Monday, November 28, 2011

Hilary harbour, west Coast Australia

On from there we made Hilarys Harbour Marina and third time lucky found a rigger to repair our wounded yacht. He checked all the rigging and changed the lower aft shrouds from 8 to 10 mil. After one week we we're off again amongst the ever present whales. Stops at Mandurah, Bunbury, Quindalup, and Hamlin Bay.
We had met a solo launch heading the same way so we moved along together. At Hamlin Bay it was a wait for conditions to get around the southern cape. Eventually it was a around to Albany. We anchored out by an old whaling station. whaling only ceased Australia in 1987 !!!!!
Next day we moved closer to the town. An old wharf is inside the breakwater, so we tied there for the weekend. Come Monday an official told us we would have to pay $AUS 7.50 per metre. that's $AUS700 per week.!!!!.....we could rent a house for half of that.
Our launch friend was at anchor in another bay, so we headed there. The entrance was shallow and narrow. With winds up tp 30knots, made things a little tense until at anchor :)
In this bay is an island now a bird sanctuary . In the early days local grew the vegetables here as it was safe from the rabbits. pelicans with their huge beaks and large bodies seem so ungainly. but in flight they ar so very graceful. Their flight is a mixture of slow wing flapping and gliding.....great to watch. At a fishing wharf here our friend took on 1200l of diesel, by tanker...and we filled containers with 100 litres. Prices vary considerably t ports. marinas charged up to .20cents a litre more than pump prices...but here was our best buy so far.
Our next sail was a 900 mile run across the AUSTRALIAN BIGHT.
We left behind a low so seas were a little boisterous at first, but we often exceed 9knot boat speed. Nights we were usually light winds, with our speed dropping at time to under three knots. After 962 nautical miles we anchored in a desolate bay for the evening...a couplemof day hopes and on to Victor Harbour. Our friend went into Coffin Bay and will stay there a while.
The leaking water pump on the genset was now putting more water in the bilge than out the exhaust. A bus ride to Goolwa and at the third chandlery , where owner Murray spent an age endeavouring to help us.
On the way across the BIGHT our haliyard again broke dumping our gennaker into the sea. Murray had a roll of 10 m spectra rope which was old stock, and as all the local yachts are considerably on the smaller size we purchased the rope at $ 4.00. :) Later Murray and his wife Denise, invited us to dinner at their place. Their property being thirty minutes out in country. On the way a gum tree across the road held us up while a local farmer, with tractor and chain saw cleared the way. Our hosts were in a thirty acre block in a really nice setting.
Shopping in Victor Harbour is great, with some giving discount when paying with cash. Fuel vouchers from supermarkets gave us 08cents discount plus the stations gave an extra 02cents for cash.
With our trolley we carted 120litres back to Chrioteer. Access to town was nice and easy...a dinghy ride to the wharf and then a walk along the causeway from Granite Island to the mainland and one was in the middle of town.....

Friday, November 25, 2011

Carnarvon, Geraldton, Port Dennison. West Coast Australia

We motored into Carnarvon .....tie up at a rickety old wharf and go to find Customs....of course one of the officiers had to be of the rude type..full of his own importance........Quarantine was based five hours drive away so our quarantine inspection was done over the a cost of $AUS 340.00.
It was with relief all round that our crew was able to get a flight to Perth that afternoon.
Brian was able to strengthen our damaged rigging a bit more, and rather than pay over $AUS 50.00 for another night tied to the disgusting wharf we left the next day.
We were able to refuel before we left....the fuel operator charged us $AUS 30.00 to walk 100 metres to the pump.
These charges came up time and time again as we sailed down the West Caost of Australia.
WE have seen so many whales on this coast it is almost a case of "look whales"....
" oh yeah whales....."
At Geraldton we met a lovely couple ...Ursula and Colin, who put themselves out to elp us source what we needed..... at $AUS53.00 to tie to the wharf we planned on staying for a short time...but look out comes Murphy again...our engine would not start....injectors on strike. Fortuately Ursula and Colin had a friend who was a mechanic and there was an injection specialist business just across the after another few days we were mobile again. And joy of joys charge for tieing to the wharf as it was an emergency :)
further south at the Port Of Dennison we tied up in an empty pen...the owner had his boat elsewhere and after checking it was okay for us to use the space at no charge. In the pen next door was a launch in the same colours as Charioteer. Conversations and a very enjoyable drinking session followed, with a breakfast on board Charioteer invitation and a dinner at their house invitation being extended...
During the dinner they presented us with the most amazing cruising guide for the South of Australia.....glossy colour photos, charts and sailing directions... :)

