Sunday 5th September.
Day off. David and I. are going ashore for oysters. Yum there are heaps of them so we will fill up the larder. Pity Pearl doesn't like them and Tas is a bit ambivalent about them too. Provisions to re assess, this doesn't take long cos we are pretty low. Focaccia for lunch. Tas n Pearl off fishing on a bommie.
Our trip to the waterfall was well worth it. We've been here 3 times before and never been the few extras meters into the mangroves. Well today we found the pretty little fresh water stream, after which the bay is named. Freshwater Bay. Had a quick splash in one of the larger pools, ever watchful for big goannas! Some people on a Wharam Cat anchored nearby Rod, Lisa and Jush, all from Kunnanurra. Also Penrod ll with Ken, Arthur, David, Carole-Anne & Dorothy and Yampi with Ken Phyllis and young Ken so it was a pretty social crowd as we gathered on Penrod for sundowners to swop stories and information. A book by Ian Crawford called WE WON THE VICTORY, Sounds like an interesting read a out the Kimberley.
Freshwater Bay has improved its status as an anchorage, with oysters, freshwater for drinking and a swimming hole. The sand flies are atrocious as they seem to be everywhere. There is another creek with falls and pools about 1 nm to the west of us apparently. Dingy job.. Didn't see a croc but you can bet they're there.
Bad news. Trent Bridge, my best friend for 22 years is very sick. Sounds like kidney failure and or cardiac issue. He's in a lot of pain and I've asked Jason to arrange to have him put down as soon as possible. He's 22, not old but he had a cardiac issue when he was 17 and developed arrhythmia. He has had a very big Holliday since then. I don't expect to ever have another special horse like him in my life again.
Monday 6th September
Dawn and we a up and off to Jar Island to locate the aboriginal rock art gallery reportedly there. We couldn't find it last time we visited and a croc nearly got Trevor Ball while he was fishing. He had to run for his life up a crag and wait while the thing stalked round him for an hour before swimming out to Taipan to lay in wait for the rest of us. He grabbed our floating anchor marker and dived with it when we returned, it was completely destroyed and he hung onto it as we pulled anchor, right to the last moment. So this time we will be watchful. Our cricket is gone! I hope I didn't poison him with spray trying to get rid of B... sand flies! I'm sure they live in the horrible carpet. It's bad luck to hurt a cricket!
The forecast is good and so far the sea is flat. The smoke haze is still quite thick so visibility is pretty average.
As the morning wears on it has completely glassed out. There is a pearl farm near the anchorage and ... What is this... that darn croc which chased Trevor is still here and eager to be reacquainted! We'll have a cup of tea and see if he tires of watching us. No. He is far too interested. We tried lowering the dingy but he was straight over. We put a plastic bottle on a string and he straight away chomped it. I think one of the tour boats is feeding him! Bloody stupid.
We abandoned the attempt to see the western gallery but up anchor and off round the east side. Re anchored and we jump in and off ashore. The galleries are fairly easy to find. Straight up the beach from a point about 14 08 870 and 126 14 615. The caves are really just a tumble of huge rocks forming shelters. The paintings a re reputedly Bradshaw style and may pre date the oldest known European sites. The local Aboriginals don't acknowledge or accept ownership of them and consider them rubbish. There is still a lot of conjecture as to their origin.
The wind has come up so we up anchor and head south to a little bay called Maria Cove and drop anchor in about 7m at 14 13 584 / 126 16 507
A fishing boat called Kolimba is anchored near the entrance and a large white boat which looks like Kimberley Escape is anchored near Long Island.
Evening draws in. David and Tas have gone exploring while Pearl and I are nursing our sand fly bites.
This bay was apparently used by early Macassan traders as a processing point for beshe-de mere. Sea Slugs. These intrepid seafarers from Indonesia's Macassar in suleweisie, regularly visited northern Australia to trade with aboriginals. It is also possible that the nearby cliff contain remains of aboriginal ancestors. We've been told there are skuls and bones stashed in caves around here. Eerie!
Well the hunters return Only one fish. David caught a small barracuda. Good for bait. Maybe we can catch something edible with it. Gas came across a burial site right down on the water near the tip of the eastern point. He thinks about 6 burial mounds marked with large bailer shells. There were also three large holes about one meter deep and one and a half meters across arranged in a line about 100m away. Some beach stones had been carted up into the bush and arranged. He surprised a crocodile in the vicinity and they both made off in opposite directions!
Fished more during the evening but only managed bait!
