Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Across the Top and tales of Great Escapes

We continued our trek across the top end, with the next stop North Goulburn Island, Mullet Bay. En route we managed to catch another good sized Mackerel, so looks like fish is back on the menu. At North Goulburn we met up with the crew from the yacht, Free Spirit and shared a few home brews and laughs with them. In exchange for some fish and prawns they gave me a cask of white wine –yipeee! Who cares that it’s a sweet wine – it’s wine!!! We’ve been a dry boat where wine is concerned since the top of Australia as it’s so hard to buy grog up here with all the alcohol bans, dry communities and permit systems. Damn good trade. A shame some of us got a little bit carried away…

Unfortunately we had a very near tragic experience, which could possibly be related to the numerous (read dozens) home brews shared with Free Spirit and would most definitely have detracted from our experience of the top end.

While laying in bed with a sore head unable to sleep, Simon was quietly listening to the waves lap against the dinghy. A short time later, with the dinghy all quiet he forced himself out of bed to double tie it just to be sure. Alas, when he got outside… horror of all horrors, is this a nightmare?, is it really happening? – the dinghy has gone!!! A preliminary search operation with the torch detected no run away steed. The serious spotlight similar to that used by search and rescue operators revealed a tiny white blip disappearing way off into the misty darkness.

The panic button was well and truly hit and we were both in action mode running around deck removing springers, pulling the clothes line out of the way, turning on nav gear, checking positions of the fringing reef, pulling up the anchor. In the panic, my only clear and vivid memory is of turning around with the flashlight in hand and glimpsing Simon’s stark white and naked body at the bow pulling up the anchor!

The chase was on. With spotlight in hand we headed downwind, skirting the reef edge before spotting the little getaway. It was no match for the big boat and after what felt like ages we rounded up, jumped in the dinghy and safely lifted it onto the davits. Next morning, our nav system showed it was really only a one and a half kilometer chase although it felt like miles. We both still have nightmares on what might have been and have now rigged up new lines with whipping, stitching, wiring and shackles, with an additional stainless steel safety line. We’ve also gone mad with reflective tape and it now looks like a space craft at night. It’ll have to be Houdini to escape this time.

Next morning bright and early we headed off, unsure of our next stop.


Amanda said...

Holy crap dudes. Close call there. I hope there were no nearby yachts to view the monstrosity of Simon's naked bum. And the rest.

Anonymous said...

Bet the dinghy won't try that trick again.....without you knowing.
That mackerel is a mighty looking fish.