Guinevere.net.au
Paul's Around Australia Trip 2011

Leg 7 Darwin to Broome

Crew

Bob Westcott

Peter Morante

Ray Clarke

Peter

Where were we? Ah yes, the hard drive had crashed on the boat so there has been a lull for over a week.

The crew arrived in Darwin in a very tired but happy state.  Pascal was anxious to get back to his girlfriend so he got off the boat and got straight on  a plane. The rest of the crew had a final dinner with Julie at a very nice Italian restaurant at the new waterfront area.

Darwin was hot! Day temperatures of 31 degrees and at night on the boat it seemed like 27. ( I imagine all the Sydney people reading this would be jealous, as it is cold, windy  and wet in Sydney at the moment.)

Before the new crew arrived “Guinevere” took the Morante family and friends on a harbour cruise, which was very pleasant. (I’m not sure if boats and little kids and crocs are a good mix.) Thirty crocs at least a year are “removed” from Darwin harbour.

On the last night in Darwin, Claire and Pete (Paul and Julie’s niece and husband) kindly hosted a barbie for the new crew; Bob, Ray and Pete. It was a great night.

On the departure day tension was mounting, last minute food (not too much meat as Ray will be catching lots of fish) and grog was stowed, the new crew was getting excited and anxious to go, family and friends were waiting to farewell the boat and.......they couldn’t go anywhere as one of the crew had forgotten their glasses.  Glasses were searched for and then at last  they were off on the leg to Broome.

The crew has promised faithfully that there will be no more cleaning fish next to water!  (Everyone knows the story of Ginger Meadows.)

KIMBERLEY WILD AND WONDERFUL

It is 5.30am saturday the 23rd - already light - we are moored in Koolama Bay near the entrance to King Georges River . Not a sole in sight - peace trnaquiility and solitude . Sun now peaking over the hill at 6.05am

Waking up order - Bob 5.15am , Ray 5.45am Paul 6.10am and Pete still sleeping - now up at .6 50am . Bob is happy, so good to wake up when it is not pitch black .

there is a sense of excitement - we negotiate the sand bar across the entrance of the river to one of the jewels of the Kimberley - has it all 3 waterfalls , freshwater swiiming holes,cave paintings ,red cliffs of gorge ,fish and crocs - see

The entrance is less than 20 metres wide with shifting sands bars so need full tide and some luck - more later

We left darwn on wed 20th at 1pm- not a great start as negotiating the lock we managed to break a casing on a navigatation light ( now fixed by the bush mechanics ) and drop a fender into the lock ( retrieved by the lock master ) Everyone running around like chooks with their heads cut off . paul very relieved that darwin is the one and only lock on the trip

It was a fast sail from Darwin across the Bonaparte Gulf to King Georges River -first night 30 nm from darwin at Tapa bay and then 33.5hrs starting at 3am thursday morning ,222nm av 6.6 knts

It was a "bumpy" and rock and roll ride - with winds up to 25 knots

Bob and Ray both kindly gave some burley over the side to assist with fishing

Skipper paul gets a prize and thanks for being very very patient - which rope ( sheet ) do I pull how does this work again ??? etc As with other legs a big thanks for cooking a minestrone soup when no one else wanted to go below let alone attempt to cook something

A big thanks for Bernard also for having the invention of the year - being the "piss"bottle defintely meant that we didnt have to go below or attempt to do it over the side when the boat was on it side - i know too much information.

We have agreed however the Bernard should take his invention to the ABC inventors show for in the safety and or adventure category

After 36 hours we are older and wiser sailing wise - still "we all did good" especially seeing ray and pete had not sailed before and Bob had never sailed overnight and needed in any event a big refresher on most things sailing .

some short notes

Fishing - no luck up to saturday - the master fisherman Ray just had to go to the Darwin gun and fishing shop to have a look and buy - no guns but some more lures .Have sighted 3 sea snakes , dolphins ,green fish .dungong

News flash - ray very happy - we were moored near the twin water falls saturday night when a dirty big cruise ship the true north lumbered up the gorge to disturbe our peace . They then asked politley whether we would kindly move as this was the only place they could safely anchor - Ok but on the condtion we have your waypoint so we can navigate the sand bar .