Thursday 7th September
We are awake at dawn so we can go back to Jar Island to give Tas another shot at the fishing there. Yes. A chorale trout, a blue one and 2 Spanish flag. They are small but we eat again! Now back to freshwater bay to collect some water and maybe do some washing. Ugh! There's a pleasant S/SW at 10 knots so we sail. It's not often that we get to sail. It's either too light and we have too far to go or the wind is from the totaly wrong direction.
Our cricket has succumbed to the ravages of Baygon! We will lay him to rest in a match box with the epitaph "Let baygons be baygons!" I hope our luck doesn't get too bad.
Sail to Freshwater bay is lovely now for water collecting. 3 x 20lt containers provide portable tankage, a length of flexible hose and a funnel and off! Dingy transport distance a out 200m each way. Very effective system. We now have 400lts of water aboard and the Freshwater Bay Laundromat is in full swing. Sheets Towels, clothes etc all smelling like roses again. Thankyou Mr Hoover Twin Tub!!
Wednesday 18th September
Middle rock is the big boogie looming today. It's a narrow passage between Mary Island and Long Island to the east of us. We had a Nast experience here four years ago, when as novices we took it on in a falling tide and a strong NW wind. We were going so fast we couldn't keep up with the pencil plotting and we were towing a tinny which was trying to pass us as it raced down the big following seas. Today should be better because it's low tide and we have CMap!
Washing is all in and dry. There's a fresh S/SE breeze (accomodating) and we have been farewelled by the resident croc resplendent in his orange flote hat. He must have been messing with someone's crab trap and got tangled, he looks very humour out and quite distinguishable if not distinguished.
Middle Rock approaches! The breeze has freshened and come round to head us a little. David missed the note about the 40 min less in the tide time so we are a little late and have 2kn against us. That's OK! Now why are we heading straight for the rock! It's quite visible and so is the reef surrounding it. Crap!!! You just can't trust these electronic gadgets. Back to mark one eyeballs ! The chart would have put us right on the reef on Middle Rock side. Safely through however and a nice cup of tea to calm the nerves!
The black fellas are burning again! Well the bush is afire all over.
Kalumbaru. Well Honeymoon Bay is our destination. A fellow named Les French is apparently the local custodian and for a small fee $50 he can be persuaded to take us to town for provisions. I'm not sure how many people can legally ride in the back of a land cruiser utility in the Kimberley but I think we are about to find out. We hope to take all our rubbish, refill our gas, get ULP for the outboard and replenish our much depleted larder. We are out of dried fruit so have to snack on lollies. David is mortified!!
14 05 975 / 126 40 913. At anchor in Honeymoon Bay. Pleasant sail in with wind astern. About time. At the head of the bay is a large shed on the beach. No walls. Just like a big hay shed. There are several small dingies on moorings. There appears to be some sort of accomodation and at least 1 vehicle we can see.
There is a remarkably large boat tree in the middle of the beach. Tas and pearl are off ashore as the advance party. checking on avvailiablility of a lift the 26 km to Kalumbaru. Wombat must have and ice maker.
Pearl and Tas have found Mr French. He was asleep and they were advised by the young white fishing guide not to wake him and not to press him if he did wake negatively. He has however agreed to take, 2 people only, to the community in the morning at 7.00 am
Thursday 9th September. Dawn…. still no fish, just a tangle. The live bait swam around all night with a 100b line! Tas and David are off to “town”. Pearl and I will fill in time repacking all the stores aboard then reading.
The hunters have returned. The Kalumbaru store is pretty basic... like VERY! However we are grateful for small mercies. We have some new supplies. Les French had a visit from Len Wright, a previous Taipan crew from Bremmer Bay to Esperance. He took Les for a fly in his helicopter.
Tananui the red and silver Warham Cat is at anchor having just sailed in from the north. Rob and Lisa and Lush. Lisa has remembered where she heard Kerry Harkers name... also a former Taipan crew on the Freo to Darwin Splash in 2002, Kerry has just been appointed at Argyle Diamonds as nursel Lisa also works at Argyle. Small world.
Rob came over with all their spare beer.. about 2 cartons. Large spag-bog extends to seven and we have an interesting and entertaining late night.
David and Tas and Rob are off to Kalumburu again more shopping. Visited Tananui to farewell Lush and Lisa. Both leaving tomorrow. They have heaps of spare food and beer so we are loaded up .heading for Anjo Bay. And a small anchorage there. Its very near the end of the peninsular. 13 56 970 / 126 34 084 The Tidal range is smaller in this area Never exceeding 2 and ½ meters. The anchorage is very protected from all bar strong SE