12/09/2016 at 3:32 pm #2031
Hi everyone. This is my first post. I’m hoping to cruise to the Kimberley coast from Cairns in March 2018. Boat normally lives in Syd and is a Riv 45 f/bridge. The issue I have is that I can probably only do the trip in a series of legs with friends, wife and kids lasting a few weeks at a time. So ideally I need to be able to moor the boat and fly in and out. Is there any place at all close to say Derby where a boat can be safely left from a weather and security perspective preferably with power. I’d consider paying someone to keep an eye on it and or paying someone to deliver it from further a field. I really know very little about the area at this stage so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
18/09/2016 at 3:19 pm #2032
Hi David. Firstly, March might be a little early to be heading north – still a good chance of a cyclone in March and even into April.
The closest Marinas to the Kimberley coast cruising waters are Darwin in the east and Exmouth in the west. There is nowhere easily accessible in the Kimberley cruising grounds where I would purposely leave my boat unattended at anchor overnight.
The only towns near the coast with airports are Wyndham and Derby. Both have huge tidal ranges and flows, and definitely not suitable for leaving a boat at anchor unattended. And, being honest, they are not places I would expect a crew to babysit a boat for any more than a few days.
There are a few commercial moorings in Roebuck Bay in Broome used by fishing boats and charter boats, and also a number of private moorings in Gantheaume Point near Broome. They are mostly owned by the charter boat operators, and I suspect would be difficult to book in advance for a specific period. I would also be reluctant to leave my boat in Broome unattended, even on a mooring. There would be no security, and even though I have yet to meet a dishonest boatie, I’m told that they do exist. Gantheaume Point is relatively exposed and can also be a very rolly anchorage.
What you are planning is not unusual for bigger boats with professional skippers or crew on board, where the owner can leave the boat at almost any anchorage, then float plane or chopper in and out, leaving the crew looking after the boat. Something similar may be an option for you. IE. Fly in a skipper to look after the boat while you are away. There are many safe anchorages where this is possible, but it would be an expensive exercise getting crew and supplies in and out. There are a few airstrips along the coast where chartered light aircraft can land and transfer crew to your boat, which would make it less expensive. Otherwise, budget on $5-7K per trip to charter a float plane or chopper from Broome or Kununurra to get you in and out.
The airstrips are in the Berkeley River (probably the cheapest option with very safe anchorages). Kalumburu, then via Honeymoon Bay Camping Ground. Truscott Airbase, but Kalumburu would be better option. Hunter River, via Mitchell Plateau airstrip and short charter chopper flight to the Hunter. Horizontal Falls have float plans flying in day tourists from Derby and Broome where you can book seats on one of the planes.
Have fun planning your trip.
22/09/2016 at 3:27 pm #2035
Thanks very much Ross for the detailed response. I’ll take all that on board and continue the planning process. No doubt all have many other questions once I get my head around the broad logistics of the trip. Cheers Dave
05/10/2016 at 4:16 pm #2036
Hi again Ross. The information posted on your fuel page suggests there is no fuel available between Wyndum and Dog Leg creek other than via a possible 2 week wait at Truscott airbase or via the beach which is not recommended for mono hulls. Based on suggested side trips this could involve a 1 way journey of 550-900nm. My boat couldn’t do the latter with a reasonable safety margin. Is the schedule of the barge between Truscott and Darwin realiable enough to prearrange a rendezvous weeks in advance? Are you aware of any other options available that would break up this leg. Many thanks. Dave
07/10/2016 at 11:28 am #2037
I’ve been talking to Shore Barge and there is a possibility they may improve the fuel arrangements at Truscott to a more permanent system for future dry seasons. But that wont be confirmed until next year. Shore Barge are the only sea freight supplier to Kalumburu, and supply the fuel for the town including the town’s mains electricity generators, therefore their delivery schedule has to be reliable, give or take a few days for unforeseen problems such as weather. Obviously there’s no guarantee, but you can feel comfortable that they will be there close to a prearranged schedule date. I have found them to be reliable and helpful.
The only other option is getting fuel off one of Paspaley Pearls mother ships. Their policy is 5,000 litre minimum orders and it must be ordered and paid for in advance before the mother ship leaves Darwin or Broome. They are a large commercial pearling operation and don’t encourage cruising boaties approaching them for small amounts of fuel and food etc. unless it is an emergency situation.
Have you considered carrying fuel bladders to get extra range?
02/03/2017 at 7:47 pm #2156
Hi again Ross,
Our planning for a Kimberley trip continues. I think the boat will have a range of about 1000nm. We plan to leave Darwin in late June. We will only have 4 weeks to see what we can and arrive back at Darwin. Based on the excellent article republished by KCCyc, it seems that travelling to Dogleg creek and back will involve approx 1000nm one way with pre arranged fuel hopefully at Truscott on the way. We’re not the types to linger for days in a bay and we don’t mind long days of motoring at 10knots but even so it appears we can’t comfortably go as far as Dog Leg Creek. If we don’t get that far west and fuel up we would probably need to stop well east of that point for fuel considerations. So I guess I’m asking, should we confine ourselves to the eastern Kimberley. We do want to be able to visit at least some of the iconic Kimberley locations but not simply be steaming from one to another. Can you give us any advice how far west we should be trying to head and would we be seeing some of the best of the Kimberley? Many thanks in advance. Dave
05/03/2017 at 3:48 pm #2169
Hi Dave, With a 1000NM range you should comfortably get between Truscott and Dog Leg Creek. My last boat had a similar range, and we have done that part of the coast several times with fuel to spare. Our problem was running short on ULP for the outboard on our tender. We do a lot of exploring in the tender. It’s not hard to spend days in one area if you are prepared to go exploring the creeks, islands, inlets, beaches etc.
You are correct about trying to go too far. With just 4 weeks from Darwin to Dog Leg Creek and back, it would be a quick trip, and there’ll be many places you would have to bypass. I suggest you aim for the Hunter River area and judge from there if you want to go further west, or turn back to Darwin. The Prince Regent is not that much further on, and if you have the time and fuel, why not go there?
Be wary about putting yourself on a time schedule to get somewhere by a certain date, particularly if you have to pick up or drop off crew to a deadline. It can ruin your trip. There are many factors that can slow you down. If the weather turns bad, you shouldn’t put your safety at risk to get somewhere, just because someone has arranged to be dropped off, or picked up on a certain date. If you are transferring friends/crew, ensure they are flexible about dates, and they can change their schedule to meet yours.
Have fun, Ross
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