Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Update from Middle Percy

Eddie nabs a lovely Red Emperor

First of all big thanks to Skubi for filling in the gaps on the blog. (My pleasure!) 
Arriving on the legendary Middle Percy Island has been the pinnacle of our trip. The rocks, the beaches the native Hoop Pine trees, the turquoise waters, it's all so absolutely breath taking. If you arrive here at high tide as we did, you can paddle into the lagoon through the entrance which is so narrow and shallow that the yachts can only get in at the top of the tide. Once in the lagoon it so tranquil that it is just like stepping out of a busy city street and into a cathedral. The sloping hills that surround the lagoon are all covered in trees and at the foot you have the feet of the mangroves in Crystal clear waters where you can easily see fish darting all over the place.
Eddie nails it.
Silvio's on top of things.
We found a nice spot for our tents right next to the famous "A" frame built by the late, legendary Andy Martin in the 70's. In the morning we made our way up the one hour long, mostly uphill walk to the Homestead that was originally built in 1887 by Colonel Armitage for his coffee plantation and later rebuilt in 1921 by the White family using most of the original timbers. The White family farmed 2000 sheep for 44 years before selling the lease to Andy in 1964. The house, now in need of some serious maintenance is the passion of Andy's cousin Cate and her Husband John  who are the new custodians of the island's conservation and cultural heritage unique to this island. As I mentioned, there is a lot of work to do and it is all done by volunteers so here's a chance for Eddie and I to chip in and do our bit for history. It's also a nice way of saying thank you to John and Cate for their lovely hospitality and of course, the use of their Internet so that I can make this latest update. This Island is so full of local history and it is absolutely wonderful that Cate and John are doing something to preserve it. Check out
Cate; Andy Martin's cousin.

John; Cate's husband.
  As for our kayaking plans, well it's not looking too promising. We would love to get a Northerly or Easterly to help us get back to Stanage but that is less likely than the dominate Southerlies at this time of year, at best we can hope for the wind to drop from it's expected South Easterly direction of 15-20knots to about 10 knots or less. The other concern is that the spring tides are starting in a few days and we could be facing tides as high as 7 metres. We would need to leave at low tide to get some assistance but with tidal flows as strong as 3 knots in open water and 6 or more knots in the narrower passages. Wind against tide could prove ugly for boaties during springs not to mention sea kayakers in some not so familiar territory.
Anyhow that's enough for me as lunch at the homestead is over & there is still plenty of work to be done. Maybe tomorrow we start exploring some of the Island by kayak, maybe do a bit more spearfishing as well. We've got plenty to do while waiting for that wind change.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy Campers on Middle Percy

Eddie & Silvio found the best camping spot!

Happy and safe on Middle Percy Is. What more could as man want? Certainly not more coconuts, that's for sure!

Behind them is a boatie's icon known as Andy's A Frame. The lifelong project of former island resident; Andrew Martin. Inside it hangs the calling cards of a thousand voyagers & their crews. Signs, hammocks, boat bits of all kinds. Even room for a BBQ table and a roasting pit. We will hear more about this Mariners Mecca when the boys can get online.

Editor's note: Some liberties may have been taken due to lack of mobile reception.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

South Percy

Marble Island to South Percy Island
South Percy
On Friday around 5am, Eddie & Silvio left Marble Island to paddle a distance of around 18nmi for approx. 7 hours to The Percy Group. Details beyond this are sketchy because my information is coming via the VMR* if and when the guys manage to make contact with them via radio.

According to Alf (from the VMR) the guys paddled up to a yacht and used their radio. I am not sure if this was because their own radios were on the fritz or they actually visited the yacht to get water & used the radio while they were there. The outcome is that they are on South Percy and I imagine they would have camped there at least 1 night.

My guess is that after they leave South Percy, they will travel north to the main island of the Percy Group.


*VMR: Voluntary Marine Rescue

Editors note: I have included a map showing the islands, but the route shown is one I have guessed they made; not necessarily accurate.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Here We Are on Marble Island

Living proof!
Marble Island

We arrived on Marble Island on Wednesday the 20th around 3.30 in the afternoon after paddling three hours in moderate conditions. The strong tidal flows of this area were a bit of a concern to us as we were planning our route, so we paid particular attention to this factor before setting off. We arrived in the shelter of the Island just as the tide and the wind were starting to pick up and had been spotted by some very curious and cautious deers on the hills, soon thereafter we spotted our first whale for the trip; it was in the distance coming in through the Lola-Montes Passage. 

The camp site is pretty good but unfortunately the wind is picking up and set to stay for the next few days, being a South Westerly makes it great to paddle to the Percy group but not so nice for camping while we wait for tomorrow's favorable tide.

We were both pretty tired by the end of a very long day and although our first day's paddle wasn't so long, the packing and preparations made up for it. It was an early dinner and bedtime for us.

Editors note: Silvio climbed for an hour to reach the peak of the highest hill on the island and gained enough reception to send me a few photos and the above post. Lets hope we can still reach him in a few days. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No Reception

After a pleasant drive to Mt Morgan to stay the night with Eddie's cousin, the boys enjoyed some Nth Q hospitality and set off early Tuesday heading to Meryhl's Place at Stanage Bay.

A challenging drive, even in the Landrover.

The Military Training Zone.
Arriving at Stanage on Tuesday afternoon, Silvio & Eddie are delighted at the waterside location of the house...till the tide goes out that is! When the tide is out, it's out for miles, exposing huge jagged boulders as far as you can see. Needless to say they'll be timing their departure & arrival for the high tide. There will be some heavy fetch 'n' carry to fill the kayaks but Silvio told me it's a beautiful day up there and the water is glassy. They have planned to paddle from Stanage Bay to Marble Island and camp there tonight. Hopefully in the morning, conditions will be good to go from there to Otterbourne Reef. It seems pretty small, I think they may need to go back to camp Marble that night too.  Locals say that the islands are croc free, but they do live in the mainland estuaries.

Paddle to Marble Island - approx 10 nautical miles
Sadly, there was no mobile reception to be had in Stanage Bay, so we chatted on the house phone but that's probably the last I'll hear from them till their return. Unless the islands have reception, you will have to put up with the second hand news that I may glean from my calls to Alf at the VMR.
Our thoughts & best wishes are with Eddie & Silvio for a safe & pleasant journey.