Day 81, Wednesday, 08.04.2009

14.44 145.04.  West Petherbridge Island.  55km 7am to 5pm.  I got hit hard by a flying fish. I did not even see him 🙂


Heading first to Cape Flattery, there was another sign of civilisation – an obviously abandoned sand mining jetty was sticking out from the Cape. From the distance it looked like Cinderella’s castle on the rocks 🙂


As there were only 55 km planned to the Pethebridge Islands today I decided it was high time again to start checking on my sleeping arrangement for my crossing of the Gulf of Carpenteria!


I tried some ideas already at home in Germany on the water, and it looked like it will work fine, but I needed to check it here again. All inflatable floats and things were sent to Cairns, and I carry the stuff with me up to Cape York.


The lee of Cape Flattery was a good place to start, and I inflated my two spongeons and two paddle floats. It works best to have the spongeons plus the floats on one paddle shaft on the front deck, this prevents the paddle shaft from possibly beeing twisting around with the spongeons attached to the boat with Velcro.

But actually, two of the big paddle floats on one paddle strapped across my front deck would be more than sufficient not to capsize. I may vary still the arrangement of the floats depending on the actual conditions. I won’t need a second paddle strapped across my deck!


I deployed my sea anchor as well, but it was more of a drogue than a sea anchor and this needs to be a much bigger one to do the job of either keeping the bow or the stern into the wind…as I was drifting already on my playing way out of the Cape’s lee and into quite steep ugly rolling waves. I will work on it once I’m on Restoration Island.


I’m not sure if it was the inflating of the four floats with my mouth or sitting sideways not paddling on the rolling and occasionally breaking waves, but I got a bit sea sick…so the sea anchor needs to work to stay perpendicular to the waves. But laying flat on my back deck to rest gave my upcoming seasickness a rest, too. And I reckon there won’t be such high steep rolling waves on the Gulf all the time…



I kept on paddling after that hour’s playtime via the Lookout Point to the Pethebridge Islets.

My original plan was to stay on the Turtle Group where I knew Sandy Robson made camp, but Pethebridge was 5 km further, and the next Island could be barrow Island. This would cut down my long day to Flinders a bit where there will be freshwater to enjoy!


I got hit hard by a flying fish on my waist! I didn’t even catch a glimpse of it…but it left a stinky fishy mark on my shirt…


As I haven’t checked with anyone or on Google Earth about Pethebridge, I was a bit apprehensive about what to expect, but West Pethebridge offered a long jutting sandspit to the west to land on. It was actually coral, grinded to more or less coarse sand, but ok to land and camp. I was walking on low tide over to the actual island on coral rocks, but the island itself offered no campsite and was inaccessible.


I put up my tent on a nice flat gutter in the middle of the spit, between high piled up walls of corals to both side. I reckoned the high tide at 8.39 pm would never go over those walls to either side, as they were formed on king tides. It was protected from the wind a bit, and flat and really inviting with possible good draining in case of big rain…like on cobbles. A huge log offered croc protection to one side, my pulled up boat to the other side.


I crawled out of the tent at 8pm to check the tide, everything looked fine, enough space up to the walls for the almost last hour of the rising tide. It was full moon, and a lovely night! No rain.


What I didn’t take into account was that that last hour the tide was rising over the level of my flat gutter…and the water didn’t come over the walls, but raising from underneath through the “good drainage”…ha ha ha! :-))


So at some point on eating dinner and checking on maps, I was just picking up my water bag for a sip and thought why is that wet and leaking…but it was not the water bag leaking, the corner of the tent was wet where the bag was lying…and in the same moment I noticed the whole tent floor was somehow wobbly…the tide came in – from underneath!!!


Shit!!! I quickly grabbed all stuff which was likely to get wet and not stuffed in dry bags anymore, first of all my sleeping pad and bag, and threw it out on high and dry ground. Most of my gear was still packed dry bags, so there was actually no water damage at all besides a bit wet bottom of my sleeping pad.


I stood outside in the bright moonlight of the warm lovely night on what was left of the narrow coral spit on high tide, no clothes on, all my night’s gear thrown outside on the higher ground, and my tent was flooded 10 cm in that gutter…I was nothing but laughing! No real damage, just a floating tent…


I moved it to a higher sandy spot where I should have put up instead of in that flat gutter, but I’m learning…

I was wiping the tent floor dry and moved in again for a good night’s sleep.

(I just felt very much sorry about the lost pictures on my later lost camera…)

3 comments on “Day 81, Wednesday, 08.04.2009

They said Philippe Petit was crazy for walking a tight rope between the twin towers, but it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. In Philippe’s words [because he says it better than I ever could]: “To me it’s so simple that life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise in rebellion, to refuse to taper yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge and then you are going to live your life on a tight rope.” I see you living your life on a tight rope and stand back in admiration. You are your own woman Freya and I have to respect that. Good luck crossing the gulf. Make good decisions. Try not to get hit by any more flying fish 🙂

Hi Freya sorry about the flying fish I hope your ok, they are very fast and can really hurt you, but more often scare the hell out of you. Wow 81 days and still going stronge. your my new hero good luck and be careful. Love Warren

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