Montgomery Reef was the last major Kimberley highlight on our list. From there, we returned back east towards Darwin at a more leisurely pace. We got a few boat projects done along the way and explored some areas, such as Hanover Bay Inlet, that we’d just skimmed past on the westerly “hit-the-highlights” run.
Trip highlights from June 23rd through 26th follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps
Today we removed the bag from the galley trash compacter and stowed it inside a plastic bin in one of the bow lockers. We mainly put plastics and anything else not recyclable or biodegradable in the trash compacter, and don’t put anything in there that can smell. The smaller of the three plastic containers on the left contains smelly foodstuff garbage that we keep sealed under the galley sink. When we transfer the trash compacter bag forward, we also empty the smelly garbage into it. We can go at least three weeks without emptying the compacter, and can stow two of its cubes forward, allowing us to go at least two months without getting rid of any garbage.
No–a crocodile didn’t bite our tender. The reinforcing pieces at the rear of the pontoons had starting to peel away, and we also fixed a small leak in the same area. We have heard stories of crocodiles biting inflatable tenders though, and have been careful to lift ours up every night to minimize the risk. Several people recommended we get a “tinnie” (aluminum tender) to visit the Kimberley, but that wasn’t really an option for us. So, as they say at the Saturday night stock car races, “Ya run what ya brung”.
The other day we noticed a fair-sized crack in the dinghy hull around where it sat on the chocks. This turned out to be a crack about 30 inches long that we fixed along with the pontoon repair. The tender is made of hypalon, but we had a lot of PVC on hand for repairing our discarded Aeres inflatable fenders, so used it to patch the leak. Since it wouldn’t be contacting any of the hypalon, this should be fine. So far the patch is holding well.
Rogers Strait, like much of the Kimberley, is unsurveyed. In addition to a careful watch, we’re navigating using satellite imagery and recommended routes from Western Australia Cruising. We passed through this area while running south. Coming north on a 15-foot lower tide, you can see this reef to our east, near if not under, where we passed before.
Mirrool, that we last saw in the Mitchell River two weeks ago, was at anchor in Hanover Bay Inlet when we arrived. Surprisingly, Mirrool is the only pleasure craft we’ve seen during that period–we’ve only seen four pleasure craft in the nearly four weeks since leaving Darwin. Charter boats seem to far outnumber pleasure craft here.
The tide was still too low for us to go much farther upstream, so we returned downstream for lunch perched on a rock above the gorge. After lunch we did get a little farther, but rocks blocked the way and we were a little nervous about that croc we’d seen earlier. People keep warning us how tasty the crocs find Rigid Hull Inflatable craft.
The neutral safety switch on main tender motor jammed in non-neutral position, preventing the motor from starting. The switch should be replaced but we don’t have a spare, so James bent it back in place, reshaped it, and lubricated it. It now is working well.
We’d anchored for the night along the west shore of Murrara Island, with excellent SE wind protection and attractive scenery. This islet not far from the anchorage had a nice sandy beach and complex rock formations.
We found this Praying Mantis on board when we returned from our dinghy run. Australia sure has a wide variety of creatures. This one at least is not deadly.
Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.
On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps.