Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Lady Musgrave - New friends with new stories and new toys...

Radha and Pam from Sesha came to visit one afternoon and a new friendship was quickly formed. Eric ran the boat tours and ensured there was always plenty of nibbles and small talk for our guests.

We spent the next few days snorkeling and exploring the island together. Radha even setup his dinghy so the kids could go sailing one morning which provided plenty of fun for all.

Thanks for the good times, the pancakes and the awesome wood carving...

You guys really know how to declutter and enjoy the small footprint life!

Lady Musgrave - Turtle nesting season...

The first night we made it ashore we found a large Green Turtle laying her eggs in the sand surrounded by a small group of school students who were camped on the island.

We missed the turtle coming up the beach and digging her nest, but we stayed with her until she had finished laying and was on her way back down to the waters edge.

Eric enjoyed the show and even managed to stay quite for an hour or so. He was getting a little tired by the end, but he woke up rather quickly at one point to asked loudly why the turtle was flicking sand at him!

Emily and Ryan's own experience in 2011 had taught them to stand back after a turtle stops laying her eggs. I wonder if Eric will remember for next time?

Lady Musgrave - Just hanging around...

When not diving we spent our time split between turtle watching, visiting the island and thinking up new ways to cool off. Probably the most enjoyable solution we found for the latter problem was leaping off the boom into the crystal clear waters of the lagoon...

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Lady Musgrave underwater life - Another day another adventure...

We spent over a week at Lady Musgrave on our way south and each day we hit the water in a new location to explore the reef and interact with the local inhabitants.

Eric made the transition to deep water snorkeling during our stay and despite his limited swimming ability the extra buoyancy of his wetsuit gave him wings.

There is awalys a lot to see at Lady Musgrave and during our visit we found a large Moray Eel which we called Eddy!

We also found some cool Nudibranchs, several fish that liked the security of small shells and a couple of musical Yellow Flute Mouth...

One afternoon we also found a mystery monster fish (prehaps a false Stonefish) and the remains of someone else’s misadventure - the rudder of a small yacht that had obviously run aground on reef near the lagoon entrance.

Ryan is always eager to explore so near the end of our stay we decided to swim over the edge of the outer reef wall where Ryan entered the surf zone and saw several turtles and fish surfing the ocean currents...

Thanks Lady Musgrave!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hoskyn Island - Swimming with dolphins...

A pod of dolphins played around Lucey Blue as we motored into the lee of Hoskyn Island to anchor in a small sand patch. The sea conditions were perfect for an exposed anchorage and we decided to go for a snorkel along the reef wall. The water was amazingly clear, the coral diverse and complex, the fish were friendly and to our amazement the dolphins that had played around our bows returned while we were swimming.

We have never swum with dolphins before and it was a great experience. The dolphins only stayed for a short while, but we heard them talking to each other and we managed to get a grainy underwater photograph or two!

Unfortunately Hoskyn Island is not a great place to stay overnight night so we departed in the late afternoon to a secure anchorage in the sandy lagoon of Lady Musgrave just eight nautical miles further south...

Monday, November 30, 2015

Middle Percy to Hoskyn Island...

We left Middle Percy Island at 0730 on 10 November. West Bay was empty after our departure - everyone else had moved around to Escape Bay the night before due to the arrival of gentle Northerly winds.

The conditions were light during the morning and we sailed under spinnaker and full main with a number of other yachts - including Nimrod and Duet. By late afternoon we lowered the spinnaker and hoisted the code zero. Lucey Blue was still sailing nicely at 8-9 knots, but before dusk we lowered the code zero and reefed the mainsail as thunderstorms were predicted along the coast and we wanted to time our arrival to coincide with high tide.

At around midnight with low cloud, no moon and storms along the coast we sailed between Mast Head Island and Erskine Island. There appeared to be five to six yachts anchored in the lagoon at Fitzroy Reef when we sailed past and as we approached Hoskyn Island we watched  - on our AIS - more than eight boats leave Lady Musgrave. The outer reef was amazingly busy, but our destination looked peaceful enough...

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Middle Percy Island...

We stayed a few days at Middle Percy in West Bay swimming, visiting the homestead and generally having fun.

The hospitality of the island leaseholders remains a highlight and much to the delight of the kids we were lucky enough to arrive shortly after the arrival of several baby goats!

One sunny afternoon Ryan, Eric and Dad went around the corner of the bay to a large sand dune. Ryan and Eric had a ball running up and down. Despite a few spectaular stacks everyone made it safely back to Lucey Blue.


Thanks for having us again Kate! We hope to come again sometime soon... 

A busy day sailing south to Middle Percy Island

After a few weeks in the Whitsundays we decided to continue our journey south. On a still morning we left Hamilton Island and motor sailed slowly down the coast to Percy Island.

The conditions were nice and we spent most of the morning reading while the kids played or slept in the cockpit.

A Spotted Mackerel interrupted our busy schedule at around lunchtime.  But no one complained too loudly!

We arrived at West Bay at around 2230 that night and anchored alongside several other yachts.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sailing in the Whitsundays - A view from above...

After several successful flights of our Mariner Drone from a stationary platform it was time for the next step - aerial images of Lucey Blue sailing.

The task of sailing while flying the Mariner Drone was a little daunting, but the promise of unique photographs helped us overcome our concerns. With Lucey Blue gently sailing out of Cateran Bay we launched the Mariner Drone from the flight deck – our rear solar panels.

The images of Lucey Blue underway were nice and we landed safetly back on the forward trampoline after about 10 minute in the air. However, the majority of the photographs were taken from too far away for the wide angle GoPro camera to show much detail.

Given our partial success the decision was made to haul up the spinnaker and try a second flight. This time the plan was to fly the drone right alongside Lucey Blue. The images from the second flight were substantially better, but there were a few tricky moments - including when the Mariner Drone disappeared from view behind our spinnaker!

Flying a drone blind while sailing towards your airborne position certainly adds to the excitement level. I am glad to say we experienced no mid air collisions and despite running out of battery power before landing back on Lucey Blue we declared our mission a success.

After the Mariner Drone adventure we decided to take a few photographs of Lucey Blue under different sail configurations from the dinghy. Have we ever said we love our new radial sails?

The kids all enjoyed the dinghy ride – you don’t often get to see your own boat sailing and even though we never cracked five knots it was a great way to spend a morning!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Esk Island - Marine Safety Training 101

When the Captain calls abandon ship we all know what to do!

Jump – preferably with all the kids in tow, but if the weather is nice you can always repeat the training course as often as required…

Eric are you ready to take the leap of faith?

Border Island - Eric's return...

Border Island remains a favorite for the crew of Lucey Blue – the shallow sandy beach is a great place to play and there is always plenty of fish in Cateran Bay.

Eric claims he remembers the beach from his last visit, but we remain skeptical based on our simple 2015 and 2011 boy in a bucket test!

Before anyone asks - the buckets are the same size...