2015 May – Darwin to Kimberleys

Posted by on July 12, 2015

2015-05 - MONTHLY LOG STATISTICS

Total Days Sailed : 17
Total Sailing time : 92h55m (5575 minutes)
Travelled distance : 737.482 km (398.208 nm)
Average Speed : 7.93 km/h (4.28 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.65 km/h (8.99 knots) on 2015/05/24

2015-05-07 - FROM Sadgroves Creek Mooring TO Fannie Bay

Trip start : 2015/05/07 15:00:00 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-07T06:00:00Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/07 16:43:55
Trip Duration : 1h43m (103 minutes)
Start Point : 130.856567,-12.445120
End Point : 130.828277,-12.429631
Straight-line Distance : 3.521 km (1.901 nm)
Travelled distance : 11.551 km (6.237 nm)
Average Speed : 6.72 km/h (3.63 knots)
Peak Speed : 9.78 km/h (5.28 knots)


Leaving Sadgroves Creek!

2015-05-08 - FROM Fannie Bay TO Fannie Bay VIA Beach

Trip start : 2015/05/08 10:26:40 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-08T01:26:40Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/08 19:33:56
Travelling Time : 0h54m (54 minutes)
Trip Duration : 9h07m (547 minutes)
Start Point : 130.828109,-12.429421
End Point : 130.827346,-12.429460
Straight-line Distance : 0.082 km (0.044 nm)
Travelled distance : 7.103 km (3.835 nm)
Average Speed : 7.89 km/h (4.26 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.56 km/h (6.24 knots)


After enduring the midges and mozzies of Sadgroves Creek for what seemed like forever, it was a welcome relief to spend a night at Fannie Bay with a bit of breeze to cool us down and very few bugs. Today we took a quick dash into the shore and back again to give XTsea a bit of a scrape clean and a final checkover. There was not a lot of growth on the hull, but the props had a small build up of life which was quickly sorted out. A quick visit to the fuel dock to fill the fuel and water tanks on the way back to anchor.

Scraping the hull at Fannie Bay beach

Scraping the hull at Fannie Bay beach

We met up with Derrick and Jim on the Seawind 1000 {en}Balkera{/en} (Blog at http://www.balakera.com) who were half-way through a circumnavigation of Australia too. They were on their way to shore when the base of their inflatable fell out a few metres off our stern so with flotsam trailing behind and their motor out of commission they somehow paddled their way to us and we managed to retrieve most of their gear.

Remains of the Balakera tender

Remains of the Balakera tender

We helped them get the remnants to shore for disposal, and shared a couple of dinners ashore that weekend. Their timeframe was such that we would not see them in the Kimberley, but it is possible we might catch up later in the year.

2015-05-12 - FROM Fannie Bay TO Tapa Bay

Trip start : 2015/05/12 06:19:35 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-11T21:19:35Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/12 13:40:00
Travelling Time : 6h57m (417 minutes)
Trip Duration : 7h20m (440 minutes)
Start Point : 130.827316,-12.429680
End Point : 130.589920,-12.449960
Straight-line Distance : 25.875 km (13.971 nm)
Travelled distance : 40.700 km (21.976 nm)
Average Speed : 5.85 km/h (3.16 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.61 km/h (6.27 knots)


Goodbye Darwin! A small detour to top up the water tank and fill another jerry of ULP at dawn and then we headed off.

2015-05-13 - FROM Tapa Bay TO Fog Bay

Trip start : 2015/05/13 08:33:34 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-12T23:33:34Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/13 17:47:42
Trip Duration : 9h14m (554 minutes)
Start Point : 130.589721,-12.449940
End Point : 130.334182,-12.743551
Straight-line Distance : 42.835 km (23.129 nm)
Travelled distance : 58.970 km (31.841 nm)
Average Speed : 6.38 km/h (3.44 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.90 km/h (6.43 knots)


2015-05-14 - FROM Fog Bay TO Cape Ford

Trip start : 2015/05/14 06:28:57 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-13T21:28:57Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/14 17:01:51
Trip Duration : 10h32m (632 minutes)
Start Point : 130.304565,-12.713130
End Point : 129.862762,-13.489690
Straight-line Distance : 98.719 km (53.304 nm)
Travelled distance : 101.613 km (54.866 nm)
Average Speed : 9.64 km/h (5.20 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.21 km/h (7.13 knots)


We awoke today early to find the strong SE winds had pulled us through the soft holding of the bay about six miles overnight! No harm done, so we pushed southward. Surprisingly, we still had phone, internet, and free-to-air coverage, so as David kept the boat on course in 30 knot winds, Colleen watched some TV!

