Forum Replies Created
27/03/2017 at 4:12 pm in reply to: Any pick up/drop off points in the Kimberley other than Darwin & Broome #2194
The Berkeley lodge has new owners, and I haven’t contacted them since they took possession, so I’m not 100% sure. But last year they were allowing fly in/out crew transfers, and they were charging about $200 as a landing fee and 4WD transfer from the airstrip to beach. They have their busy times during the day, particularly if they have lots of guests, so talk to them about the best time to arrive.
The direct phone number at the lodge is (08) 9254 3268
All the best,
Not that I’m aware of.
Dog Leg Creek will be open for business.
McGowan Island is not selling fuel.
Honeymoon Bay Camping Ground will truck 200lt drums in for you if you arrange it with them. Alternatively, you can arrange to truck your own fuel to Honeymoon and they will store it for you for a fee.
Shorelands Barges from Darwin are still running a fortnightly service to Kalumburu. You can buy fuel from them.
If I get any updates on fuel availability, I’ll include it in the General Information Anchorage leaflet
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
Hi Barry, It’s difficult to suggest just one place to visit. It appears you will be on a mission through the Kimberley, so an easy one to get into, which wont take you far off track, is the Palm Island and Swift Bay area.
If you’re going to the King George, you should go the extra 50 miles to also see the Berkeley River. It would be a shame to sail past it.
24/02/2017 at 5:02 am in reply to: Any pick up/drop off points in the Kimberley other than Darwin & Broome #2154
Other than flying in by charter aircraft, Wyndham and Derby are it. Both are quite a distance off the beaten track, do your numbers, as you may find it less costly in time and dollars to fly your friends in, rather than you going well out of your way to pick them up. See http://kccyc.org.au/charter-aircraft-contacts/
You can now charter the aircraft used by the recently restarted Cockatoo Island Resort to get crew and supplies in. They fly out of Broome. I learnt about this in the last few days. You can also buy a beer at the bar on Cockatoo as well – welcome news. It is run by Dean Kemp, who operates the fuel barge at Dog Leg Creek in Yampi Sound.
Did you use the Optus card at Koolan? We bought an Optus SIM for an iPhone and tried it about 6-7 years ago, but with very poor reception. We were relying on it to get some important emails at the time, and ended up motoring across King Sound to pick up the Telstra 3G at Cape Leveque.
Perhaps they have boosted the signal these days.
I dont know much about either the GO or Inmarsat systems. I have a KVH V3, which is excellent for both phone and data. It was the best to suit my needs at the time I bought it. But it has one downfall – that is it cant be taken ashore, or off exploring in my tender. I also have a standard Iridium handset with the cheapest plan I can get, purely so I can chuck it in my backpack when I go ashore in the Kimberley in case something goes wrong and I need to call for help.
Hi Dave, Contact Joy and Les at Honeymoon Bay Ph: 08 9161 4378. They will get you a to/from Kalumburu for about $200. You will need to charter a light plane out of Kununurra to Kalumburu. See the Napier Broome Bay Anchorage details in the Anchorage page for charter contacts. You may be able to share a ride with others if it’s only 1 person coming out.
The Drysdale is only accessible by tender for deep keel vessels. Except for the anchorage just inside the mouth at Curran Point.
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?
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.
It’s nice to get feedback.
Thanks for the update and your kind comment on the web site. It’s disappointing to see you missed the HF experience.
R&R has been in there 4 or 5 times over the years. We’ve used the float plane trip from Broome as an economical means of flying friends either in or out. The last time we were there, the new “Floating Hotel” was in its first year, and we noticed a more structured attitude from the staff compared to previous years. “Relaxed and laid back” is how I would describe their attitude in prior years.They were fun and more than helpful to deal with.
I suspect the introduction of the proposed Horizontal Falls Marine Park, along with its associated rules and restrictions, might have some influence on the situation. From a safety point of view – probably a good thing. But from a relaxed and laid back perspective – maybe not so good. I think it may have also resulted in a monopoly situation – perhaps another influence.
I hope your experience was a one-off, and they pick up their act. The ride through the falls in one of their huge RIBs, when the water is raging, is worth the effort to go in there.
Any other KCCYC members who have recently done the HF trip who would like to add comments on their experience? Please add a reply to this topic.
All the best,
I’m not sure if you are the same John I have had previous email correspondence with regarding sailing a trailer sailor from Darwin to Wyndham. If so, I am probably doubling up on some issues.
