Dug in in Port Douglas + VIDEO LINK

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June 8th 2014
Published: June 8th 2014
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Friday we rode the dropping tide out of the Trinity Inlet, Cairns getting bypassed by the numerous tourist boats running people out to the nearby islands and reefs. As we got away from land the wind built to 20-25 knots and we had a good run under the poled out jib. We passed Double Island and throughout the day several rain clouds overran us and gave us a wash down, pre-empted with some gusts up to 30 knots.

Naomi helmed us most of the way to avoid seasickness, while I would hide downstairs from the rain with the companionway blocked up, playing snap with Alex. By about half two we were coming through the markers and into the smooth waters of Port Douglas. Motored passed the town, marina, yacht club and down into Packers Creek where we spent a week last year but were disappointed to find our familiar spot was taken by another boat. We went further down the narrowing waterway and dropped anchor to find we hung back only a couple of meters from the mangroves even before I had let out enough chain. Backtracked slightly to a wider spot next to a mooring buoy we hoped wouldn’t be used, and a sunken yacht with its two masts still jutting out of the water.

Manouvering to this spot required a U-turn which I impatiently decided to do between the river bank and a catamaran as I could normally use the bow thruster to spin me around in this tight spot but it wasn’t working. We could hear the motor whining higher than usual but no thrust was happening.

This meant I had to make a fifteen point turn in front of a few tourist pontoon boats who’s path I was blocking.

Well I usually only use it in marinas so will not need it for a while and I don’t fancy taking a dip in this murky crocodile infested water to take a look.

A strong wind warning and this being the last good sheltered anchorage to fix the TV ariel mounting made us stay an extra day amongst the mangroves, mossies and sandflies. This was my first time up the mast - fortunately only half way up - and Naomi’s challenge was to winch my weight up there!

I planned to start by removing the broken piece of bracket by drilling out the old rivets. As soon as I was hanging at the right height the wind picked up and it started raining! I wrapped my legs around the mast to get a good purchase with the drill and just as I was about to get through the first stainless steel rivet my drill bit snapped in half and was stuck solid! I tried drilling into this with a smaller bit which also immediately snapped. My drill battery was running low too so headed back down.

Returned with a hammer to whack the drill bit through into the mast and then took the rest of the rivets out without further problems. Back down and up again to change tools and collect the new bracket, and with some more pushing and shoving which is hard to do when hanging by a rope, got the rest of the new rivets in - job done. Naomi went up for a trip too to take care of a few other smaller jobs at a slightly higher altitude. Didn’t do much else the rest of the day as showers of rain kept us indoors.

Today we all had a lie in until 9:45 am - including Alex! This could be a new record. I had been up at 6 but as there was still a strong wind warning and it was raining I decided we were staying. Had pikelets for breakfast and mooched indoors as it rained all day. Had a hunt for the oil leak but found nothing except that it doesn’t seem to be progressing. We did venture out in the afternoon as the rain lessened and dinghy’d up stream to the town.

I stayed at the boat ramp jetty with the boat, dumping rubbish and filling a jerry can (well its plastic really) of water, while Naomi took Alex to Coles for some extra food supplies. I carried the full can back down the jetty and left it on the edge while I loosened the dinghy ropes. It must have been resting on the dinghy slightly as as I did so the can leant forward and slid into the water just out of my grasp, never to be seen again! I kicked myself and hoped no-one in the restaurant overlooking the ramp had seen. It was very full but I would have thought it would float but it may have been trapped under the jetty. Again I wasn’t game to go hunting in the murky crocodile infested water.

Coincidentally our backup water container developed a leak the day before, so we needed some replacement, so when Naomi returned I went back to coles to buy a mineral water box - the only option on a sunday. We returned to the boat in the rain, fought through the mossies on the deck, and down into the netted security of our cabin.

We should be leaving tomorrow for Cooktown - there’s still a strong wind warning for the morning and more rain but we really need to make some progress. There’s also a chance of thunderstorms…. I think if it looks as miserable as it did today I might just go back to bed again.

I made a short video of the first week of our trip, leaving Yeppoon and staying at Great Keppel Island and have now put it on YouTube - hope you like it:



8th June 2014

Great video guys more please. Luke I noticed in a photo you have some kind of growth on your chin, I hope it's not contagious!
10th June 2014

cheers Steve. Yes I am now developing a goatee beard - gives me something to do with all my spare time.
10th June 2014

cheers Steve. Yes I am now developing a goatee beard - gives me something to do with all my spare time.

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