Saturday, 29 September 2012


THURSDAY 27 SEPT. 2012.   70 NM

Capt Barry woke just after 6.00 am  and did the usual boat inspection and weather due diligence.

The good LORD had provided the usual bait garfish on the boarding platform , and Capt Barry dutifully collected and wrapped them in glad wrap so they would not smell out the fridge.

Both Buoyweather and BOM indicated  the swell was rising ,  to just less than 1.5 m from the SE , with seas between 0.8 and 1.2 m and winds 10 to 15 kts and rising to 20 kts in the afternoon , from the E.

 Capt Barry had originally planned  to head for Cape Bowling Green (about 40 NM, including several  NM  around the cape and into the bay for protection ) where we were to anchor, but was not sure of the quality of the cover in the swell and predicted rising  winds. So after a quick discussion with rear admiral Julie, we decided to bypass Bowling Green Bay and  head for either Townsville or Magnetic Island ( Nelly Bay ) , which would be about 70 NM , and have a couple of days at leisure, waiting for David and Rhyannon  to arrive for their adventures on LAST WORD ( going north to the Palm Group of Islands and the Hinchinbrook Channel, then back to Townsville ).

The consideration for  arrival at Townsville is the tide , as entrance to the new Breakwater Marina is only 0.5 m at dead low spring tide (and not the 1.5 m shown on the charts) , and we would arrive at about 3 pm  and low water was 0.6 m at 12.47 pm. This meant we would need to wait till approx. 4.00 pm for sufficient water, to safely navigate the entrance leads to the Townsville Breakwater  marina.

We lifted anchor at 7.45 am  and set revs at the usual 1050 rpm and noticed , as soon as we cleared Cape Upstart , that the seas were the sloppiest  we had had for several weeks, around 1 m with a 1.5 m swell from 4 oclock and a 15 kt wind from 2 to 3 oclock.

We had a good phone and internet signal all the way except for about 1 hour around Cape Bowling Green, where we had a weak signal.. This presented Capt Barry with the opportunity to turn off the power to the Ericsson internet router , and plug the band new ( third )  Quantel booster into the power circuit and reroute the antennae,  through the booster , to the Ericsson  to increase the signal strength on board LAST WORD.

Well you guessed it , we had NO signal at all( and no internet and boat phone ) , with the brand new booster plugged in, even though it was indicating power was activated.

Capt Barry immediately turned off the power, rerouted the antennae directly to the Ericsson , and disconnected the power cable to the booster, then switched on the power to the Ericsson , and you guessed it, again, we had the same signal, weak ,  which allowed the boat phone to work.

This little exercise proved what Capt Barry suspected for some time, ie the boosters (all three do not work , and in fact when plugged  in line with the Ericsson, they were  inhibiting the signal strength the Ericsson unit could drag in by itself ( with the antennae on the fly bridge roof).

Since this trip north  started , back in July, Capt Barry has had the booster replaced twice under warranty, thinking he ( or some nearby repeater )  had somehow blown the boosters. Each time Capt Barry contacted an electronics specialist to organise the warranty replacement he was told that these units were failing all over the place and they knew the warranty replacement drill off by heart. At least the importer was co-operating and just replacing them without argument.

Capt Barry does not think these units are failing, more likely they are a bad batch ( assuming they worked at all ) or never worked.

Cape Bowling Green

Cape Cleveland (just south of Townsville).

During the passage Capt Barry did several 15 minute speed runs ( every 70 to 90 mins or so)  to clean out the engines and exhausts and keep the average speed up  around 10 kts. There is nothing magical about this speed, other than it makes calculating arrival times at destinations easier.

travelling at 20 kts

We received FM stereo from radio Townsville for most of the trip and enjoyed listening to their music selection (when not on the phone).

Rear admiral Julie did a fair amount of the skippering , in between BEAD THEM UP work, the latter which made her feel a little funny , so Capt Barry ordered her to put the BEAD THEM UP work away and lie down for an hour or so, which worked a treat.

rear admiral Julie at the helm ( on track using waypoints ) and reading a book

Capt Barry telephoned both the Townsville Breakwater marina and Nelly Bay Marina on Magnetic Island , which is about 7 NM offshore from Townsville, to enquire about berthing arrangements, and after discussion with  rear admiral Julie, and considering our arrival time of about 2.45 pm and the tide , we opted for Nelly Bay.

We arrived at Magnetic Island about 2.40pm and cut straight across  the long leads that guide the big ships to Townsville ( as they go several miles out from Townsville just past Magnetic Island ).

We entered the Nelly Bay Marina leads and slopped around a fair bit in the 1.5 m cross swell and in the now 20 kt wind. However, the water settled down as we entered the marina breakwater walls and headed directly to our allocated 30 m berth at the end of A arm.

We had to bring LAST WORD  in sideways directly into the 20 kt wind that was blowing directly across the boat , a blow off wind at 20 kts.

This was easy enough ,with LAST WORD'S  big thrusters , bow and stern, however. Capt Barry had to hold her there , against the wind for some time and eventually , move LAST WORD  back several meters to get the cleats to work such that LAST WORD  was held securely.
The problem was that the berth allocated for LAST WORD ,  is for a 30 to 40 m commercial vessel, as the cleats are massive bollards and they were 11 and 16 m apart , making an effective tie off difficult until we moved LAST WORD  back to the more closely spaced bollards.

we needed long ropes for this berth. The bollards were far apart and few.

After tying up successfully, Capt Barry visited the marina office ( as the marina manager wanted to sign off for the day), and paid for three nights ($49 per night , not bad ) and returned to LAST WORD only to discover that the three phase power outlet did not work, and that they had run out of security gate keys. No wonder it was cheap.

