Distance run in the last 9.5hrs; 29.6NM
Average speed; 3.1KN
Once we are underway it takes an hour before we set the sails, so that we can get on the right track for sailing. We are heading for Careening Bay where Philip Parker King carved ‘HMC Mermaid 1820’ into a Boab tree during his survey of Australia. HMC Mermaid was launched in Calcutta, India and was built from solid English teak. She spent sixteen days at Careening Bay having substantial repairs as Iron nails had been used when she was built.
It is going to take approximately nine hours to arrive at our next anchorage with the current conditions. Nigel and Eddie find some helpers Tim & David to peel some potatoes for tonight’s dinner. Captain Ross begins a lecture on weather, when there is much commotion as we have a fish on a line that Mick has put out. It is our first fish of the voyage and it
is a good sized Spanish mackerel. This afternoon is perfect sailing conditions and we are making good head way until the wind dies down in the evening. The sunset is spectacular as goes down in the middle of two Islands and leaves a dramatic orange haze.
By 2120 the mainmast are dropping the anchor and I hear it was a busy watch, as they handed the sails and got them furled in record breaking time.
The morning brings an early bright sun which illuminates the serene Careening Bay, which is quite a sight after arriving in the dark. The usual crowd are on deck bright and breezy, to do their morning exercise and it is good to see Maria join in. After the morning briefings we start to run the crew ashore in watches to go and witness the iconic Boab tree. It is, as always
a timely process to get everyone across, but it is well worth it once ashore. Careening Bay is surprisingly green for the area, after having seen how desolate & baron some of the Islands are. Once a shore you can see remnants of a fresh water creek and on further investigation there is still water holes further up with fresh water running, even during the dry season.
The tree really is quite a sight; I don’t think I have ever seen a tree quite like a Boab tree. I can only describe it as resembling a tree you would see in a cartoon. It is huge at the base, but squat and very sturdy to the top. Even the texture and colour are unusual for a tree. The engraving is deeply and widely etched which is impressive as it must have taken a good
tool and a considerable amount of time to do. After lunch we start the boat runs back to the ship as we hope to heave up anchor and get underway early afternoon.