Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gnarly Gnarraloo and Beyond

The anchorages, we may have mentioned, along this west coast are rubbish, and that is being very polite. The next available place for an overnight stop was behind a gap in the reef amongst numerous coral bommies and reefy outcrops. My mind goes back to the beautiful, safe and easy anchorages of the east coast, such as Mourilyn Harbour, where you could slip in, often night or day and drop your anchor in a calm and organized way. The roast would be cooking away in the oven ready to be served when the anchor was down.
Our entry into Gnarraloo was not quite that civilized I can tell you that right now.  We had been in there on our way south many years ago but could not recollect much about it. We only had our old log entry to go by, and it said, “Hate it here. Rocks everywhere.” The way in was to first identify a “conspicuous track” on the beach and take a bearing on it of 165 degrees. Then travel in on that bearing with someone on the bow to watch out for bommies. The conspicuous track being more camouflaged than conspicuous, was only readily identifiable when we were already well into the bay. This of course fills one with confidence that we will safely enter this rock strewn so called anchorage! (She says, yelling in her head) Rob was on the bow and found what he thought was a nice sandy spot to drop the anchor. The anchor hit the bottom and sounded like the gnashing teeth of some monster. We were obviously on rock. Frank and Karen on Kokomo had arrived by that time and had dropped their anchor 100 meters to the south, so we tried over there. Nope, same again. They subsequently dragged and had to re anchor. We tried another spot that looked like sand and yes at last the anchor held, and it didn’t sound like it was grinding away on rock. As the boat swung on its anchor the chain did drag disconcertingly over rock, but it was the best we could do. I checked our old log and amazingly we had anchored exactly in the same spot we had seven years ago in our previous boat Norlee.
Some people that we have spoken to have said what a beautiful place Gnarraloo is,  how clear the water, how great the snorkelling, blah, blah, blah. To me it is a rock strewn anchorage with dubious holding and questionable protection and I was only happy when we were on our way out of there.

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