A 2.9M inflatable tender is on the small side, particularly if it is a true inflatable, not a RIB. Personally, I would not be using it for anything but very short and quick trips ashore. I certainly would not be in it if I saw a croc in the area. If you are out there for 6 weeks, I suggest you rethink the inflatable tender idea and go for something like a minimum 3.6M tinny, or equivalent. Tow it if you have to. We have met more than a few people who have had their Kimberley cruise spoiled because they have been too scared to get in their small tender and explore the creeks, beaches and bays, which is what the Kimberley is about. Yes, crocs are a real problem if you don’t treat them seriously, and with a large degree of common sense.
The only way you will avoid tide problems is by working with them. In King Sound, Yampi Sound and Camden Sound you have chosen an area with some of the biggest tides in the world. If you’re there for 6 weeks, you will go through at least 2, possibly 3 sets of spring tides, so be prepared to wait, and go with the tide. There are very few places in the area you intend cruising where the tidal flow wont present problems for you. Sailing against the tide wont be an option in most areas, and motoring against it will waste a lot of fuel. You will quickly get into the routine of timing your routes to suit the tides. Because your speed will be limited, you need to carefully plan your routes and overnight anchorages within the range you can travel with the tide each day. Also expect to do plenty of motoring, so take sufficient fuel. (Fuel is available at Dog Leg Creek in Yampi Sound). The wind can be less than 5 knots during parts of the day, or for days on end. The predominant breeze is east to southeast, so you’ll be sailing into it on your way east.
Derby to Yampi Sound is about 85NM, therefore there is no chance you will make it on one tide. And its not the place you would attempt sailing at night without considerable local knowledge. (A rule that goes for most of the Kimberley coast if you’re sailing close in). McKellar Bay, near Point Usborne is likely to be your first anchorage out of Derby – about 40NM. You then have a few bigger bays to stop at, such as Crawford Bay and Cone Bay. My King Sound local knowledge is limited to one trip into the area, so I suggest you get in touch with the guys at Derby VMR and Mary Island Fishing Club. It’s their home turf and I’m sure they’ll pass on their knowledge.
In Yampi Sound, and further east, there are several good anchorages. I suggest you buy the latest West Australian Cruising Guide, published by the Fremantle Sailing Club, which details many of the anchorages in the area.
There are no tracks or roads into the area you will be cruising, so Derby is your only option to launch. The area is not generally considered as trailer sailor cruising grounds, so its unlikely you will find like minded sailors to cruise in company with. But Derby is the launching area for faster outboard motor type trailer boat owners who head up to Yampi Sound and Camden Sound for fishing and camping. Many of them live in Derby and Broome and belong to the VMR and the Fishing Club.
Have a great trip,
Hi Dave and Julie,
If you want spectacular scenery with relatively sheltered anchorages and short to medium day sails between anchorages, I suggest the east Kimberley is the place to start. Depends how long Julie will be on board as to how far you want to go. But think about flying crew in/out of the Berkeley River Lodge airstrip, and/or Kalumburu.
Ros and I usually pick up friends at the Berkeley, then cruise west via the King George, Napier Broome Bay and Vansittart Bay, then drop them at Kalumburu to fly home. This works well for us – we can get them off the boat before the 2 week rule kicks in. But if you want people on board longer, you can get around the corner to the Osborne Islands, Mitchell River and Swift Bay/Palm Island area. Depends on how fast you cruise and how long you linger at anchorages, but allow 4 – 8 weeks to do all this area justice. The tides and currents in the east Kimberley are also less of a problem compared to the west Kimberley. But they are still an issue, particularly for sailing vessels, so factor this into your timetable.
If you pick up crew at Horizontal Falls, you either need to go back there to drop them off, or keep going to the Hunter River, them chopper out to the airstrip at Mitchell Falls. (Alternative is to charter a float plane to wherever you want, but expensive) There are plenty of spectacular anchorages and places to see out of HF, but if you are there for only a few weeks, you will probably be restricted to an area between Yampi Sound to Secure Bay area. If it was my choice between the HF area and the east Kimberley for a first time cruise, I would choose the east.
Hope this helps.
Hi Don and Suzanne & Kevin and Jamie
We would love to catch up on the water somewhere. I’ll email you direct with some contact details when the time gets closer.