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South Passage Daily Report

CLIENT: Remote Islands Voyage

VOYAGE NUMBER:  20220526

FROM: Rosslyn Bay to Mackay

DATE: 29 May 2022

POSITION: Scawfell Is

REPORT BY: White Watch

After a very comfortable anchorage off West Beach on Middle Percy Island, everyone was up and about rearing to get into today’s knotting competition. Practice is paying off for all watches with the time differences much closer today for the clove hitch and the sheet bend. We followed most of the other yachts heading out, that got an earlier start, not having to do knotting competitions and head cleaning before weighing anchor.

For the first time on this sail, we were heading into the wind, a light to moderate nor’ wester. This gave the crew a taste of tacking. The wind was close to the nose, so skipper Phill, in consultation with all on board though the watch leaders, decided to change the destination from Curlew Island to Scawfell Island. We continued to motor sail all day on a northerly bearing past a series of very rugged islands with vertical sea cliff-coast lines. Fergus suggested they are probably volcanic in origin, from the columnar jointing.

Not having to tack allowed everyone the chance to relax and marvel at the local wildlife. A real highlight was a pair of apparently juvenile humpback whales have a ball flapping their fins as we sailed past (outside the minimum approach, of course!). It was suggested that’s why we paid for the “premium class” ticket. Dolphins swam past on a couple of occasions, as well as a brown booby skimming the waves.

Later in the day, we sailed past the “waiting room” for all the coal tankers anchored off the Hay Point coal terminal to load more coal for export. At least 10 Cape Class freighters were waiting, with another one inbound crossing our track late in the afternoon.

The day finished with another stunning sunset as we closed in on Scawfell Island. It was also a first for several of us experiencing night sailing for the first time. Whilst there was no moonlight, the brilliance of the Milky Way lit the sky, along with several shooting stars for those lucky enough to be looking skywards and not for hazards on port watch. Skipper Phill navigated brilliantly into the safe anchorage, securing the mooring buoy, after all hands worked like clockwork to lower all and secure all sails in the dark.

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