Well, thank heavens Capt Barry carries all combinations  of electrical leads , and we could plug into the 15 amp outlets.

They assured me they would have the power working the next day, but it is now the day after the next day and LAST WORD  is  still happily on 15 amp power.

For those that have not been to Nelly Bay (or Magnetic Island for that matter) , it is an absolutely delightful place with good infrastructure and a fantastic holiday feel and we highly recommend staying here as the ferry service is on the hour, cheap and a short ride to Townsville.

There are four distinct communities on Magnetic Island, and the Peppers resort that is part of the Nelly Bay Marina is very stylish with a great restaurant and bar (indoor and outdoor)  , and surrounded by privately owned apartments. There is a IGA store  literally 200 m away from the marina with some other shops , and the ferry terminal is about ten berths down from where LAST WORD is berthed. It is a very busy and interesting marina.

WE plan to hire a car and , explore the Island when David and Rhyannon arrive tomorrow, as there is some windy weather coming Wednesday, and we may have to shorten their trip to just two or three days , and spend a day on Magnetic Island.

looking past LAST WORD down the marina with the peppers development along the right and some privately owned apartments on the left through LAST WORD'S bow rail.

outside the Peppers development looking across the road to the Ferry terminal and some of the Peppers development across the road from the marina 

Peppers reception (with the marina right through)

some of the Peppers rooms on the marina side 

looking down the marina outside Peppers along the boardwalk (with LAST WORD in the end berth ). The restaurant is the indoor and outdoor area just beyond the plant in the  big white pot , and the food is fabulous. 
looking out from the marina arm gate ( with the  bar outdoor area behind me ) . You can see  the Ferry terminal berth and beyond that the entrance to the Nelly Bay marina breakwalls,  and at the top left some of the peppers rooms 


Friday, 28 September 2012


WED. 26TH SEPT. 2012    58 NM

 Capt Barry woke at 0630 hrs to another glorious weather morning , and rear admiral Julie slept on for another glorious hour (no doubt dreaming about the dashing Capt Barry tending to all the boring chores).

sunrise at Cape Gloucester, with Gloucester Island on the left , and the Echo resort on the mainland behind the moored craft.

On inspection of the boarding platform, Capt Barry discovered that the good Lord had provided once again, with a small offering of garfish, which Capt Barry  wrapped in plastic for bait, later that day.

The weather predictors were going for half to 1 m seas with a swell of less than 1.5 m and winds from the east/north east  of between 10 and 15 kts gusting to 20kts.

We dropped the mooring rope at 0900 hrs and sat on 1050 rpm doing 9+ kts using 36 l/h total.

Some parts of Upstart Bay are quite shallow , and as we planned to be on anchor again overnight  , and the wind was predicted to increase , we wanted to get in as close as possible as soon as rounding the western tip of the Cape , as the side of the bay immediately around Cape Upstart offers reasonably good protection from easterly winds and south easterly swell.

Capt Barry did some trolling along the way.

Capt Barry did some speed runs every 60 to 90 mins or so to heat up the oil and burn off impurities and clean out the exhausts etc. These consisted of  LAST WORD  sitting  on 2270 rpm for about 5 mins burning 210 l/h total and managing 22+ kts , ( which is not bad as the current is quite strong flowing the other way in this part of coastline, and we were into 10 to 20 kt 45 degree  headwind on the starboard side ) and doing about 10 to 15 mins on 1900 rpm burning 190 l/h total, making 19 knots.

During one of Capt Barry's routine boat inspections ( which includes the engine room and shooting some temperatures ) he discovered  the Yak board, which was tied off on the boarding platform, had come loose at one end, ie the  the rope at one end had broken  the plastic tie down point on the end of the Yak board. This probably happened during a speed run when sea water can wash over the boarding platform in swelly seas.

Capt Barry simply untied the other end of the Yak board and lifted it  into the cockpit, where it remained for a couple  of days, as there is still plenty of room to walk around the board.

We passed the Abbot Point coal loader , which projects a long way into the sea.

When inspecting the engine room over the last couple of weeks  passages, Capt Barry has noticed a small coolant leak collecting in the forward engine room bilge recess with tell tale marks indicating it is from the starboard engine ( maybe half a cup over  several hours passage  ) , but the coolant level is not getting lower, and the colour is getting  less pink each time , to the point it is almost yellowish, and tastes of sea water.

Capt Barry had not been able to spot any coolant leaks ( which are usually obvious due to the trail of  pink )  , and with the colour fading and now tasting the water, a closer examination of the sea water parts of the starboard engine lead Capt Barry to believe that it may be a small pressure sea water  leak from the impeller cover. The heat from the engine probably evaporates the  small tell tale leads of sea water disappear,  but there is a residue of salt crystals around the impeller cover,( and they re appear every time Capt Barry wipes the area clean . The original pink colour must have been the sea water leak passing through a coolant puddle ( from the coolant leak fixed back in early August at Marina Mirage ) unseen and unable to be cleaned up  under the starboard battery box. the leak being from the impeller cover also fits with the fact that  the leak has only been evident for the last three weeks , about the time Hastings Deering changed the impellers during the 4 Sept service. They  probably missed the slight leak, assuming they ran the engines, after the service checking for such leaks).

