The Whale and the Night Sail

We decided we would leave Carnarvon at lunchtime – high tide – and sail through the night to Waroora station. Yay. Night sail. This would be our first full night sail with just the 2 parents and kids, but the conditions looked good: around 2 meters of swell, fullish moon, winds up to 20kn from behind us – and perhaps abeam.

Enroute from Carnarvon, we had a wonderful sail – full main and genoa out looking a little something like this:

Boat speed and apparent wind
Boat speed and apparent wind

But, we had planned on about a 6kn average for the trip, as we needed to arrive at Woorora in the daylight to navigate the passage through the reef, so we decided to dump the mainsail early (we usually do this for night anyway) and leave only the genoa (headsail) out.

Around Point Quobba, conditions looked good for a bit of mackerel, so we popped the lure out, getting several hits immediately, and then losing the rig. Stefan decided to give the old VB (Venetian Blind) cord handline a go, however just as he set it – a whale popped up behind the boat!

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Finally captured it on camera, after standing around dumbstruck the first few times it popped up!
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We are a boat – not a mate!

It followed us closely for quite a while – almost like a dolphin would – and then got a bit tired of swimming at 8kn. Much to our relief. Colliding with a whale is on the not-to-do-list. Amazing experience though. We saw quite a few whale groups from that point on, so as the skies darkened, I was hoping they would stay clear of us.

I did first watch – keeping myself amused watching various TV series from our laptop – rugged up in thermals, windfleece jacket and wet weather gear – and still shivering! Next purchase will be a good thermos to make some nice hot cuppas for long watches I think… From about 1 am the wind strengthened to around 25kn, and we were cruising along at 7kn with half a genoa which would put us into Waroora way too early! It feels odd trying to slow the boat down, but we ended up with this much sail out, and still plodding along between 4.5-5.5kn:

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Tiniest bit of headsail and still cruising at 4.5 – 5.5kn

I found it a bit hard to relax for my snooze while Stefan took watch, as it remained 25kn, with quite choppy seas, so it was quite loud and bumpy.

We made it to the pass into Waroora (I was in countdown mode) – and we headed a little bit too far north through the gap, and ended up surfing in on a set, which would be exciting on a surfboard perhaps, but not so much in a 43ft boat. So note: possibly head a little more to the south of the gap, on not more than a 2.5m swell…(it was only around 2m for us)

We are now anchored in a lovely sandy spot approximately 300m from the beach, in pristine turquoise water, and ready for some shuteye while we wait for the wind to drop, and Queimarla to arrive…

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6 thoughts on “The Whale and the Night Sail

  1. Looks like you all are having lots of fun, hope Stefan had a great Birthday today lots of love Edith and Gordon xoxo

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  2. Hello Bergens. Great blog! Can see you’re having fun.
    Happy Birthday Stefan. This surely must be one of your best. So amazing, realising this dream of yours and inspiring others to share it. Enjoy. Love, Mon

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