We wake at Enderby Island to a misty drizzle with no wind. During the night there was an awesome electrical storm with forks of lightning flashing all over the sky... fortunately, not at us.
The plan is to do a day/nighter all the way to Exmouth, where we will re-fuel and water; then stop for the night of the 17th at the top of the Ningaloo Reef. From there south is where we want to stop and enjoy the marine extravaganza on show.
So at 0730, in the mist, we raise anchor and leave Enderby Island and the very hospitable Dampier, for Exmouth. As we travel the 10 miles out of the Exmouth harbour, the weather gradually clears and becomes quite nice. We are back on watches, but this is now a breeze for us, because they are now only 2 hours up, and also we are pretty used to them now.
There is no doubt that the highlight of today was Mole catching the biggest fish of his life, landing an estimated 80lb Giant Trevalley after fighting the beast for 25 minutes. We sent this giant back to the sea after the necessary photo shoots, but not long afterwards Mole regretted not getting a shot of he holding him in his arms (if in fact he would have been able to!!!!). This fish was a monster.
After a mixture of nice sailing breezes with main and headsail on a tight reach to close-hauled, to no winds and only under motors, we arrive at Exmouth boat harbour about noon. It's a Saturday, and we cannot reach anybody by phone or VHF....Port Authority, Fuel Provider...and we get frustrated. We decide to enter the marina anyway and look for the bunkering station. Thereafter, the experience changed appreciably, thanks once again to the friendliness of the western Australians.
This is a small but very tidy, efficient marina catering to pleasure and commercial, and with a double launch ramp for the trailer boats. We found the bunkering station to be where a large Prawn Trawler was fueling up; and next in line...a Westcoaster charter boat just returned from a 6 day charter of diving, fishing, snorkelling, swimming with whale sharks.....you name it... They invited us to raft up alongside, and we got some good dialogue going as they cleaned their boat and we prepared to fuel. Heaps more inside local knowledge of where to go as we head down the reef and the coast.
These wonderful guys even let us fuel before them, even though they were ahead in the queue!! I have to say it is so good to hear again the word "mate" spoken repeatedly by an Ozzie, and "No worries".
Starting to feel like being back home.
Just a note, that the water here is still not drinkable, due to the very high calcium content. We are motoring through our bottled water supply.
A couple of hours later, we exit this marina and head out of Exmouth, hang a left to port and 10 miles later find an entrance in through the reef at a place called Tantabiddi. The entrance is marked by leader markers on shore and is a good anchorage at the start of the reef. We arrive late afternoon in glorious weather for an afternoon swim off the boat in crystal clear water. The water temp has cooled a bit since Indonesia but 26 degrees is still very comfortable swimming!!!!
A great few days in a wonderful part of the world.