Any way , another thing to fix when i get back to Airlie Beach, and i get another oil sample done.

coming to Cape Upstart

When we rounded  Cape Upstart, we decided to motor down the entire length of the bay ( about 5 nm ) to check out all the suggested anchorages, and ended coming back to Shark Bay , being that part of coast just inside the main Upstart Bay, where we tucked in to within about half a nm of the beach in about 5 m of water at low tide, and let out 28 m of anchor chain ( in case the wind came up and allowing for the tide rise of approx. 2.7 m.

around Cape Upstart

We anchored about 3.00pm , and in the process  a formation of small sting rays came out to meet us.

There are many homes ( mostly holiday houses ) along the beach front all along the bay, and many fishing runabouts on trailers line the beach . Obviously this is a favoured fishing and holidaying spot for locals.

Rear Admiral Julie cooked a chicken curry, which was superb , and  was accompanied by a bottle of fine white wine.

The wind was a constant 12 to 15 kts , gusting to 24 kts at one stage, then dropped so we had a relatively calm night with minimal swell.




We finally finished provisioning ,  repairing and servicing LAST WORD at 12.30pm , and immediately got under way or so we thought.

The rear admiral let go the final rope and we sought permission from the marina controller to leave the marina, which was given (with their warm wishes for a comfortable trip and to see us again soon).
However, when we approached the marina entrance there were several other craft entering and leaving , which can only be seen when one is actually at the marina entrance, especially at low tide - as the rock breakwater is approx 7 m above water level and built in the shape of a reverse "S" to protect the inner marina, so we waited out turn, and eventually made it outside the entrance and were under way.

leaving Abel Point Marina., half way through the reverse "S" entrance rock wall

Buoyweather was predicting seas at 0.3m at 6 secs and winds ENE at 6-9 kts, and BOM was predicting 0.7 to 1.2 m seas and a swell of less than 1.5m with winds of 10 to 15 kts from the E.

In fact, so far, the seas were the usual "FLAT AS" and the wind a refreshing 9 kts from the NE and the temperature 27 degrees with clear skies.

it does not get much calmer than this, as we leave Pioneer Bay , Airlie Beach

  We decided to take the more direct route through the Gloucester Passage, between the mainland and Gloucester Island, so Capt Barry did some tide calculations to ensure LAST WORD had the water depth required. Low tide would be 0.54 m at 1313 hours and we calculated a speed to get us there at about 1430 hours which would give a tide of about 0.95 m , which when added to the charted  low spring tide would give LAST WORD  a safety margin of about 0.75 m at the known low points.

We passed many islands on route including , Gumbrell Island, Saddleback Island and of course Gloucester Island.

As we approached Gloucester Passage,  rear admiral Julie , who was at the helm, noticed a school of mackerel feeding on smaller fish and ordered the trolling rods into action. Capt Barry ( who had the rods at the ready ) set the lures in the water and the rear admiral switched the camera from observing the engine room to the cockpit and boarding platform , slowed the boat,  and did a few wide circles through the middle of the frenzy of feeding fish.

one rod in the rod holder on the boarding platform , and one being held by Capt Barry , who wanted to feel the strike.

The rear admiral's circles must have been somewhat amusing to the  large passing catamaran ( ie trying to guess on which side to pass LAST WORD ), as it certainly was to Capt Barry. The rear admiral's command of "one more time around" seemed to go on for quite a few rounds (which  is the secret to our long, healthy marriage ).

Capt Barry had no strikes on the lures, ( I guess the mackerel had no eyes for the lures , only eyes for whatever bait fish were churning the water surface ) and stowed the rods and reported  to  rear admiral Julie  that there was no need to clean fish tonight.

On hearing this news , rear admiral Julie straighten the rudders, and we continued on course for Gloucester Passage, which was only about 2 NM ahead,  with the big catamaran about half a mile in front of LAST WORD.

As we debated whether to speed up to be in front of the catamaran, before LAST WORD   entered the passage ( which is quite narrow if one wants to miss the shoals at low tide ) the answer became obvious , as the catamaran seemed to slow down, and LAST WORD slipped by well before the beginning of the passage . I guess the skipper of the cat decided he would rather see where LASTWORD  went and follow (or not follow) depending upon LAST WORD'S  success (or lack there of).

LAST WORD successfully negotiated the passage , with only one small correction ( when we saw 1.0 m under the props ).  This was about  half way along the passage  which has a reverse "S" ,  and was made a little more tricky  with the several  sailing yachts anchored  both sides of ( and some encroaching inside )  the channel,  just off Monte's Resort.

The passage is wide enough at approx. 360 m , but the marked channel is only about 20m wide between markers  in some places. The markers  can be , especially at a distance,    tricky to work out , particularly  in the afternoon when travelling up the coast, as one is travelling west , into the sun and reflection . Of course the narrowest markers are in the middle of the passage in the  reverse  "S" section  , right off the resort where boats anchor.

After negotiating the passage channel,

 LAST WORD rounded Passage Islet ( also known as Shag Islet ) and at 3.30 pm picked up one of the moorings off the Echo Resort ( $25 for No. 18, over night ,  which I was told takes 30 tons in a reasonable blow and was recently  serviced).

Passage Islet (also called Shag Islet - due to the cormorants ( shags ) that are constantly on the islet).

After mooring , and getting  rear admiral Julie off  the internet (where she spends a lot of her spare time, setting up the new web site for "BEAD THEM UP " ),   Capt Barry launched the smaller tender , which is now carried , fully inflated on its side on the fly bridge, between the davit and the larger tender.

Launching this tender consists of lifting it over the rail , by hand (which is easily done - as it weighs about 15 kgs ) , into the water all in one motion, and takes about 30 secs. Then adding the MIGHTY  3 hp motor ,which is also easily accessible in the lazz  and only  takes another 3 or 4 minutes to install.

