Thursday, 23 August 2012


Segment 16 : Island Head Creek to Mackay;
120 NM , Tuesday 21st August 2012.

Today is a long run (120 NM ) , so we want to get under way early so we can make Mackay before dark. However, it is low tide at 5.25am, so we decide to wait at least 1 hour before lifting the anchor to get another 0.3 m or so under the props, as we know there will be some shallow spots which we monitored on the way up the creek.

We are 3 NM up stream and at idle it takes us 45 mins to make the entrance to the creek, and we see 0.3m under the props, so the extra hour sleep in was well worth the delayed start.

we passed about 15 m off this rock even though the Creek is 100m wide at this point. We follow Capt Ray's secret passage, ( and cross our fingers ) and see 0.3 m on the depth sounder ( ie under the props). Note the water breaking just behind the rock.
LAST WORD leaves Island Head Creek behind
Capt Ray plots a route on the electronic chart plotter, and gives the way points to Capt Barry who plots them on the paper charts to check for rocks , shoals and other possible dangers along the route. There is a short discussion about how close we are to pass off Double Island (250m ) , but we decide the route is ok and leave it as plotted.
Capt Barry plots the route to check for shoals, Islets, rocks and how much we miss the bigger Islands
We inserted Steep Island as the first way point.

Steep Island

At 10.30am , Capt Ray makes good on his promise to make scrambled eggs on route , and Capt Barry , who is not thrilled about Capt Ray wanting to use the induction cook tops while at sea (and would prefer the electric fry pan be used ) allows the chef to proceed on the agreement Capt Ray  will keep hold of and not abandon the saucepan ( for even 1sec ) until the eggs are cooked and served onto plates
Like most chefs, Capt ray says he needs what he wants, ie  the cook top and that the electric fry pan will not do the job.

Breakfast is served and enjoyed on the run , and it is as good as promised ( even with pepper, which Capt Barry added,  to Capt Rays mild displeasure).
scrambled eggs at the breakfast bar

We sat on 1250 rpm making 10+ kts , and all ventured up to the fly bridge , as it was a spectacular day , the clouds were clearing,  and there was very little wind.

Capt Barry had a snooze on the bikini sun bed , and Capt Ray went to the forward sun bed , and tried a new technique for steering the boat.

Capt Barry deep in thought on the fly bridge bikini sun bed whilst the ladies watch the  passage ahead

this is how we turn the boat to the right 
and this is how we turn the boat to port/the left
Capt Ray practicing his steps (it looks like the Macarena to me????)

During Capt Barry's snooze , he decided ( and actioned ) one of those pivitol decisions that change the course of history, ie he gave an order ( after consulting Capt Ray ) that the route be changed to divert to Percy Island ( only an extra 3 NM and maybe an, additional 30 mins time, due to the time we would lose slowing down to look at the Island). So LAST WORD  diverted a little further north east , and squeezed between Pine Islet and Middle Percy Island so we could see what all the fuss was about ie people say that  West Bay is  a must to visit (whilst being a very average  anchorage , in any sort of weather).

through that gap Capt........Pine Islats are on the left , and Middle Percy Island is on the right.

Last Word passes a fellow traveller, with Middle Island in the background
West Bay
Pine Islets

After our detour and viewing of West Bay we decided on a speed run for about 1 and 3/4 hours ( 1850 rpm 17 kts,  162 l/h ) to ensure we arrived a Mackay Harbour before 5.00pm.

At Double Island  we backed the revs back to 1250 rpm and the ladies served quiche and a salad. Another excellent meal on the go.
all this food. Maggie and Capt Ray could not believe the shopping and provisions rear admiral Julie  brings on board

Whilst enjoying lunch,  LAST WORD  was overflown by a very low flying aircraft.
Capt Barry remarked that it had swooped on LAST WORD , and then as we watched it continue past LAST WORD   ( and gain altitude ) the plane turned abruptly to the right for a 180 degree turn, and Capt Barry wondered aloud whether we were to be contacted about some emergency at sea.
All was revealed when we were hailed by VHF by the pilot , using  part of our boat name "LAST".
We were asked to identify ourselves, ie vessel name,  and give details of the vessels home port , where  we had come from and where we were headed .Capt Ray asked who wanted to know , and they identified themselves  as Australian Customs. We gave the info, and then continued to hear the pilot radio other vessels for contact responses ( some which did not comply ).

Past Prudhoe Island we came very close to two large whales. Capt Barry remarked that he thought they may have even changed course for LAST WORD as they seemed to be on a collision course coming across our route from the port side, then were  almost parallel with us as they slipped past only 40 m of our port side ,then they crossed our wake, continuing on their original course (or so it seemed to Capt Barry).

Prudhoe Island ( I think )

Capt Barry looked up the Mackay Harbour Marina on the web ( when we eventually received a signal about 30 miles out from mainland)  and booked a berth and organised for a key to be left out .

We arrived at the Mackay outer Harbour ar 4.45pm and made our way to our designated berth (after following three sets of lead lights) and roped in by 5.10pm.

We were greeted by Peter Barbour , a professional skipper who lives on his boat at Mackay Harbour Marina. Peter skippered Capt Ray's boat (Braemar ) back to Sydney from Hamilton , and Capt Ray had telephoned him to catch up.

LAST WORD  in her berth at Mackay. I think Capt ray will be able to sleep here as there does not seem to be any  big waves to slap against the hull.

Peter stayed for a cup of tea and organised to take us to the shops the next morning to replenish supplies.

Capt Barry asked for Peters details in case we decide to get a skipper to bring LAST WORD  home , assuming he is available.

Whilst Capt Barry hosed down LAST WORD  , the ladies prepared another sumptuous meal , BBQ honey and soy chicken skewers and a salad.

Trip:  10.3 hours, 800 L, averaging 11.65 kts and 78 L/hr total.

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