From Christmas Island to Mainland Australia

Straight Line to Carnarvon from Christmas Island...950 nm. We do our exit formalities and leave early in the morning....winds were always around SE, which meant we couldn,t head directly to our destination. No staysail really hurt our into the wind progress and though we changed three different headsails, it was like pushing jelly uphill with a rake.......After a few days our course was taking us no closer than 500 nm from the Australian coast...we could make it to Africa just fine !!!!
The winds strengthened , but the sea never got into that lovely easy long swell which meant we had to cross at an angle. Then early one morning...with a loud bang a lower shroud parted from the mast and whipped around on the deck. Quickly the sails were doused and the engine started...and what now.....The lower mast was gyrating so much with the swell that we swear it would of been able to hold up a hula hoop. A jury rig was made with the spinnaker pole and various ropes. With winds in the 30,s motoring with small sails was our only option...until the diesel ran out.
WE put out the drogue while we thought about things.

Our crew member had found it hard going ( two captains on one yacht DOES NOT WORK) At 79 years of age he was rather shaky and not open to suggestions, but he was to be admired for doing this at his age. He was was unable to cope with this situation and was all for using our EPIRB. Carol was pleased all our safety gear had been checked out earlier in the year, but she agreed with the captain...lets see how much fuel we can suck out of the tank before we call out the search and rescue planes.....we could sail...not to Carnarvon but either back to Indonesia or over to Darwin. With a drill pump going we were able to scavange the bottom of the tank and were overjoyed as the containers filled up. The weather was finally easing and Carol was supreme controlling the autopilot for best speed and direction (She did not want to go to Africa).
By the time we rounded an island in the bay near Carnarvon the wind was such we could hoist the Code Zero and sail in the company of whales to our destination. But MUrphy wasnt finished with us yet. The entrance to Carnarvon requires a daylight entry so we readied to anchor for the night...but Murphy had allowed the anchor chain to become buried in on its self and the winch would not work. So we motored in small circles as Brian untangles everything....and so to bed

Christmas Island

Indonesia requires yachts to have a permit to transit their waters. We chose not to follow that line, and we used the main shipping channels and not stopping. First we had to head NE for a day before clearing island and turning South. Sometimes sailing, sometimes motor sailing we were able to make good progress....had we known the future we would of sailed more and motored less !!!!!!!
Clearing Indonesia via the quiet Sunda Strait (we had heard horror stories about the ships here and the currents) We set course for Christmas Island.
Surprise, surprise Christmas Island eventually came into view along with an Australian Warship which came to say hullo and shadowed us to Flying Fish Bay which is the only anchorage on the island.
Customs, Quarantine and Immigration met us under the coconut trees on shore and were very enthusiastic that we had actually arrived with the correct visa !!!!!!Seems as if we were the first and only to get it right. All formalities went well, leaving us to wander around. Two other yachts were at anchor also. Internet coverage and speed was almost useless...but we perservered and were able to tell family and friends of our safe arrival and expected departure.
Supplies to the island are by airfreight...which adds $7.00 per kilo to a lettuce can cost $20.00, but ca packet of 20 cigarettes for $2.00 (two), and good whisky for $15.00
The local supermarket was had quite a lot of marked down/out of date stock....but they gave us cordial sachets they could not now Brian has 1500 litres of red cordial to drink !!!!!! :)

Relaxing on board it was noticed the inner forstay seemed rather weawatched it came slithering down to the deck.....when we had replaced the rigging Brian kept one of each of the original......but after six years he had no idea where in this HUGE boat it was stored....three day later we found it....hiding with a 20kg bottle of freezer refrigerant,the spare hot water cylinder etc etc....(god we have so much unesassary stuff onboard :(......) and of course all the stuff we took out would not fit back in again.
And now Murphys Law kicked in........the wire we wanted wasn't one of the ones we had kept, as the original was in too bad a state to save. :(..Crying didn't help...swearing sort of helped......

