The weather has been benign for the past few days … light, variable winds and warm, pleasant, though sometimes overcast days. We spent two gloriously calm, quiet nights on the Port Denison Jetty before heading north once again for a quick 45nm trip to Geraldton … Gero, to the locals. Continued settled weather is expected for several days and though we could have stayed in Port Denison very easily due to lack of wind, we decided we'd rather motor-sail to Geraldton, get all of our pre-departure chores out of the way and be poised for the next weather window that would have us off across the Indian.
The exit from Port Denison was oh so different than the mind-jarring, teeth-rattling, boat thrashing exit from Two Rocks. A local fisherman offered to toss our lines. We motored out of the harbor ever so calmly, coughing a bit from the lobster boat exhaust in front of us, then put up the sails and headed north without incident.
The day was mostly overcast and light winds were forecast, but we sailed for a couple of hours before the wind disappeared altogether. The seas were flat and we made good time, arriving in Geraldton mid-afternoon. We saw fewer whales today … maybe only five or six. We were spoiled the other day with so many sightings. Still, none of them venture very close to the boat whether we're sailing or motoring. That's probably a good thing in one way, but I'm dying for some close-up whale shots.
The only marginal excitement of the trip was avoiding lobster pots. They seem to be strung in fairly straight lines with another row parallel and about three boat lengths away. We thought we were in deep enough water to avoid them altogether, but evidently not, since we saw a lot. It's not bad if they're white or brightly colored, at least you can spot them pretty much in advance as long as you keep a good look-out. Black ones though, are so hard to see. The thoughts of fouling the prop or dragging a lobster trap with us are not pleasant.
The entrance to Geraldton Harbour is a well-marked ship's channel. Our AIS told us there were three ships at anchor and another ship and a pilot boat just exiting the harbor. We stayed out of the channel till the exiting ship passed and then headed in. We could see the candy cane striped Point Moore Lighthouse as we approached.
It's a wide, deep channel to accommodate the large ships which carry primarily iron ore from the port. The channel meanders a bit, a dog-leg here, a left turn there, but we eventually made it to the East Breakwater, our anchoring spot for the night. Calling it a breakwater is a bit of a stretch. It's not solid like most breakwaters, but rather a broken wall affair just above sea level. It appears, however, to do the trick. We anchored in about 12' (3.7m) of clear, turquoise water.
As we tidied up, we watched people at a lookout at the end of another breakwater taking our picture. If they'd only known, I was taking their picture at the same time. Tourists!