So off we went - Ray previously had been trolling behind the boat with no luck - even with the best burley - anyway lets try while we go the short distance up the river where there were some mangroves you might catch mud crabs , mangrove jacks ,barrumundi golden snapper etc- When suddenly - bang- ray shouted "ive got one " - action stations - bob get the camera , pete go to neutral , paul i will get the gaff, ray do what you do best and dont lose it

The rod bent and bent - with the T shirt "fish fear me "( thats another storey ) there was no way this baby was getting away - ray also had the clarke fishing honour to live up to - he couldnt go to the kimbereleys with no success

Paul expertly gaffed the fish in the guts -no mucking around here - so what was it a prize barrumindi - no - it was a Barracuda - a first for ray - so after a look up of the fish book we read' the barracuda has fearsome teeth but is rarely targeted as "as the flesh is of poor quality and removing the hooks is difficult "

Ray get it right next time and catch the other barra

Food - provsioning for 20 days was a challenge - trivia question . How many onions in a 20kg bag - i know a bloody lot but defintely there is over 220 -Whoops over catered - we also bought a case of apples , oranges , potatoes madarins and bulk other veges . so far so good with exception of carrots - 15 had block spots after 3 days - claire pete is the master carrot peeler - he peeled the lot whichc we then put in fridge - said he would be happy to peel any vege in future know that he knows it is so easy .

Stuff ups -

Bob - lost hat overboard after a big wave hit and he was drenched - took cap off to dry and then wind blew it off - tried to persaude them to retrieve as man overboard drill but with wind of 25knts decided to move on

Navigating sand banks to entrance - did all the right things - moored in bay day before - did review in zodiac - read 3 books - etc etc So with confidence we set off 2hrs before full tide - we were going fine 4 metres , 3 metres ( draft is 2.2 ) 3 metres then "shit "2.2 then clunk - in reverse quick smart - trouble was left and right - same applied - all readings close tot 2.2

After 3 touching bottoms we somehow managed to get through the entrance - now happy to have the way points from the cruse ship with a draft of 2.1 metres .

Bob - climbed clift to top of waterfall saturday - not for the faint hearted - a rope ladder of over 100 metres straight up - used the rope to assist to pull scramble up - thereafter a magnificent explore around to find cave paintinngs - up river beds more climbing up clffts - very special - finshed up wih skinny dip in freshwater pool - much needed wah after 4days

All well negotitiaitng climb down the ladder when pete said somehing has fallen from you - could be your camera - yep thats what it was - yep no problems camera is shock proof and water proof to 6 metres - trouble was in this 6 meters could be crocs so there it stays .

Highlights

Night skys - never seen anything like it - every star visible as no cloud cover - paul a mine of information with a star lesson ove a number of nights

We had another night in The King George River gorge (wait till you see the photos), a classic deep water Kimberley gorge with a shallow sand bar entrance, mangroves, "cathedral " like rock walls everywhere, waterfalls, crocodiles, sharks and all kinds of fish ( but not many interested in our lures apart from 3 hungry barras-- cudas that is, not mundis). We saw ospreys and white bellied sea eagles and both species were seen to plunge in and catch fish.We walked up to the top of the second set of waterfalls for a cooling dip on Sunday afternoon and then motored back to the rivermouth to anchor in readiness to negotiate the sandbar early the next morning. A big pleasure boat had given us his waypoints that he had used to get in, which was comforting, as we had polished the keel as we had entered .

Big Pleasure boats full of wellheeled tourists flock to this place.While we were at KG River we saw "TRUE NORTH" and "GREAT ESCAPE" and a couple of others. These are big powercats, only draw about 2 metres and power though the sandbars.

Julie's fruitcake was the morning tea highlight.

