The Other Half of Abrolhos Islands

0 Posted by - June 20, 2016 - adventure, cruising, Sailing

We last left off from the Pelsaert Group of Abrolhos and Set  off to Morley Island in the Easter Group. It was a 5-6 hour sail, not to far at all. As we left the Pelsaert Group and  sailed out into open water we were joined by a pod of Dolphins. They came and surfed our bow. Normally after a few minutes on the bow they usually head off again. Not this time. There were around 15 Dolphins and they all took turns and cruised with us for around 45 mins. We got to see them so closely and see the joy they were having as they swerved and turned and flipped upside down as they cross the front of Lady C to pick up speed.Dolphins on the bow
We were hooting and hollering and I was talking to the Dolphins every time they surfaced telling them how much I loved them! It’s moments like this that take the sailing life from being good to being unreal!

d2
Besides dolphins we saw some birds flying by that kept us entertained – gannets, storm petrels and turns.
Entering an unknown reef pass with a 2-3 m swell, while sailing causes you to Dig Deep and Remain Calm. Base sailed us in brilliantly. We then had to turn a corner, avoid some reef bombies ( coral heads sticking out in deep water), and then realise that there are three catamarans on the three moorings available in the bay.

So we begun getting ready to anchor. Finding a spot where we wouldn’t drift onto shallow reef when the wind changed was proving to be difficult. We anchored in about 8 m of water in front of a Gonyonda a Catamaran travelling up the coast with a young Family on it ( inspiring for us to see!).

The wind was strong that night, and fear of dragging anchor had us take turns to check every 2 hours to make sure we didn’t move any closer to the catamaran behind us. Luckily we didn’t and the next day the winds mellowed out and we got to explore the beach and go for a snorkel ( inside a shallow reef of course – we saw a big Tiger Shark here too!).

DCIM103GOPRO

I spent a couple of hours playing with a Sea Lion pup, we played on the beach… him making faces and spying on me in all different ways! Then I convinced him to come for a swim and he swam circles around me, then came in to check out the Go Pro. So playful and inquisitive.

Sea Lion Pup
Base did some Spearfishing and provided us dinner with a big Baldchin Grouper, we had a look at the Groupers stomach contents and saw that he was all about crustaceans, we didn’t see any noticeable plastics ( good news). Our pantry was slowing being consumed and so adding fish to our diet was an added boost.

basegroper
The other amazing thing that happened at Morely Island was that we found a huge rock filled with oysters in 2 feet of crystal clear water. We grabbed a lemon, some Tabasco sauce, our portable speaker and 2 cans of beer. It was a magical sunset and we started shucking oysters off the rocks listening to reggae. Our friends Sue and Tarci from ‘Monkey Me’ came and joined us. It was another one of those moments where you pinch yourself and say Thank you a million times over… because this is what I have dreamed of for the last 7 years, and now I was Living it!

oyster bar in Abrolhos
We decided to shift North again to the next group of islands – Wallabi. A storm was forecasted and we needed to find a secure spot to hide. We headed to Turtle Bay and got on a Mooring just on Sunset. The swell was growing and set to reach 5 meters, but even with 2 meters it caused Lady C to roll side to side all night. No Sleep for us.

We made a move the next morning to Pigeon Island and got onto a cray boat mooring. We of course had to hope that the cray boat wasn’t going to come and kick us off when it came in from fishing. By sunset as the storm rolled in we figured we were ok to stay on the mooring ( thank goodness).

The storm was predicted and we tried to ready ourselves for it. We tied everything down and got sorted in the cabin. The forecast was for 48 hour of 25 -30 knot winds. What we actually got was 60 hours of 30- 40 knot winds with gusts up to 50 knots. We bounced up and down on the mooring nonstop. It didn’t help that we didn’t know the maintenance of the mooring we were on and wondered if it would break and send us towards the shore.

close to shore
Morale was really hard to keep up, after 24 hours of slight sea sickness from the motion of the boat, and not being able to even get up on deck as the wind was so strong it felt like it would blow you off… things were feeling rough.

storm in action
Sailing has high and low moments. This was a Low. We got through it but it tested us both to push through the crap feelings and try to keep our spirits up. A couple Harry Potter movies also helped get us through. Neither of us had seen them and so we indulged our inner child.

Post storm we had one day before we set sail at midnight for our next sailing passage. 140 nautical miles to Steep Point, Shark Bay. (36-50 hours of sailing nonstop – our first big leg with just the two of us).

We tried to prep, sleep and cook a couple advanced meals before we set sail at midnight. We were nervous and excited and felt like we couldn’t wait to get around the point and into the sheltered waters of Shark Bay!

xx

Jamie

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