Monday 2 June 2014

Uncharted waters

Grey section on the chart hasn't been surveyed.

This was to be a 24 mile leg to Norwegian Bay. The charts and the pilot book didn’t show a route all the way inside the reef, expecting sailors to head out to the ocean for an extra 10 miles. But the old salts at the Carnarvon yacht club know better, the blank area on the chart, the last bit inside the reefs between Pt Cloates and  Norwegian Bay, our destination, has been sailed by these guys and say its perfectly alright at or near high tide. So we decided to go for it. This blank area on the chart, we’ll just call them “uncharted” waters. That’s right, avast ye scurvy dogs, UNCHARTED waters they be! I think further advice from the old salts was to stand on the bow to watch for coral bombies, but that bit is hazy, lots of alcohol drunk by then… But we’ll watch for ‘em anyway.

Approaching Pt Cloates. An unused beacon on the hill.

We like sailing inside reefs, as long as you know where you are and strictly following the course plotted, the water is flat, the sailing is fast, fun and in today’s case, is over within 6 hours. Approaching the uncharted section we saw a big catarmaran motor out of it, heading south, it was “Shore Thing” we recognised it as one of the charter boats hanging around Coral Bay. Big cats generally have the similar draft to us (1.3m), they were locals and did that section so it was encouraging.  We made the entrance at Pt Cloates with trepidation, but the depth never came to less than 2.5m, mostly a sandy bottom. 

The cat which came out of the uncharted waters
Ashiki wing & wonged glided over the crystal clear waters in a picturesque setting close to the shore in light winds at 4 to 5 knots, helped by a 1 knot current. It was easy and were soon rocking at anchor in Norwegian Bay opposite the ruins of an old whaling station. One of our most pleasant day sails ever.

Only 300m off Pt Cloates

Uncharted waters. Looking at the wake we were making 
I reckoned we were doing 3.5 to 4 knots. Susie said 5 knots
was on the GPS. So there must be a 1 knot current
helping us.

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