Julie and Capt Barry ventured ashore ( and lifted the tender and motor well above the high water mark )  to pay our $25 mooring fee and look around the VERY BASIC - ALMOST BACK TO NATURE  echo resort.

I say ALMOST , as we discovered the  Oar Bar,  where  Julie ordered two margaritas for herself and two tap VBs for Capt Barry, and a hot bread bun with tomato butter , which was splendid.

Funny, I  thought it was a pleasant passage , not a two margarita passage.

after 9 weeks at sea and living on board , this looks straight

Capt Barry inspecting the menu at the Oar Bar and restaurant at the Echo resort ( next to Monte's Resort ) at Cape Gloucester.

We  enjoyed our drinks as the sun set, and  Capt Barry , in a rare romantic moment,  reminded rear admiral Julie, the love of his life, that he had  promised to take her to a remote island hideaway for drinks as the sun set AND THIS WAS IT.

Capt Barry  was feeling pretty chuffed that he had delivered on another important  marriage commitment, until ...........the rear admiral  smiled  with her eyes,  and replied.............we are on the mainland baby.... keep searching.....AND YOU HAVE YET TO DELIVER.

After that devastating failure,  Capt Barry enjoyed a swim in he salt water pool , but could not find a working fresh water shower.......strike two.

As we were contemplating dining at the restaurant , the mozzies appeared...... strike three... , so we  decided to return  to LAST WORD for dinner , and cooked the two grass sweetlips we had caught, which were superb.

The evening was pleasant with little swell and a 7 to 10 kt breeze, and a host of fish and squid,  in a constant frenzy, in the blue underwater lights off the boarding platform.

the white streaks are in fact fast moving fish. They are mainly garfish , and in a frenzy , with many jumping out of the water every few seconds. There are literally hundreds of them.

We watched another DVD ( nearly 5 % of the way through the DVD library by now ) and had another latish night.

TRIP : 24 NM , 3.34 Hrs (including the trolling ) , 112 L in total, av 7 plus kts and 30 L/hr total.



We were up at 6.15am to another glorious day and flat seas. The birds were "whooopping" and all seemed right with the world.

another glorious morning. SILVER MINX  just over LAST WORD'S railing.

We were making passage to Abel Point Marina, Airlie Beach  today, approx 27 NM , and had a booking at the fuel wharf at 11.00am, so we were allowing 3 hours for a leisurely passage.

Capt Barry discovered three garfish on he rear boarding platform that had jumped out of the water during the night , so he collected them for bait , and then cleaned the rear admiral's sweetlip caught the night before.

NO..... they did not land on the deck like that............Capt Barry placed them like that so the next size to jump out was on notice.

We said our goodbyes to those on SILVER MINX and lifted anchor at 8.00am and got under way.

We motored along at 1055 rpm doing 9.2 knts and using 37 l/h total, on an absolutely calm sea with picturesque islands sliding by, as if it was a fairy tale.

On route Capt Barry responded to an email from  Hastings Deering , the Cat engines agent in Qld, and organised to have further warranty work carried out on LAST WORD  the following day , ie they had finally discussed the engine oil quantities that should be in LAST WORD'S  engines with WesTrac ( the NSW,  Cat engine agent ) and decided there was too much oil in each engine,  and to drain the oil ( again ) and replace the oil filters with new filters and add the correct amount of oil,  insert new dip sticks and mark them "add'  and "full" etc, and to reposition the liver oil sample ports.

We rounded Pioneer Point, into Pioneer Bay , and were surprised to see the cruise liner,  Princess Dawn, at anchor just a few miles north of Abel Point Marina. Until then Capt Barry was certain LAST WORD  was the largest motor yacht in the Whitsundays, but had to concede to the rear admiral,  that the Princess Dawn might be a bit bigger. When pressed by the rear admiral on this point,  Capt Barry made one of those snap decisions, and ruled out going along side to see if Princess Dawn was longer than LAST WORD, as he did not want to miss LAST WORD'S  appointment at the fuel dock.

We arrived at Abel Point Marina right on time and fueled up  (940 L at a  discount ) and were allocated berth N03,  another 30 m berth.

After berthing stern in , Capt Barry decided to turn LAST WORD  around so he could  hang the anchor near ( but not over ) the marina arm, so he could better inspect, and disassemble, the anchor cradle/guide  for repairs (remembering that it bent when Capt Barry tried to loose the anchor when it became stuck  at Whitehaven Beach ).

Capt Barry had just disassembled the anchor guide when Christian Pleydell, from Whitsunday Electronics, arrived to deliver the spare Ericsson internet router (  Capt Barry had ordered several days earlier ) and to install a connecting  antennae cable, so the external and internal antennae  cables to the Quantel booster could be joined direct, without going through the booster , which was not working AGAIN.

After fixing the router, Christian drove the rear admiral and Capt Barry to one of the local fishing gear  supply business where we  purchased some rods, reels , a filleting knife,  gaff (with a longer handle) , crab pot, lures , fishing belt ( to anchor the base of the rod when reeling in a big fish ) and other miscellaneous gear.

The crew of LAST WORD intended to look like professional fisher people , even if we were not.

After procuring fishing supplies we then went shopping for groceries and grog, and did not get back to LAST WORD until 9.00pm, and then restocked the boat , watched a DVD and fell into bed at about 11.30pm.

Due to the frenetic activity of buying fishing gear and restocking LAST WORD, Capt Barry had to cancel plans to meet up with Capt Gary ( and Michelle )  McLeod later that evening. Once again, sorry Gary and Michelle.

