_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Marcy headed for Cape York

Since Cooktown we've enjoyed snorkeling and walks ashore at Lizard Island and some fantastic sailing too. The high winds have continued and yesterday (Thursday) we sailed over 80 miles in 11 hours. Sailing with a tail wind inside the reef can be very fast. This morning we left Flinders Islands just north of Cape Melville in light winds and are enjoying a 5 knot sail with full main and spinnaker. The strong wind warnings continue for the coast but for now we've found some lighter winds and very
calm seas. The sun is out and all is well aboard Marcy.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Northbound inside Great Barrier Reef - Cooktown

We had not seen our Aussie friend, Steve, since we met for the first time at the police dock in San Diego a year and a half ago. After a week on Marcy, we can report that Steve has set a new bar for guests. He arrived with a 750 ml bottle of fancy beer and a selection of boutique Australian wines - one bottle for each night of his visit! So, in addition to the beer reminiscent of some great micro brews from home, we've been sampling wines each night. It has spoiled the crew of the Marcy. We're
not sure if we'll be able to go back to our "vin de boit" (box wine) any time soon, but Steve has shown us that Australia has some fantastic wine. Steve also likes to cook and the main cook aboard Marcy, Ginger, has been enjoying some great meals while sipping that wine and watching Steve chop and saute.
We spied a prawn trawler (they're not "shrimpers" here) our first night at Low Islet, but we had no luck - they were anchored when we arrived and appeared to be sleeping all day with their deck lights on and their salt water pumps running. We checked on them often during the afternoon and somehow they were up and away before we noticed. As we were anchored in a no fishing zone Steve had to improvise with a fantastic veggie rice dish for dinner. It was so nice at Low Islet that we decided to stay
another night and brave the cold water for a snorkel. Low Islet is the island where Steve Irwin had his fatal encounter with the sting ray. We saw no sting rays on our snorkel but did see some beautiful coral both soft and hard, turtles and some big bright reef fish as well. The water was a bit chilly and the sun was not out so we were happy to get back to the boat to warm up after our swim. After lunch and a nap, we woke to another prawn trawler anchored near by. We jumped in the dinghy and
for a 6-pack of beer and $10 we came home with 2 kilos of prawns that had been caught about 2 hours earlier! We feasted on a large pot of them for dinner and got many jealous looks from the other boats anchored nearby. A fine end to a great day.
Wednesday morning found us sailing out of the anchorage headed northbound for Hope Island. It was a perfect sailing day, 15 - 20 knots of wind and small swell. We sailed wing and wing the whole 40 mile trip. We were sailing with a cat and a monohull also headed northbound from Low Islets who both ended up at Hope Island with us. When we arrived at Hope Island we found one government maintained mooring available which we picked up. We headed ashore to check out the island and saw a sign that gave
us second thoughts about our spear fishing plans. The sign read "Caution - crocs inhabit this reef, camp well away from the beach" No snorkeling here but we sauteed up the rest of the prawns and took them for cocktails on a neighbor boat. The steady wind has kept our batteries well charged, thanks to the wind generator, and we're slipping our mooring this morning to sail the 20 miles to Cooktown where we'll see Steve off on a bus tomorrow afternoon. It's been good for us to slow down and enjoy
a vacation pace for a week.
Cooktown update - Steve caught a large Spanish Mackerel (aka Wahoo) on the way to Cooktown, had some great fish meals and got Steve safely on his bus back to Cairns. Too bad we didn't have a camera with us for a photo of the bus because it was a small 10 seat van with a gear trailer - very back country!


