Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Port Nelson to Samson Inlet

We shared the anchorage at Careening Bay with a large charter boat - there must have been 50 plus people on the beach, the most people we have seen since leaving Darwin. The Boab Tree with "Mermaid 1820" carved into its trunk was set back from the beach amongst spinifex grass. The number of tour boats that visit this bay ensure that a well beaten path to the tree and surrounding boab trees are easy to find. The following day we headed for Hanover Bay Inlet at the entrance to the Prince Regent River system. Whale spotting has now become a regular activity, and we continued to polish 2 fishing lures - where are those Mackerel? Hanover Bay Inlet is a deep gorge with tall sandstone cliffs bordering the inlet. There are also a two smaller inlets off to the southern side where this fishing was reported to be very good - no luck for our fishermen, they returned with the same bait on their lines from their first cast. Cran and Peter met up with another boat that came into the anchorage later in the day - The Opal Shell, whose owners Barbara and Ron run wilderness cruises on their 60 foot ketch. They are currently cruising by themselves and joined us the following evening in Sampson Inlet for drinks. They have been cruising this area for 20 plus years and shared some of their extensive knowledge of the area with us, which we greatly appreciated.
Yesterday, Monday 17 August we motored from Hanover Bay Inlet through Rogers Strait south of Augustus Island. There are many pearling leases in the passage and inlets, taking advantage of the clean, clear blue waters. Just as we were entering the strait Cran pulled in a lovely Mackerel on the hand line. Just as he and Peter were tying it up, the rod on the other side of the boat started to scream and Peter reeled in a spectacular 1.26 m Spanish Mackerel - just wait for the photos. Dinner last night was the smaller Mackerel expertly cooked on the BBQ by Cran. Our anchorage for the night was Sampson Inlet - a long L shaped deep gorge covered in gum trees, cycads and boab trees. After dinner while having a glass of red wine we heard a loud noise on the front deck. Spotlights on, we found a small Mackerel had jumped out of the water and landed in the trampoline netting at the front of the boat. I don't know who was more surprised. So there you have it, 3 Mackerel in one day, although the last fellow was given a reprieve.
This part of the Kimberley is greener and there are pockets of rainforest in some of the deeper gorges that have running water all year round. Today, Tuesday 18 August we are heading south west towards Raft Point. Passing close by Hall Point we were able to take the boat in close to rock face to photograph many fascinating weathered sandstone sculptures; then on to Langge Inlet where there is an Aboriginal site with more pillars of sandstone, looking like groups of people gathered together. We have been lucky to see many pods of whales today, gliding through the water ahead of us with the occasional tale splash.

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