The Trip North on Wirraway - 2006 travel blog

Seas picking up on way to South Percy

Coming in to South Percy Island

Big seas on way to Scawfell Island

Finally anchored!

My poor broken box

After staying two nights at Pearl Bay we headed off to South Percy Island. The forecast was for 1.7 metre seas, and a south easterly wind of 15-20 knots. Perfect sailing for heading north. We knew we couldn't head for the Qld mainland for the next 100 or so miles, as the tides around the Broad Sounds are enormous, being up to 9 metres, second only to Darwin in Australia. So, we were heading for the islands! Off we headed, and Wirraway was flying! 8.6 knots she did over ground, but the seas again began to pick up. Slowly at first, and then quite remarkable. The autopilot seemed to not be holding, and John was hand steering the entire time. Down we would go through each wave, some which reached 6 metres, and very close together. White water everywhere. The wind by this stage had reached 27 knots, but it was good that it was behind us.

We arrived at South Percy at 2.30pm, and were glad to see that there was one other boat anchored there. It was even windier by this stage, with the wind biting our faces, and we were comforted that we weren't alone in this blustery, rock rolly place. We spoke to the people on the other yacht, who had come over to say hello. Their intentions were to stay for a couple of days, but when we headed off early the next morning, after a rotten night of wind and roll, we noticed that they too pulled up anchor and left. We were all totally windswept, and a strong wind warning was current for the next day to boot. Off to Scawfell Island we headed. Surely, we would soon be in calmer waters!

But it was windy windy windy!!! 30 knots and plenty of white water. Overcast and raining. At one point Wirraway was thrown around so much that my very heavy box of work papers and books etc was launched from the forward V berth and came crashing down, breaking the box. We were 'pooped' again, with a freak wave crashing over the stern, launching us forward. There were wind bullets everywhere, and Wirraway was surfing the waves, reaching 8.8 knots at times. On reaching Scawfell, we quickly anchored, with the wind still very strong, so much so that it was hurting our faces. The anchor dragged for quite a way, but it eventually held. Again, we were glad to get down below. Again, it started to rain.

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