Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Right. Time to bring you up to date

From Tantabiddi to Perth

As you now know, we are currently at Mindarie Keys Marina, North Perth, about one hours drive from Freemantle. This is a beautiful marina, and the whole area is reminiscent of Gulf Harbour Marina, Auckland, although much smaller. Also, as you have seen on the Voyage Gallery, we are parked right alongside the Dome Cafe, Waterfront Cafe, Marina Beauty, and also 2 pubs with excellent food (one of which brews its own beer... Indian Ocean Brewery... and it is excellent), an Indian Restaurant, and an icecream parlour. The facilities are just superb (good rubbish disposal, toilets/showers, but no laundry). They are smart here: they charge a low casual rate for 2 days for us to berth here so we make use of what's on offer here.... and that we have. Not only that, but Emotion2 has brought down heaps of wonderful locals whom just love to gaze at the boat, or take photos, some want to talk with us, and some we have invited on board.
There is all the shopping you could possibly want just less than 5 minutes drive away, including Coles and Woolworths.
Martin and all the team at the Marina Office are just sensational: they will do anything they can to help make your stay here as good as it can get. If you are coming to Perth, I highly recommend you stop in here for a couple of nights. It's magic.
I have put a link to the Mindarie Marina in the Links Menu, RHS this Home Page.

So we are at South 31 deg, 41 and East 115 deg, 42... just 6 degrees now north of Auckland.
The temperatures reflect that now. Since leaving Geraldton, it has suddenly got a lot colder, particularly at night, or in a wind. During the day, full sun, little wind... it is like a hot day in Auckland.

May 17 recall....

We were at Tantabiddi at the top of the Ningaloo reef after re-fuelling at Exmouth

May 18

We woke to an absolutely glorious morning, and at 0815 headed out through the reef for Norwegian Bay, about a 9 hour trip, through an area outside the reef popular for swimming with whale sharks. It was just a beautiful day but not enough wind to sail only. I think it was this day that I filmed "Come ride with Us". We made some diversions on the way looking for fish, and while we didn't land any today, we struck a marlin,
a huge mackerel just took the complete leader straight off Mole's rod (as I saw it leap through the air in full flight...magnificent!!!), and another huge hit we have no idea what might have been....

We anchored at Norwegian Bay at 1730.... a good passage entry, and anchorage, for all pleasure vessels.

May 19

0730, we raise anchor destined for Coral Bay..... another pearler day!!!
As we head south, we see a charter boat stationary some distance ahead, so assuming they were on a whale shark we divert slightly to sea toward the charter boat. As we near, we can see that the vessel is constantly dropping 10 people at a time into the water to swim with a whale shark.
Annie rushes down to her cabin and dons her swimsuit!!!
We have to hover nearby until the charter boat has finished before we can move in.
This takes a frustrating 30+ minutes for all of us, but especially Annie.
Finally, the charter boat collects the last of the swimmers and heads our way. The skipper was great... he told us exactly what to do with our engines to attract the whale shark to the boat, and a general good chat,
before he powered off back to base with about 40 very happy campers sitting in the back.
So, we headed to the spot.... but after searching for over half an hour... we could not find the whale shark.
We were all disappointed to have missed such a unique experience.

And so, we head for Coral Bay (and as I look at my diary, it was actually now I take the video "Come Ride with Us".. not yesterday).

We arrive at the entrance to Coral Bay about 1500 but it is a long, narrow, shallow, channel, into Mauds Landing. The markers are also very confusing, appearing to change starboard and ports as we go in.
Mole and I are sitting on the bows calling the depths back to Ron on the helm as we creep in at 2 knots.
The water is crystal clear, and it is difficult for Mole and I to call depths.... we just yell back... "looks shallow here Ron!!!!". We manage to negotiate the channel for about an hour (with just one little skim across some floral coral) and finally lay anchor at Mauds Landing at 1600. (see video "Channel into Mauds Landing" on Voyage Gallery or click Videos on Links Menu RHS this Home Page)

The day is far from over though.... it is a cracker evening, and there is a little town here not far from The Landing, so Ron, Annie and Mole jump in the tender and head for town, while I stay on board and take some more pics and vids as the sunset approaches. Once you have negotiated the channel, this is a beautful spot with plenty of anchoring room and depth. There are a lot of moorings securing charter boats of all shapes and sizes, and as I sit on board many fizzies come in on dusk to the breakwater and launching ramps, to take their catches back home for dinner. The township is only a 100 metre walk from the boat ramps, and has a pub, and good provisioning. Moley took some nice photos here as they returned just on sunset in the tender.

Apart from missing the whale shark, this was a cracker day!!!

May 20

Travelling into the township last evening, Mole, Annie and Ron passed over some beautiful floral coral and the plan was hatched that a snorkel was paramount before leaving Mauds Landing, so at 0830 the 3 of them jumped in the tender again for a coral snorkel. Again some excellent Moley photos on his underwater camera taken here.

At 1000, we raise anchor for a longer journey this time... a good day/night/day trip, back on watches, for Shark Bay... probably THE SPOT for whatever you want to do with the marine life here... whale sharks, turtles, dolphin, diving, snorkelling..............

Instead of going out the way we came in, and after Annie and Ron had spoken with the friendly locals yesterday evening in town, the decision was to pass through 5 finger reef (inside the Ningaloo reef) and exit the Ningaloo via the Yalobia Passage. This would save us hours. All the info says this should only be attempted by the experienced, but we were on high tide, the locals were confident (even with the boat our size) and we are feeling reasonably experienced now and felt confident this was the way to go.
Actually, while the 5 finger is tricky, we negotiated it with ease, and was in many ways easier than the channel into Mauds Landing from the North.
Through the 5 finger, and its hard to starboard and head for a narrow gap out the Yalobia Passage through the Ningaloo reef.

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