Monday, October 7, 2013

How LOW is a 5 star resort?

Palm Bay: Long Island.
What yachtie could refuse a 5 star resort for $50 a night. The package includes all of the services that the resort has on offer for land guests: swimming pool, umbrella covered lounges, professional kitchen for personal use, access to frozen stores, Nespresso coffee, (small charge) feather filled lounge chairs, a media room, free laundry and hot showers etc...All of this when you pick up a mooring and tie a stern line to a coconut tree. Sounds irresistible and too good to be true.
Just a few difficulties experienced by the crew of Sea Trek III before jumping into the spa!
Like Robertson Crusoe we became stranded on a tropical island.
We motored in along a small narrow channel that had been dredged out of the coral. (See Google earth)
No problems picking up the mooring line in 2.2mtrs depth. (calculated to be below the bottom of our keel). It was a little past half tide and falling. Glenn charged off in the dinghy to grab a line to attach to our stern. In such a narrow space there is no 'swinging' room permitted. Unfortunately in this short period of time Sea Trek III spun around with the wind and the depth meter suddenly read zero.
We were now the obvious victims of a "soft grounding" and the afternoons's entertainment for the relaxed resort guests. All chairs and lounges faced us. We were the only yacht in the lagoon and we were stuck firmly on the bottom. The only way that I could help was to rev the engine at full speed when requested. A lot of ideas proved unsuccessful over the next hour. Lines (ropes) of various lengths were attached to increasingly exhausted outboard motors of up-sized dinghies. The tide was rapidly dropping as decisions were being made.
Thr first I knew of our problem.
Glenn and I eventually resolved to wait the many hours for the tide to drop to it's lowest (yes mariners: no-moon tonight: "Low Water Spring" ) and rise again above our present level. Because the yacht would fall over to one side: (lean") I decided to secure all free objects below decks and abandon ship. The resort looked cool and inviting, and it was so very close.
Glenn suddenly remembered some long buried knowledge from his Ulladulla Coxswain course. I knew it would surely happen one day.!! He suggested that two halyards ( ropes) be led out from the top of the mast and pulled over to starboard by the helpers dinghies. The aim was to try to 'TIP' Sea Trek III over onto her side. The theory is that this will cause the keel to break free of the muddy squelch/suction. Flotation will follow.
The theory.
Again there was much revving of outboard motors, and max. revs by ST3. I feared that she would drive straight ahead at full speed, and run onto the shore. Suddenly she lurched and I saw the rigging and mast heading sideways. I grabbed something uphill as we went over to the side at an alarming angle. Surely we would all end up in the water and our boat, our home would sink. But no, we were free, and bobbing and floating again.
Floating again.
During our Sea Trek adventures Glenn has been a marvelous skipper. He has continually consulted charts and references about the tides and depth of anchorages. I have felt incredibly safe. This yacht is not just a boat for a season; it is our chosen home and the significance of any event that threatens the integrity of the vessel is amplified. This was our first grounding in ST3.
Glenn relaxing at the end of a 'big day'.
The marvels of the resort revolve around the unique lagoon. It has a steep drop-off. Sea Trek III rests only a few metres from the shore. When going ashore in the inflatable, we just pull on the stern line once and float in. At low tide we are only two or three dinghy lengths away.
Climb in dinghy, float for five seconds, climb out : ashore!

The return trip at high tide.

Low tide: Land is very close.

Out and about exploring this beautiful place. Apparently it was a Peppers Resort a few years ago. Then the company just walked away. (GFC?). It now has caretakers.

Young international travellers can stay here rent-free for two weeks. They are expected to contribute 4 hours a day to the maintenance of the place.

Gardening by the french lads.
After our first night here other vessels joined us. At present it is a bit windy. We are using our dinghy as a fender incase the trailer sailer beside us goes wandering in the night.
Just the average view.
I watched in amazement as the Bush Stone Curlew walked from a bush garden patch to another via an open deck. It was not tame and carefully chose it's path. It froze every few steps. With it's friends it makes a lot of wailing noises in the evening.
Bush Stone Curlew. Beautiful large yellow eyes.
Bush turkeys have a lot to scratch around in.

Our favourite view.

Despite our inauspicious start to our visit at Palm Bay, we are so impressed with the place that we have decided to stay for a small holiday: three nights.



  1. It's a beautiful place!! You can get a cheapish feed at Happy Bay and drop the anchor at no cost. They welcome yachtys. Bruce

  2. Thanks for recommending Palm Bay, we wouldn't have come here otherwise Bruce! We did walk over to Happy Bay, but forgot to take our wallets and purse....

  3. Our family spent 3 weeks at Happy Bay some time around 1960, and I still have very fond memories of that holiday! We called in there on Allons-y three years ago, and I could recognise a few of the buildings and other landmarks. Hadn't even heard of Palm Bay at that time - it sounds well worth a couple of days.