Friday 25 July 2014

Shut in at the Montebello’s

We decided the next day after our dramas was the day to leave, but as a war general once said:

few plans withstand contact with the enemy”. 

In this case the enemy was an Easterly gale which during the last few days, tended to moderate around 2pm. But it continued roaring all today. East being the general direction of our next destination, the mining port of Dampier. Of which we may split into two trips, stopping at Steamboat Island halfway. The pattern of the last two weeks, morning SE’ers, followed by a period of variable winds then Westerly’s in the afternoon seemed to be over. These all day Easterly’s will make life hard if they don’t let up, but we’ll wait a couple more days yet. 200 miles East from here, the coast starts trending NE towards the Kimberley and the Easterly would become a land breeze, with the advice being to hug the coast and the going should be a little easier. But the problem is to get there, over 200 miles of Easting yet. Such is life on the WA coast.

View across the water to Alpha Island, site of the biggest nuclear detonation

We remained at anchor off Trimouille Island and made the most of it. Susie cooked chapatti’s for lunch, followed by a dinner of a Thai style green curry with steamed rice followed by peaches for dessert, and the usual high standard of gastronomy was preserved on Ashiki. Not that there are any manner of ills aboard, apart from not being able to leave, but to remind the reader: 

"Food cures all ills on a small boat."

(OK, I’m overloading on quotes from Tilman.)

The next day, Saturday.. we’re still here.. but moved anchorage, sailed 4 miles back to our first anchorage inside Hermite Is., we tired of Ashiki tacking and veering on the anchor chain at Trimouille, this is a better protected spot.
We go ashore at Hermite to capture some 3G on the hill,
maybe download a weather report, none was found.

On Sunday we made two attempts to leave for the coast, motored out through the heads but turned back both times sighting the conditions outside rougher than we thought. I wouldn’t like to try these conditions, being 40 miles from the mainland the waves would be large. Since we hadn’t done upwind sailing for many months, I wondered how Ashiki would handle it. Would she hobby horse along at 2 knots all day? That is the speed I expect, so it would be a long uncomfortable slog. We’d better wait for calmer weather but near gales have been the norm for 10 days so far. Maybe Monday will be better. This is getting tedious.

Monday is worse, over 30 knots today and the anchor dragged. Retrieving it, to re-anchor, I had to pull the lump of coral out of the SARCA’s hoop. It seems to be holding now on a mostly coral bottom. In the galley I tried my hand at chapaties, came out delicious. Need to make more next time. But in the spot where I hooked a Snapper, the fish seemed to have deserted us.

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