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Old 19-05-2016, 16:01   #1
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Torres strait East to West

Hello fellow sailors,

this is our next challenge, and I wonder if someone could enlighten me a bit. Specifically I would like to know:

- which route is preferable? There are several, and I have no idea so far.
- we would like to check in at Thursday Island. Any comments as to where to anchor etc?
- currents? Where do I get the information as to when I would just be going backwards?
- do we anchor at night, or how do we prevent hitting a reef?

Any advice is highly welcome. We will start from Port Vila around the end of the month.

Oliver
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Old 19-05-2016, 21:09   #2
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Re: Torres strait East to West

There was a thread on this in the forum a few months ago. Try the search function.
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Old 19-05-2016, 22:21   #3
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Re: Torres strait East to West

Hello Raymond,

thanks - I found it.

Oliver
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Old 20-05-2016, 07:08   #4
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Re: Torres strait East to West

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver L. View Post
Hello fellow sailors,

this is our next challenge, and I wonder if someone could enlighten me a bit. Specifically I would like to know:

- which route is preferable? There are several, and I have no idea so far.
- we would like to check in at Thursday Island. Any comments as to where to anchor etc?
- currents? Where do I get the information as to when I would just be going backwards?
- do we anchor at night, or how do we prevent hitting a reef?

Any advice is highly welcome. We will start from Port Vila around the end of the month.

Oliver

Hi Oliver

Can give you my 2c worth based on my experience. I lived on TI for 2 years and covered quite a bit of country near there in a 18' powerboat. Last November we sailed west to east to TI from western Aust then south to Cairns. specific responses:

-which route is preferable? There are several, and I have no idea so far.

Can't comment on this other than to say we sailed west to east directly from the Hole in the Wall at the Wessell Islands to anchor at Bamfield Head on the north west of Prince of Wales Island (POW). Our Gulf crossing was under motor the whole way as we had hardly a puff of wind and glassed out seas.

- we would like to check in at Thursday Island. Any comments as to where to anchor etc?

We anchored at Horn Island (HI) around the NE side of the island approx 0.5nm south west of the jetty/ramp. Holding was good for us and we were comfortable. The dinghy trip across to TI can get a bit sloppy when the current is running but worst case you can catch a ferry from HI. You can anchor across the channel in front of TI but the current can run strong and the holding can be a problem apparently but a couple we spoke to had no problems. Having lived there I have a soft spot for TI and had friends to catch up with. TI and HI have some interesting history. You can get pretty good basic stores and services on TI but as expected prices are quite a bit higher than mainland oz. Study up on the quarantine requirements for TI and the straits in general. There are some special quarantine zone requirements.

- currents? Where do I get the information as to when I would just be going backwards?

Good question. If you find that info let me know! I can only speak for the area generally around TI but outside the shipping channels the currents seemed to have a mind of their own. There is some info in Alan Lucas's guide for cruising the coral coast.

- do we anchor at night, or how do we prevent hitting a reef?

We didn't travel reef areas at night but I certainly used to in the power boat and the charts of the areas I was in seemed reliable. I never hit anything anyway. But there are quite a few nasty bits around and I was in areas I had become familiar with. If I was doing a passage at night I would keep to the shipping channels keeping in mind that this is a reasonably busy shipping area and you will get traffic. There are Lots of beacons to reference off too.

Cheers.

Winf
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Old 20-05-2016, 08:55   #5
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Re: Torres strait East to West

Regarding currents, there is this wonderful web-site at

https://earth.nullschool.net/

By default, the site displays wind data via animation, anywhere in the world. You can zoom in or out and rotate the globe to any area of interest.

The botttom left hand corner of the page displays the word Earth, which you may mistake as a simple title.....however, it is a control button.

Click on the Earth button to open a menu of all available weather data delivered by the site. In your case, change MODE from AIR to OCEAN, and then select CURRENT instead of waves in the ANIMATE menu. Click on the Earth button again to minimize the menu.

You will then be looking at currents in your area of interest. Click on a particular spot, and you will receive an estimate of speed (in meters per second) and direction of current. Have fun playing wih other views, such as particulates if you want to see what's going on around the deserts for instance. And the Chemical pollution readings are not kind to the Northeast.

Highly recommend this site, along with windyty.com for weather systems overviews.
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Old 20-05-2016, 10:06   #6
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Re: Torres strait East to West

Quote:
Originally Posted by LooseGoose View Post
Regarding currents, there is this wonderful web-site at

https://earth.nullschool.net/

By default, the site displays wind data via animation, anywhere in the world. You can zoom in or out and rotate the globe to any area of interest.

