Thursday, August 13, 2009

Governor Islands to Prudhoe Islands

We have had a week of calm weather with glassy seas, as a consequence the batteries are fully charged each day as we have had to motor or motor/sail most of the way. We do enjoy evening sea breezes while we watch the spectacular red sunsets for which this part of the world is famous.
At Jar Island we shared the bay with a Paspaley Pearl Farm and its mother ships (14 09'S 126 14'E). A walk ashore (or rather a rock climb and creek walk) took us to a cave behind the beach where we were able to enjoy some rock paintings including some more of the Bradshaw series. The cave floor was full of black soot and shells for long ago beach BBQ's. Our next stop in Vansittart Bay was Freshwater Bay a beautiful setting with good fishing and clear water as this bay also has a large pearl lease.
With the weather in our favour we decided to make our next destination Cassini Island out near Long Reef on the eastern end of the Bonaparte Archipelago (13 57'S 125 38'E). After a morning of washing and a short dinghy ride to the waterfalls behind the mangroves, we headed to Cape Bougainville to overnight before heading out to Cassini Island. The geography in this part of the Kimberley changes from the great sandstone cliffs to red sedimentary rock cliffs with many caves along the shore where the sea has eroded the rock. As we came into the bay where we planned to anchor for the next two nights we found that we would be sharing the bay with a fishing charter boat from Darwin - the Cannon. The Captain, Robin, gave us some good advice on where to anchor as there was a reef of red rock that only exposed at the bottom of the 7 metre tide. He then invited us aboard for coffee and then later in the day we joined the guests on the beach for a BBQ of Coral Trout and Mangrove Jack cooked to perfection by Stephen, the chef on Cannon. The charter group were from Melbourne and shared their fishing tales of catching Sailfish, Giant Trevally, Mackerel, Queenfish etc etc most of which were released - we are all a bit jealous of their success. Our fishing while promising had not proved as fruitful. The beach at Cassini Island were covered in turtle tracks and nests and we saw a few baby turtles swimming around the boat at night, attracted by our lights. We enjoyed a couple of long walks along the water's edge looking at the shells and corals and to our delight, not a plastic bottle or thong in sight.
Today, Thursday 13 August we are motoring west towards the Prudhoe Islands (14 25'S 125 15'E)in total glass conditions with zero wind. This area is similar to Greece with hundreds of small barren rocky islands some with white sandy beaches. It is very different to the east coast of Australia and quite beautiful. This morning we sighted a couple of pairs of whales, one group asleep on the surface looking like a pair of glossy black rocks until with a huge spume of air and water they sank below the surface.

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