Capt Barry was up at 6.30am to greet the Hastings Deering service fellow , and assist with the oil changes etc and after a suitable bribe of an excellent  fruit salad breakfast ( made by the rear admiral ) and a bottle of wine , Phil, the service fellow, made a call to Whitsunday Cruises and organised the  use of their workshop  press to  straighten  LAST WORD'S  bent anchor cradle/guide and chain retainer.

Whilst the engine oil change was going on, the rear admiral slipped out to  Airlie Beach shopping centre in search of  strawberries and passionfruit ( as there was none to be found last night at Coles at Cannonvale). Alas strawberries or passionfruit could be located anywhere  in the  Airlie Beach region.

After the engine service /oil change ,Capt Barry reassembled the repaired anchor guide and whilst doing so had a conversation with the Capt ( Capt Ed ) of the Spirit of  Sovereign who wandered by and  said he also got Spirit of Sovereign's anchor stuck at Whitehaven Beach (in sand/clay) and bent the shaft on the Ultra Anchor in the process of working it loose. Spirit of Sovereign  now uses an different brand and style of anchor.

Maybe Ultra anchors overachieve.....?

 At about 11.30 am Phil, the owner of Whitsunday Electronics,  arrived and delivered  our THIRD REPLACEMENT  BOOSTER  ( which Capt Barry decided not to install until we lost the signal),  and  LAST WORD finally left Abel Point marina at 12.30pm on the first leg of her passage to Hinchinbrook Island.

The first anchorage is off Passage Islet ( often called Shag Islet ) just off the mainland  Echo resort ( which is next to Monty's resort ) on Cape Gloucester , about 25 NM north of Airlie Beach.

27 NM in 3 hours using  109 L total .  averaging approx. 36 L/H  and 9 kts per hour.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

segment 22; Hamilton Island to Lindeman Island

segment 22 : Hamilton Island to Lindeman Island
23rd Sept. 2012 (Sunday )

After spending a day in Hamilton Island, grabbing a few provisions,  catching up on emails and paperwork and signing out of the Hamilton Island marina for two weeks,  we set off once again for an island hop.

The weather was continuing its fantastic run with 5 to 10 knot SE to NE breezes and relatively clear skies, and near flat seas

looking back at Hamilton Island, on another superb weather/flat seas day

LAST WORD explored along the south coast of Whitsunday Island where we happened upon SILVER MINX ( Geoff and Vicki Player and their guests, Chris and Cheryl Pardy ) who were just lifting  anchor and moving to Lindeman Island, and suggested we join them.


As we made our way to Lindeman Island the breeze stiffened to 15 to 20 kts from the NE with small whitecaps forming, but otherwise comfortable seas. Both LAST WORD and SILVER MINX trolled around Surprise Rock ( once for LAST WORD , but several times in the case of SILVER MINX ) .

As SILVER MINX  was circumnavigating Surprise Rock , a passing catamaran through out its lures  and  joined in , obviously thinking  the fishing must  be good. However, the silly fellow  went the wrong way around the rock  and had to give way to NEP who had the smell of Mackerel in his nostrils.

the Catamaran, on the right, joining in the troll around Surprise Rock, but the wrong way

We passed close to Pentecost Island

Pentecost Island
and then passed Little Lindeman Island, then  Capt Barry motored over to Neck Bay on the north western side of Shaw Island (immediately SE of Lindeman Island), but it was too swelly and the current was running at about 3 to 4 kts.

Capt Barry anchored about 30 m off shore, in Plantation Bay ( in the SE corner of Lindeman Island ), and threw out two lines and immediately caught two fish.The first was a grass sweetlip ( which he cleaned and kept for the rear admiral ) , and the second was a stripey and thrown back.

pan sized grass sweetlip for  rear admiral Julie

About 45 mins after LAST WORD  anchored SILVER MINX  sailed on by. Obviously NEP had spotted another rock to troll around before anchoring for the afternoon.

About 2.00pm Capt Barry received a phone call from Vicki Player on board SILVER MINX informing us that they had caught a mackerel , and  inviting  us to join SILVER MINX for a cocktail twilight sail and fish. Of course we readily accepted and brought the two bottle entrance donation  required.

Geoff (NEP ) Player served superb lychee martinis and caviar nibbles  and we enjoyed an hours very pleasant sailing and trolling ( but without a strike on the lures).

Some on board were beginning to doubt NEP's ability to catch fish so far south of Hamilton Island ( after all we were approx. 10 NM south of Hamo ) ,but not Capt Barry, who reminded those on board that we needed the correct bait, ie white wine ( in hand as it does make a difference ) , reggae  music and troll at  5.00pm. Vicki immediately changed the music selection, cleared up the cocktails and opened the white wine and all we had to do was wait till 5.00pm ( about 25 mins away ).

To fill in time Geoff put Julie on the wheel with instructions on the course to steer.

At precisely 4.59pm one of the rods went berko and NEP thought it was a good strike and possibly a juvenile Marlin, as the fish ran for cover ( and all but spooled the line ) and did a small tail dance in the distance (which Capt Barry missed).

HEY, that is not a marlin....and i want my lure back.

After about 20 mins NEP successfully brought the fish to the back of the boat , and we discovered we had a 4 to 5 foot bronze whaler shark. Capt Barry was given the job of gaffing the shark , so NEP could retrieve his lure. However, Capt Barry , being a sensitive new age lawyer with environmental specialty , could not gaff the shark successfully ( ie could not penetrate the tough shark skin   - despite several attempts, so he held the shark firm, with the gaff , against the stern of the boat, while NEP skillfully retrieved his lure, then ( without kissing the shark REX HUNT style ) let the shark go to eat another day.

