Cruising along…

We woke in the lovely anchorage of Dugong Bay.  We took advantage of the waterfall right at our doorstep with a morning dip in the chilly waters.

To work in with the rising tide it was time to leave and head towards our next destination.  There was a narrow channel called the Gutter we had to pass through in slack water.  This is because of the whirl pools, to get through safely.   We passed close to the iron ore mine at Koolan Island.  There’s a big open cut mine and port.

We anchored at the mouth to Crocodile Creek waiting for full tide to enter.  Gracie and I went to the beach and found so many interesting geological discoveries from rock formations to a whole section of crystals!  We had a ball.  The boys fished and fished… with no luck.  Who says the Kimberley is good fishing?

And then into Crocodile Creek waterfalls.  We are anchored in the hole and tided to a rope on the rock to keep the boat from swinging into the gorge wall.  Apparently, it’s the done thing.  There are ropes hanging ready on the cliff face to use.  Because we have no reverse, we had to use Whaly to help get the boat into position and manoeuvre the main anchor by hand.   Geoff moved it into position by hand throwing it off Whaly and securing the cliff ropes. 

We had a lovely dip in the chilly falls for our shower.  Gracie is not feeling well tonight.  A gazillion flying bugs moved in and we had to go into full lock down and put the fans on for air.

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Happy day…

Today we had a fun day being tourists without any major navigational stress!  Yayyy… a well-deserved happy day.  The scenery around here is amazing!

We woke up in our safe calm anchorage.  Oh bliss.  We radioed to organise a horizontal waterfall tour at the floating hotel.  We Whaly’d over at 9.15am and joined in the group that had sea planed in from Derby.

We spent three hours going through the two horizontal falls, cruising the river gorges, feeding the tawny nurse sharks and having morning tea. We were like the barefoot wild sea gypsies joining in with the well groomed townie tourists.  The first thing I noticed was how clean they all were.  And that Geoff singlet was stained.  I was thinking, gosh could you not put your townie shirt on!  One guy walked over and asked us if we were off that boat over there.  Pointing to Endorfin off in the distance.  It did look pretty tiny!

Gracie ate a fresh red apple and the boys had caramel slice from the little morning tea spread!   We left on little Whaly back to our boat while the fancy tourists left on the seaplane. We did that tour in 2011 when we caravanned for three months with the kids.  Totally worth going through the falls again.  And this time we got to go through both falls.  That was cool, and scary!

After our usual condiments lunch back on Endorfin we motored 20 nautical miles from Talbot Bay around into the secluded Dugong Bay.  The seaplane guy said good weather is coming.  So we might get lucky with the last week of our holiday.

We actually found the spectacular waterfall that’s mentioned in our cruising book without having to fend off any crocs or wild weather.  So it really was a happy day.

The water was freezing because of the direction of the falls means it doesn’t receive any sun in the pools.  We clambered up the rocky face of the waterfall and totally made the most of it with a full dose of personal grooming and clothes washing.   We are all sparkling clean and relaxed.

We are anchored next to the misty falls and we will be falling to sleep listening to the water down the rocks into the bay.

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We made it!

We left Raft Point after a cup of tea at 7.20am and headed towards Montgomery Reef.  Two hours before low tide is the time to go.  The crossing was good enough thank goodness, despite the worrying Easterly that arrived again in the night.

We moved into the gutter as recommended by our Kimberley Navigation book, to wait for low tide which had about one hour to go.  Gracie made dried fruit pancakes for breakfast.

We still don’t have reverse on the engine so Geoff keeps a manoeuvrable distance from the rocks and reef.  The wind was a bit of a pain, but we managed to get pretty close to hear and see the waterfalls cascading off the massive reef.  Which is 300 sq km in area.

The water basically rapidly pours off the edge as the island reef rises on the outgoing tide, creating waterfalls and gutters into the sea.  This unique reef and barren reef system means we get to see 100 waterfalls in one day!

We left towards our next destination and hand to stop and hide behind an island for an hour to wait for the wind to drop and the waves to settle.

Geoff was super frustrated feeling like the weather is always working against him.  But really, we did good to get out there into the ocean with the present limiting conditions.