TV still works.. for now!

TV still works.. for now!

2015-05-15 - FROM Cape Ford TO Dooley Point

Trip start : 2015/05/15 08:54:13 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-14T23:54:13Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/15 14:40:00
Travelling Time : 5h45m (345 minutes)
Trip Duration : 5h50m (350 minutes)
Start Point : 129.862731,-13.490091
End Point : 129.729232,-13.820160
Straight-line Distance : 39.434 km (21.293 nm)
Travelled distance : 52.868 km (28.546 nm)
Average Speed : 9.19 km/h (4.96 knots)
Peak Speed : 15.14 km/h (8.17 knots)


Intending to get all the way to Port Keats today, the winds failed us in mid-afternoon so we made a dash towards shore to spend the night.

2015-05-16 - FROM Dooley Point TO Dorcherty Island

Trip start : 2015/05/16 09:03:35 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-16T00:03:35Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/16 13:14:33
Trip Duration : 4h10m (250 minutes)
Start Point : 129.729537,-13.820301
End Point : 129.496185,-14.087161
Straight-line Distance : 38.918 km (21.014 nm)
Travelled distance : 47.017 km (25.387 nm)
Average Speed : 11.28 km/h (6.09 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.34 km/h (8.82 knots)


With a strong wind warning in the offing, we contemplated bolting across the Bonaparte Gulf straight from Dooley Point, but consulted our local yachtie oracle Louise by phone who suggested that the lack of depth in the Gulf combined with strong tidal currents meant that conditions would be challenging.

Instead, we travelled down towards Port Keats to make the most of the mobile internet and phone while we could.

2015-05-17 - FROM Dorcherty Island TO Berkeley River

Trip start : 2015/05/17 07:00:21 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-16T22:00:21Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/18 15:31:32
Trip Duration : 32h31m (1951 minutes)
Start Point : 129.496124,-14.087711
End Point : 127.736137,-14.386270
Straight-line Distance : 192.573 km (103.981 nm)
Travelled distance : 217.164 km (117.259 nm)
Average Speed : 6.67 km/h (3.60 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.99 km/h (7.55 knots)


The crossing! An early start saw us quickly underway and we instigated our increased safety protocols by pulling out the Raymarine Lifetags and the personal AIS unit. Winds were OK for the morning, but eased about lunchtime. We threw up the spinnaker and dropped the main which kept us moving, but the winds dropped away entirely towards mid-afternoon. We fired up an engine for a few hours but didn’t want to drain the tanks so soon so we set a few alarms and went to bed drifting.

Waking with some wind at about 3:30am, we found that we had drifted in a loop a few miles north. Interestingly, for a little over an hour we had not moved at all!

Sighting land around lunchtime, we had managed to time our trip to arrive at high tide, so we navigated the tricky bar crossing and found ourselves in the Berkeley River! Officially in the Kimberleys!!

Land Ho! Entering the Berkeley River

Land Ho! Entering the Berkeley River

Intending to anchor at the Casuarina Creek anchorage, holding was not good and we spent a bit of time trying to find somewhere where the anchor would bite. Eventually it caught and we could finally relax with a cuppa. Our relaxation was slightly disturbed when we looked a bit more closely at the bank and saw we had a neighbor watching us.

Lurking on the bank of the Berkeley River 30m from our rear

Lurking on the bank of the Berkeley River 30m from our rear

We went to visit our first waterfall, where Casuarina Creek falls into the Berkeley. The wet season had been unusually dry, so the falls throughout the Kimberleys would be trickling or even dry out later on.