After the excitement we sailed back to LAST WORD  , and SILVER MINX anchored close by, just as darkness fell..

Capt Barry and rear admiral Julie returned to LAST WORD  to turn on lights ,  for more wine and for the rear admiral to whip up a green salad and potatoe salad to contribute to dinner, and rejoined SILVER MINX  for another superb evening and dinner, only to discover that NEP had caught several more red emperors.

The wind had died completely , and the water was a glassout, However, there was more excitement  in store for us  just after dinner, when there was a large splash at the back of SILVER MINX  when another bronze whaler shark , this one about 5 feet, came in and took  80% of the Mackerel carcass Geoff had hung out  the back of the boat. Of course we all went to see what the commotion was , and watched the shark continue to circle, on the fringe of the underwater  blue light aura, at the back of the boat for the next 10 mins or so.

After several more bottles of wine with our candle lit dinner for 6  , coffee and dessert, Capt Barry and the rear admiral said their goodbyes and returned to LAST WORD ( arms and feet well inside the tender in case sharkey was still about ).

candle lit dinner for 6.....sorry about the picture quality, but you get the idea 

Hamilton Island to Turtle Bay and Chance Bay ( southern side of Whitsunday Island ) and then on to Plantation Bay , southern side of Lindeman Island : 20 NM , 2.7 hrs 78 L total.

Saturday, 22 September 2012



We spent a few days on Hamilton Island to reaquaint ourselves with the facilities and restaurants (as it had been a few years since the rear admiral Julie and Capt Barry have  visited the Island ) , then received our first visitors, Gwen and Charles Rich,  (the rear admiral's mum and dad).

Even though Capt Barry booked a berth at Hamilton Island for three months back in January 2012, Capt Barry waited until they arrived to finalise  the berthing arrangements at Hamilton Island  Harbour, as the company Charlie and Gwen started (C.A.Rich P/L ) now run by their son, Stephen Rich , makes the special keels for Wild Oates XI (which was still at Hamilton Island when they arrived )  and  Stephen had called Sandy Oatley  (as the Oatleys own Hamilton Island ) who had asked the marina staff to  look after LAST WORD.

It is school holidays up here at present and everything is stretched to the limit, and there are no golf buggies left for hire. We prefer walking anyway, as exercise is at a premium when on a boat.

Charles and Gwen had to wait over an hour for the taxi ride from the airport to the boat, but we should  leave that topic and move on.

Not long after Charles and Gwen arrived we were contacted by Ron and Margaret Hinds from A arm at the St George Motor Boat Club, Kogarah Bay , Georges River (LAST WORD'S home marina arm ) to catch up for a drink. Ron and Margaret were about to arrive  and holiday at Hamo with friends, and  had  heard we were at Hamilton Island.

After a quick consultation, we put off our island getaway another day and caught up with Ron and Margaret Hinds and their friends, John and Colleen ( another absolutely delightful couple ), for lunch.

At lunch we made further  plans  to have drinks on board LAST WORD , perhaps do a short day cruise, and do lunch and the golf tour of the new Dent island golf club and course  just across from Hamilton Island.

The next day LAST WORD departed for a cruise and overnight stay at Nara Inlet, where we again enjoyed a lovely sunset drink and dinner.
sunset in Nara Inlet (BIG BUD a 60 FT Riv in the foreground).

I put Charlie to work, and before leaving Hamilton Harbour, we pulled out the clothes dryer and Capt Barry climbed up the back of the carpentry  and changed the charcoal activated black water filter.

Then , whilst at Nara Inlet we tightened up the starboard rudder post clamp. Always something to fix on a BOAT ( which stands for " Break Out Another Thousand ").
underneath the steering shelf, trying to tighten the rudder post from moving . I have added four extra bolts and added spring washers and lock nuts.

We returned to Hamilton Island after a cruise through Cid Harbour, where we spent another day in berth before  dropping  off Charles and Gwen at the airport .  John and Ron  loaned us their golf buggy, whilst they and Margaret ans Colleen  did a day trip to Whitehaven Beach,  so we could run Charles and Gwen to the airport, (otherwise we would have walked ).

Later that afternoon , Capt Barry met ( and returned the buggy to )   John , Ron,  Margaret and Colleen as they alighted from their afternoon tour, and we made plans to have a few drinks on LAST WORD later that evening.

Later that evening , after rear admiral Julie had baked some replacement quiches (to replace those  we lost at  Abel Point Marina when the power failed  ) our guests arrived and we had a few drinks and some food and enjoyed an excellent convivial evening.

evidence of a good evening

The next day, at 1.00pm,  the 6 of us met at the wharf and were ferried  across to Dent Island for lunch and a golf buggy tour of the golf course.

( left to right) Rear admiral Julie , Capt Barry, Margaret and Ron Hinds, Colleen and John.
 JOHN is on the right and has special boat shoes with added heel height to make him look taller.

The food was sensational,

After the golf course tour we decided to stay for the next ferry ride back to Hamilton Island.
I thought the hour delay  was a sensible decision ,  so we could sober up and soak in the wonderful atmosphere and views , but no.........Ron ordered more wine.....for the ladies....I think.

our table on the balcony of the resaurant

out there is LAST WORDS playground for the next several months

After arriving back , there was a surprise in stall for us , as Ron and John insisted we share in some reverse hospitality at their abode, so we all adjourned back to the roomy three bedroom apartment they were staying in , at Blue Water, of course....... for more drinks and fine conversation.

