Saturday, April 4, 2020

Further north than we thought.


Upstart in Shelter Bay
We left Dunsborough in the morning of Friday 27th as planned to get some fuel and water from the marina at Busselton. When we left we had in mind that we would either return to Dunsborough in the afternoon, in fact we nearly left the dinghy there to pick up later, or spend the night in the eye-wateringly expensive marina and leave for the Abrolhos in the morning.

What is that saying? Something about if you want to make God laugh just tell her your plan! While we were filling up the tanks Jenni learned from the woman in the office  that the Abrolhos Islands were now closed and being patrolled by Govt. vessels refusing people entry. On top of that a total ban on inter-regional travel within Western Australia would come into effect on the following Tuesday 31st March at midnight.

Well that certainly got us both thinking hard. There are not many places on the west coast where a yacht can find safe anchorage in all weathers. The Abrolhos are only reasonably safe but they do have the port of Geraldton about 5 or 6 hours away if needed. The other place which is good is Shark Bay, about 170 miles further north. Shark Bay covers an enormous area and with its many arms and bays a yacht can always find a good spot in a blow from any direction.

Within half an hour we had decided that Shark Bay was do-able in the time and weather forecast that we had, and we would go for it. However, it meant leaving before the ideal time by about 12 hours and those hours were spent close hauled on the wind and getting pounded in order to make headway north. In the early hours of the morning we were hit by a 35 knot rain squall for a short time and as it passed the wind shifted, as forecast, to the south west and we were off with the strong wind behind us. We took a straight line course which meant that we passed the Perth Metro area a safe 40 miles or so to seaward, and settled in for a more comfortable ride for the rest of the passage.

Happy Birthday Enid! Toasting Jenni's Aunty who turned 90 whilst we were at sea.
We were making good time and found ourselves due to arrive at Steep Point, the southern entrance to Shark Bay as the sun would be going down on Monday evening. If we had continued at our normal speed we would have covered the 500 miles in just over three days. As it was, we needed to wait not only for daylight but also for an incoming tide, all of which happened first thing the next morning.

Passing Steep Point on the way into Shark Bay at dawn
We spent the night just drifting along very slowly and then comfortably motored into Shark Bay at 7am on Tuesday 31st March, anchoring in the aptly named and completely deserted Shelter Bay. Normally it would be full of camping and fishing people and at least a few other boats but it was now eerily empty.

Shelter Bay all to ourselves.
We have been here  for 5 days now and have only seen one other human who came by to say hello. He is with his family on a big motor yacht doing the same as us in another bay around the corner.

Shagsville. The birds are our only neighbours above the water.

So many dead starfish - we wonder what happened to them.
We are planning to move to Sunday Bay tomorrow which is very close by and sounds lovely for swimming, snorkeling etc. It also has a phone signal without having to hoist a phone up the mast so we  will be able to talk to family and friends. We also want to phone the shop in Denham and see if we can order some long-life milk and a few other things that make our life even more luxurious.

Old school SSB radio weather forecast and news.
We are glad we did the mad dash to get here. It was a slightly worrying time as we had no idea what sort of reception we would get when we arrived but so far so good despite reports along the way telling us that Border Force had some big vessel here. We have seen no black clad, gun toting warriors so far. We are feeling very lucky to be where we are and in our own little self-sufficient floating isolation resort.

Take care everyone and stay well.
Collecting a bit of starter bait.
First catch, a Long Tom.

2 comments:

  1. Wonderful to keep track of your adventures! Have fun and stay safe!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great to hear you are safe and snug in Shark Bay. Lots of places to explore to keep yourselves occupied during the lock down. Enjoy having the place to yourself!

    ReplyDelete

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