Sunday, 19 August 2012

segment 13: Lady Musgrave Island to Pancake Creek

Segment 13:  Lady Musgrave Island to Pancake Creek;
Saturday 18 August 2012;   39 NM

As the night inside the coral lagoon at Lady Musgrave Island  was very windy and LAST WORD rolled about a fair degree,  we were all up early.

Capt Barry thought he would sneak upstairs and take a picture of Capt Ray and Maggie , asleep in the saloon ( as their VIP front cabin was too noisy for the soft centered and gentle  Capt Ray - who owns an aft cabin motor cruiser - Braemar ), but they were already up, and Capt Ray was rubbing his calf muscle where some clumsy oaf trod on him during the night.

We decided not to hang around Lady Musgrave Island any longer , as the wind was still blowing about  15 knots, and the clouds had gathered and threatened rain , and it was white capping inside the lagoon and LAST WORD  was still rolling about a fair bit.

We watched several other vessels leave as we made LAST WORD  ready for rougher seas , and picked up the anchor and departed.

Thank heavens the anchor chain was not wrapped around some coral bombie , the way LAST WORD  was swinging around last night, anything was possible.

As Capt Barry brought LAST WORD  into the coral lagoon , Capt Ray took her out, which was not easy, even with a track to follow on the chart plotter,  which Capt Ray sensibly  laid down when we entered. There was a reasonable amount of white capping and even with the ladies on the bow , it was not possible to see the coral bombies that rose from the bottom or the coral edges of the channel we had to exit. So it was line up the makers and have faith in the track and GPS chart to get to and  through the narrow opening.

We survived the exit through the channel, unscathed ,and set course for Pancake Creek, 39NM north east into  a 2 m swell and an oncoming 15 to 20 kt wind. Thank god for stabilizers, as the ride was not to bad.
leaving Lady Musgrave coral lagoon. As the tide was fullish and the water surface choppy, we had to trust our navigation skills to exit the narrow channel opening unscathed

We spotted several pods of dolphins and a couple of flocks  of birds feeding on bait fish that were the food supply for bigger fish we could see breaking the surface trying to catch them and most probably were also being chased by the dolphins or other bigger fish ,  in the process.

During the second half of the trip the wind dropped to 10 kts , thre clouds began to clear and the seas calmed a fair bit.

Just after midday we approached Clews Point, between middle and outer rocks. Clews Point  is the southern headland forming Pancake Creek.. At that time the tide was 1.3m and we saw as little as 0.8m under LAST WORD'S  props as we slowly negotiated the creek making sure we followed the markers and leads.
approaching the entrance to Pancake Creek

We anchored in 5 m of water, and the creek flowed at a fast clip ( probably 4 kts or more past LAST WORD).
LAST WORD  anchored mid creek
The Creek was very channelly and shallow in parts.

This is just under half tide. So much of what you can see as sand bank is covered by water at higher tides  , and it is easy to run aground

We enjoyed a light lunch, launched the large  tender and made  for the sandy  southern bank, where we used an anchor out the back and a precautionary corkscrew anchor and 30 m rope out the front on the bank.
two anchors used , one aft and one 30m ashore
the tide goes out a long way 
Capt Ray and Maggie, off in the distance, striking out for Bustard Head light house

We put on  plenty of insect repellent,  for the sand flies , then struck out on the walk/climb for Bustard Head light house and local cemetery. The afternoon temperature was in the mid twenties, the sky was  clear and the walk was approx 5.5 klms return, and quite invigorating.
The two sea Capt lending support on land
where did the track go???
Thoughtfull locals provided guidance
our climb up Bustard Head gave way to a superb view, north to Clews Point. The entrance to Pancake Creek s just north of the point `.
The light house is unmanned , and the grounds are looked after by volunteers on a rotational basis. We spoke to the current volunteers who were doing a 5 week stint. 

When we returned , the tide had not come back in enough for the tender to be floating , and Capts Barry and Ray had to encourage the tender back into deeper water. After the relaunch we all returned to LAST WORD to grab  ice creams (and 1 crownie) then hopped back in the tender for a lazy  tour of Pancake Creek which took an  hour. There were a dozen or so other vessels anchored in the creek.

Upon return to LAST WORD  there was some recreational activity for the crew.

beading and reading

The tide was coming in and he creek looked much fuller, even though much of it is still  too shallow to navigate.

twilight on Pancake Creek. Looking back towards the entrance 
the sun slowly sets on the visiting boats to Pancake Creek
 sun gone , but fantastic  colours

After our return from that afternoon's activities off LAST WORD , Capt's Barry and Ray  stowed the tender, had some drinks, Capt ray and Maggie  cooked another superb dinner , then we watched the second part of WAR HORSE , and retired for the evening.

TRIP 4.9 HRS (including idle time exiting Lady Musgrave Island and entering and ascending  Pancake Creek ), 39 NM , using 232 L  , at an average 47 L/HR.

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