So, on we went, toward Kingfisher Islands.  The ocean was okay for most of the crossing, and only turned turbulent again the closer we got to the gap in the islands.  The last part was hairy as, with the biggest swirling rapids we have been in yet passing through the narrow gap.  And once we were in, we just had to keep going!

We took our lunch break in the calm sanctuary in the middle of the islands.  Super lovely. Like you wonder how the sea can be so monstrous only metres away!  We dont actually get photos of the hairy moments because we are too busy holding on for dear life!  I think that is why we were falsely led to believe the Kimberley is always glassy – because there are only postcard shots on the internet!  Who knew it gets rough, and all that crazy whirlpool business!

Everyone fished over the course of the day.  Bailey is frustrated that for all the lures and rigs he can’t catch more fish.  Gracie hooked her first reef shark with excitement!

Geoff motored on towards Talbot Bay and we finally came into the safe glassy waters of the inlet. Scatters with tilted rocky islands all around.  Geoff was happy as, having completed the last of our open ocean crossings for the trip.  We made it.  We are modern day wild waterworld survivors.

We feel like we have made it back to civilisation.  There are humans all around us at the Horizontal Waterfall tour company.  Boats, seaplanes, the ocean hotel and helicopters. People coming and going.  We are saved!

One of the workers came over and said hello and asked if we needed anything.

We will all sleep well tonight in the very protected bay.   Glassy seas… Geoff is cooking green curry fish for dinner.

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Hallelujah!

They say when you think you can’t take any more, there is a turn in tides.

Thank goodness today we got a reprieve from certain death by whirlpool or croc and actually enjoyed ourselves.

We woke in Red Cone Creek to, touch wood, calm seas.   The tide was very low with all the muddy mangrove banks exposed.  I am sooooo over festy mangrove creeks!

Anyhow, we motored around the corner in Doubtful Bay into Four Finger Creek.  I cooked a yummy bacon and eggs breakfast while the boys got into fishing.  Geoff caught a good sized mulloway or jewfish (we cant tell what it is really).

Even our coffee pot worked without incident.  It was a good omen.

After waiting around for the water to come in, we motored over to Raft Point.  The rocky gorge cliffs are just so spectacular.  We spent the whole afternoon walking, exploring and beaching.  Gracie stayed on Endorfin and had some quiet time while me, Bailey and Geoff hiked the gorge face and found the cave paintings.  Some had been touched up with paint which lost their historic appeal by being interfered with.  Another thing I will have to google at home to find out the story.

Whaly was half full of water when we returned from our cliff walk. He must have got stuck under the ledge on the rising tide and popped out.  We left him about 5 metres above the water line before we left.  That’s how fast the water comes in!

Raft point was gorgeous.  We all had hours of beach time, collecting shells (not that it’s ever been abundant) climbing rocks and exploring the bay.  It was so welcomed and relaxing.

Raft point is named after the local aboriginals who would raft from the point to Montgomery Reef to hunt dugong.  Which were painted in the caves on the escarpment.

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Hump day…

Today was one of those days.  Sometimes, it’s really hard to be on holidays.

Started off good enough in our protected inlet.  I did some house work like flip the sheets over. The boys finally caught another cod. So, we now have enough for dinner tonight.  Lucky, we didn’t rely too much on seafood as it’s been hard to get any fish.  Tried one crab pot again, no luck.

We motored further up the inlet in the rising tide and the last little bit in Whaly.  It was one of those suss looking creeks with muddy banks, mangroves and difficult to navigate through the rocks.  We had to clamber up and around the ledge to try and find the magic waterfall again. Making sure we could get to Whaly on the rapidly incoming big tide.

The creek itself was low lying and rocky.  We were uncomfortably close to the murky water to get around the edge towards the waterfall.

We did find it however, it was low to sea level and perfect for a waiting croc.  We checked it out and had a little paddle.  I was nervous the whole time.  Gracie shampooed her hair and the boys had a little wash.

It was one of those creeks I felt like a survivor to get back to Endorfin safe.  I wonder if we had a bigger tender we wouldn’t be so on edge all the time!  Not that we could fit any bigger than we have got. We do the best we can.

We left the sanctuary of the inlet and headed back out into the big sea towards the next spot Deception Bay.  The sea was kind enough to begin with and after an hour or so a southerly came in.  The sea turned to chop and the eddies, whirlpools with the current and tide all working against us.  Making the ride scary and mentally exhausting.

