The wildlife returns

d'Albora's Action Project: AUS 360 Blog Update


Presented by Pivotel

Afternoon all,

Well its been another slow 24 hours however last night for a few short hours I was able to make some decent ground with a nice 15 knot breeze blowing from the NE to ENE.  I still have the Code Zero sail up,  this is my largest light air sail and I really feel that it has been making a difference even in the really light winds and last night with 15 knots true wind and 11 knots apparent winds I was able to actually sail at 7-9 knots of boat speed.  I ended up sailing past New Year Island and my goal had always been to maintain 10nm distance from land around the top of Australia here.  Mainly because there are some very large tides up here and that can create some large currents.  The last thing that I want is to be drifting too close to land and have the current make it dangerous.

So last night while I had winds I was able to close in on New Year Island however at around 2am the winds decided to drop out again to nothing and I was left wallowing in 2 knots of wind traveling at 1.5 knots and their was very little I could do about it.  Now New Year Island was about 8nm away when the winds died and with the currents by the time I safety cleared the island I had been sucked 3nm closer and was only 5 nm away.  If I didn’t get the very small breeze of 3 knots that was enough for me to overcome the currents then I may have ended up in a sticky situation.  

Again it was another 45 Degree day and I was unable to go on deck without shoes on as the deck had absorbed most of the heat and was a little like a furnace.  My hot weather tactic has been to hide inside the boat and while I am down to my under-things and sweat is still just pouring off me it is still marginally cooler than on deck in the shade.  I also now stay in some strategic locations that allow for the best air flow so that I can get even the slightest of breeze.  It’s so hot that all I want to do is lay in one spot and not move.  I have found that the last 2 hours before nightfall is the time when I can do things on deck like any maintenance jobs or my deck checks as its the only time that I find I am cool enough to move around.

For all of today the winds have been between 2-4 knots and ranging anywhere from ENE to the ESE and it was necessary for me to put in 2 gybes today.  These were the first sail manoeuvres that I had needed to do in days so that was exciting.

Also today I saw the first birds since I cleared the Torris Straights.  Generally the ocean is teaming with sea birds and it doesn’t seem to matter how far from land I get I always see them.  The interesting thing though was that as soon as I entered into the Great Barrier Reef and made that passage down I hadn’t seen much of any bird life.  I assumed that around the Torris the birds may have been hunkering down because of the wind but even since I have gone back out to open waters I haven’t seen a single one until today.  Today I got to witness a small feeding frenzy as some larger fish were chasing some smaller fish and there was a flock of birds overhead catching the distracted fish up.  I am not really sure why this was the only sight of wildlife so far and can only guess that the eco system here in the Arafura Sea given that it is quite shallow at 50 meters deep and trapped between two land masses with the large currents, in any case it was good to see something other than the still blue ocean for a change.  

Thanks to the following Sponsors for all their continued support: d’Albora Marinas, Pivotel  B&G, Australian Geographic, Zhik , Park Fuels, Karver, 3M, White Bay 6 Marine Park, and Great Circle Life Raft