|View from the boat, Cape Range|
The next stop, to maintain the the system of day sails up the coast, is Tantabiddi at the northern edge of Ningaloo Reef. It is 35 miles and fingers crossed there are no calms today, as we’ll need all the daylight hours to get there. Bad luck, very light breeze from the beginning and gave our eardrums a battering with the noisy motor. Earplugs are in order I think.. When the wind did arrive we were able to sail at 3.5 knots, nothing spectacular. Not half as spectacular as what we saw on the horizon. Saw something breaching and crashing down causing a huge splash maybe 3 miles away, made me blink then saw it a again, a huge white bellied whale was horizontal, clear above the horizon and landing with a huge splash.
In the afternoon a catamaran chased us down, took hours to close the final mile, only because we noticed him late and we started to concentrate on sailing. We were doing little over 4 knots on a beam reach and the cat (looked about 38’ - correction 44' I later found out) had a good 1/2 knot on us in this breeze. They were sailing with us for awhile, people lazing around the deck, staring at us and taking pictures. Don't blame them, any monohull heeled a little making way under sail can be mesmerising, not just a junk. Though I think a junk doing that would be even more spell bounding. Wish I had the same view. Don't get that looking at a cat. I might knock cats, that's in jest, they have their advantages too. Speed isn't necessarily one of them though, for the loaded up cruising variety, since a catamaran is two hulls, twice the work to build, so it not surprising a cruising cat of 44' is similar to a 55 to 65' mono in both materials to build and speed on the water - except to windward... Quicker than our small 35' boat - on 2 points of sail anyway. However, cruising cats are very popular on this coast, most appear to be owner built too. The fad really caught on.
The wind clocked around astern and we gybed the foresail about (two attempts at it, it can be blanketed by the main and drift back if done badly) to make Ashiki run wing on wong, her best point of sail. I saw the cat, which was only 40m behind us, take down her sail so I wondered what they were going to do with the following wind. Maybe haul up twin jibs? I saw what a cat does with a following wind. They motor. Sailing skills are out the window in this day and age.. We ran with the fading wind at 3.5 knots, later dropping to 2 knots and it was getting close to sunset and with 2 miles to go we turned on the motor and dropped the hook at Tantabiddi in near darkness (not far from the cat).
|Fellow intrepid sailors heading north, chasing us down..|
This place is not particularly special, except it seems to be a boat moorage for Exmouth locals (about 20km away), being a dozen or so small motor boats in the lagoon. Set off to leave next morning, when I poked my head out the companionway three boats that were anchored nearby were already gone, we are the last to leave.
|Sailed passed this guy, inquisitive creatures.|
|Tantabiddi, last anchorage on the western coast, before NW Cape.|