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Trip Palm Islands on Jasmin Palm Islands on Jasmin 01/14/2020 - 01/20/2020   We sailed north from Townsville to enjoy a few days pottering around the Palm... Julian Summers (AU) Angela Summers (AU)
Australia

Palm Islands on Jasmin

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We sailed north from Townsville to enjoy a few days pottering around the Palm Island group.

Means of Transport
Boat
  • 14Jan 2020

    1 Loading up and dinner at TYC 01/14/2020 Australia —

    South Townsville, Australia

    Description

    After loading up the boat during the afternoon, we had dinner at the yacht club and slept on board to allow an early start. We had trouble sleeping because of the heat but found it better with the fan on.

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  • 15Jan 2020

    2 TYC to Orpheus Island 01/15/2020 Australia —

    Palm Island, Australia

    Description

    Engines on at 07:30 and left the marina soon afterwards. At 07:45 we hoisted the mainsail in the harbour then left at 07:50 and pulled out the jib. There was a light NE breeze blowing, around 5kn, so we motor-sailed.

    At lunchtime we turned off the engines for some quiet while we ate, then Angela went for a sleep. We kept up a reasonable speed under full sail, with the breeze staying around 8 to 10 knots and 60 degrees apparent.

    By around 14:00 the wind was starting to die, so it was time for engines on as Angela woke up. AT 14:25 we suddenly had a 15kn sea breeze, so it was engines off again for some exciting fast sailing - top speed of 8.2kn. We really noticed the difference from the clean hulls.

    We passed Yanks Jetty at 15:15, looking very different in bright sunshine from when we went there with John and Gaye in the rain. By 16:00 we were moored in Little Pioneer Bay with engines off. We were able to get the mooring closest to the research station, which is separated from the other three moorings (although only one of these was in use).

    We enjoyed a cup of coffee on the foredeck using our new deck chairs - it was lovely being able to sit in the breeze rather than the sheltered cockpit.

    Julian BBQ’d a barramundi for dinner, which worked very well. We were amazed at the amount of splashing around us as small fish were being chased by bigger ones - it appeared the small ones were attracted by our cockpit light.

    From the ship's log:
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    Engines on at 07:30. Port engine hours 2037.5, starboard 1952.7.
    Mainsail up at 07:45.
    Exit harbour at 07:50. Jib pulled out in light E/NE breeze.
    Engines off at 12:00 for a quiet lunch.
    14:10 Wind down to 4 knots, engines on.
    14:25 15 knot sea breeze, engines off.
    15:15 Passing Yanks Jetty in the sunshine with flat seas, sailing at 7.0 to 7.7 knots boat speed.
    16:00 Moored in Litttle Pioneer Bay, engines off for the day.

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  • 16Jan 2020

    3 Orpheus Island Lookout Walk 01/16/2020 Australia —

    Palm Island, Australia

    Description

    We took the dinghy ashore after breakfast. It was soon after low tide so we went in quite slowly but there was plenty of water. There is a lovely sandy beach with a picnic table and toilet, behind which a path heads off to the other side of the island, which is quite high and steep.

    The path was quite well marked with red and/or white tape on trees and bushes. Most of the way we were in bush but near the top it opened out into grassland. There were spectacular views at the top, back towards Little Pioneer Bay where Jasmin was on a mooring and both north and south to other islands.

    After a few minutes admiring the sights we turned back down the track. A while later we felt we had got lost, since we couldn’t see any of the marker tape. Angela stayed next to the last tape we could see while Julian went around the various tracks until he found the way. After that it was straightforward to find our way back.

    We saw some superb examples of the orchids we are growing at home plus a number of interesting bird nests. There was a small bird (sunbird?) working very industrially at one of them, flying off to another tree repeatedly to bring something back. We weren’t sure if it was building the nest or bringing food back to something in it.

    We returned to Jasmin (a lot quicker since the tide was now in) in time for lunch, after which Angela went for a sleep. The sea breeze had come in while we were on our walk and came in strongly by around 2:00pm. It was from the N/NE and we found that a swell as wrapping around the island such that our previously sheltered mooring was now in a washing machine. We motored over to the mooring closest to the shore on the other side of the bay and couldn’t believe the difference - there was much less wind and the water was nearly flat.

    We did a couple of odd jobs during the afternoon but otherwise took things easy reading our library books. Our main exercise was doing our best to reduce the marsh fly population.

    Angela cooked spag bol for dinner while we watched and listened to an impressive thunderstorm on the mainland. It gradually worked its way out to us but didn’t bring a lot of wind and there was no rain.

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  • 17Jan 2020

    4 Little Pioneer Bay -> Yanks Jetty -> Little Pionee 01/17/2020 Australia —

    Palm Island, Australia

    Description

    We had a disturbed night’s sleep due to the occasional patter of rain, which means closing the hatches, but the rain being very light and only lasting long enough for me to close the hatches, following which the hatches need to be opened again for fresh air. We also had trouble with light wind against tide, meaning that a couple of times we drifted up to the mooring and banged against it for a while.

    The plan for today was to go to Yanks Jetty for some snorkelling around low tide at 0930. The last time we’d tried this was on a SeaLink ferry trip and it was very windy and rainy.

    A northerly wind of around 10 kots came up as we left Little Pioneer Bay and motored down to Yanks Jetty. It had built to 15 knots by the time we arrived, then 20 knots as we tried to pick up a mooring. We gave up on the first one and moved to the second , which was slightly more sheltered and therefore flatter water. After a bit of a struggle we were able to moor, but the mooring was rated for multihulls up to 9m in 24 knots of wind and we were a bit too big - also, the strong wind made it unlikely that the snorkelling would be any good. We decided to abandon the snorkelling idea and head back to Little Pioneer Bay, which seemed likely to have the best shelter in the prevailing conditions.