After a suitably lengthy time, and enjoying yet another superb sunset with fine wine and friends , not to mention intelligent conversation, ( during which we  solved the worlds problems - I think for the second time ) we said our good byes , and John ( who was remarkably sober) organised our transport back to the marina.

The rear admiral and Capt Barry decided on an early night , as we were expecting our next guests the following  day.

John and Vicki Barker arrived the next day and the rear admiral and Capt Barry decided to walk to the airport to greet  them and walk back to the boat. This was more reliable than the taxi ( after Charles and Gwen's disastrous experience ) and it was only 8 mins walk from the boarding platform of LAST WORD to the airport arrivals , and despite one steepish hill was a pleasant walk in mid twenties sunshine and not too humid.

So far, on the entire voyage , LAST WORD  has not turned on her air conditioners ( other than to run the units to keep the seals from drying out etc).

The trade wind was up for the next three days ( 10 to 20 kt SE  ) , but we decided to do a trip to Whitehaven Beach anyway.
There was about a 1.5 m swell , but it was not to bad. We anchored off the beach and Capt Barry inflated the small tender and added the 5hp and all four ( at the one time ) safely made it ashore where we enjoyed a long walk.
LAST WORD off Whitehaven Beach

John , Capt Barry and Vicki , and the enormous tender

After the walk, the rear admiral and Capt Barry motor back to LAST WORD, and John and Vicki swam back, which was not a bad effort as LAST WORD was probably 150m offshore , and there was  a 1 to 2 kt current south to north  along the beach.

After a light lunch , we decided to up anchor and return to Hamilton Island , but there was a surprise in store for us.

The anchor was stuck fast,  and no amount of coaxing was successful in effecting its release.

We tried a direct over head pull with the windlass (a Muir 3500 ) , we tried  letting out more chain and turning   LAST WORD sideways and pulling the anchor sideways, then  we tried  pulling from 180 degrees ( facing the other way from the other  side of the anchor)  , but the wind and current combined were too strong to effectively turn the boat more than 90 degrees.

I know  we gave the anchor  a couple of big tugs at 90 degrees because I bent the stainless guide where the  anchor feeds through the bow, and it is not lightweight stainless.
note the bent stainless guide on the right hand side
  Capt Barry decided the next option was to dive on the anchor and dig it out, and was down to his swimmers when the rear admiral attracted a passing Park Ranger in a 18 foot rib and 90 hp motor. They came over and said the anchor was unlikely to be caught on coral or rock in that location , and agreed I should dive on the anchor and pass a rope through the release bar on the anchor head , which they would  tie to their RIB and pull the anchor free.

All fairly simple they said.

After some drama finding a suitable pair of diving goggles , Capt Barry updated his will , entered the shark infested waters , and dived on the anchor by pulling himself down the anchor chain.

Second attempt ( and after John's suggestion of shortening the anchor chain to make the dive shorter to allow more bottom time) Capt Barry appeared on the surface , with the rope and handed it to the two  newly seconded LAST WORD crew members in the RIB.

Capt Barry explained the anchor was in sand (and whatever was below the top cover) and that it was just well set, and he could dig it out, if they could not release the anchor by pulling at 90 degrees and 180 degrees with their tender.

The assistants were confident they would easily release the anchor , but soon reassessed their opinion after several failed attempts.

Capt Barry suggested they lengthen the rope to change the angle and try again and  at the same time he used the windlass. This method was employed and the anchor chain visibly jerked sideways and we knew we had been successful.

Capt Barry quickly retrieved the anchor to find about 40 kgs of clay on the anchor , which was also stubborn to remove.

Capt Barry yelled his thanks the the two assistants , as the rear admiral steered LAST WORD to deeper water and we departed for Hamilton Island.

That  little incident is just another example of what a good and experienced Captain will do to amuse  guests and give them a taste of boating just one problem and challenge after another.

Getting the anchor stuck shows that the new Ultra anchor ( 45kg/99pd ) polished stainless version, is as good as they say.

The good thing about an over sized,  well designed,  anchor is that you can sleep at night knowing you will not drag your anchor. I guess I just experienced the down side, ie it can be hard to retrieve if well set in the right conditions.
Oh well, I will take the former over the latter any day.

The next day we did the Dent  Island lunch and golf course tour again with John and Vicki, and it was just as relaxing and stunning as the first time.

the tour

Over the next couple of mornings Julie and Vicki went for long walks. However it was soon  time to say goodbye to John and Vicki. We enjoyed their company tremendously, and wondered why we have not got together motre often, which we promised to do. After 3 plus  days , they were gone ,  hopefully more relaxed after spending time on LAST WORD.

John and Vicki on board LAST WORD 

The rear admiral and Capt Barry were just getting ready for a few days alone when we bumped into Geoff and Vicki Player, another lovely couple holidaying in  the Whitsundays on their 50 feet long Benateau sailing yacht,  " SILVER MINX ", which has a lovely light silver coloured hull and a very comfortable and stately  FAT ARSE .

SILVER MINX, stern seats up ready to fish

As life is short , and not a rehearsal, we immediately decided to have some drinks on board LAST WORD,  that evening, and swap stories on where to visit and moor etc.

Geoff prepared some sashimi tuna he had caught , and after a bottle of Moet and three bottles of wine we adjourned to SILVER MINX where Geoff fired up the BBQ and cooked lamb chops and the girls whipped up a salad , all accompanied by another bottle of wine.

The next morning SILVER MINX departed for Turtle Bay and /or Chance Bay on the southern side of Whitsunday Island and we said we may visit that region as well, as the weather was superb, with light 5 to 8 kt E to NE breezes and almost no swell which is ideal for that side of the Island.