Monday 25th: Up early to catch the tide and out across the sand bar, kissing the sand lightly only once. Skipper has been highly alert to this point and is now relaxed and gone back to bed for a kip, only to have the crew unintentionally jibe him out of his slumber. Having said that we are now all proficient sailers and navigators, according to skip. Guinevere is sailing along beautifully but we would like to go faster so prepare to put up the spinnaker. After getting every thing ready the wind springs up to ~22 knots so we just stickwith the head and mainsail. Today we rounded Cape Londonderry , the most northerly point of WA.

Anchored in bay near Cape Talbot and went ashore to a clean beach. Paul and Ray flicked lures everywhere but it was Bob who pulled in a metre plus shark we we processed and fried up for dinner. Average eating quality. We badly need to catch some decent table fish.

We have no idea what is happening in Australia or the rest of the world. We listen to the weather and thats all. Who's in government back there? Are the Eagles on top of the ladder now?

Tuesday 26th: Cape Talbot to Freshwater Bay. Up at 3 Am to catch the most advantageous current to take the 90 nM to Bigge Island. Have 3 lines out the back---Paul's big line with a deep diving Laser Pro redhead lure on the port side, Ray's new general purpose rod and reel with a red and yellow Crazy deep on starboard and a heavy hand line in close in the middle. While Ray is having a kip two of the lines get fouled and he changes to a Laser Pro 190 and is soon hooked up but snaps off as the drag is still set tight for the deep diver! Some words of exclamation are said and he then puts another Lazer Pro -a gold and black number. This attracts a monster and he is monstered!! The 50 lb braid is screaming off the reel and as he tightens the drag to no effect he is spooled and there are more words off exclammation and expletives. Since then there has been one other strike but a spat lure. Finally a spotted mackeral was landed which was eaten as sashimi and fried up.

Nevertheless we have been eating like kings thanks to Bob's cullinary expertise. He can knock up a feed from whatever is in the pantry".

It is 3.00am - A big days sail ahead of us -from Freshwater bay to Bigge island _ approx 90nm or over 14 hrs .

We have waved goodbye to our friendly sharks (last night we had 3 cruising around the boat and kissing the rubber ducky ).

The anchorage at Wary Bay at Bigge Island was the roughest so far - our notes had warned us that it was not ideal, but with light fading there was little option. As a result we were happy to get our feet onto terra firma and explore another Kimberley wonder.

We piled into the dinghy (think overcrowded ferry for mental image) and headed for shore where the first thing we noticed were turtle tracks leading up the beach to a depression where eggs had been laid.

But the main reason for visiting was to see some of the Aboriginal rock art that can be found in the caves of the headland. It wasn't hard to find as just about every cave and crevice contained something amazing to look at and ponder (including human bones). The obligatory (unsuccessful) attempt to catch fish and it was time to up anchor and set a course to Kartja Island which is part of York Sound. In this part of the World it's all about tides, current and troublesome parts of the charts that read "inadequately surveyed"....

We were hoping to arrive early enough to explore a cave system which can only be accessed at low tide, but wouldn't you know it we were held up by a flood of fishing frenziness that landed a Spotted Mackerel (Ray), a Spanish Mackerel (disguised as some weed - Ray), a Spanish Mackerel (Pete - coached by Ray and Paul) and, wait for it, a Spanish Mackerel (Bob - coached by Ray, Paul and Pete [who by then knew all about the intricacies of landing Spanish Mackerel]). The fishing day ended with a small shark. We had beef for dinner (go figure).