Casuarina Creek Waterfall

Casuarina Creek Waterfall

2015-05-20 - FROM Casuarina Creek Anchorage TO Casuarina Creek Anchorage

Trip start : 2015/05/20 09:01:28 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-20T00:01:28Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/20 09:20:00
Trip Duration : 0h18m (18 minutes)
Start Point : 127.733673,-14.385460
End Point : 127.731170,-14.390480
Straight-line Distance : 0.619 km (0.334 nm)
Travelled distance : 0.871 km (0.470 nm)
Average Speed : 2.90 km/h (1.56 knots)
Peak Speed : 7.42 km/h (4.01 knots)


After finding a spot with a bit better holding and a less hungry neighbor, we went to do the Casuarina Creek Walk. Starting with a scramble up an 80m high jumble of loose rocks, we followed (more or less) the trail of rock cairns to the top of the falls. Molly was unable to make the climb, and struggled in the knee-high spinifex so David carried her most of the way.

The swim in the waterhole at the top was refreshingly welcome, and the view from the top was spectacular.

Swimming on top of Casuarina Creek waterfall

Swimming on top of Casuarina Creek waterfall

Nice view! Casuarina Creek Waterfall

Nice view! Casuarina Creek Waterfall

2015-05-21 - FROM Casuarina Creek Anchorage TO Ampitheatre Anchorage

Trip start : 2015/05/21

09:01:44 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-21T00:01:44Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/21 10:30:18
Trip Duration : 1h28m (88 minutes)
Start Point : 127.731018,-14.390601
End Point : 127.671173,-14.483520
Straight-line Distance : 12.177 km (6.575 nm)
Travelled distance : 14.906 km (8.048 nm)
Average Speed : 10.16 km/h (5.48 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.40 km/h (6.69 knots)


Today was what the Kimberley is all about. We steamed upriver with dramatic cliffs either side of us, and had the river entirely to ourselves. The scenery was breathtaking.

Travelling up the Berkeley River

Travelling up the Berkeley River

Arriving at the Ampitheatre, we found a nice solid spot to anchor, but as it was a bit close to shore we dropped a stern anchor to hold us off and grabbed some lunch. Then it was time to explore the end of the river and maybe grab a swim. The rock bar at the end of the navigable section held brackish water so we had a bit of a paddle there and then went back to explore a little grotto we spotted off to the left. We found a delightful small waterfall and we took the opportunity for a dip.

Colleen enjoying a waterfall in the Berkeley

Colleen enjoying a waterfall in the Berkeley

2015-05-22 - FROM Ampitheatre Anchorage TO First Creek Anchorage

Trip start : 2015/05/22 11:40:00 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-22T02:40:00Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/22 13:31:16
Trip Duration : 1h51m (111 minutes)
Start Point : 127.677993,-14.479941
End Point : 127.766273,-14.354821
Straight-line Distance : 16.850 km (9.098 nm)
Travelled distance : 20.268 km (10.944 nm)
Average Speed : 10.95 km/h (5.91 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.79 km/h (6.90 knots)


Before heading back downriver, we took the opportunity to revisit the waterfall and do some washing. The tide was high so the grotto looked dramatically different and the climb up was a small one.

David exploring his hippie side and doing the washing

David exploring his hippie side and doing the washing

2015-05-23 - FROM Berkeley River TO Seaplane Bay

Trip start : 2015/05/23 08:32:52 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-22T23:32:52Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/23 12:50:25
Trip Duration : 4h17m (257 minutes)
Start Point : 127.766532,-14.354981
End Point : 127.539337,-14.104351
Straight-line Distance : 37.098 km (20.031 nm)
Travelled distance : 48.852 km (26.378 nm)
Average Speed : 11.40 km/h (6.15 knots)
Peak Speed : 14.24 km/h (7.68 knots)


Leaving on a higher tide than when we entered gave us a nice feeling of security so we reversed our track and were soon back out in open water. We spent the night in Seaplane Bay to time our entry into the King George on a rising tide.

2015-05-24 - FROM Seaplane Bay TO King George River

Trip start : 2015/05/24 08:12:40 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-23T23:12:40Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/24 16:06:20
Travelling Time : 4h41m (281 minutes)
Trip Duration : 7h53m (473 minutes)
Start Point : 127.539512,-14.104351
End Point : 127.362617,-13.985800
Straight-line Distance : 23.192 km (12.522 nm)
Travelled distance : 48.773 km (26.335 nm)
Average Speed : 10.41 km/h (5.62 knots)
Peak Speed : 16.65 km/h (8.99 knots)


Turning the corner into the bay for the King George entry we found two seaplanes in the process of landing to swap passengers into a small cruise ship.We kept out of their way and proceeded straight through the bar crossing as we managed to arrive just on high water.

