Tuesday, 6 November 2012

segment 44: Preparation for passage home and Hamilton Island to Scawfell Island

segment 44: Preparation for passage home and Hamilton Island to Scawfell Island
Saturday and Sunday 3rd and 4th Nov. 2012,  52 NM

Rear admiral Julie had booked a flight home today at lunchtime, and was busy preparing a few notes outlining where what food could be found, what food Phillip should have  (being a vegetarian )  and what food  Capt Barry should have, and even added a nasty note that Capt Barry might learn to cook during  the passage home.

After writing her notes, rear admiral Julie spent some time on the internet and phone for her business, Bead Them Up, then booked a taxi to take her ridiculously heavy suitcase to the airport.

The weight of the suitcase was  simply amazing. Capt Barry weighed the suitcase at 24 kgs and was informed that it was basically clothes the rear admiral was taking home, as her part of the fantasy trip to the Whitsundays was over. However, when Capt Barry  looked in the walk in robe , it seemed just as full of the rear admiral's clothes.

Capt Barry is still trying to figure out where all the clothes came from.

Any way, Capt Barry's back is almost recovered  after  lifting rear admiral Julie's suitcase off LAST WORD, and that is the main thing.

Capt Barry went to the airport with rear admiral Julie, pecked her on the cheek  and saw her off , then returned to LAST WORD and gave her a good dust and  clean, and moved some of his own personal items into all those convenient spaces that rear admiral Julie managed  to monopolise.

After the spring clean, Capt Barry got down to the serious business of planning the passages home , with some options available for bad weather.

Capt Barry was expecting one of his work colleagues, Phillip Rattenbury, to fly into Hamilton Island the following day to assist with some of the passages south the following week, and was looking forward to the catch up.

To make the journey home interesting,  Capt Barry considered  various  passages , including several islands and creeks , and maybe Lady Musgrave Island, would be doable , arriving at Bundaberg about the 10th Nov.

After further homework, which took several hours, checking distances between the various stopovers, and checking the tides and sunset times for various locations over a range of dates , Capt Barry settled upon a likely list of passages with slippage factors and one or two   alternative longer ( double )  legs, in case we had to make up some time, due to bad weasther forced stopovers.

The next day, Sunday 4th , Capt Barry prepared LAST WORD  for the trip south, and visited the general store for fresh milk, bread and fruit , then walked to the airport to meet Phil who was scheduled to land at 12.25pm..

Phil's plane arrived 15 mins early, ( something to do with the pilot saying he took a more  direct course to miss a storm cell near Mackay )  and as Phil could not find Capt Barry at the airport, Phil  started walking to the marina, and managed to score a lift in a golf cart, and must have passed right by Capt Barry, either at the airport or on the one short road to the marina.

All worked out fine , if not for the better, as Phil received a lift and did not have to carry his bag to the marina , and after telephone tag Capt Barry made contact with Phil and directed him to the correct berth and met  Phil about 5 mins later at LAST WORD.

Ten minutes after meeting,  Phil changed into shorts and had  sunscreen and a hat on, and Capt Barry gave Phil a quick refresher on the boat systems and where every thing was ( including the emergency bits and pieces eg  the epirb,  lifejackets, spare hand held VHF radio and grab bag ). Capt Barry then outlined some options regarding various passages , which included spending that afternoon and  night on Hamilton Island, however, Phil was all for departing right away and getting on with the adventure.

Accordingly we made final preparations for passage and at 1.30pm  LAST WORD slipped out of her berth and headed for Scawfell Island , 52 NM south,  (and about 23 NM  off Mackay).

The wind was 10 kts from the east and the seas were 0.5m also from the east , and the temperature was in the high 20s. The seas and wind were  predicted to get up later that evening and over the next two days, but be less of an issue further south , which is one reason we decided to leave that afternoon.

LAST WORD sat on about 1100 rpm and made 9 kts with the wind and seas coming at 11 o'clock. As the trip was going to take about 5.5  hours and  sunset was at 6.13pm we did a couple of speed runs to ensure we arrived just before sunset , and to clean out the engine injectors, exhausts and heat up the engine oil - all good for the engines in moderation.

Capt Barry showed Phil how to program way points , and that it was not necessary to stay in the helm chairs all the time , as long as a wary eye was cast out the window every so often.

Phil got the gist of not needing to be at the helm all the time , as evidenced by the lack of Captains Barry and Phil , whilst underway.

Most of the trip was extremely pleasant weather and we ventured upstairs to the fly bridge where Phil nodded off to sleep a couple of times after enjoying a light beer.

these Steiner binoculars are really excellent. Phil in charge

LAST WORD  has two tenders for this trip north. The smaller tender is also kept on the fly bridge , and as it  is only 15 kgs it is  easily put over the railing and lowered to the water when needed., and just as easily retrieved .

About 5.00pm the sky came over quite dark and we passed through a couple of rain squalls with winds up to 20 kts. It must have been one of the storm cells that resulted in Phils plane changing course and arriving early.

We arrived at Refuge Bay ( where three other boats were already anchored ) at 10 mins before sunset and set the anchor then settled down to a beer whilst discussing dinner options and options for the next days passage.

Phil discovered rear admiral Julie's food notes , and ( after a quick phone call to obtain further cooking instructions ) we broke out the pasta , and Phil had penne napolitana and Capt Barry had penne bolognese,  accompanied by half a bottle of fine red wine.

Capt Barry had a little bit of trouble turning on the induction cooktop, and had to resort to the instruction manual. Phil , being a solicitor had no problem following instructions.

the cockpit was still a  bit wet from the rain squalls that passed , so we uncovered only the area needed for dinner outside. The pasta and red wine were excellent. We were proud that we managed to cook ourselves a fine meal with only the basic instructions from rear admiral Julie by long distance phone call. 

After dinner we settled down to watch a DVD, but when Phil fell asleep ten minutes into the movie, Capt Barry called it a night and we turned in for the evening.

TRIP: 52 nm, 4.75 HRS,   AV 11 KTS AND 70 L/H TOTAL.

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