We are over half way on the darwin to broome trip - we have travelled approx 2/3rd of the distance and all is well on Guinevere . We are manageing water useage well but as we have not been to fresh water creek for some time we all becoming - "cursty old sailors "

A welcome excursion to fresh water at samson Inlet for a much needed wash and will be

We are still all grapling with the "weird " part of the kimberleys - in particulat the tides and currents . In addtion to having a difference of up to 11 metres on some days there are only 3 tides and on others only 2 - the tide difference on some days can be minimal - nearly the same or the next day

Rogers Strait - the Australian Pilot quotes this as a "treacherous passage". The chart has a note "no hydrographic survey has been recorded and accordingly mariners should proceed with extreme caution as unidentified shoals reefs and other hazards may exist. Throw in whirlpools to add interest and a spring tide of around 10 metres. We left at 7 to get the tide in the right direction (flood tide heads south) and left our sheltered anchorage and headed off to Sampson Inlet. This is a quite gorge and is noted as an anchorage suiteable for a cyclone shelter.

Not many other yachts around. The only other ships have been up market cruising ships with names like Kimberley Explorer and True North. You know they are expensive when there is a helicopter on the deck!

The night skies are wonderful. So clear and there has been no moon to lessen the impact. Paulie has been using his sky chart to pick out the major stars and some of the constellations. he can now confuse himself and everyone with names like Scorpious, Orion and pointing to the brighter stars and saying 'look; there is Sirius; Canopus; Archernar; Rigel and Betelgeuse". Saturn has been the main planet.

Paulie continues to write up the ships log each day and keeps a tally on the fuel, water, battery and gas. As this is the longest leg with to stops for topping up it has been a worry that everthing will last for the 21 days. The oranges are still ok as are the onions and potatoes. With water we have been able to wash in waterfalls and top up the jerry cans. Gas is still on the first bottle and fuel about one third used. We could almost motor to Broome if we had to.

Fishing update: We have dined well on spanish mackerel having caught 3 of ~1100 mm a few days ago and successfully releasing two. They were all caught while under sail which required us to heave to and get to action stations. Unfortunately we are not able to eat them all quickly enough and some of the mackerel is destined for bait. Nevertheless we had a magnificent BBQ of mackerel fillets and another huge meal of baked mackerel and vegetables and rice. We've also eaten spotted mackerel (top class eating) and have another small mackerel to eat (? Queensland school mackerel). We have also caught numerous sharks, usually while anchored in the evening. One suspected shark was unable to be contained and released himself by easily bending back the heaviest snap swivel we have! We've also caught a couple of eels.

1st and 2 august 2011

On the " road " again - early start to work with the tide and current -today off to Langgi where there are natural sculpture rock formations - Ducks horses heads or whatever you rimagination tells you it is

We are now in whale country and have sighted 3 pods of whales - close enough to observe blowing and or diving - warning in guides also to watch out for whales at night

now another sighting but much closer - and with a baby whale - very special.

We have had our first croc sighting at careening bay where there is a huge Boab tree-In 1820 Phillip parker King carved HMC Mermaid 1820 into the tree during his survey of australia The letters are over a foot high - query whether the letters were always that size or whether letters have expanded as the tree has grown .The mermaid spent spent 16 days at the bay for repairs.

The water in most bays and coves is that inviting cyrstal green and or blue" come in a for swim now colour" .The warnings everywhere are don't swim as crocs are about or there is a resident croc etc etc . After 10 days we had not seen a croc so we thought "ah why dont we just have a quick swim - Ranger Pete with his NT experience said you are mad, don't risk it - as the day was hot and the water so inviting we were about to take the dive when Ray said -Is that a log or a croc 30 metres from shore - sure enough it was a croc - it would surface for while and then dive - but each time it surfaced it was closer to shore.

In the meantime the tide had come in and the zodiac was in the water - the swim was quickly cancelled but we thought there was a chance for photo - problem was that the croc kept in coming august in closer to the zodiac - diving then surfacing. We were relieved when the outboard started the first time - damn the photos get us out of here.

Each bay or inlet is different - it is delight to walk on a beach where the only footprints are yours . - looking for shells , rock hopping ,bird watching ( Pete and Ray are avid watchers and now have over 30 different birds in their log ) and of course for Ray and Paul always fishing.

For the bird lovers - some of the rare sighitngs to date were white quilled rock pigeon Beach stone curlew.

