Paul's Around Australia Trip 2011

Leg 8 Broome to Exmouth


Richard Urquhart

Peter Doyle

Christine Clarke

Tim Eckersley

Guinevere spent 5 days in Broome and anchored on the bay south of Cable Beach. The moon was almost full and so 9-10m spring tides. We  had a huge walk with the rubber duckie to get fuel and water because we had to drag the duckie up to clear the high tide and at low tide there was this huge beach! The wheels on the duckie need a service after so much work.

Bob and Ray had wives (Gail and Cath) to meet so we did a sunset cruise. There were camels on the beach; many 4wds and lots of guests. Guinevere had all sails up so is now in lots of photos. Very special to have the sun setting and the moon rising.

Crew 6 left and the Pete and Chris arrived close together with Tim the next day. We had a cheapie car (of course we will not drive it on the beach) and then did the shop. Only a $500 shop as there was still tinned stuff on board.

Broome races were on so Pete n Paul dressed up in our best boardies and designed thongs and competed with the stilettos fancy hats and suits and ties. For the record horse 8 race 8 did not do well and the budget is blown out by some dollars. Great fun and walk to beach was convenient.

We managed to squeeze a visit to the Roebuck bay sanctuary in the Korean not on dirt road or beach cheapie hire car and then a final BBQ (leg lamb) at Broome.

We have lost count of whales with some only 50 m  away. They are so huge. Also a blue whale. Chris hates the sea snakes (nightmares in sleep).

My old faithful lure allowed Tim to bag the first fish (Spanish Mackeral) and then Pete landed a 12 kg tuna (biggest so far. Unusual landing technique (around the keel down deep then finally landed. Fridge full now. Sashimi was great.

We are off Port Headland with100 miles to go. All safe but Chris quite seasick. Strong winds to 35 knots last night so pretty full on. ETA dampier tomorrow midday.

Just had a very close encounter with a large ore carrier. Thank god for the AIS.

Here is Paul's version of the trip from Lagrange Bay (60 miles south of

Broome) Dampier. We did 338 miles in 57 hours and averaged 5.9 knots. The

wind varied from calm to 35 knots and there were very few anchorages to pull

into. So we kept going. Mostly the wind was favourable being east or

Whales were sighted often but a bit scary when very close (30 m or so). We

lost count but really enjoyed seeing broaches tail flips and many other

antics. Chris at night got a real fright when a whale surfaced and "spouted"

at 3am very close to the yacht.

We are anchored  off a small Island called East Lewis which is one of many

in the Dampier Archipeligo. Tomorrow we will motor 5 miles to the anchorage

off the Dampier Yacht Club where we will drop Tim and pick up Richard. In

addition we will get water, fuel, red wine and fresh vegies

Tim enjoyed it as follows.

Fantastic fun. Enjoyed the trip, whale watching, fishing and company.

Memorable moment for me was getting out of a warm bed at 3:00am climbing up the companionway to 35kt and 2m seas. Very exciting, especially the odd surf down a wave.

Everything on board worked brilliantly although sometimes was a little difficult stepping around the prostrate body of Christine. Can't wait for next time.

Finally Pete (who is always enthusiastic) saw it this way....OK.....So now I

put pen to paper after my first memorable week on Guinevere. We really have

had an almost cloudless week with plenty of sailing with wind nearly always

aft of beam. Paul is hoping for similar in the Great Australian Bight. Our

menu has ranged from scotch fillet (on the bbq) and baked vegetables,

preceded by fresh oysters gathered from the rocks on East Lewis Island,

through generous fillets of the 25 pound (12 kilo) northern blue fin Tuna

caught by yours truly (Peter still writing) or the 5kg Spanish mackeral

caught by Tim. We cooked all of our non frozen fish the night before last

and we look forward to having the last of it with mayonnaise, salad and

fresh bread today. There has been no shortage of appropriate fluids to aid

digestion. Last night's dinner table was adorned with a giant clam shell and

petrified wood pieces collected on one of mean beach combing forages. I

wanted to bring aboard 7 metres of really thick tugboat rope to use as a

fender for my dinghy back in Sydney, but the skipper disallowed the cargo.

