2015 August – Port Hedland to Abrolhos Islands

Posted by on September 1, 2015


Total Days Sailed : 20
Total Sailing time : 177h14m (10634 minutes)
Travelled distance : 1722.740 km (930.205 nm)
Average Speed : 9.72 km/h (5.24 knots)
Peak Speed : 29.62 km/h (15.99 knots) on 2015/08/20

Quite a month of sailing. We took advantage of wind where we found it to get a lot closer to Perth.

2015-08-01 - FROM Port Hedland TO Port Anchorage

Trip start : 2015/08/01 14:49:26 (Adjusted Local)

(2015-08-01T06:49:26Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/01 15:50:42
Trip Duration : 1h01m (61 minutes)
Start Point : 118.607856,-20.304269
End Point : 118.588211,-20.298540
Straight-line Distance : 2.145 km (1.158 nm)
Travelled distance : 8.846 km (4.776 nm)
Average Speed : 8.70 km/h (4.69 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.40 km/h (6.70 knots)

Port Hedland were kind enough to supply us with fresh water, but wanted to do it first thing in the morning. We sailed around the spoil ground to spend the night a bit closer to the port. We initially grabbed a rather large mooring bouy, but swapped to a smaller one later in the night when we started banging into it.

2015-08-02 - FROM Port Anchorage TO Port Hedland VIA Port

Trip start : 2015/08/02 07:01:29

(Adjusted Local) (2015-08-01T23:01:29Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/02 11:11:49
Travelling Time : 0h59m (59 minutes)
Trip Duration : 4h10m (250 minutes)
Start Point : 118.588699,-20.298889
End Point : 118.606552,-20.305549
Straight-line Distance : 2.003 km (1.081 nm)
Travelled distance : 9.794 km (5.288 nm)
Average Speed : 9.96 km/h (5.37 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.01 km/h (7.02 knots)

After filling up the tanks and every spare container from a HUGE hose, we followed a carrier out of the channel and popped back in front of the water tower.

Waiting for some water at the Port Hedland facility.

Waiting for some water at the Port Hedland facility.

2015-08-04 - FROM Port Hedland TO Cape Thouin

Trip start : 2015/08/04 10:25:16 (Adjusted Local)

(2015-08-04T02:25:16Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/04 17:06:19
Trip Duration : 6h41m (401 minutes)
Start Point : 118.606529,-20.305589
End Point : 118.165443,-20.330179
Straight-line Distance : 46.076 km (24.879 nm)
Travelled distance : 52.506 km (28.351 nm)
Average Speed : 7.85 km/h (4.24 knots)
Peak Speed : 14.12 km/h (7.62 knots)

2015-08-05 - FROM Cape Thouin TO West Moore Island

Trip start : 2015/08/05 08:33:18 (Adjusted

Local) (2015-08-05T00:33:18Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/05 15:14:26
Trip Duration : 6h41m (401 minutes)
Start Point : 118.162147,-20.331020
End Point : 117.667411,-20.644199
Straight-line Distance : 62.195 km (33.582 nm)
Travelled distance : 68.397 km (36.931 nm)
Average Speed : 10.23 km/h (5.52 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.31 km/h (8.81 knots)

After some nervous looks at the depth indicator as we rounded the point, we tucked into an anchorage behind West Moore Island. There was some sort of resort ashore, and the tide was sprinting through so we once again gave thanks to our Excel Sarca anchor for a stress-free night.

2015-08-06 - FROM West Moore Island TO Dolphin Island

Trip start : 2015/08/06 07:02:51 (Adjusted Local) (2015-08-05T23:02:51Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/06 16:12:35
Trip Duration : 9h09m (549 minutes)
Start Point : 117.667396,-20.644199
End Point : 116.816757,-20.509729
Straight-line Distance : 89.805 km (48.491 nm)
Travelled distance : 100.248 km (54.129 nm)
Average Speed : 10.95 km/h (5.91 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.37 km/h (8.84 knots)

Once again what looked to be a challenging passage turned out to be a doddle. Our cruising guide made the run south through Flying Foam Passage sound ominous, but in reality it was quite easy. The wind did abandon us as we reached the mainland so we scored a mooring out of the current for the evening.