One highlight of shore visits was caves near Bigge island which are only accessible at low tide- no rock art but a very impressive series of caves with natural light streaming through various openings .

news flash 10.15am 1st august

Action action - Ray - the " fish fear me" t shirt man's rod is bent over - what fish will it be this time - Paul immediately slows the yacht - sorry folks only weed - but then a shout from ray - look whales close to boat - stop or slow the boat Paul and then they will come to us - Sure enough they did - so close they nearly "kissed " us and so close you could see the barnacles on their backs - a tad to close for comfort.

There are now whales everywhere - diving up and down - we have given up counting

Fishing corner

Ray fishes 24/7 - even has a line out at most meals at tea time - until one night half way through a meal he had a strike and the shout was "shit not enother fish -" Lets see what it is anyway ( some l thought now, what would cath say ) - line was duly yanked in quickly to reveal under the stars a squirming wriggling eel - bugger back you go - and by the time we had finished rhe eel had gone.

Here is the fish count as at 11.25 am 2nd august 2011

Barracuda 4, spotted mackerel 1 ,spanish mackerel 3 , queensland school mackerel 2, bream1,golden trevally 1, giant trevally 1 , bluelined emperor 1 , shark 4 , eels 2- see trivia question below.

in addtion there were at least 4 probably sharks that in rays words have "monstered " us .

Food corner

We have been dining well but still havent mastered the bread making - currently tastes ok but a tad "heavy "- doesnt look like bread - not rising as it should . Cameron we need your urgent tips and advice as we have tried everything.

Advice for future crew - paul loves his bread - he is not a big fan of wraps or rice cakes.

The muffin trays have been a success - cooked muffins ( dead easy with packet mixes ) , no pastry quiches , bread rolls etc

Pete ( i dont particularly like fish ) has now eaten shark ( ok but chewy ) raw fish ( likes rays version -cured and lemon first ) together with Pauls BBQ spotted mackerel ( skin chared ) and rays baked spotted mackerel / and BBQ coriander and pepper rub golden and giant trevally and queensland school mackerel with soya and mayonaise sauce.

Ray has also won the prize for best presented meal to date.

We have all enjoyed the chats and meals outside - watching the sunsets and then the sky blanketed with stars - ther has been little or no moon so the stars are at their best . Ray in the grand Clarke tradtion can spin a good yarn - it has been great catching up with the WA relatives news and gossip for paul bob and pete and vice versa .

Trivia questions - how well do you know the crew

Who is always first on walks - mountain goat paul , ray , pete or tail end charlie bob -

Who is first up and has yet to miss a sunrise - pete , paul ,ray or bob

What is the first section of the paper you read on the weekend - match to crew member

sport , boating section , cooking and or travel , front cover

How many lures does ray have on the trip - less than 10 ,10 to 15 , 15 to 20 , over 20 ????

Who has caught the most fish to date - Paul , Ray , Pete or Bob - incluidng catch and release but not sharks that have "monstered"us .

We have just finsihed a trip to Montgomery reef - another 4am start to ensure we were at the reef at low tide - There is a narrow channel into the reef - and for 2 hrs before and after low tide there are miny waterfalls cascading off the reef into the channel - tortoises were everywhere . Another must do in the komberleys .

This was rays and pauls first lenghty reef fishing excurion - paul was "monstered"twice and ray caught a prize reef blue lined emperor.

Last night we anchored at Raft Point - overlooks a huge bluff and island with the iconic Kimberly colours in the rocks in the bluff - further art in rock overhand after 20 min walk.

Tides still have to be managed - the difference at raft point we we moored was approx 21 metres - at low tide it was just over 11m. At one stage when we had trouble with anchor we were in water of 13 - just as well we moved as draft is 2.2 metres so with 10 m tides!!!!!

The variance is not only huge but quick -at raft point after leaving the zodiac 10 metres out in water when we left knowing that the tide was turning - we returned to find zodiac high and dry with a 30 metre carry over rocks .

