Monday, April 14, 2014

Minstrel Island

We’re on the move again & I like to post, at a minimum, every time we move.  Today was a short hop from Port Neville up to Minstrel Island.

Along the way we came through Chatham Channel which involved running the range markers.  Range markers are fixed points which you line up against in order to ensure you are in the appropriate channel.  The picture below shows the markers up close but they’re not lined up.  In order to be properly positioned in the channel your boat needs to be located such that the top marker appears to be directly over the lower marker.


This next picture is from inside the cabin while we were running the range.  I had George’s famous sonar system running today because it is really useful for skinny channels.  As it turned out, Chatham Channel was dead simple and I wouldn’t have needed the sonar but I didn’t know that going in.  The sonar display is the one with the red/pink semi circle around the blue centre.  The blue is safe water – the red area is hard returns from rock or mud.  The range markers from the previous picture are directly ahead of the bow.



If you look really close in the “V” under the angled stanchion, you can just see the range markers lined up in this photo.  There was another set of markers behind us which we followed until they got too hard to see and then we switched to the forward marks.  But like I said, Chatham Channel didn’t really warrant any concern.  The problem I’m having on this first trip into these waters is that I don’t know which author to believe.  We have pretty well every guidebook published for the area.  For every potential hazard, if I look hard enough, I can find some author who will assure me that the hazard is in fact hazardous.  To paraphrase Sir Lancelot in The Quest for the Holy Grail, we can handle a little peril – as long as its not too perilous.

Once we came out of Chatham Channel we almost immediately could see the dock at Minstrel Island.  I’m not sure why Minstrel Island figured in my plans for this area other than that it is mentioned frequently in Spilsbury’s Coast and The Accidental Airline.  There’s not much left here of the former grandeur but this must have been some kind of place in its heyday. 



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I think the docks are still solid enough to hold us this trip but give this place 5 more years of neglect and I may be reluctant to tie up here again.  Just one more reason why its important not to put off this trip. 

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