Ophelia spent 11 months in Mandurah (09-10-2017 to 22-09-2018), while I spent some time back home in Melbourne with my family. I picked up a job so decided to stay I was hoping to move from Busselton in the south to Rottnest Island to the north, but due to constant storms in June & July, and home trips, my movements were limited.
I flew to Melbourne middle of December with a rash appearing around my chest & back, between the tummy button and nipple right hand side. This turned out to be shingles which lasted for a full two months. For two weeks after the blisters healed up I was in pain – from the web ‘neuralgia is a sharp pain that you feel in the skin in one part of your body. It is usually caused by irritation or damage to the nerve that goes to that body part. It is also sometimes called neuropathic pain.’ Clothes against the skin causes irritation so had to spend the day & night with no shirt on. Luckily the weather was warm. Night time, I slept on the couch with a tent over me so no clothes touched my skin. I work from home, how do people get on working in an office ? When the blisters almost healed I could use a neuralgic patch under a 2XU compression sleeveless vest. This stops cloths moving on the skin & allowed me to go outside with ‘normal’ cloths on. This was a life saver.
I flew back to Perth on 16-01-2018 to prepare for the next leg to Adelaide, however I was offered a job to work on the New Museum Perth detailing steel in the old heritage buildings so decided to stay around WA for 6months. Some other detailing company detailed the monstrous structure over top of the Heritage building in the picky below.
My part of the project went on longer than I had quoted so have lost a fair bit of money. As I sit in Adelaide (March 2019) I am detailing the last of my quoted scope of work.
I was hoping to move from Bussleton in the south to Rottnest Is. out from Freemantle but due to many storms in July & August I was marina bound in Mandurah. However I did manage to spend sometime in Freemantle Sailing Club, Rockingham on a public mooring & a week on anchor in Longreach Bay Rottnest Is. in April, open to northerlies. Luckily there were not many vessels on the moorings for that week. There is a sand patch east end of the bay which is ideal for anchors. And I went searching for the Quokka in the sand hills – found a cutie as well. When a northerly breeze was forecast I moved back to Freemantle & flew to Melbourne for two weeks late May.
I spent one week on a mooring in Rockingham which is open to the northerlies. This is not a place to be in a northerly, as is Bussleton, due to a completely open fetch of water many hundreds of miles into the Indian Ocean. On one occasion I heard of a number of yachts being beached during a storm, must have broken away from their moorings.
I arrived Mandurah beginning of June 2018 & flew to Melbourne end of August for a two week holiday in Bali. Altogether I spent 12 months around Mandurah to Freemantle. Mandurah would be the best place for families that I have visited on my trip around Australia due to the Peel-Harvey Estuary where one can go crabbing & many other activities on water & on shore.
While at Mandurah, I house sat for Mike & Tessa (of Sunny Girl catamaran fame) while they were enjoying themselves on their Seawind 1260 catamaran around Raja Ampat area of Indonesia. At one stage a pair of Willy Wagtails made a nest & produced 3 babies in a large tree in the backyard of Mike’s property – below is a video I produced of the family. They came back for the following two years. I had a wonderful time at Mandurah.
At 0200hr on 22th September I left Mandurah for the final time heading to Bunbury for the night & then onto Bussleton where I anchored in 4m close to Geographe Bay Yacht Club. Bussleton is the home town of a cousin, Heather, whom I had not seen for about 40 years. So I spent 2 weeks there with a few days in the marina to shelter from some northerly breezes. Heather made me a large fruit cake which went very nicely with a scotch each night. This cake lasted until I reached Esperance late October, about one month. Heather & Ray took me to look at numerous places – Cape Naturaliste, Cape Leeuwin, Augusta Boat Harbour, Mary River township and a winery. Many thanks to Heather & Ray & best wishes to Heather after her hip surgery.
On 11th October 1600hr I left Busselton heading to Augusta Boat Harbour 86nm distant. The aim was to pass Cape Leeuwin between the many rocks just after day break when hopefully the wind was blowing too hard. After light head winds from Cape Naturaliste to Leeuwin I did round the cape at 0900hr in perfect conditions arriving Augusta at 1130hr. The water depth thru’ the rocks got to 5m with sandy sea bed and crystal clear water. Like so many marinas in WA it is owned by DOT WA & costs $52/night for a mono.
I stayed here three days before heading to Albany 140nm & 27hr later arriving at Emu Point on a curtesy mooring 16th October. The trip to Albany was an eye opener for me as I had not travelled in waters so rough before. Ophelia was rocking violently side to side with light SW breezes, almost directly behind us. There was no use using the main as the apparent wind was only 5-7kts. The jib had to be set with a whisker pole to stop it from slapping. I had to replace the jib in Adelaide as it had such a large belly from stretching.
I travelled perhaps 500m to 1000m from the shore edge & saw some amazing water spouts.
Beside the Emu Point anchorage there is the Nature Reserve which was full of small flowers of many varieties that I have no idea what they were – some looked like orchids with their distinctive shape. Take a look at the video mentioned below – A Walk in the Park. One morning I decided I would motor my light weight 15kg dinghy, with 2.3HP outboard, from Emu Point to Albany Town Centre – some 2.5nm away. Going there was no problem with a 10kt following breeze, which was supposed to stop 2hr later. It never did, but increased to perhaps 15kts & was too rough to motor back. I managed to find an open tray ute and offered the driver $50 to take me back – of course he obliged as it was on his way home.
After a few days I took Ophelia into the town centre & tied up to the free public floating pontoon (max. stay 4hr) for 2 days where I met numerous people who came down to say hi. When a stronger wind was approaching I moved into the marina. There was a yacht that I came across while in Exmouth 2yrs previous. The owner had solo sailed around Australia in 18mth – way to quick for me.
After 2 weeks the weather was suitable (24-10-2019) to set sail, at 0500hr, towards Esperance via Two Peoples Bay (19nm) on anchor over weed for 1 night, Waychinicup River (9nm) for 1hr, Bremer Bay Boat Harbour (71nm) on a free mooring for 1 night, past a mysterious island not on any maps, except Navionics, called Investigator Island & onto Esperance (142nm). This Island is locally called Rocky Is. but was changed officially in honour of Matthew Flinders for some reason. After 3 days I arrived at Esperance upon daybreak and anchored to the south of the marina entrance over sand & weed. After a week I moved into the yacht club marina, where Ophelia eventually stayed for three months after a failed attempt to cross the GAB to Ceduna.