2 August 2011

Plan A - travel from Montgomery Reef to Talbot Bay, home of the Horizontal Waterfall, in time for sunset drinks (stress level = low)

Plan B - fight a losing battle with the outgoing tide, find refuge in a small bay now known as "Humbled Bay", lick our wounds & continue in the morning (stress level = medium).

Plan C - as Plan B but resume our journey to Talbot Bay at night following dinner after the tide had turned, dodging islands, reefs, uncharted hazards, pearl farm leases (which may or may not exist) and enormous cruise boats named "Orion" (stress level = extreme).

Plan A was proven inadequate given unfolding circumstances which required the implementation of Plan B. Plan B also proved inadequate however, as no-one wanted to get up early so Plan C was swung into action. Shortly into Plan C it was obvious we needed a Plan D but given there was no Plan D, Plan C remained in force until completion.

3 August 2011

Awoke to find that we had in fact arrived safely at Talbot Bay & that the big tides were going to result in a spectacular display at the Horizontal Waterfall. Not long after the seaplanes carrying less adventurous tourists started arriving & we arranged to join a group that afternoon.

Paul & Ray took the opportunity to do a spot of fishing following some insider information from the catarmaran next to us, returning some hours later with stories of ones that got away & how a 6 horsepower motor on the back of a rubber dinghy is the perfect fishing vessel in conditions running a 10 metre tide and strong, unpredictable currents.

In his attempt to relive the exploits of early European mariners, Pete has stopped eating fruit & vegetables, relying solely on a diet of fish & the occasional bar of chocolate. Consequently his teeth have started disintegrating. He has subsequently agreed to stop eating fish.

Our tour boat was named "Jet Stream" & with twin 300 horsepower motors on the back made mincemeat of the falls. Trivia questions - which of the crew sat right at the front of the boat seeking the maximum thrill? Whose back up camera got wet & is now hoping to get a camera that is water proof & floats for their upcoming birthday? Which of the crew considered trolling his "Crazy Diver" lure during the tour?

After the trip we all braved a swim in the shark cage. Saw sharks and a big groper.

4 August 2011

Left Talbot Bay heading for Dogleg Creek where we could pick up some fuel as we have heard bad reports about fuelling up in Broome. "Fuel? I thought you were on a sailing trip" I hear you say. With the wind barely reaching 10 knots you would struggle flying a kite let alone move a yacht so we've had to resort to using the motor a fair bit recently.

To get to Dogleg Creek we had to traverse an area known as "The Gutter" near Koolan Island. Aptly named as the passage wasn't much wider than the gutter on your house & the currents rushed through like in a big strom. In this sort of situation you need to rely heavily on your GPS - or should that be your eyes? Ray, on GPS duties was very concerned that our track was a bit too close to land & was urging Paul to move left. Paul, on the other hand, eyes fixed firmly ahead, was concerned that Ray's calls of "more left" were in fact going to result in us running aground. The end result? Well, we made it through without incident, but our GPS had us passing right over the headland - Guinevere is now officially an amphibious vehicle!

After a textbook docking at the fuelling pontoon & scrounging enough cold hard cash together to pay we were told of a lovely place to "drop the pick" for the night just around the corner in Silver Gull Creek. Better still we could top up the water tanks as well as there is a permanent spring with water so pure "even the CSIRO can't make water that good".

Around in Silver Gull Creek a couple called Phil & Marion have set up a shack with a little souvenir shop and a yacht club (of which Guinevere is now a proud lifetime member). There's even the chance for a swim in the water tank. Following yet another flawless docking at the watering point we were all ready for a trip ashore. We took ashore some onions, garlic, apples, mandarins, potatoes & a bottle of Margaret River's finest red as a peace offering & quickly ascertained that perhaps some clothes might have been of more use. Marion had on a sarong & Phil greeted us in a splendid pair of ball-hugger undies. What an amazing couple though. They've been living there for 19 years & are now fighting a battle to stay as their lease soon expires. We all duly signed the petition (I doubt we would have been allowed to leave otherwise), had a swim in the water tank, checked out the souvenir shop then back to the boat to reflect on what had been a very interesting day.

