Thursday, November 24, 2011

GoPro shots of Nimrod under sail

I recently got a little GoPro underwater video camera. Here are some shots of Nimrod under sail. The camera gets attached to a boat hook, and held over the side to see unusual angles.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fraser Island 4WD

After Lady Musgrave Island, the wind turned gently from the north-east, which made it possible to sail directly to Rooney Point, on the north-western tip of Fraser Island. A long day, but a pleasant one. We walked on the beach in Platypus Bay, and caught 13 sand crabs of various sizes which turned into a fantastic seafood chowder in due course.

Then a beautiful 25 nm kite run the length of Platypus Bay to tuck in behind Moon Point.

On Tuesday we had some shore time in Urangan, topping up fuel, water and provisions. Its a whale watch town, now out of season, and pretty quiet. The whales and their calves are on their way to the antarctic.

 Urangan marina

On Thursday we rented a little Suzuki 4WD from Kingfisher resort on Fraser Island and went for an explore. Some beautiful places, but the driving is not for the fainted-hearted. The sandy tracks were very dry, and churned up by the big 4WD backpacker coaches, so very easy to get bogged in if we didn't keep our speed up. Hair-raising at times!

 Lake MacKenzie


Monday, November 14, 2011

One Day on Earth (Lady Musgrave Island)

I first heard of heard of the One Day on Earth project last year, when 10/10/10 was the day when people shot video from all around the planet, which was edited into a compilation.

You can see the trailer here.

This year the date was 11/11/11.

We sailed from Pancake Creek out to Lady Musgrave Island, starting under a full moon at 2.30 am.

Lady Mus is a fantastic place. It is a coral cay, one of the best in the world. We walked around it, and did some powerdiving and snorkelling. We shot some video for the One Day on Earth project.

Yes, I know it doesn't match the standard, and none of it will make the final cut, but, hey! you have to start somewhere.

After leaving Lady Musgrave, we had a tight reach to the tip of Fraser Island, picking up a nice Spanish Mackerel on the way.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Keppel Bay to Gladstone

George and I flew to Rockie and rejoined Nimrod at Rosslyn Bay. She had had her diesel infection dealt with in our absence, and the filter bowl looked like Chardonnay rather than Pernod. All happy.

Rosslyn Bay marina

Next day we rented a car to do the big provisioning raid on Yeppoon supermarket, before collecting our friends Brian and Meredith from the airport. They are both psychiatrists, known to George and I independently for about 20 years.

We had a lovely four day cruise with them, taking in Great Keppel Island, North Keppel, and Corio Bay. Some nice kite runs, and a bit of snorkelling.

Considine Bay, North Keppel Island.

George turned on some great meals, as usual.

Corio Bay

On Tuesday, Brian and Meredith flew home, and we reprovisioned again, before setting off south. Pacific Creek was a peaceful night, before catching the tide to traverse the Narrows between Curtis Island and the mainland. There is a lot of industrial development going on, with the coal seam gas plant being built, and extensive dredging. There has been considerable controversy about the dredging in particular, intensified by a recent run of sick fish being caught near Gladstone.

We passed a Friends of the Earth operation and gave them a cheer.

We are now relaxing in Pancake Creek, planning our next move.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Waiting for the trades to ease

GRIB files are very useful maps of future wind speed and direction. We can get a fairly accurate image of the next 7 days, and plan accordingly. Over the last week we have been staring at maps with a mass of 20-30 knot arrows all pointing in exactly the opposite direction to where we need to go.

We use the PocketGrib app in the iPad, or I have recently discovered zyGrib for the Mac.

So we have been 'hanging out' or 'gunkholing' first in Island Head Creek, and today in Port Clinton. Another big crab. George cooks the most fabulous crab chowder.

Island Head Creek is one of our favourite places, so it has been extremely relaxing.

Island Head Creek

Island Head Creek

Port Clinton

But tomorrow is the big push, so we have to make it south to Rosslyn Bay marina, put the boat into mothballs, and then fly home on Friday.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Marty the Mudcrab

From Mackay, we made a break south to get to shelter before the next bout of predicted strong winds. First to Middle Percy,

then to Hexham Island,

South Passage - sail training schooner, at Hexham Island.

before sneaking inside the huge wilderness area of Shoalwater Bay. This is a military reserve that is sometimes closed for war-games, and hardly anyone goes there. The tides are huge.

We spent one night in Canoe Passage, and another up Mistake Creek. Beautiful and remote.

You may have heard the comic story of 'Marty the Mudcrab'. Hear it here. The good news is that we found Marty. The biggest crab I ever saw. 600mm from claw to claw.

Tonight we have made it to Island Head Creek, and are nicely settled in for a few days.

Coverage is extremely iffy. This is being written from up on the boom.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


After slogging into a head wind for a couple of days, we got to Mackay, rented a car, and unleashed the quartermaster (aka George) on the supermarket. Amazingly, Nimrod is still afloat!

The weather forecast is not too flash, featuring some strong SE winds starting on Wednesday, exactly on our nose as we head down the Queensland coast.

So today we made the most of the calm to motor off towards Digby Island, and possibly Middle Percy Island.

Thank God for radar. This coal ship loomed out of the fog.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back on board

Thursday 18th August.

George and I flew to Proserpine and loaded a minibus with provisions before going to Nimrod in the Laguana Quays marina.

Pond at Laguna Quays

All was well. Next day we sailed to Hamilton Island and met Anna and her boyfriend Sim, who had arrived from Melbourne.

Sim and Anna

We then did a gentle circumnavigation of Whitsunday Island, doing some power-diving at Border Island, some walking at Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach, and some kayaking up Gulnare Inlet.

Power-diving (with a 12 volt compressor and hose).

Hill Inlet


As we dropped them off at Hamilton Island, the Hammo Race week fleet were starting a race, which was exciting.

Ouch! That looks expensive!

The two of us are now setting off south for Yeppoon over the next two weeks. Currently holed up on Shaw Island in some strong wind.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Kite dropping technique

We came across a number of people who are scared of putting their spinnakers up, because of the challenge of getting them down if the wind increases.

We have developed this technique, which seems to work well.

1) Always wear sailing gloves. The sock can race up pulling the thin sock rope through your hands at speed.

2) Pull in the tack-line so the tack is easy to reach from the bow.

3) We use a quick-release snap shackle on the tack line, and completely release the tack. Merely letting the tack-line out, or the sheet, sometimes leaves the kite with pressure in it, and a round-shouldered kite can be quite resistant to having a sock pulled over it. The brand we use is called Wichard. Another one is Tylaska. Conventional snap-shackles can't be relied on to release under load.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The end of the cruise

Some photos from the last days of our cruise from the Gold Coast to Laguna Quays.

Backpackers ready to dive off their boat at sunrise.

A bush-fire at sunset behind the Laguna Quays hard-stand