Thursday, 18 October 2012

segment 33: Cape Gloucester to Airlie Beach

Segment 33 : Cape Gloucester to Airlie Beach  25 NM,  then 
Airlie Beach to Mackerel Bay ( North Eastern part of Hook  Island)  22 NM
Tuesday 9 October 2012

Everyone was up early as the night was VERY ROLLY with the swell of about 1/2 to 1 M from the west.

We let the mooring go at 7.30 am , and headed around Passage Islet ( Shag Islet ) and into Gloucester Passage , which was as still as a mill pond. Amazing what difference it is to be anchored in the lee of an island or bay.

passing through Gloucester Passage where the anchoring was perfect, being protected from the swell.

We would have anchored there if the swell was present when we picked up the mooring or if we had not arrived back at the boat after dark, but we were not prepared to move to the better anchorage after dark and try to negotiate the shallow , twisty passage in the dark and at low tide.

We trolled part way back to Airlie Beach, but without a strike, and arrived at Abel Point Marina at 10.00am.

we trolled around the rocks

the seas were kind once again

Capt Barry had booked a time at the fuel birth for  10.00 am,  and after a short wait for another boat to clear  No 1 bowser,  we entered the leads and went straight to the fuel wharf, where  LAST WORD took on 1700 L (at a 10c discount of $1.66 / L.).

1700 L was what LAST WORD used for the entire 2 week trip from Airlie Beach to Huinchinbrook / Palm Island Group and back to Airlie Beach. Approx. 400 NM , and 38+ L/HR  (for both engines combined and the generator ) at an average of 9 KTS.   Not bad actually.

After fuelling Capt Barry slid LAST WORD back 50 m into berth M00,  and all we did was swap the fenders from starboard to port tie up.

Capt Barry was not expecting to be in Abel Point Marina long (ie a couple of hours only ) , but was hoping to have the starboard engine sea water pump leak looked at / or fixed, and the master suite toilet solenoid valve fixed.

Service people had  been prearranged by Capt Barry, and we were hoping to get away about 3.00pm to join SILVER MINX ( Geoff and Vicki Player) at Mackeral Bay , on the north eastern side of Hook  Island for dinner and some squiding. We needed to be there, as we had 2 kgs of prawns , dips and the wine for dinner.

The resident Cat engine service fellow, David Warby ,  ( from Hastings Deering ) arrived and inspected the starboard impeller, but had to chop out the plastic cam ( which necessitated him driving to Proserpine for a replacement ), and after inspecting the water pump seal behind the impeller, decided to order a replacement water pump under warranty, explaining that a changeover was more efficient than servicing the existing pump seal.

 David then took live oil samples from both engines ( which came back as "A"s for both engines -  see earlier blogs for an explanation of that issue ) and left.
 David explained he would  swap over the sea water pump the next time LAST WORD would be in Airlie beach , in about 2 weeks time, and that there was no issue using the leaking sea water pump in the meanwhile.

While the sea water leak was being inspected, we had organised to have lunch with the marina manager, Richard Barrett , but Capt Barry had to delay his lunch ( and the others went on ahead ) as a marine electrician , Jon, arrived to look at the Tecma toilet solenoid /valve issue.

Despite Capt Barry explaining that this was a repeat problem ( as the valves have been replaced before) and that Capt Barry had done some basic tests to determine that the solenoid was functioning  , and that it appeared that the valve was jammed closed, Jon repeated and did additional  tests , and took the valve assembly back to his work place to look at it more closely.

the culprit solenoid and valve assembly, There is a fine gauze filter in the angled offshoot of brass.

Capt Barry accessing the troublesome solenoid and valve, under the floor , under the master cabin floor.

there's the bugger, . the blue bit is the solenoid, and the brass valve is under that. No wonder Capt Barry needed an neck massage later that evening.
Capt Barry took this oppotunity to join the others for a quick lunch break , and Jon arrived back about 45 mins later saying the valve  was jammed closed on the spring and he had released and cleaned it and it should work fine.

Capt Barry asked if there was a different brand of valve that he could install , but it seemed not that was readily available.