A Seaplane taking off near King George River entry

A Seaplane taking off near King George River entry

We dropped anchor just inside the river for lunch, before proceeding upriver to the East Arm Anchorage.

One of the best swimming holes in the Kimberley is at the top of the East Arm Falls. The climb is slightly challenging, but well worth it.

Rope and ladder climb at the East Arm Falls

Rope and ladder climb at the East Arm Falls

Top of the East Arm Fall climb

Top of the East Arm Fall climb

David at the East Arm Fall swimming hole

David at the East Arm Fall swimming hole

Colleen about to start the descent

Colleen about to start the descent

Colleen making her way to the bottom

Colleen making her way to the bottom

2015-05-27 - FROM East Arm Anchorage TO Twin Falls Anchorage

Trip start : 2015/05/27 07:52:41 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-26T23:52:41Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/27 09:43:00
Travelling Time : 1h29m (89 minutes)
Trip Duration : 1h50m (110 minutes)
Start Point : 127.362319,-13.986391
End Point : 127.325782,-14.038460
Straight-line Distance : 7.004 km (3.782 nm)
Travelled distance : 10.034 km (5.418 nm)
Average Speed : 6.76 km/h (3.65 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.94 km/h (7.53 knots)


The Twin Falls were still running, so we moved upriver to fill up the tank and visit the top of the falls. With Colleen expertly manning the helm, David filled every container on board before Colleen backed away from the wall and the water was emptied into the filler hose. We did this time and time again until the tank was brimming.

Filling the water tank at the Twin Falls

Filling the water tank at the Twin Falls

An invigorating dip at the Twin Falls

An invigorating dip at the Twin Falls

View from the top of the Twin Falls

View from the top of the Twin Falls

Western Australia's tallest waterfall. That's us at the top.

Western Australia’s tallest waterfall. That’s us at the top.

2015-05-29 - FROM Twin Falls Anchorage TO East Arm Bay

Trip start : 2015/05/29 07:56:24 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-28T23:56:24Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/29 09:05:30
Trip Duration : 1h09m (69 minutes)
Start Point : 127.326110,-14.038181
End Point : 127.371131,-13.991690
Straight-line Distance : 7.093 km (3.830 nm)
Travelled distance : 8.972 km (4.844 nm)
Average Speed : 7.80 km/h (4.21 knots)
Peak Speed : 10.43 km/h (5.63 knots)


2015-05-30 - FROM King George River TO Calamity Bay

Trip start : 2015/05/30 09:36:26 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-30T01:36:26Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/30 11:14:15
Trip Duration : 1h37m (97 minutes)
Start Point : 127.371170,-13.991741
End Point : 127.278198,-13.933561
Straight-line Distance : 11.937 km (6.445 nm)
Travelled distance : 15.409 km (8.320 nm)
Average Speed : 9.53 km/h (5.14 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.04 km/h (7.04 knots)


After spending the evening in (or rather on.. low water!) the East Arm Bay, we had a few exciting moments leaving thanks to the sandbar across the bay entrance, but eventually worked our way out. After that, the actual river bar was a doddle as we left on a higher tide than when we entered and we popped across the bay to Calamity Bay for the evening.

Calamity Bay was a lovely quiet anchorage, and we went ashore to roast some spuds for dinner and give Molly some time on land. We struggled to land and relaunch the tender thanks to the large bar, and a stingray took offense to us and made a number of runs towards the dinghy. He may have felt that the vibrations from our outboard were a challenge.

2015-05-31 - FROM Calamity Bay TO Glycosmis Bay Entry

Trip start : 2015/05/31 09:25:31 (Adjusted Local) (2015-05-31T01:25:31Z UTC)
Trip end : 2015/05/31 13:44:49
Trip Duration : 4h19m (259 minutes)
Start Point : 127.278091,-13.933720
End Point : 127.071777,-13.895091
Straight-line Distance : 22.678 km (12.245 nm)
Travelled distance : 32.406 km (17.497 nm)
Average Speed : 7.50 km/h (4.05 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.40 km/h (6.70 knots)


We sat out the night outside Glycosmis Bay as we did not have a high tide during daylight hours to make the crossing. The anchor winch was misbehaving so David could look forward to lifting the ground tackle by hand before we move into the bay proper the morning.


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