The botttom left hand corner of the page displays the word Earth, which you may mistake as a simple title.....however, it is a control button.

Click on the Earth button to open a menu of all available weather data delivered by the site. In your case, change MODE from AIR to OCEAN, and then select CURRENT instead of waves in the ANIMATE menu. Click on the Earth button again to minimize the menu.

You will then be looking at currents in your area of interest. Click on a particular spot, and you will receive an estimate of speed (in meters per second) and direction of current. Have fun playing wih other views, such as particulates if you want to see what's going on around the deserts for instance. And the Chemical pollution readings are not kind to the Northeast.

Highly recommend this site, along with windyty.com for weather systems overviews.
Loose Goose Thanks for the tutorial. I have been playing with this site now and then but just wasn't able to get a feel for it. Now all I have to do is make a conversion table for meters/sec over.....hmmmm.. NOW I have something to do today!
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Old 20-05-2016, 14:45   #7
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Re: Torres strait East to West

Give us a holler on 7722564 when in Vila if you want to go for a kava. We're doing our cruising vicariously at the moment so love meeting other cruisers. Can't give you any info on Torres as I've only ever done it in ships and was in the engine room
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Old 20-05-2016, 17:05   #8
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Re: Torres strait East to West

Quote:
Originally Posted by redhead View Post
Loose Goose Thanks for the tutorial. I have been playing with this site now and then but just wasn't able to get a feel for it. Now all I have to do is make a conversion table for meters/sec over.....hmmmm.. NOW I have something to do today!
You hardly need a conversion table for m/s. Just double it to get knots. (That's accurate enough - to within about 5%)
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Old 20-05-2016, 17:21   #9
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Re: Torres strait East to West

Tide and current predictions for Torres Straits here:

https://www.amsa.gov.au/forms-and-pu...S&GBR-2016.pdf

Gives you predicted speed and time of max flow in either direction for any day of the year at 5 different locations. (But make sure you read Page 5!)
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Old 20-05-2016, 17:32   #10
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Re: Torres strait East to West

If you're coming from Port Vila, I'd check in initially on the East Coast (Mackay or Cairns?) for resupply and then head up inside the GBR staying close to the "Two Way Route".

You can do it non stop, but it's too nice an area to do this unless you are in a hurry. Plenty of places to drop anchor overnight and relax.
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Old 21-05-2016, 07:48   #11
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Re: Torres strait East to West

have a copy of an old cruising guide
Thursday island mud map page 33 or so

it is called downwind around Australia and Africa
was printed in new Zealand

https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resi...int=file%2cPDF

on the last trip around Australia we stopped at seisha on the north western
side of cape York. it has an iga store 50 metres from the anchorage but no
alcohol in the town. if you have alcohol on the boat that is o.k but you
cannot take it ashore. the anchorage is sand and good holding

have a safe passage
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Old 01-06-2016, 01:26   #12
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Re: Torres strait East to West

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver L. View Post
Hello fellow sailors,

this is our next challenge, and I wonder if someone could enlighten me a bit. Specifically I would like to know:

- which route is preferable? There are several, and I have no idea so far.
- we would like to check in at Thursday Island. Any comments as to where to anchor etc?
- currents? Where do I get the information as to when I would just be going backwards?
- do we anchor at night, or how do we prevent hitting a reef?

Any advice is highly welcome. We will start from Port Vila around the end of the month.
Oliver
did you get the info re stop over in TI? I worked the Straits and the north aust waters for many years. Where are you going after TI regards ted
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Old 01-06-2016, 02:29   #13
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Re: Torres strait East to West

Thanks everybody. We are in Port Vila now and it looks as we'll be here for a week longer due to that strange high over NZ. Not a good time to leave for Australia.

We decided in the meantime to go via Cairns and to go up inside the reef. A lot of people told us that we should not miss this part.

Pete, we're at a mooring at Yachting world, north of the powerline since we're too high (or I am too chicken) to pass underneath it. Where are you? Drop by!

Oliver
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Old 01-06-2016, 03:27   #14
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Re: Torres strait East to West

Hey Oliver, sorry about the rainy arrival. If you're on 16 in the morning I'll give you a call, what's your boat name?. We live ashore here now with our boat on the hard (soon to be relaunched)
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