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South Passage Daily Report

CLIENT: Townsville Grammar School


FROM: Townsville TO: Townsville

DATE: 20 July 2017

POSITION: Hinchinbrook Channel

Report by: White Watch

We arrived at Wharf F at 1645 hrs on Wednesday afternoon to a warm welcome from the friendly crew on the South Passage. Upon boarding the vessel (a two masted, gaff rigged schooner) we were sorted into our 3 watch groups. We stowed our gear, settled into our allocated bunks, fitted our lifejackets and were given a tour of our home for the next four days. For dinner we had steak with pepper gravy, green beans, roast potato and pumpkin with thanks to our wonderful cook, Cathy. We then departed the Townsville Marina and headed out towards the North West side of Magnetic Island and dropped the anchor for the night. Lights went out at 2100 hrs.

White watch was given the pleasure of the 0400 hrs Anchor Watch. This required us to mark our position regularly by recording bearings using a handheld compass, check the wind speed, atmospheric pressure and depth of the ocean. An hour later we were awake again as a watch group to polish the brass on the helm (wheel), bell and bugle, as well as waking up a rather irritated and disorientated booby that had been sheltering on the deck. Shortly after, at 0630 hrs, the rest of the crew were awoken to Ammie’s ‘delightful, melodic and soothing tune’ on the bugle, in her words at least…

At 0700 hrs we had cereal and fruit (later followed by a hot meal of scrambled eggs and baked beans on toast) for breakfast before all hands on deck were required to hoist the anchor and crank the salt water pump. We quickly accustomed to dealing with multiple ropes and knots as the sails were sent flying on our journey to Havana Island. On the way we were lucky enough to pass a whale going alongside the ship.

We dropped anchor off the beach at Havana Island, not far from shore. Some of the braver sailors jumped overboard into the fresh, clear blue water, and some of the more adventurous students swam ashore. Others were ferried the short distance by zodiac. Everyone spent an enjoyable time beachcombing along the sandy shore and exploring the vegetation. Despite the beautiful weather the wind sent long lasting chills across the ship, shortening our little exploration experience.

After returning to the ship, we set sail for Hinchinbrook Island, and cut the engines so that we were travelling by just the power of the wind. White team successfully negotiated a gybe en route to Hinchinbrook Island and then handed over the watch. The White, Blue and Red teams had a round turn and two half hitches knot tying contest, which White won convincingly. We took the sails down at about 1900hrs, and motored through the Hinchinbrook Island channel, before laying anchor in the calm waters at 2130hrs.

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