lighter winds all be it in the wrong direction.

The Zofia crew liked the look of Wednesday, so they scratched out the sand and did leave Sceale Bay on Wednesday morning at first light, arriving at Flinders Island by early evening.

On Easy Tiger and Urchin, we had decided to wait until the wind dropped and then make a run for Flinders or perhaps even right around to Port Lincoln. Our reasoning was there is a big blow forecast for Saturday and may be Sunday. We were all keen for the most safety during this bad weather. The marina at Port Lincoln was top of the list.

The two crews still in Sceale Bay worked out that a 40 hour passage would see us in Port Lincoln by Friday evening. That would mean leaving Sceale bay at midnight, then doing 40 hours straight sailing. To me this sounded like the bight revisited. I suggested that we leave at 7.00pm as with daylight saving in south Australia it is still light then. We set off at 8.00pm.

Within 2 hours of our departure, we realised that we were still in the Great Australian Bight. A 3 metre swell was coming side on, the boat was slamming into oncoming south east wind chop. Strong currents pushed us 40 degrees off course then spun us back again. Normally under 1 motor we can make 6 knots per hour. In this chaotic sea we battled to make 3.

I became very despondent, saying to Leanne that I hate night sailing, I hate having to sprint from one point to another. Leanne took over skippering for her watch, but lasted only an hour or so before she became really sea sick. I went back on watch but was quickly fatigued. When Urchin called up at midnight we were in trouble of being lucid enough to make any decisions.

Urchin was also getting smashed about in the conditions. We decided to have a review at 0200hrs. Leanne and I had a review at 1215 though and radio-ed our intentions to turn back to Sceale bay. Urchin followed suit. We arrived back in Sceale Bay at 0400hrs and re-anchored at the foot of the limestone cliffs.

During discussion between the 2 crews the next day we reviewed our discussions and actions that lead to a horrible experience. We all agreed to a basic set of “values”, the first step in strategy.

Our “values” will now govern our journey planning. Our values are now; That we do not “run” from weather; we use the BOM general area weather forecast and support it with localized weather (such as Meteye, Buoy weather, Predict Wind or Wind Alert); If the weather is not right (eg; wind over 20 knots), we do not go; night sailing is for Wombats, we need to make a new anchorage and anchor in daylight. Plan 2 or even 3 routes to the destination; with sailing, the quickest or most comfortable way to get somewhere may not be in a straight line.

The most important point of all though is to obtain local knowledge prior to going. Where we have taken local advice we have rarely gone wrong. We find contacting ACRM (Australian Coastal Radio Monitoring), VMR (Volunteer Marine Rescue) or even SES (State Emergency Service) very much worth a call before leaving an anchorage.

If we had used these values to make our decision on leaving Sceale Bay on Wednesday night we would not have gone. Our reason to leave, was only going to run from the weather, but we would run into head winds for the majority of the trip, We would leave in the middle of the night then we would have to sail through 2 nights and would make the rounding of a cape littered with cray fish pots on rope lines during the 2nd night.

Our route was planned as a series of straight lines form point to point. Fine if we are a cruise ship or big power boat. Looking at the chart the next day we could have tacked out and back and sailed the whole way to Flinders at 6 knots. We would have travelled 10 extra nautical miles but would have arrived 4 hours earlier.

To top all that off, our local knowledge, “Killa” told us that Sceale bay was the best anchorage along the coast for South West winds.

So lesson learned. Before making decisions that affect everyone’s comfort, demeanor and safety we need to keep in mind our core values. That way we will enjoy our sailing around Australia adventures far more.

Sceale Bay Panorama

And another, a little later on.

Morning at Sceale Bay
Lunch at Sceale Bay

Evening at Sceale Bay
Dusk at Sceale Bay