2015-08-07 - FROM Dolphin Island TO Dampier

Trip start : 2015/08/07 08:16:45 (Adjusted Local)

(2015-08-07T00:16:45Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/07 12:56:52
Trip Duration : 4h40m (280 minutes)
Start Point : 116.816772,-20.509889
End Point : 116.698440,-20.663839
Straight-line Distance : 21.089 km (11.387 nm)
Travelled distance : 27.070 km (14.616 nm)
Average Speed : 5.80 km/h (3.13 knots)
Peak Speed : 10.65 km/h (5.75 knots)

The wind looked to be non-existent for the next few days, so we made the decision to go into Dampier and restock our ice-cream supplies. With the wind from behind, we flew the spinnaker all the way down the bay into the anchorage just outside the yacht club, gybing the sail in the light breeze by hand.

Celebrations as we approached Dampier!

Celebrations as we approached Dampier!

We met up with Jason and Fiona on Kinetic Energy who were going to be taking a similar route to us. We had a nice chicken parma at the yacht club, grabbed some ice cream and topped up the water tanks before scooting off.

2015-08-10 - FROM Dampier TO Eaglehawk Island

Trip start : 2015/08/10 09:13:00 (Adjusted Local)

(2015-08-10T01:13:00Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/10 12:08:18
Trip Duration : 2h55m (175 minutes)
Start Point : 116.698516,-20.661800
End Point : 116.441192,-20.651100
Straight-line Distance : 26.800 km (14.470 nm)
Travelled distance : 30.091 km (16.247 nm)
Average Speed : 10.31 km/h (5.57 knots)
Peak Speed : 27.27 km/h (14.72 knots)

A lack of consistent wind meant we motored most of the day, but the forecast was for good wind to come so we were glad to be at the outer islands to take full advantage of the run to the Montebello’s. David chose to stop at Eaglehawk Island instead of Enderby in order to take a closer look at the wreck.

Wreck off Eaglehawk Island

Wreck off Eaglehawk Island

2015-08-11 - FROM Eaglehawk Island TO Montebello Islands (Trimouille Island)

Trip start :

2015/08/11 03:44:18 (Adjusted Local) (2015-08-10T19:44:18Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/11 14:22:45
Trip Duration : 10h38m (638 minutes)
Start Point : 116.434883,-20.655149
End Point : 115.569297,-20.410589
Straight-line Distance : 94.146 km (50.835 nm)
Travelled distance : 123.458 km (66.662 nm)
Average Speed : 11.61 km/h (6.26 knots)
Peak Speed : 22.80 km/h (12.31 knots)

Leaving before 4am, we made excellent time over the 50 miles to the islands. Wind was mainly from the rear, so we put a bit of angle on the boat and gybed a few times to keep the speed up. Approaching the South Channel entry with large following seas was a bit nervous, but it was managed without incident.

As we entered the bay we were surprised to see a few whales inside. Depths were 5 metres or less but these guys were happily swimming around and gave us a wave. We anchored just near the site where HMS Plym was destroyed in an atomic test blast in 1952. David jumped in for a swim but happily no mutant sealife was on hand.

2015-08-12 - FROM Trimoulle Island TO Faraday Channel VIA A-Bomb site

Trip start : 2015/08/12

08:35:08 (Adjusted Local) (2015-08-12T00:35:08Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/12 10:19:30
Travelling Time : 0h44m (44 minutes)
Trip Duration : 1h44m (104 minutes)
Start Point : 115.569190,-20.410579
End Point : 115.540557,-20.438430
Straight-line Distance : 4.300 km (2.322 nm)
Travelled distance : 7.096 km (3.831 nm)
Average Speed : 9.67 km/h (5.22 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.80 km/h (7.45 knots)

The wind was really blowing that morning, and we felt we would be more comfortable joining Kinetic Energy tucked away in Faraday Channel. First we wanted to visit ground zero of the 98 kilotonne test blast on Alpha Island. We sprinted across the bay under genoa, dropped the anchor, and then struggled to get onto the tender in the heaving seas. We found the blast cairn ashore, with only some rusting metalwork indicating anything had ever disturbed the area.