Danga Bay Marina, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Oh well , up anchor and do the night sail thing. Now, Singapore is a busy port in its own right, but it is also used for laying up ships not in service. Plus there are also huge tankers at anchor, from which smaller tankers refuel. It is said that there is excess of 1000 ships at anchor here and we believe it. Trying to recognise those ships at anchor from those moving is daunting. At one stage when we were almost around Singapore we got really confused...we ended up doing circles and reverses but we never hit the tugs and barges, or the oil rigs......Eventually clear, we anchored in a designated area and settled down for the night.
Next morning it was a clear run to Johor Bahru to Danga Bay Marina. Four years ago this marina was only a picture on a billboard. Berthing here is free, and consequently most berths are taken. We were staying long enough for a sailor fromNew Zealand who wanted to do a passage,to join us, and to aquire visas for our Christmas Island entry.
We took thje opportunity to connect again with Neeta and Simon, Michael and Phillip...a lovely family we had met four years ago, and withthe Australian yacht Gentle Lady, who we had met in Darwin.Frank and Vuma, a Singaporean couple on a motor yacht were extremely friendly and helpful.
Refueling was an interesting exercise as foreigners (in Johor Bahru) are only allowed 20litres of fuel per day. However on Tuesday and Thursday the marina staff do a fuel run and one was allowed 50 litres in two containers with your boat name on it.Of course all the boats shared and swapped containers!!!!!! so one could double or triple up the supply.
Now we were visa legal and stocked up with fuel and food so on a high tide we untied and motored to our first anchorage, to await and early start the next morning.

Miri to Danga Bay

Next stop was Miri where we were able to meet up with long time cruising friends Mike and Barb from S/V nice to be able to play crib again.
From Miri, it was either to Kuching or direct to Johor Bahru. Johor Bahru was where the winds sent us.
AS we approached Singapore, although the currents were giving us a boost, we had to use the engine to keep us out of the path of shipping. By about 5pm we dropped the anchor, thinking it was safer to wait for daylight to continue to Johor Bahru. An hour after anchoring we were approached by a Singapore police boat with a man onboard holding out a net on a pole, wanting our documents so they can book us in to the country. We explained we were just stopping until morning and didnt want to enter Singapore. Okay they said and off they went. But an hour later they came back ...either book in or move on!!!!!!!
Oh well...up with the anchorand do the night sail.

Taiwan to Kudat, Malaysia

Its been a while since we updated our blog so here goes.

Whilst in Taiwan circumstances developed that meant we would have to fly home for a month or two. As Charioteer needed to be lifted out for new antifouling. we could leave her in Taiwan or head for Kudat, Borneo Malaysia again.Though it would be against the wind we opted for Kudat.
The weather was okay heading for the Philippines, but only for a few days. Just short of Subic Bay it became impossible to make headway so we took shelter in a large bay. Our new Air Marine (AIRX) wind generator is supposed to shut down when winds get up to 30knots. But it spit the dummy here and would not shut down. so it screamed away with winds up to 46 knots. We eventually made it to Subic Bay for fuel and marina rest.
The officials here have joined in the corruption big charging $USA 50.00 for each visit. This could come to $USA 250.00 plus the harbour board charge of $USA 15.00 for each harbour entry and exit. !!!!!!!!
We got away with paying $USA 115.00 and escaped early in the morning.
From there to Kudat was easy going, except for the last fifty miles.
Lift out at Kudat went well. We now learnt our New Zealand crisis was no longer a crisis and we did not need to fly home.
Oh well...clean and repaint the antifoul, repair a seal to the windlass motor in the hope it would help it continue to generate,and we were ready to head for Johor Bahru via Brunei,and Miri Malaysia.
Malaysian diesel was cheap so we stocked up, before heading to Brunei.

Brunei has a yacht club not far from the main harbour, but we understood a further yacht club was up the river near the city.
So off we went, getting right into the city and not finding the club.We flagged down a passing police launch, who gave us an escort back to a small dinghy pontoon by the Royal Brunei Yacht Club. Actually, its a Memembers Only set up, which happened to be closed for maintainence. However we could anchor and use the dock and use our bycyles to look around.
Diesel is cheap here.....30cents a litre, but for foreigners it cost .80cents. We were very lucky and did manage to get some diesel at the locals price.