This week also saw the preparation of a huge pot of minestrone soup, with

plenty of vegies and some seared chipilatas garlic and gluten free pasta

thrown in for good measure. This beaut brew provided three main meals for

the four of us. Summing up the has been most agreeable getting

from Broome to Dampier, and an appropriate place for me to finish reading

"Red Dog" by Louis de Bernieres, a great yarn set in Dampier. (I had

previously enjoyed "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" by the same author). Today

we are going to look at the statue of Red Dog in Dampier, and my wife went

to the film in Sydney last night. I spoke with her this morning and she got

a good feel from the film of the sort of country in which we are. I reckon I

am the lucky one as I have another three weeks on board til we get to Perth.

Chris stays for another week with Richard joining us to-day for this next

leg to the North West Cape via the Montebello Islands. Sadly we say good bye

to Tim to-day. This is Pete signing off til next time.

Last night we entertained at “The Monties” and invited Don who has been living on his yacht in this area for three years. Even though we invited Don to dinner he arrived with a couple of fresh crays (black tiger striped variety) and about $150 worth of turquoise blue spotted coral trout.  Not only did he arrive with the main part of our evening meal, but also a dozen cans of beer and a bottle of sav blanc. As all of the above was consumed (as well as a significant proportion of Guinevere’s  alcohol supply)  we were entertained with tales from this man’s life. He had particular difficulty telling us where he came from as he had spent the last three years at anchor in the Montebello Islands (“Monties” to the locals – actually as these islands are uninhabited our new found friend Don is the only local!) This indeed was an extraordinary welcome to a remote group of islands 65 nautical miles off the west coast of the Pilbara region of WA. A printable summary of  Don’s life follows:

1.       Raised as a surfer in the Margaret River region of WA

2.       A former commercial ships captain who has sailed extensively round the world and particularly around Australian waters

3.       An entrant in the inaugural Melbourne to Osaka two handed yacht race in approximately 1987.

4.       Now in his late fifties actively surfs remote offshore reefs west of the Monties, particularly keen on large waves, and for safety, as he is alone when doing this wears an EPIRB strapped to his body.

5.       Survived a sinking of a former yacht 20 miles off the coast near Geraldton as a garboard plank sprung on his jarrah wood timber yacht. This was after hopping into stormy seas in the aluminium (fortunately unsinkable tender) with his two crew, first being swept 30 miles further out to sea, then rowing 50 miles East back to land. This took 4 days. 

Day 2 Montebello.  Monties for us, now being locals.

Mid morning reconnaissance thru hole in the wall to Hock Bay courtesy of the English Nuclear bomb throwers. Special mention of the pristine beach and swimming spot at whisky Bay.

Don’s initiation included  offshore snorkelling adjacent to Whisky Bay at a shoaling bombie, cut short by a far too inquisitive shark followed by  a quick drop off to his Squid supermarket off Baldwin Point (including a lesson on avoiding squid ink in the cleaning process).

Night 2 dinner  at Don’s party smorgasbord consisting of freshly shucked oysters off the rock’s approximately 10 shark lengths to shore ably extracted from the rocks by a team effort , two spectacular Crayfish, followed by a Chris and Paul blue boned Groper .

Leaving the Monties at high tide on Tuesday 22 at 1pm on course 130 deg heading for Serrurier Island approximately 120nm to the south. Planned route heading East of Barrow Island, thru Mary Anne Passage, then heading  East of Thevenard Island and Ashburton Island on our  port side. Sailing through the night to reach our next anchorage during wed daylight.

Wed at Serrurier Island

Thursday Passage to Ningaloo Reef around n w cape

Friday anchored at Ningaloo

Sat Passage to Exmouth Marina

Sun. Mon Tues Wed crew change at Exmouth

All safe and well. Monties just wonderful.