Mosaic-G2 test site on Alpha Island. Largest nuke tested in Australia at 98 kilotonne yield.

Mosaic-G2 test site on Alpha Island. Largest nuke tested in Australia at 98 kilotonne yield.

Radiation warning! Visiting restricted to one hour per day.

Radiation warning! Visiting restricted to one hour per day.

The journey back to XTsea in the swell was exciting to say the least, and after motoring across to Faraday Channel we spent the morning recovering. Late in the day David and Jason went off for a skin dive, and returned with a HUGE painted crayfish. It was literally too big for any cookware so was returned to the waters.

2015-08-13 - FROM Faraday Channel TO Cider Bay

Trip start : 2015/08/13 08:51:01 (Adjusted Local)

(2015-08-13T00:51:01Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/13 09:35:50
Trip Duration : 0h44m (44 minutes)
Start Point : 115.540351,-20.438320
End Point : 115.529403,-20.468200
Straight-line Distance : 3.512 km (1.896 nm)
Travelled distance : 7.521 km (4.061 nm)
Average Speed : 10.25 km/h (5.53 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.51 km/h (7.29 knots)

Both boats sailed around to Cider Bay through Stephenson Channel. David and Jason went off for another skindive, and then we hosted sundowners that evening. It was quite a merry evening and we managed to get through a fair bit of our booze stock.

2015-08-14 - FROM Cider Bay TO Tantabiddi

Trip start : 2015/08/14 09:08:40 (Adjusted Local)

(2015-08-14T01:08:40Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/15 13:10:57
Trip Duration : 28h02m (1682 minutes)
Start Point : 115.529357,-20.468030
End Point : 113.977912,-21.892690
Straight-line Distance : 225.762 km (121.902 nm)
Travelled distance : 250.441 km (135.227 nm)
Average Speed : 8.93 km/h (4.82 knots)
Peak Speed : 15.42 km/h (8.33 knots)

Kinetic Energy were heading south, and we followed them out to Claret Bay before deciding to take advantage of the weather and make the break southwards ourselves. They were on a bit of a schedule, so would motor if necessary but we were just happy to sail. The mono Scorpio II tagged along out of the Montebello’s with us, and as he was sailing one-handed he made contact with us and asked us to keep him advised of issues. Colleen enjoyed a tacking duel with him in the small hours of the morning.

Humpback breaching just off our bows!

Humpback breaching just off our bows!

Scorpio II took advantage of the wind and kept going, but we popped into Tantabiddi for a bit of sleep.

2015-08-16 - FROM Tantabiddi TO Yardie Creek

Trip start : 2015/08/16 09:40:41 (Adjusted Local)

(2015-08-16T01:40:41Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/16 16:44:51
Trip Duration : 7h04m (424 minutes)
Start Point : 113.977828,-21.892559
End Point : 113.779060,-22.351610
Straight-line Distance : 54.997 km (29.696 nm)
Travelled distance : 62.004 km (33.479 nm)
Average Speed : 8.77 km/h (4.73 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.98 km/h (6.47 knots)

2015-08-17 - FROM Yardi Creek TO Point Cloates

Trip start : 2015/08/17 07:10:37 (Adjusted Local)

(2015-08-16T23:10:37Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/17 15:50:27
Trip Duration : 8h39m (519 minutes)
Start Point : 113.779098,-22.351760
End Point : 113.718368,-22.743999
Straight-line Distance : 44.058 km (23.789 nm)
Travelled distance : 60.862 km (32.863 nm)
Average Speed : 7.03 km/h (3.79 knots)
Peak Speed : 10.97 km/h (5.92 knots)

Light winds, but with the Leeuwin Current just a few miles offshore we popped out into that to give us a boost.

