Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cruisy days in Carnarvon

Yes indeed, our few days drifting over the calm waters of Shark bay were a treat and it reminded us of our days on Geographe Bay, that fairyland of fair weather sailing. Just up with the anchor and casually motor/sail to the next 5m anchorage over sand and sit and marvel at nature's beauty. Well, it was a short lived respite as you will hear later. First we had to deal with Carnarvon and dealing with Carnarvon means dealing with the Fascine, a cute little waterway that winds its way from the main channel, over a sand bar and up towards the center of town. We've been up the Fascine before, in fact it was my birthday 7 years ago and we were on our way down to Fremantle. I remember that birthday well. I woke up on the 20th of September 2004 and noticed that Norlee was heeling over and we were not anywhere near an ocean. Yes dear readers, we were on our side in the Fascine, having picked the wrong hole to anchor in. You see the Fascine is shallow and anchoring depends solely on finding a hole deep enough for your draft. Anyway, back to this trip up the Fascine. We had planned our entry to coincide with high tide (1.09) and having bumped our way in before we were expecting something similar this time. I radioed Sea Rescue for any updates on conditions and they replied, Ohhhh, since the floods the bar at the point has got a lot shallower, take care! Great, take care, what was he expecting, The Doctor with full sail hitting the bar at 7 knots.....Not likely. Just as we were closing on the entrance, another yacht, Naughty Girl, a Swanson 42 radioed up and said they were coming back from 10 weeks up north and we could follow them through. This was appreciated as we had already made 3 attempts to get across and got stuck each time. Kokomo V, our sailing companions looked on and after our third attempt said bugger that and headed for the Fishing Boat Harbour. We watched Mark and Chris off Naughty Girl make their way, about mid way between the south cardinal marker and heading for the green starboard maker on the channel. Then they stopped. He put the throttle down and after much mud and froth they pushed through. He called up once he was through and said to go a little more to starboard. I did. The depth dropped to 1.6 m and we draw 1.8m but Doc never stopped, she just ploughed on through the mud and sand and we were through. The channel is pretty good from the entrance onwards but anchoring is where it gets tricky. We decided to find the deepest spot and stay. Unfortunately, it was right in the middle of the channel, just near the yacht club. Well, it was in the middle on a northerly but when the wind blew southerly were hanging outside the channel but sitting in 1.3 m at low water. The Water Police did a run through the channel one day to warn those boats sitting in the channel and Doc just happened to be on southerly swing and sitting obligingly just outside the channel.

The Fascine, Carnarvon
We had a week in Carnarvon and got a lot done. We had a bigger alternator (120 amp) put on and had the water maker rewired. The previous wiring job was dangerously undersized for the current draw despite being done by a so-called electrician. Frank, Karen and I had haircuts and as there are only 2 hairdressers in town we all ended up at the same place. As fate would have it we scored the butcher of Carnarvon who had obviously done her training circa WWII. We all looked the same. Diana actually booked an appointment and as she was the only customer for the day she enjoyed a 3 hour session staring at herself in the mirror. The Yacht club in Carnarvon caters for cruising yacthies so well and we made full use of the showers, washing machines, freezer, fine meals and friendly banter. It's worth the effort getting across the bar and on our way out we had a 1.4m tide and sailed over the entrance with nothing under 2.5m. Mark Darcy, the Cruising Commodore at Carnarvon Yacht Club lent us his car for a day and we did the big shop. 500 bucks at Woolies, Mitre 10, bottle shop, Post Office and we drove out and paid the Auto Sparkie. We left the Fascine Saturday morning after refuelling in the Fishing Boat Harbour and made our way towards Cape Cuvier, a dubious anchorage but at least a safe stopping point in daylight.
Carnarvon was a busy week but we got all those important jobs done and we could set off knowing that we were full of water, fuel and provisions, spare alternators and chocolate. We were ready to take on this West Coast once more and to see what little treats it had in store for us.............coming in the next blog...

"30 knot squall on sunset as we make our way into Maude's landing Coral Bay"

 ahhh you gotta love this west coast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kokomo V leaving Cape Cuvier

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