Monday, June 16, 2008


We think we've arrived in Australia. We have not seen any kangaroos, wallabys or crocs to prove it but we hope to see more wildlife as we get out of the city. After the most thorough quarantine inspection ever performed on Marcy we were given the all clear and anchored in the river off Cairns. We spent the next few days doing laundry and other necessary boat jobs and getting ready for our guest, Steve, to arrive. Mid week our friends on Jade pulled in to Cairns so in addition to enjoying time
with them they were kind enough to let us use the marina showers! The highlight of Cairns for us was the fresh veggie market which is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Steve arrived from Brisbane on Saturday evening, we got up early Sunday morning went on a big produce shopping trip and weighed anchor for places north. We're currently anchored off an islet in the Great Barrier Reef. It's a bit breezy and overcast here, too cold for Peter and Ginger to swim but Steve enjoyed a dip, scrubbed the
prop, and gave us a full report on the state of Marcy's underside. As we review the weather charts daily it appears the normal wind for this time of year here is a steady 25 knots. With that kind of wind blowing straight up the side of the mainland some big chop can build so we're pleased to have enjoyed a couple of nights tucked into anchorages with some protection. Right now we're enjoying fairly calm waters with a steady breeze to keep the wind generator producing about 4 amps. We've been
eyeing a prawn trawler waiting for the crew to wake up so we can try to purchase some seafood from them. We're hoping to spot them up and about before dinner time!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Caledonia

New Cal cafe

elle Noumea

Our experience in Noumea revolved around exploring the town and out islands. In town, we sipped delicious coffee – yes, even Ginger – in the café and watched tres chic local people come and go.

Ginger and French cruiser yachts

We visited the clean and spacious boatyard, Nouvelle Plaisance, where yachts are hauled out and strapped down for “typhoon proof” storage. Here are examples of two of France’s production ocean cruisers: Amel, the fiberglass deep fin keel ketch in the background, and Ovni, the aluminum centerboarder behind Ginger.

Nez Rouge

Ginger waits in our dinghy near Nez Rouge, one of our favorite French cruising boats. This is a “tough as nails” aluminum centerboard boat of the sort that can sail anywhere there is 4 feet or more of water without demanding a lot of worry or maintenance.

Noumea fishing fleet

We dinghied past the fishing fleet.

New Cal beach ripples

Our cruise up the coast revealed hundreds of islands that were like what we had imagined all of the South Pacific to be like – clean and deserted with gorgeous beaches. Tahiti, eat your heart out.

at anchor New Cal

beach ilot ndue

sea snake and dinghy ilot Moro

There are serpents in this paradise. These sea snakes carry enough venom to kill instantly, but are apparently inoffensive. We didn’t test their temper in any way.

sea snake ilot Moro

rainbow ilot Moro

shells ilot Ndue

sunset ilot Moro

Marcy in gap ilot Moro

Back in Noumea, we busied ourselves getting the last few items for the next passage.

Ginger and Boome NC

Ginger enjoyed the errand where she shared a ride in the back seat with Boome, an elderly English setter.

sextant peter NC

Peter wants to try some star sights when we get to sea again. It takes some preparation, so while still at anchor he got out the sextant and worked up a set of stars to observe.

celestial Peter

We use an amazing little book that contains all almanac and sight reduction information for five years. There is a bit more arithmetic involved, but for backup use it does the trick.

Ariel New Cal

We expect to cross paths often in the next season with Ariel, a beautiful homebuilt English gaff rigger. They plan to sail to Cape Town as we do, following the same path.

It’s always enjoyable to be in the same anchorage with Ian and Kathy, as they handle their boat with wonderful competence – always sailing on and off the hook, and Ariel is always completely shipshape – sails furled and lines coiled perfectly.

Of course, we may look at other boats, but our hearts are with Marcy.

Marcy Bai Maa NC


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Day Four, Noumea to Cairns

We remember now why we like downwind passages so much. Marcy is romping along with a warm 20 knot tradewind blowing over the starboard quarter and is reeling off the miles. We should reach the halfway point tonight. The windvane is doing all the steering work, and all we have to do is enjoy the ride. Oh, yes, and navigate. This part of the Coral Sea is full of outcroppings that we must not accidentally encounter. The bird life is fantastic, maybe because of these little islands. Last night on Ginger's
watch a booby grabbed onto the top of the headstay and hung on for hours, despite the small perch and motion. We haven't seen so many birds at sea since Mexico.