By Glenn: I didn't really want to go to West Bay, Middle Percy Island. I know it's a tradition for cruising yachts to call in and mount a plaque of their boat at the Percy Island Hilton. (the A-Frame).
Mecca for cruisers.
Everyone says "you really must do it". To me it seemed over-hyped. Call me a cynic. I've had a lifetime of wondering what all the fuss was about when told "you've gotta go and see this movie" or "listen to this band" etc. Jen says I'm revealing more about myself than the story here, but I really thought there were better places to go. Jen's enthusiasm won me over. I knew she was very excited about making an artistic plaque and mounting it at Middle Percy.
Detail of the punch-hole and paint technique.
So from Hexham Island I plotted a course to West Bay. As usual it was a beautiful warm sunny day. We spotted whales breaching and a handful of inquisitive dolphins greeted us just as we rounded the point. (always a good sign in my mind). I was dumbfounded when we sailed into West Bay. It was a picture perfect tropical island setting (think Gilligan's Island) with only 4 other yachts anchored in the bay. Mmmmm, it seems my reluctance for coming here had quickly dissipated! It looked great!!!
How it all began.
I couldn't get the anchor set and into the dinghy quickly enough. This place demanded some serious exploring at once. We spent ages in the A-Frame looking at the yacht plaques. It seems that world cruisers have been putting them up since the 50 's. Some famous boats have been here.....
John Guzzwell: 1958 SVTrekker. 20'6" circumnavigation in a timber yawl.
We spotted some friends' plaques including Bruce and Sue from Chilli Heat as well as John from Dream Weaver. Jen couldn't resist mounting ours next to Chilli Heat..." Sailing and cooking our way up the East Coast of Australia".
Pandora's box at the Percy Hilton.
The book swap in the old telephone shed.
Around the corner we spent a few days in Whites Bay. The wind had changed direction. Stunning. I had a few swims here.
For some reason Jen took a great interest in the green rocks that cropped out of the hillside. She said that they just didn't fit in. (See photo above with bright orange earth). I guess they are vulcanic in nature. To prove the point she began collecting stones with great glee. (normally she collects shells).
A riverbed behind the large white sand dunes.
I can see clearly now....
Musicians in the cruising community seek each other out. They tend to be eccentrics of sorts who creep out from under sails as a surprise. (I'm always crawling out from under the sail). We had a great afternoon session in Whites Bay where the crews from Ocean Child and Bramniny came over for a few songs. Hans played Uke and a mean harp, Denis from Ocean Child had us bemused by his improvisations with the "dobro" comb. Much later he "just happened" to play some great sounds on the guitar.
A wandering minstrel.
I laughed so much that I forgot what song I was playing, anyway here's a sample of the master Dobro Comb player.