Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Summer in the South

It has been some months since we last wrote from Geraldton and the Abrolhos Islands. In fact that was last year, so we wish everyone a belated Happy New Year and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2021. 

Summer cruising south

Our ‘short’ side trip to Geraldton to deal with some documents turned into a three week stopover. The strong southerly summer wind pattern had set in and thwarted our plans to return to the Abrolhos which we didn’t fancy in 25 – 30 knot winds. None-the-less we enjoyed our time in Geraldton. It is a medium sized regional city by Australian standards with a fabulous modern, well designed and lively foreshore area right in town. With walk paths, play grounds, cafes, beaches, public art, BBQs, picnic areas and other facilities it’s very usable and full of people and activity. 

After a few nights in the marina we headed out into the bay and anchored off the town beach next to the port. This was a great spot to be - sheltered from the swell with easy access to the beach and a great view of all the happenings at the port and on the foreshore. Everything was in easy walking distance and over the weeks we ticked off most of sights and attractions in Geraldton – the fabulous museum featuring the Batavia wreck, art gallery, cathedral, library, HMAS Sydney memorial, Point Moore light house,  public art, beaches, and more. We especially enjoyed seeing Chris's friend Nigel Helyer's kinetic wind sculpture on the foreshore.

Nigel Helyer's kinetic sculpture Zephyr II on the Geraldton foreshore.

Horizon glass sculpture by Lucy Humphrey. Locally known as The Big Marble.

Rubik's Loos.
Public toilets Geraldton foreshore

At the end of October, we finally we had a break in the strong southerlies and set sail south. After a great overnight sail we made it as far as Lancelin before the south-westerly turned on us. As the dawn broke we headed in through the gap in the reef in driving southerly rain and tucked in behind Lancelin Island. This is an amazing bird sanctuary with hundreds of terns, noddies and other sea birds nesting there. A short boardwalk across the little island enabled us to walk amongst the birds who seemed so focused on their task of mating and breeding that they were not at all bothered by our presence. 

Lancelin island


Noddy mayhem as a sea-eagle comes hunting...

Eagle departing with noddy snack

An unguarded egg on the beach


Terns in love

Lancelin is not a great anchorage in anything other than a low swell as the reef is quite open. It gets very rolly and the channel through the reef closes out when the swell is up. After a week there we again had a break in the southerly wind and good conditions to head south to Fremantle. 

Lancelin anchorage

We had a fabulous fast sail reaching on a westerly wind and arrived at Fremantle Sailing Club late on Sunday afternoon 8th November, ahead of some bad weather forecast for the Monday. We were safely tucked up in the pen when that hit but were rather shocked by the cold wind, rain and hail. Welcome to the south! 

The next few months went by very rapidly with much socialising and catching up with family and friends, birthday celebrations, a road trip to Albany, Christmas, New Year, boat maintenance, shopping for spares and other goodies, kiteboarding, paddle-boarding, and  starting the dinghy building project.

The big 6-Oh!

Who turned 60?!

Flotties celebrating birthdays.
Jenni with cousin Cleve, sister Rhonda & nephew Oliver

The 1960 crew looking good. 
Dear friends of a certain age - Jane, Marie & Susan.

Greg and Jim lighting up the party


And then there was Christmas in Albany...

Jenni enjoyed a fun if somewhat chilly Christmas in Albany with long-time friends the Arderns.


Summer in Albany.
Our favourite beach with the newest addition to our close friends group - Molly.

In amongst all the busyness we made a couple of sailing excursions out of Fremantle with family and friends. Being summer holidays in the city area, the water-ways were very busy with all kinds of boats and watercraft, an experience we certainly weren’t used to! 


Lee family day on the water.  Grandies Temily and Avalon ready for the splash.

Jenni's new toy

Maiden voyage

Chris had the use of some fantastic studio space near Fremantle to make a great start on the new dinghy and its lifting arms.

Plans for the new Mebo12 dinghy

Lofting dinghy panels in the studio

Bulkheads taking shape

Laminating the lifting arms

Arms for hoisting the dinghy ready to be installed on Upstart

Chris's custom made carbon fibre brackets for mounting the arms

Having decided to avoid the crowds and not venture out to Rottnest Island or other popular spots at this time, we left Fremantle in late January and headed south aiming to be in Dunsborough at the end of the summer holidays. Our first stop was just over 20 miles away at the southern end of Warnbro Sound south of Safety Bay. A lovely quiet spot and seemingly not at all popular with boaties as we only saw one other boat. 

After a couple of days relaxing there we popped down to Mandurah some 12 miles further south and picked up a mooring just outside the inlet entrance. Mandurah is another large, busy city and very popular boating area. With jet skis and small power boats zooming around the anchorage we decided the best way to spend the 26th January public holiday was sailing out at sea. 

We set sail for Dunsborough at 2am and had a glorious night sail in a fresh easterly wind with an almost full moon and a billion stars. The wind died out in the morning so we motored for several hours until the seabreeze came in for the last 20 or so miles of our passage. 

We are now moored at Quindalup near Dunsborough and will spend the next 6 or 8 weeks here building our new dinghy at friends Steve and Ange’s lovely home nearby. 


Wonderful day on the water with the Scozzies.
Michelle, John, Bonny & Rowan visiting us in Dunsborough.


Popular posts