Sunday 19 October 2014

Broome to Cape Leveque

First leg of the voyage is the roughly 115Nm Broome to Cape Leveque. I’ll mostly stick to pictures and captions, as there is too much the write. We did try to anchor for lunch during a calm on the first day out, but the bay had too many whales! That wold be Quondong Pt, just before James Price Pt, which has had some publicity of late, where our State leader wanted to build an LNG plant. He couldn't because of the humpback whale highway.

The strategy for the Kimberley, is sail for 6 hours when the tide is with you, anchor, go again the next day when the tide turns for 6 hours. No one gets very far this way, commonly 15 to 30 miles/day. The alternative is to go out to sea, 30 miles off the coast where the currents are weaker and sail continuously, do your 90 miles/day or whatever, but you don't see anything that way.

First day out of Broome, this guy, longer than our boat, was along side
then dived, saw him underwater, a big dark shadow floating, seeming
to wait for us to pass. He resurface astern crossing our line.
He was giving way to us!

The whole 6 days to Cape Leveque we saw these shenanigans.
First we'd hear a "pop", and look to see a pile of spray on
the horizon somewhere. So I waited with the telephoto
lens and got this shot. Sorry for the fuzzy's, he was a long
way away.

Lovely splash he makes. We'd hear these "pop"
sounds all day long.

Pender Bay, where the guide book says
Kimberley-type scenery starts. We can see the difference.
The rocks are more interesting and Pandanus palms, 

a Kimberley native tree, begin to show themselves.

Rocks at Pender Bay, beginning of "Kimberly-type" scenery.

Cape Leveque at last. We had spent 4 days marooned in
Thomas Bay prior to this, waiting out gales. We lost a solar
panel overboard, but retrieved it the following
morning at low tide.
On the beach at Cape Leveque

Kimberley sunset, enhanced by bushfire smoke.

The view from Cape Leveque cafe/camp site.

Cape Leveque beach, people were swimming and
sun baking around the corner...  don't they know
about crocodiles?? (the swimming beach had one visit
last year)

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Cable Beach Respite

We’re swinging to anchor in Darwin harbour as I type this, first morsel of 3G reception in 500 miles. The Kimberley adventure is behind us, and I’d better get posting about it’s delights. Firstly, we had yet to leave Broome, the other end of the Kimberley:

In Roebuck Bay, not a great anchorage.

Hanging off the hook behind Broome’s port pier wasn’t too bad, we had a calm week, but the Queenslander on the neighbouring boat became excited about the weather forecast. A big blow from the SE was coming and this place isn’t well protected from it. He was heading for Cable Beach on other side of the point for better shelter, so that’s where we ended up for a our final few days in Broome. The 30 knot gale did come, but the water remained flat and calm on this side so it was all good. Much more crowded over here, the locals keep their boats here as do all the charter operations, of which there are plenty. Never knew Kimberley cruising was such big business.

Busy place, Cable Beach

A crowded anchorage in a high tidal area makes things tricky. We chose a spot at least 60m from a vacant mooring, the next day a 90’ charter boat tied itself to it and things look ok. That night we started hearing loud music right outside our cabin. The big charter boat with music blaring was almost on top of us. Ten metres away! All the crew member onboard said to us was: “We’re on a mooring, we’re not moving, you’re drifting”.  Well, we frantically started the motor then winching up our anchor and thankfully didn’t collide with the vessel. Motored over using the GPS and depth sounder, dropped anchor a 60 or 70m closer towards the shore, making sure we have enough depth for low tide. We didn’t drift, it was because both Ashiki and the mooring have lots of scope, over 30m each, in the lower tide the two boats simply swing in wider circles thus the near collision. Anchoring is certainly more complicated up here.

We were waiting for the weather window to leave for the Kimberley and by Thursday the gales subsided, we weighed anchor at 7am to enjoy a moderate offshore breeze. Thus started our long Kimberley adventure and route to Darwin.

Broome Boab tree

Broome in its hayday

Cable beach, the swimming part. No crocs, yet..

Only part of Broome I remember from previous visit, the pub.

A pearl lugger, a beautiful 40' wooden boat.