However. before LAST WORD  could depart , Whitsunday Electrics  contacted us and said they had a new replacement radar dome and wanted to fit it asap.

The radar was replaced ....and guess was a DUD ...and would not work at all.

After some calls to Raymarine (whose web site was down ) the techy pulled my old radar dome apart and raided it for spares to swap with the NEW  radar dome and  got it working.

Finally, LAST WORD departed for another island getaway and we headed for Chance Bay.

it just does not get better than this

The seas were FLAT AS  and there was the fainest whisper of a breeze , and the weather was to improve ( if it could ) over the next couple of days.

We came across another whale giving birth and stayed and watched for 30 mins or so, then moved onto Chance Bay where we anchored not far from SILVER MINX.

There are two lovely beaches at Chance bay.

the smaller of the two beaches at Chance bay

The next two days we spent paddling and rowing around the bay , fishing off the boats, and visiting   the beach for a walk and swim ,  and visiting each others boats for lunch/coffee and dinner.

the rear admiral Julie , on board SILVER MINX , wondering if it can get any better than when the internet goes down , and she needs to relax without beading.

lunch on board LAST WORD with  Geoff and Vicki  Player

Capt Barry feeding the food procurer whilst he is  at work

Geoff , wading ashore 

Vicki and Julie enjoying  a walk along the beach (and in search of a DONGER)

SILVER MINX'S and  LAST WORD'S stock of wine was seriously depleted, but food was never threatened, thanks to Geoff ( Neptune, " Nep" for short ) Player, who could catch fish anywhere, even with his bare hands.

Each evening we would board SILVER MINX and go for a sail , approx. 2.5 NM due south towards Pentecost Island to "Surprise Rock"  which is about 2 m under water at high tide and 1.5m above water at low tide.

Geoff gave the rear admiral a sailing lesson .

Rear admiral Julie at the helm of SILVER MINX

leaving Chance Bay and LAST WORD on anchor  for a sail and fish

going around Surprise Rock off Pentecost Island

We would circle Surprise Rock and almost without  fail get a strike from Mackerel. The first time round we hooked up two,  at the same time, BANG BANG,  and managed to bring in both. Then Vicki had the same luck and landed another beauty.

BANG, BANG, two hook ups at once 

this requires team work with Vicki on the wheel and engine

that is  one

what a mouth and what big sharp teeth you have

don't step back Geoff

Hang on there Julie. Tuck your legs through the seat in case you get  a big strike.

Wine was a plentiful, as the secret ingredient to trolling. Every time we picked up our glasses, the fish struck. Can you think of a better place to be and leisure event than sailing and fishing with friends, food and wine in some of the world's best waters in fantastic seas..... I think not.

Sportmanship was tested when Vicki insisted on a measure of all booty, and I thought I saw a long lost ancient Druids technique being used by Vicki ....for stretching fish .....when Vicki measured her Mackerel.

It was declared a draw with all Mackerel over 820mm.

notice the consistent size. These are school Mackerel and obviously all in the same class.
Note the donger in one of the rod holders. This is used  to end any suffering on the part of the fish.
Mackerel were jumping out of the water at one stage, as high as 3 m ( I kid you not ), and one just missed out landing in SILVER MINX.

We returned to Chance Bay as the sun set , where we had several more strikes on the lures along the way, but unfortunately did not hook up.

Geoff skinned and filleted the three fish, and caught a couple of others ( eg lovely Sweet lips ) while doing the preparation work, and then we hung one of the Mackerel carcasses on a fishing line for the fish to feed on in the blue lights off the stern of SILVER MINX during the  night.
During  dinner ( of you guessed it ) fresh Mackerel, there was a sudden and furious commotion at the back of SILVER MINX   caused by  several strikes on the Mackerel carcass by sharks ( about 4 footers ) which just circled the back of the boats blue lights ( three attacks and the entire carcass was gone ).

the rear admiral bagging an endless supply of Mackerel

the Sweet lips cooking up nicely in the large electric 380mm  fry pan

In the mornings we would paddle to the smaller of the two beache, for a swim and stretch, and whilst  standing knee deep in the water for a serious discussion on life and people we knew  ( for about 45 mins ) we witnessed the local life swim by only  a couple of feet away (several times in fact ) , including  a large sting ray, a 4 foot shark, whiting, garfish crabs etc.

On the Friday , Geof and Vicki were due to pick up their next boatload of lucky guests, and LAST WORD  needed to up anchor and motor  to CID  Harbour for internet/phone access ( while  SILVER MINX used LAST WORDS  berth at Hamilton Island to replenish stores and  collect their guests).

 Whilst at Cid Harbour ( where surprisingly we could not receive any telephone /internet signal) , Capt Barry investigated and  replaced the blown fuse for the Ericson W-35 internet router ( and it worked again ) , however, we decided to return to Hamilton Island to restock , spend a night and venture out again the next day.

Capt Barry promised rear admiral Julie he would catch up on the blog, which took all the next day.

On the Saturday 9 22 nd Sept ) plans were made to leave Hamilton Island, Sunday 23rd Sept for another night on anchor in the Whitsundays and entry to Abel Point Marina , Airlie Beach for fuel and provisions Monday the 24th , as LAST WORD is heading north to Townsville to collect David and Rhy then onto the Palm Group of Islands and  Hinchinbrook Island before dropping them back at Townsville, where we hope to collect Graeme Barker, who is planning to join LAST WORD for  the passage back to Airlie Beach by the 7th Oct.

By for now.