After staying in Exmouth marina longer than expected because of unfavourable weather forecasts, the latest BoM wind maps showed potential to sail north again – (6th July). Forecast SW winds were actually fog filled NE winds… Maybe they gave the work experience kid a go?
The fog eventually lifted and the wind did go WNW later in the day. Had a dive on the reefs around Serrurier but someone had already been there. Should be heaps of trout next year as I saw plenty undersized. However, a good sized hammerhead was rather curious around the boat… That stopped the kids nagging us to swim of the back of the boat!
8th of July saw nice light SW winds to sail to Port Weld. Coming through a dog legged passage between some of the Mangrove islands saw 2kn of current against us and our sailing speed dropped below acceptable so iron sail assist was used to make it in. Arrived a little too late for any exploring and tomorrow’s forecast looks good to make some miles.
Awoke to perfect predicted winds of 10-15kn SW. Told Mari “let’s get the screacher out and boogie.” No sooner had I said that I watched the anemometer rise to 28kn. Forecast out again! It sat at 25-30kn SW for the rest of the day and we did get to Potter Island quickly under badly shaped half Genoa. Good holding in strong SW and good phone coverage from the newish magnetite mine and port at Cape Preston.
Nice SSE winds on 10th July allowed us to sail past Cape Preston where the port authority called us on VHF to advise us of the barge movements to the big ship loaders offshore. All good as we passed before any started to move. From here the landscape changes as the hills get larger and rockier. The previous 130 miles from Exmouth have mostly been low and sandy. The island of Dampier archipelago began to show and we called up Dampier VTS to find out any ship movements. Dampier is a busy port with 172 802 050T of cargo shipped last year. After not seeing any other cruising boats for the past few weeks we thought we would find heaps here. So we headed to the Hampton harbour sailing club and saw no one. Got us thinking “are we too late.” Still, enjoyed the beers on the grass at the club.
A week of 20-30kn ESE kept us mostly boat bound. The chop, even in harbour, made for a wet ride to shore in the mornings, but the afternoons were magic. A few maintenance jobs needed to get done. Ship dentistry and a revisit to my favourite part of the boat, the head, which now has upgraded parts.
We were able to restock most supplies in Karratha with the help of a great cruiser who we discovered is also heading north. We hope to get most things here as restocking in Broome a can be difficult with the big tides and no harbour for your dinghy.