Jon installed the valve, AND IT WORKED FINE..........ONCE.

Capt Barry asked Jon to swap over the two valves and after this was done the toilet seemed to work just fine for several flushes - which fill before emptying ( and still is to this day).

Capt Barry ordered a new solenoid and valve,  as a spare , knowing that it was unlikely to play up again if a spare was on board.

Enquires of ( I should say a complaint to)  AMI the Tecma toilet agent , concerning the apparently faulty valves resulted in the AMI fellow denying there was an issue with the valves, and blaming the water pressure on board LAST WORD as being to high, causing the valves to jam. Capt Barry explained that the pump was a standard issue Flowjet that was rated at 2.8 bar pressure and that the solenoid and valve were rated at 7 bar pressure, but to no avail. Capt Barry will fit a pressure gauge in line to the supply side at some time to get to the bottom of this issue, but not now.

We managed to say good by to Jon and depart the berth later than planned,  at 4.30 pm, knowing that we would arrive, and have to anchor  in the dark, which is always a little tricky when trying to avoid bommies.

We had a great passage east across Whitsunday Passage ( in slightly lumpy seas and a 10 kt winds - all going with the tide, port to starboard )  and enjoyed another spectacular sunset from behind.

Rear admiral Julie did some speed runs , as she was hungry and looking forward  to seeing  the Players again, and we needed to get in front of several sailing yachts that would otherwise  make life difficult if we all approached the narrow passage between Hook and Whitsunday Islands at the same time.

We then made our way through Hook Passage ( between Hook and Whitsunday Islands ) and rounded Hook Island , north towards Mackerel Bay.

We came across SILVER MINX in south Mackerel Bay and anchored about 70 m off  shore,  in 22 m of water, putting out about 58 m of chain.

It was a bit rolly , but  Geoff and Vicki Player came across to LAST WORD by tender,  and we polished off the prawns, dips  and some wine,  then set about the serious business of squiding, from the boarding platform of LAST WORD.

The squiding was quite remarkable that evening. The  water was particularly clear in LAST WORD'S  purplish, blue, underwater LEDs.

There were several hundred small school fish , called  hardy heads, just swimming around lazily in the lights , whilst several schools of squid, with about 50 to 80 squid per school , and each squid being about 250 to 300 mm long, just zipping through the hardy heads,  presumably feeding upon them.

Several of the squid would  flash bluey / white ( ie luminess ??? ) every so often as they passed through the middle of the hardy heads , and we assumed ( as the hardy heads were becoming noticeably less in number as time passed ) that the squid  flashed like this when  they grabbed a fish.

The whole show was absolutely spell binding , like an orchestra of fish and squid, and had us all out the back watching for about an hour.

Geoff (NEP ) Player, armed himself with one of Capt Barry's squid jigs, and caught several good sized squid, but at a price.

As the squid were caught,  and brought out of the water, they - to a squid - squirted their black ink ( quite well directed actually ) at various targets.

Geoff's  NEW WHITE T shirt was the prime target, but Graeme and Capt Barry managed to suffer  hits as well.

Capt Barry, ( reacting to Vicky's observation that NEP was in one of his good T shirts ),  immediately ordered Geoff out of his good T shirt and into one of Capt Barry's older T shirts ( squid ink in colour), but a little to late.

Rear admiral Julie soaked Geoff's T shirt for 2 days then washed it, but there are still  faint black marks. Capt Barry suspects that this T shirt is now part of  NEP's squid tackle / attire .

We retired after catching a feed of squid , and the next morning,  Graeme discovered black ink sprayed over the starboard corner of LAST WORD'S gelcoat where the steps go up from the boarding platform. It washed off  relatively easily, thank heavens.

TRIP: Cape Gloucester to Airlie Beach, 25 NM, 3 HRS, 128 L/total,  av 8.2 kts and av 42 L/HR total.

TRIP: Airlie Beach to Mackerel Bay/Hook Island. 22 NM, 2.25 HRS, 123 L, Av 10KTS, 58 L/HR/TL.

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