How shall we proceed ?
Sitting around in Weipa we were discussing the pros and cons, the very windy weather gave us time…. more discussions didn’t make the decision easier…
We finally said the smaller issue is the crossing as it’s quicker behind us. A couple of days later we finally had a weather windows which predicted 4 days of calm weather and waves. Off we went, timing our departure time for a daylight arrival on the other side.
The first hours were calm as predicted, we were nervous for how it will be….. hopefully no engine problems to come or anything else happening.
Later the afternoon we were more relaxed and decided to put a rod out…shortly after that we hooked a spanish mackarel. meals for the next days secured 🙂
We hadn’t made a watch plan like 4 hours on, 4 hours off or similar, as it’s just the 2 of us. Your plan was if one of us is tired, he will sleep as long as the other one is feeling fit…. None of us had a real deep sleep, we were just too excited, but for a shorter period of time cat napping must be enough . As a result for us this worked fine. The hours passed slowly, but we made progress as planned. It is a very special atmosphere to be out on the ocean at night time, with no other ships around, no land in sight, unfortunately we had lots of clouds in the sky, so the nearly full moon was mostly hidden. But when he was out it was a bit like a magical experience, stars so close, we could have touched them !
Around midnight the waves picked up, same did the wind and we had a minimum of 2m high waves, through which we had to find a steering course. The maximum predicted wave height was 0.5m….. maximum wind speed – if at all ! – 10 knots….. In an instance we knew how small and tiny we are on that open sea . Our speed dropped down, so did our progress. With the sunrise the weather calmed down again, but it was a very long night.
The morning of the second day saw us cleaning Never Land from lots of dead flying fishes which must have been landed in the rough sea on our decks. We found them even on the flybridge level.
The second day was very similar to the first one : not as calm as before, but nothing to feel really uncomfortable…. our speed increased again and we knew we’ll be at the other side in the middle of the night : where was our timing ??
However, we finally saw the lights of Nhulunbuy (Gove), channel markers and light houses. We decided to not anchor in the night at our planned spot, as we knew that there most likely will be lots of boats, not everyone has an anchor light switched on and we also knew about several sunken boats laying aground. So we proceeded to – in our eyes- the very end of the long entrance and dropped our hook. Yippee, we are there !
Tired as we were we slept in half of the next day. Light rain, on and off, let us just stay where we were for another day.
When we moved to the main bay, named Gove Harbour – we found to our surprise another couple which we had met several times before, they were just arrived ! The world is a small one 🙂
Our days in Nhulunbuy (Gove) were filled with lots of rain and windy weather, waiting for a letter to arrive, exploring the couple of small beaches around the islets and of course jumping on a bus to explore Nhulunbuy City.
There’s a bus 4 times a day mondays to fridays which brings you into the small but tidy town. You’ll find a useful Woolies, several smaller shops and a couple of cafés. A bit outside we found also something like a Home & Hardwarestore and a very nice bakery. We could also replace the 2 broken rods, so mackerels & Co. : bite our hooks !
On days when the rain had stopped in the afternoon we went ashore to have some sunset drinks with other boaties on the beach. As the ocean was really rough we had to wear raincoats to stay partially dry ! We also enjoyed dinner in the Club House, which is open thursdays to sundays for lunch and dinner. Food was quite good and not expensive.
We could arrange to get fuel at the Perkins Wharf and on the 19th of July we found the weather calm enough to keep going.
New adventures ahead…