Shell Collecting  (by Chris Clarke)

For those that don't know me the main reason why I put my hand up to go sailing with my dear cousin was that he might take me to some nice little offshore Island so I could go scrounging for new shell species. Over the last 4 years I have collected approximately 400 on the West Aust coast with 75 from Broome a couple of years ago over a week so I wasn't expecting to find many there but was very pleased to find 3 new species in 40 minutes on Cable Beach while Paul and Peter drank beer, checked out “birds” and had a bet on the last race at the Broome Cup Race day.

The next day I found 3 more in 5 minutes at the Broome Bird Observatory beach while Paul and Peter were bird watching again and then we had to race back to pick up Tim from the airport.

 I had more time scrounging on West Lewis Is and found 11 more while the boys were exploring, fishing and collecting oysters with Uncle John’s oyster knife.

At an unmentionable Island group I was expecting to find numerous species but only 5 and I was very jealous of Peter as he found a lovely large bivalve that was still joined. (I have it but not such a perfect large specimen)

At the Tantabiddi Creek Beach on the Nth West Cape I found 9 in 40 minutes while the boys were going to go exploring but found out later they chatted to some people in their caravan for the whole time.

Now this is the most amazing thing – I found 32 new species on the Exmouth town marina beach over 3 mornings on approx 20 min scrounging sessions while the boys mostly slept. Who could imagine finding so many on such a busy beach?

It was absolute torture for me sailing past little Islands with long sandy beaches

imagining what might be washed up.

I was amazed at all the turtles, dolphins, birds and especially all the whales who performed every day just for us – we watched 2 whales flick up their tales both at the same time not once or twice in a row but approx 25 times and we had one breach nearly it’s whole body only approx 75 mts from us. The boys saw a dugong which was very exciting.

I had a lovely adventure on Guinevere which I’ll never forget.

My fondest memories of you Paul will always be of you playing the harmonica in the early hours of the morning while sailing in a gentle wind, showing me all the stars, when you spilt your own red wine a few days after I spilt yours, the horror on your face when Peter and I bought your "rubbish items" back to the yacht, you emptying my blue vomit bucket and of course flushing the toilet on you at The Monties. You made me nearly have a nervous breakdown when I lost "The Monties map" and then after searching for 30 mins we discovered it was in your own bloody pocket! I still can't believe the first bit of food you offered me after I hadn't had any food for 2 days was a yellow striped snake jube when you new I have a terrible snake phobia and every time I vomited over the side all I could see was dirty slithering striped sea snakes! Thank you for not throwing me over the side when I put the coffee pot on with no water inside.

My fondest memories of you Peter are reading Red Dog to me when I was seasick, your bread making and cooking skills, your enthusiasm for life, your table centre pieces and for Paul throwing them over the side when you weren't watching, your sailing trip when you went for 59? days without a toilet or toilet paper.

My fondest memories of you Tim will always be of our towels hanging in the bathroom and us preferring to dry our faces on "fish guts towels", when you screamed at us to see the whale breach only 75 mts away, you for not cleaning your teeth for a week, catching a blue tooth (Paul and I both caught a blue tooth at The Monties) and us nearly loosing the duckie anchor.

My fondest memories with you Richard will always be of sharing a wardrobe and having our underpants nearly next to each other, your "hints", your lack of desire to clean and gut fish, your horror at my preferred choice of wine and your haste in swimming back to the duckie when a shark was spotted.

The photos I have sent are of a pelican with a fish in it's mouth, a rooster, a chook with an egg (the egg is hard to see and she also has a big "bumhole") and one of my yachts which has a small pelican at the back which is also hard to see and they are all about 1mt high. The other 3 are of my shells. The ones on the bookcase (Dad made) are larger ones I have bought or have been given but the ones in the tackle boxes with black boxes next to them are ones I have found myself on the West Aust coast and there is approximately 400.

Now this is the exciting bit - the shells in the 10 black boxes are the ones I found on the yacht and I only finished sorting them out this morning - I found 63 new species so I'm very pleased. It takes so bloody long to identify them and cross reference them but it's all done now. So now I can write my little blog below which you can edit.