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Old 02-10-2014, 02:50   #1
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Rottnest Island anchorages

Hello cruisers.

We've just come back to the mainland after a visit to Rottnest Island in Western Australia and all I can say is "wow". We loved it. Seriously what a hidden gem. Now we have firmly added it to our "round Oz" plans for a few years from now.

I got the impression that October is the right time to visit but I would like to know if people feel there is a better time ( in terms of weather and general amenity).

Also there are simply hundreds of apparently properly laid out mooring buoys provided by the island management and I would like to know if anyone has any recommendations regarding their reliability and suitability to a heavy 42' sailing boat with a 6' draft. I am a long way from my charts right now (travelling the Nullabor plain) and curiosity is eating me up.

Even with the charts I lack the experience to evaluate anchorages for many of the pitfalls that beset learner boaters.

Matt


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Old 02-10-2014, 07:20   #2
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Re: Rottnest Island anchorages

Hi Matt

There may be local people with better knowledge but I'll add what I can for now.

I am planning a trip to Rottnest from Mandurah at the end of the month for the Beatles Festival. I have never sailed there before but I'm looking forward to it.

There are a number of moorings available, some of which are available for public booking whilst most are on long term lease.

The few 'public' moorings can be booked on a first come, first served basis via the Rottnest Island Authority web site (www.rottnestisland.com). The leased moorings have a shared use system where people can apply to be added as a user to a lease and this gives access to the assigned mooring if the leaseholder is not using it.

Anyway, have a look at the web site, there is loads of information about how it all works.


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Old 02-10-2014, 07:32   #3
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Re: Rottnest Island anchorages

The website booking page will let you find available moorings that fit your length and draft. Try selecting a specific bay you'd like to moor in to see what is available in your date range. Thompson bay has moorings for sixty footers but a bit exposed. There is anchoring area there too but sandy bottom and can get quite windy. Wind direction is very seasonal, so I've heard the south-side bays are not always practical and reefs around the island are notorious and channels are narrow so study charts carefully, count channel markers, and have a look-out on the bow if exploring the smaller bays.
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Old 03-10-2014, 00:06   #4
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Re: Rottnest Island anchorages

Thanks guys. Mandurah have a great trip over. What a great journey that will be. Not too long with a terrific destination.

I did not realise that moorings might be leased already. I'll give that web site a try as soon as I have decent internet access. That's about a week away.

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Old 03-10-2014, 02:19   #5
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Re: Rottnest Island anchorages

You'll likely have the wind up your keister on the trip north. On my own trip in late February the winds and waves picked up significantly just south of the island.

Some flexibility in choosing your date to return south to Mandurah is helpful, you want to wait for a return date when the wind has a significant easterly (preferably) or westerly component, or possibly motor sale south.

I left Thompson Bay at 6 am with 17 knots south easterly. By noon the wind was gone and I motorsailed for an hour. The wind then picked up again in the afternoon from the south and I arrived back in Mandurah at about 3:30 pm.

I stayed to the west of the coastal reefs on the way back, not turning east until past James Service Reef. The alternative would be to go beyond Passage Rock and follow the leading lines into Warnbro Sound (motor sail, careful not to ground).

Have fun on your trip.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:30   #6
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Re: Rottnest Island anchorages

Thanks. I'm planning on going to Fremantle the weekend before so I can do the journey in two parts. For Fremantle I'll go west of Garden Island then through Challenger Passage and Success channel to FSC. Then directly to Rottnest in time for the weekend.

Getting back to Mandurah will (hopefully) be a day sail (motor sailing where necessary.)

Anyway, that's the plan so far. It all depends on the weather.

Are you in Mandurah usually?


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Old 04-10-2014, 17:04   #7
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Re: Rottnest Island anchorages

Contact the Fremantle Sailing Club cruising Captain. Ring 08 9435 8800 and ask for Terry Day.
They will tell you the best way to go about getting the moorings sorted.
Rotto is awesome, but don't forget Garden Island and Mangles Bay!


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Old 04-10-2014, 17:33   #8
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Re: Rottnest Island anchorages

Just a quick data point for anyone sailing around and about Mangles bay and Garden Island. The bridge clearance under the Garden Island bridge and causeway is not clearly defined - at least I couldn't find the data easily.

I cleared it at a low(ish) tide but scrapped the top of the VHF antenna on the centre span a few hours later. Mast is about 36' above the WL and the antenna is maybe 1.5' higher.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:50   #9
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Re: Rottnest Island anchorages

A quick follow up for anyone who stumbles on this thread when looking for info on Rottnest.

Have not yet had a chance to look at my charts of the island in detail but I did look at the web site provided above and discovered to my dismay that by far the majority of the moorings are leased and there is a waiting list of unknown duration to obtain a lease. Also the majority of the very few moorings you could hire on a casual basis were at the main township which is, in my opinion, the least attractive (albeit practical and perfectly pleasant) anchorage of all of them. There are only four publicly bookable moorings in the beautiful bay where we were staying and I now realise they were all occupied while we were visiting ( shoulder season) while NONE of the leased moorings were in use.

The total number of bookable moorings is pretty small and many that I could positively identify from the maps in conjunction with our holiday photos are in far from ideal locations. Very close to reefs in a couple of cases and generally further out from shore. Ok, that last point may suit some cruisers but it is worth noting.

In summary the message for cruisers passing through seems to be book early to avoid disappointment and be prepared for a very second best mooring despite the multitudes of moorings that are visible in photos of the island.

Now I stress that some of this is conjecture on my part and based on only one visit to the island but I will certainly be tempering my expectations when we visit the area a few years from now. All this being said I still think the place is delightful and we will be profoundly happy to get any mooring when we go past. I guess I just feel a bit sad that the really special bits appear to be closed to the general public.


Matt


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