The weather forecast was excellent - 10 to 15 knots and fine. Noella and I were in fine spirits as we loaded up Little Dragon with provisions for our first ever overnight trip. Food, water and a bottle of red wine for the skipper.
We set off from Urangan Harbour but the wind was far less than forecast, maybe 3 to 5 knots. We sailed off to the first navigation mark very sedately. It looked like we were going to take far longer than the anticipated 2 - 3 hours.
By the time we got half way the wind dropped further to around 2 - 3 knots but we almost managed to reach Moon Point before we gave up and started the smelly, noisy outboard. We wanted to make sure we found the anchorage before dusk. At least we had plenty of time to check that we rounded every navigation mark.
We were quite chuffed when we found the exact spot showing an anchor symbol on the chart. We knew we were in the right place by reference to the two sticks (in England we call them "withies") marking the entrance to a small creek mentioned in Beacon to Beacon. What didn't please us so much was the depth or rather the lack of it. The whole anchorage seemed to be far too shallow. I wished I had either a depth sounder or lead line. Anyway we anchored just before sunset.
I broke out the red (just one glass) and we watched a glorious red sunset. We were the only boat in the anchorage although there were a couple of fishing boats anchored not too far away. By this time there was hardly a ripple and it was completely peaceful, it was hard to believe that it was the lights of the busy marina on the horizon.
We have a single burner gas stove so we were able to brew cups of tea and prepare a simple hot meal - excellent vegetarian curry and couscous.
Then we turned in for the night and I slept well - you will have to ask Noella if she did also. As I went to sleep I thought to myself "I should keep checking to see that the anchor is holding", but the next thing I knew was dawn.
After a morning cuppa Noella decided to row ashore for a short walk before we set off back. We needed to leave by around 8 am to avoid drying out on a falling tide. Helen and Bob had lent us their tender and it seemed silly to return without using it.
After a while I saw Noella return to the beach brandishing a large stick being circled by two dingoes. She retreated as quickly as possible and rowed back pretty freaked out. They were young male dingoes and had been behaving menacingly, one sitting and howling at her and the other circling behind her. I am easily scared by dogs and extremely glad I stayed aboard.
Without further ado, as the water was running out fast, we set off back towards Urangan Harbour. We managed to sail about half way but the wind was dropping all the time down to virtually nothing. It seemed to be the calm before a new weather front came in. 24 hours later it was blowing a gale. Rather sadly we reverted to motoring until a breeze got up a few hundred metres from the harbour - a bit too late to hoist the sails again.
It was a few weeks too soon for whales but we did see a very large turtle. It would be good to return during the whale season, maybe....
The trip ended all too soon with another first, the first time I have motored into a marina pen. Bob and Helen were waiting to catch the lines and it went very smoothly. I am told it would have been far trickier with strong wind against tide.
Thanks Noella for taking leave - you were great.
PS 4 July 08. I am looking at buying a second hand Zodiac inflatable and I have just purchased a depth sounder but still have to get it installed.