1366 miles after leaving Bundaberg we're at anchor in Siesia, round the top of Cape York, the northern most extent of mainland Australia. When we began the trip this segment of the journey didn't seem like a major leg. A month and a half later, it does. Australia is a big place. Up the east coast is a long, long ways. Rounding Cape York, by time we accomplished that task, seemed very satisfying. Since leaving Cairns we've put in nine days at sail and a few anchored. We've had great sails. The trade winds normally blow in off the Coral Sea over the Great Barrier Reef from the SE very consistently this time of year. The past few weeks the weather has been dominated by a continent sized high pressure.
Since in the southern hemisphere the winds around a high circulate counter clockwise the eastern side of this high has brought in cool air from the southern ocean and reinforced the trade winds. We've had 25-35 knots from the SE since we departed Cairns. This makes for fast and easy sailing when you're headed NNW. It also makes for windy and rolly anchorages when you put in to some sandy cay or behind some prominent cape to spend the night. And we've done nothing but day sails. From Cairns we've stopped at Low Islets, Cape Bedford, Lizard island, Flinders Island, Morris Island, Portland Roads, Cape Grenville, Possession Island and now the Red Island anchorage at Siesia. We've been ashore at a few places and especially enjoyed Lizard island.
So we've had great sailing. We haven't hoisted the main since leaving Low Islets. We roll out the 150% genoa and blast off on a broad reach doing 7-10 knots (max seen 11.4) with no strain at all. The wind vane or the auto pilot is steering and we navigate and keep things under control. The reefs to windward keep down the swell and we deal with wind chop of 3-6 feet on the quarter.
There's plenty to navigate around. The reef structure is complex and becomes more and more constricting as you get north. There's a lots of freighter traffic and they're restricted to the shipping channels by depth. Since often we're restricted to the channels as well, for the same reason, we have lots of VHF chats with freighters. Day sailing up this coast is a lot more relaxing than dodging reefs and freighters at night. We've been in company of several boats the past weeks and the social life has been very nice at anchor. Tin Soldier and us have been together through most of the trip and they're great company.
Internet access here in Siesia is quite limited so I'll not upload photos. Also email doesn't seem to be working on my main account so you may not get notification until we reach Darwin.
Love to all,
Bill & Janet