    It was a long slog back in 24 knots of wind, making only 2 to 3 knots across the ground, but we were quite comfortable. Arriving back in Little Pioneer Bay, we were very pleased to find how protected we were at one of the moorings.

    After lunch, we decided to go ashore to try some snorkelling here. The water was glorious, a lovely temperature and reasonably clear despite the wind outside the bay. However, the coral and fish life were disappointing, being few and far betweeen. We walked along the shore, seeing some interesting plants in the water which looked a bit like zucchinis, plus an amazing huge orchid on one of the trees.

    On the way back out to Jasmin we paused over some lovely looking coral that at this stage was a few meters down - maybe something to look at later.

    We had a rest during what remained of the afternoon before cooking lamb steaks on the BBQ for dinner while we watched another spectacular lightning display - this time out to sea rather than over the land.

    The wind died out a lot during the evening, apart from the odd strong squall associated with a lightning cloud passing nearby. Hopefully there will be enough to keep us from banging into the mooring tonight!

    From the ship's log:
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    08:20 Left mooring in Little Pioneer Bay
    09:15 Picked up mooring at Yanks Jetty but very rough - winds 17 knots.
    Returned to LPB towing Jasmini. Wind up to 24 knots, SOG only 2.5 to 3.5 knots.
    11:20 Moored at LPB - wind 3.5 to 4 knots!

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  • 18Jan 2020

    5 Little Pioneer Bay to Yanks Jetty 01/18/2020 Australia —

    Palm Island, Australia

    Description

    We had a good night’s sleep, interrupted only by a few minutes of quite heavy rain. By morning, the wind had dropped right out and the sea was flat. Surprisingly, we didn’t have any trouble with banging into the mooring!

    After breakfast we motored down to Yanks Jetty, finding a couple of small power boats and a jet ski. We picked up the same mooring as the previous day - considerably easier this time - and donned snorkelling gear. We swam off the back of Jasmin for about 20m and found some terrific coral. We spent about an hour snorkelling - the water was a great temperature. The best coral turned out to be closest to Jasmin, so it worked out well that we swam in.

    From the ship's log:
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    Flat calm morning, sunny. Left LPB at 08:35 to motor to Yanks Jetty.
    09:45 On mooring.
    10:20 Finished snorkelliing.

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  • 18Jan 2020

    6 Yanks Jetty to Herald Island 01/18/2020 Australia —

    Bogie, Australia

    Description

    A light easterly came in as we were ready to leave, so we put the main up and motor-sailed south. We turned the corner at the bottom of Orpheus Island to go for a closer look at Juno Bay on Fantome Island - it looked like a nice spot. As the breeze gradually increased we pulled out the jib and killed the engines, enjoying a lovely sail south in about 10 to 12 knots of breeze.

    We sailed west of the straight-line course to have a look at Havannah Island, which has a nice beach and anchorage on its NW corner. It looked like it would be good in the right conditions but otherwise quite exposed.

    Heading south from Havannah, we had lunch while the breeze built to 15 knots and boat speed to over 7 knots - great sailing. A little later the breeze built to around 17 knots so we furled the jib to quieten things down a bit - we still managed well over 5 knots with just the main.

    We sailed to the western end of Rattlesnake Island, where we had anchored previously, and consiered staying there. However, there were some inconsistencies in the weather forecasts from BOM and the computer models, so we decided to carry on to Herald Island instead. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the anchorage was empty.

    We anchored at 15:55 and were pleased to be greeted by a turtle.

    We enjoyed some quiet time during the rest of the afternoon, swimming and reading books. We finished off the spag bol for dinner.

    From the ship's log:
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    10:40 Left mooring, main up.
    11:30 Jib unrolled as breeze picked up. Passed Orpheus and Fantome, nearly abeam Casement Bay on Greater Palm.
    13:50 Furled jib to quieten things down.
    15:15 Engines on at Rattlesnake Island to check anchorage.
    15:55 Anchored at Herald Island, engines off.

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  • 19Jan 2020

    7 Heading Home to Beat the Heat 01/19/2020 Australia —

    South Townsville, Australia

    Description

    We had trouble sleeping due to mosquitoes, hence the need to close the door to our cabin and getting very hot. Apart from that it was a good night, with the breeze dropping out and the anchorage becomiing calm.

    We were surprised by the number of boats around in the morning, then realised that it was Sunday so all the fishermen were out.

    We went ashore for a walk along the beach and were surprised to find an anchor and chain which will be ideal for the dinghy.

    We were visited for a while by a colourful butterfly, which rested on our dan buoy.

    It was still very hot and the forecast was for it to be a windy night, so we decided to cut short our trip one a day so we could head home to some airconditioning.

    A good sea breeze filled in as we had lunch, so we had a fast sail home - apart from the wind shadow in the lee of Magnetic Island, where we motor-sailed for a while

    We unloaded and washed the boat and arrived home about 7:00pm, ready for a shower and cooling aircon!

    From the ship's log:
    --------------------------
    Awake at about 8:00. Angela with a very sore knee.
    09:30 to 10:30 Ashore on Herald Island.
    14:20 Engines on, anchor up.
    14:30 Main up.
    15:15 Jib out part way - speed increased from 5.2 to 6.3 knots and smoother ride. Wind around 17 knots at 60 degrees.
    16:45 In lee of Magnetic Island so engines on.
    17:55 Tied up in our pen, engines off.

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