NOCTURNAL PANDEMONIUM AND I SEE LIGHT

 A dark, cold, cloudy and wet morning.  Just after six I dropped the mooring in Cherry Tree Bay and headed out towards French Pass. The dark and drizzle was depressing.  Once again, no wind and we motored south, the lights either side of French Pass becoming visible through the rain as we approach.

Just before sunrise we entered the pass, its spring tides, the stream was strong with plenty of turbulence, we were jostled around a bit before entering smoother water below the pass.

The day continued damp and gloomy as we motored up the west side of D’Urville Island. The sun broke through mid-morning as we were off the entrance to Greville Harbour where I had considered anchoring for the night.  But the headwind was light, the sun was shining, the day was turning out well.  I decided we should continue further up the coast to Port Hardy.

There were some quite strong tide rips along the coast, I hadn’t expected that. I tried to correlate the tidal rips to the tidal flow but couldn’t make sense of it.  The tidal stream setting into and out of the bays and around the headlands seemed local and often contrary to the general flow.

Around noon we rounded Nile Head to enter into Port Hardy, the wind against tide creating a confused sea and gyrating us around for a few minutes until we made the sheltered inner waters.  Just after one in the afternoon I picked up a mooring in the South Arm.  A very pretty and snug small cove well sheltered from most wind directions.

I didn’t see any other boats about today. There is no activity in Port Hardy, nothing moving, very quiet. Also, there is no telephone signal here, I can’t call out, receive calls or texts. Fortunately, I can receive the Marine weather forecasts given out a few times each day a on VHF.

After dinner I watched a movie before turning in for the night.  Just as I was nodding off I was awoken by a terrific commotion outside. I jumped out of bed as if poked by a cattle prod and tumbled out into the cockpit.  It was pitch dark.  At first I thought it was the wash of a large boat passing by, I could see the waves on the water surface.  Then I heard the explosive bursts of air from dolphins or whales close by.  The water surface was all roiled up, Truce rocking from side to side. The animals were splashing and creating aquatic pandemonium.  Judging by the way they were blowing it was hard work.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t see clearly what was going on and I didn’t want to disturb whatever was happening by switching on the searchlight.

After five minutes the animals went away and calm returned. It was certainly an exciting few minutes.  From the sounds and level of disturbance created the animals seemed too large to be dolphins. I guess they could have been Orca using the steep side of the small cove to coral a school of fish for feeding.

Once the excitement was over, I realised I had been standing in the cold night air not wearing much.  Returning to the forward cabin I noticed a small light under the bunk.  At first I thought it was a shaft of moonlight from the rising moon reflecting off the varnish.  But no, there was a small shaft of light coming from the finger hole in the cabinet door.  On opening the cupboard, I discovered a small light inside there was switched on.  Ah Bingo!  At last I had found the source of the vampire power loss.  For weeks I have been perplexed at the apparent battery drain.  I have been checking everything on board without luck.  The drain is too small to be really noticeable but I know the boat so well, I just knew in the back of my mind that something was not right.  I had completely forgotten about the small light under the bunk – I never use it.  One of our quests may have switched it on and forgot about it way back in January or February.

Without the whales or whatever they were, I would not have had a darkened cabin or the night vision to see the light.  Thank you whales.  I returned to my scratcher happy and slept well.

The Government have finally announced the end of Level 3 Covid lockdown on Thursday 14th.  That means sailing and inter regional travel is permitted once again.  Wonderful, I can get going again at the next weather window.  The weather is too light at the moment to sail anywhere – but in another couple of days we could be back in business.

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