5 August 2011

Off to Hidden Island and a place called Silica Bay. Not a long sail (oops - motor) but another morning of head scratching as we tried to work out what happens with the tide up here. In some places it seems to flow in the same direction regardless of whether the tide's coming in or going out. Everyone has given up trying to work it out except Paul that is who is constantly cruching the numbers & comparing primary & secondary ports. He has even taken up astronomy to try to make sense of it all & spends hours outside with "star wheel" in hand. Unfortunately for the rest of us the numbers nearly always result in a 3am start the following morning (except Bob who is usually up by then anyway).

Silica Beach has brilliantly white sand of powder snow consistency whlist the other beach just 200 metres away has normal yellow coloured sand. Another yacht was there for a short while but then left leaving us all alone for another magnificent night under the stars.

Pete has been officially crowned King of this leg's bread-making challenge after producing a loaf a height of which has not previously been achieved. A bake off with Cam will be organised shortly.

6 August 2011

Off to Cape Leveque. More whales waving their tails at us as they glide by. The tides & wind were relatively kind to us & we made good time arriving just on lunchtime. No time to relax just yet though as the anchor chain managed to get wrapped around the keel. Diver Paul went in to investigate & before long had freed Guinevere meaning we were one step closer to shore leave & the promise of ice-cream from the shop at the Resort. But before that there was a flurry of mobile phone hysteria as it was discovered there was service & contact with the outside world.

Thumbs hurting from all the dialling, texting & scrolling we headed off for shore. Ice-creams & coffee & more people than we've seen since Darwin. A swim at the beach (everyone else was swimming too so the odds were in our favour).

Fish Report: Still no signs of any Mangrove Jacks. Everyone says they are everwhere in the mangrove creeks and we have heeded all the advice (casting all kinds of lures, retrieving them fast and slow and in between and using strips of fish bait) but no hookups. Have been frustrated by vision of a couple following the retrieved lures and thats about it! Paul and Ray put in a big effort in Cyclone Creek near Horizontal Falls and Paul had a hookup on something big on his light rig as we trolled into the creek. We looked back to see a big silver fish leap into the air just like a Barramundi (it could have actually been one and we are definitely calling it a Barra). It leaped even higher a second time and with a mighty headshake snapped the line, leaving us to rue what could have been.

Hot action was had off a headland near Silica Bay . In the swirling tidal water waiting to pounce on some baitfish was a small school of Queen fish and one fell for a small blue bibbed lure and Ray's line took off . The fish leaped and darted off into the tidal current. After a short but vigorous tussle the fish spat the lure, but Ray's perseverence was soon rewarded, as not long later, a similar hookup and battle finished with a gleaming Queenie in the Zodiac. Not long after this Paul dragged a beautiful little Coral Trout. Both fish were released.

Motoring across King Sound today we were all watching a pod of whales off the strarboard bow. There were two big humpbacks and a calf and they were happily heading our way. We put the yacht into neutral and they passed across our bow with the mother slapping her big black and white tail a few times to tell us thanks for giving way. The yacht had slowed right down and the GPS and depth sounder told Ray that we were over a bit of a lump and in a flash he had his rig for bottom bashing over the side and was soon fighting an unwinnable battle with another big shark. With the rod bent double,the fish heading towards WA and the line screaming it was pretty obvious what was going to happen next. Yes, the line broke/was bitten through and we started up the motor and began trolling. There were terns flying around diving onto schools of baitfish that had been herded up by marauding pelagics that g were breaking the surface and leaping into the air.This action was taking place to our right and left but not where we were. Nevertheless we felt confident a fish would soon take interest in our offerings and, sure enough,it wasnt long before long Ray's reel was buzzing. After a short but decisive pump and wind session, and an efficient gaffing ,a sleek spotted mackerel of 6-8 kg was clinically despatched ,filleted and processed.

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