2015-08-18 - FROM Point Cloates TO Carnarvon Outer

Trip start : 2015/08/18 11:13:11 (Adjusted

Local) (2015-08-18T03:13:11Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/19 18:12:09
Trip Duration : 30h58m (1858 minutes)
Start Point : 113.717918,-22.744129
End Point : 113.586433,-24.849990
Straight-line Distance : 234.542 km (126.642 nm)
Travelled distance : 316.599 km (170.950 nm)
Average Speed : 10.22 km/h (5.52 knots)
Peak Speed : 18.87 km/h (10.18 knots)

Another overnight passage. Winds were good and whales were plentiful. We approached Carnarvon at dusk, and decided to stop offshore as the entry looked challenging.

2015-08-20 - FROM Carnarvon Outer TO Carnarvon

Trip start : 2015/08/20 07:45:59 (Adjusted Local) (2015-08-19T23:45:59Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/20 15:54:28
Travelling Time : 1h17m (77 minutes)
Trip Duration : 8h08m (488 minutes)
Start Point : 113.586273,-24.850059
End Point : 113.653190,-24.888229
Straight-line Distance : 7.974 km (4.305 nm)
Travelled distance : 13.388 km (7.229 nm)
Average Speed : 10.43 km/h (5.63 knots)
Peak Speed : 29.62 km/h (15.99 knots)

The entry WAS challenging. Very tight and very shallow, although once the corner was turned the wind died off completely. We initially dropped the pick, repositioned, and then saw that a public mooring was free beside Kinetic Energy so we upped anchor and grabbed it.

We jumped on the bikes and rode out to the old OTC centre to the east of town. There is a NASA space-themed museum there, but David was more interested in the old OTC technology.

The old OTC and NASA tracking station museum at Carnarvon

The old OTC and NASA tracking station museum at Carnarvon

On the Sunday, we rode out to the Mile-Long Jetty. After enjoying the small light-rail/shearing museum we went out to the end of the jetty. It was quite windy out there!

The mile long jetty at Carnarvon.

The mile long jetty at Carnarvon.

2015-08-24 - FROM Carnarvon TO Guichenault Point

Trip start : 2015/08/24 07:18:27 (Adjusted Local) (2015-08-23T23:18:27Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/24 17:19:37
Trip Duration : 10h01m (601 minutes)
Start Point : 113.654571,-24.887420
End Point : 113.567932,-25.609020
Straight-line Distance : 80.709 km (43.579 nm)
Travelled distance : 118.805 km (64.149 nm)
Average Speed : 11.86 km/h (6.40 knots)
Peak Speed : 15.99 km/h (8.63 knots)

More nervous study of the depth gauge. We were later told that sand movement from cyclones over the past few years had shifted a great deal of sand. We scraped sand a few times before deciding to overnight at Guichenault Point.

2015-08-25 - FROM Guichenault Point TO Monkey Mia

Trip start : 2015/08/25 06:52:34 (Adjusted Local) (2015-08-24T22:52:34Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/25 12:11:27
Trip Duration : 5h18m (318 minutes)
Start Point : 113.568092,-25.608770
End Point : 113.719078,-25.791519
Straight-line Distance : 25.333 km (13.679 nm)
Travelled distance : 51.793 km (27.966 nm)
Average Speed : 9.77 km/h (5.27 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.17 km/h (8.73 knots)

Some excitement as we tried to leave Guichenault Point with shallow regions requiring us to backtrack a couple of times. Once out of the shallow we had to tack towards Monkey Mia but soon had to give that up and put on the motors.