We didn’t get up stopping at lots of lovely places as the sea was too rough for the anchorages and tidal flow.  We did try two spots but there wasn’t a hole deep enough to anchor to allow for the 9 metre tides during the night.

We made it as far as Red Cone river inlet really just looking for a protected anchorage.  The ride into the bay was through the crazy washing machine tide.  It felt as scary as the first day we launched from Wyndham. Wondering if we are going to live.

Geoff is down about the weather and wishing for a break. Just a few nice days so we can get to see the spectacular Montgomery Reef in action.

The sun set at 5.18pm.  Early.  It’s cold and I have my sox on.  Its chilly.  The kids are still enjoying themselves and right now doing some more allocated homework from school.

There are logs and branches floating past.  The water is a constant hazard!  Makes me long for the security of home.

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New territory…

We spent the morning in Hanover Bay and creek while it was windy out at sea.  Gracie and I went back to the shell fountain on the mainland as Shore Party 1 on channel 72.

A 2.5 metre croc stalked us right in the middle of the sandy beach, clear water… watching from the sea as we played on the beach.  Yes, they are always watching!

As the tide was half in, it was time to Whaly up the creek to explore and see if we could find the fresh water that’s mentioned in our Cruising Kimberley navigation book.

It was a comfortable enough drive up there, our longest yet in Whaly. At least not mangrove infested and it was wide.  Still, we are always on alert.  We got right to the end and seen a cute small 1 metre croc watching us.

We parked Whaly with the quick rising tide in mind, making sure we could get back to him, and then walked upstream.  We found a small flowing stream and rocky shallow swimming holes.  The water was real chilly but we all got in and had a wash and washed the clothes we were wearing.

I cooked crispy whitebait for lunch that Gracie and I had caught in the little hand net last night.  Yum!

The wind had dropped enough to motor on by 1ish to refuel with Sticks at Kuri Bay.  We managed to get some milk too.  So we have still lost reverse and Geoff has decided its too bigger job to try tackle here, so we will work around it by not getting into any tight spots.

This adventure is testing all of our personal resources.  At sea, in a small space, all together, in the unknown, the risky, the challenging… all real-life lessons with patience, flexibility and resilience. Working around problems.  Working together as a team.  Being mindful of one another’s moods.  I guess the best thing we are getting out of this is being all stuck together and we always have to make it work as a family.  There are no outside distractions.  We are living here in this, moment to moment. I hope that its all lessons the kids can continue to draw personal strength from for many years to come.  That is why we are here.  The school of life.

There are moments daily I think THIS is magic, the reason we are here.  And there are moments I think I have had enough and I want to go home.  I guess that’s on par with normal life… moments of it being bliss or shit.  I love travelling.  Life is never boring, especially in the Wild Kimberley. 

We are anchored in the calm protected bay of Sampson’s Inlet just south of Kuri.  New territory after five days of going back and forward. Geoff has just remembered our boat has a hot water system.  So he turned it on.  Far out!! So now we have hot water in the sink and hot water shower.  OMGosh it like heaven!

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Cabin fever…

Up again early to the sound of the wind…

We bunked down in the little bay keeping ourselves occupied. We drank 15 cups of coffee, played cards, danced to Michael Jackson, crafted, ate cake, washed clothes and read our books. Plenty of family time… waiting for the wind to drop so we could press on down the coast.

It was 12.30 before the sea had settled enough to carry on to Hanover Bay.  Finally we have this turbulent sea mastered (well until tomorrow anyway!)

Hanover had one deep hole good enough to anchor overnight in the 9-metre tide change.  The hole will go from 11 metres to 4 metres with the tide change during the night.

We Whaley’d over to the beach and spent a couple of hours watching the tide rapidly recede down the beach creating mud flats before our very eyes.

As the tide left the beach it created a bubbling hole of water which tapped into the shell line on the beach and was like a holy fountain of shells!  It was amazing.

We have all enjoyed a phone call from a friend the past few days. Bailey spoke to Solomon.  Gracie spoke to Laura.   Geoff and I spoke to Grant.  Makes us feel a little less isolated.  Certainly not seeing any other families travelling like us!

Bailey hooked three jumping sharks before dinner.  So many sharks…

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