Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Sailing Around Australia; Underway

Scawfell Island, Queensland

5/9/2015 Underway

To the non-boater or the layman, having the boat underway may seem like the most exciting part of a cruising sailing adventure. But, on Easy Tiger I must say that I am finding being underway or “on passage” is the more mundane part of our adventure.

For example as I write this blog, we are underway or passaging from Pearl Bay to Hexham Island. It is a beautiful day, the sun is shining there is not a cloud in the sky. The sea is practically dead flat, offering only the occasional roll to remind us we are on a boat.

There is no wind. Our wind indicator instrument is showing about 2 knots but the arrow showing wind direction is spinning in circles, not knowing where to settle.

So with one engine droning away we are progressing along our course at 5.5 knots.

We are passing through by some lovely coastline on our port side and a fair sprinkle of islands off our starboard.  This has been our scenery since leaving anchorage at 7.00am this morning. As we are moving slowly and the islands are some distance away, it takes a few hours for the scenery to change.

Of course there are mandatory things to do while on passage. One must keep a good lookout for anything untoward all around Easy Tiger. Ships can appear and sneak up behind us quite quickly. Boats that are fishing or stationary are often quite hard to spot but must be avoided as well.

Also whoever is on watch (in charge of the boat) must make sure that the boat is on course. Sideways currents and wind can mean that regular course adjustments have to be made.

If there is enough wind for us to be under sail, there are regular sail and steering adjustments to be made as the wind direction moves around.

Leanne and I usually take three hour stints at the helm. I must also declare that I tend to stretch my shifts out a bit longer as I prefer to be on watch where there is more to do.

When one is not on watch, on the odd good day there is reading or computer work (Facebook or blog writing) but on a slightly rough day these can be the fastest way to a bout of seasickness.

Mother Nature has helped keep us amused since Fraser Island. We now see two or three groups of whales each day. The whales often put on a show for us by hurling their huge bodies out of the water then crashing down in a big splash.

Dolphins are another daily occurrence. They appear out of nowhere and frolic underneath our bows in groups of a dozen or more. These shows go on for about twenty minutes or more, then the dolphins disappear as quickly as they arrived.

Things do brighten up as we get closer to our destination. There is checking the books and references for the best anchoring spot, looking for obstacles and seeing if there are already other boats in situ.

On arrival, there is the routines of anchoring, packing away sails, tidying ropes and switching instruments off. Then the best part... a celebratory drink, Ginger beer of course.

On a slow day, our destination creeps up very slowly

Three hours later....

Nothing much to do but enjoy the sunshine.

Kepping a look out.

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