We encountered No Fear which was Seawind 1160 hull 13 in the anchorage. Brian and Maxine were enjoying some time in Monkey Mia and we spent some time aboard each other’s boats. No Fear had a very good custom targa extension with wrap around clears. David and Brian swapped a bit of knowledge back and forth, with David pointing out different ways to rig the bowsprit and traveller and querying the tightness of their stays.

Quite a popular destination! Our view from where we anchored.

Quite a popular destination! Our view from where we anchored.

The morning crowd to see the dolphins at Monkey Mia

The morning crowd to see the dolphins at Monkey Mia

Colleen at the early showing. Much less interaction nowadays.

Colleen at the early showing. Much less interaction nowadays.

When the sky meets the sea. Zero wind off Monkey Mia.

When the sky meets the sea. Zero wind off Monkey Mia.

2015-08-27 - FROM Monkey Mia TO Off Cattle Well Hill

Trip start : 2015/08/27 11:02:17 (Adjusted Local) (2015-08-27T03:02:17Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/27 20:42:00
Trip Duration : 9h39m (579 minutes)
Start Point : 113.719932,-25.791860
End Point : 113.368759,-25.598140
Straight-line Distance : 41.257 km (22.277 nm)
Travelled distance : 89.953 km (48.570 nm)
Average Speed : 9.32 km/h (5.03 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.26 km/h (8.78 knots)

Making a break when there was a lick of wind, we did well to get around the top of Cape Peron but then the wind direction changed and we judged it best to drop anchor rather than battle all night.

2015-08-28 - FROM Off Cattle Well Hill TO Shelter Bay

Trip start : 2015/08/28 07:56:17 (Adjusted Local) (2015-08-27T23:56:17Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/28 15:44:52
Trip Duration : 7h48m (468 minutes)
Start Point : 113.368911,-25.598100
End Point : 113.198898,-26.169710
Straight-line Distance : 65.796 km (35.527 nm)
Travelled distance : 70.108 km (37.855 nm)
Average Speed : 8.98 km/h (4.85 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.15 km/h (6.56 knots)

No wind until late in the afternoon. A lot of motoring. We finally got into Shelter Bay around 4pm and dropped anchor in 4m of crystal clear water.

2015-08-29 - FROM Shelter Bay TO Abrolhos Islands

Trip start : 2015/08/29 08:18:38 (Adjusted Local) (2015-08-29T00:18:38Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/08/30 08:35:02
Trip Duration : 24h16m (1456 minutes)
Start Point : 113.199150,-26.169950
End Point : 113.605308,-28.306539
Straight-line Distance : 240.946 km (130.100 nm)
Travelled distance : 253.750 km (137.014 nm)
Average Speed : 10.45 km/h (5.64 knots)
Peak Speed : 18.05 km/h (9.74 knots)

With 3G coverage, David checked the weather forecast and decided the time was ripe to make a break. The run southwards was reputed to be difficult with a headwind so the promise of twenty hours of wind on the beam was too good to pass up. We nervously headed out in the path between the breaking waves, rounded Steep Point (the most westerly part of mainland Australia) and headed south.

Steep Point. The most westerly point of mainland Australia.

Steep Point. The most westerly point of mainland Australia.

The swell from the Indian Ocean was a bit of a shock, especially as it was pounding the shore as we rounded. We soon learnt to ignore it and made good time with the consistent wind. We were making such good time that we reefed the sails in order to slow our arrival down until after daybreak.

The wind turned southerly around 4am so the motor had a bit of a run, but with an 8:30am arrival it was a very good passage. It was a bit exciting seeing the swell break on the island as we approached, and the entry to the protected area was tight, and things did not improve with Molly falling overboard as we were dropping sail.

Safely on the mooring, we could take a bit of time to relax. We were again surprised to see that we had 3G coverage, and even TV!

North Island of the Houtman Abrolhos group. Abandoned most of the year.

North Island of the Houtman Abrolhos group. Abandoned most of the year.

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