- Radio Reception in the Louisiades
- Chart Accuracy vs. Eyeball Navigation
- CMAP - the "Free" Version
- Cruising Guides
- Passages From Australia to Duchateau
- Waypoints & Tracks
Radio Reception in the Louisiades
We did not find much in the way of local broadcast radio in the islands. If you like to know what is going on in the world and back home in Australia, it is useful to know the short wave frequency schedule of ABC Radio Australia.
HF Radio is not just for news junkies it is also very useful since the ABC does broadcast tsunami warnings if there have been quakes in the pacific.
Chart Accuracy vs. Eyeball Navigation
The Australian Hydrographic Office has recently issued "new" metric charts for the Louisiades region, however pay close attention to the Zone of Confidence parameters! Be warned - even these new charts are only accurate to about 500m, which is not really good enough for confident and safe navigation amongst coral bommies and fringing reefs!
We navigated the islands using a combination of electronic charts (C-Map Max-NT version 14 displayed on a laptop using Software On Board), the latest paper charts as of September 2009, and cross referenced between GPS, RADAR, depth sounder, and hand bearing compass whenever we approached a new anchorage for the first time. Generally speaking, we found the relative location of islands shown on paper charts to be consistent with ranges observed on RADAR when negotiating charted passages through the reef. Furthermore, the Max-NT charts appeared consistent with the paper charts.
On the other hand, we encountered several submerged obstacles (expansive bommies) 100m from their charted position - according to our GPS. We did not have the opportunity to determine whether this inconsitency was due to inaccurate chart survey or GPS error, however it reinforced the importance of only navigating with good light in unfamiliar territory!
Nevertheless, we always approached new anchorages cautiously, and with good light and several lookouts. This is particularly crucial in tight anchorages, and any time you want to anchor particularly close to a fringing reef, as the depth may jump from 12m to 2m or less!
CMAP - the "Free" Version
Many yachties seem to have an old copy of CMAP running on their navigation PC. I've used it in the past, and it seems reasonably accurate for well-surveyed, high traffic locations such as the east coast of Australia. However, this software is based on pretty old chart data, and cannot be relied on with any confidence for navigating within the Louisiades.
There is a huge difference between the $300 "C-Map" charts and the public domain charts, and Jeppesen Marine release updated charts every few months which incorporate chart corrections published by the relevant hydrographic authorities.
SV Clementine's Guide to the Louisiades
This book served as our main reference to anchorages throughout our time in the islands. Although the general information and mud maps of the anchorages are very useful, some of the GPS waypoints provided are dangerously incorrect. At least one appears to be a typographic error, and several others left me wondering if the author was using a GPS datum other than WGS-84. Given our own observations and the lack of any mention of datum, we recommend treating SV Clementine's waypoints with cautious suspicion. Also note that some of the information about villages or islands being uninhabited is either out of date or incorrect.
Boat Books and other Australian chart agents tend to stock the SV Clementine guide.
Dim Dims and Dolphins
We were unable to get a copy of this book in time, however many other rally participants used it. Perhaps someone would care to review it here?
Passages From Australia to Duchateau
Cairns has all the facilities required to prepare for this type of voyage, including bulk food suppliers like Campbells Cash & Carry, wholesale butchers who will individually cryovac meat portions, and a farmers market in the middle of town for fresh fruit and veg.
There are also several chandleries in town, the best of which we found to be Geopickers.
After leaving Cairns, it's best to make for Grafton Passage for a stress free route into the Coral Sea. After leaving the shelter of the reef, and assuming you are sailing with the SE trades, set a course as close to due East as the conditions will allow. If you set out on the rhumbline, the chances are that you'll be unable to lay a course to Duchateau without some seriously heavy upwind work for your last day or two.
Courtesy of David Dobson on SY Kanaloa, LOA 12m, Draft 2.5m
We checked out of Townsville QLD The customs were very obliging and most helpful we dealt with a Rodney Buckley - 07 4722 3700; Mobile 0419 791 883 townsvilledo at customs.gov.au. After clearing out we were given 48 hours to leave Australian waters.
We were able to obtain Duty Free from
Denise Beldan, SOUTHERN CROSS MARINE SUPPLIES (NQ), TOWNSVILLE, QLD PH: 47245144, FAX: 47245166, MOB: 0419559956 However no wine was available only beer, spirits and tobacco.
After a stop at Palm Island we stopped at Holmes Reefs about 160 nm from Palm Island despite having 30 knots of wind the anchorage proved to be excellent with good protection , we anchored in 11 metres of lovely blue water. The snorkel on the reef was acceptable, minimum depth seen at entrance 15m:-
Approach: 16.28'.45s 147.57'08e
Entrance to Pass :16. 27'56s 147.58'70e
Anchorage: 16.27'.11s 148. 04'49
Exit: 16.26'.08s 149. 59'.03e
Our two night Passage then took us direct to the Duchateau Group of Islands 420 miles out from Holmes Reef.
Waypoints & Tracks
The following waypoints and tracks have been provided in good faith by fellow cruisers. They will inevitably contain a certain degree of GPS and/or chart accuracy error. Always exercise caution, keep a good lookout, and an eye on the depth sounder when using this type of information.
Follow the links to each island for further information about anchorage, conditions, etc.
Waypoints of SY Kanaloa (LOA 12m, Draft 2.5m)
Ana Island Duchateau
Approach : 11.18'.14s 152.20'.76
Anchorage: 11.16'.62s 152.21'.10e
Approach: 11.07'.81s 152.21'.51e
Pass: 11.07'46s 152.20'.51e Then eyeball once in the lagoon.
Anchorage: 11.07.88s 152.20'.10e
/ Bagaman Island
Approach: 11.04'.35s 152.25'.66e
Entrance to pass: 11.03'.28s 152.25'.75e
Pass: 11.03'.05s 152.25'.90e then 11.02'.93s 152.26'.79e
Anchorage: 11.02'.84s 152.26'.79
Utian to Motorina
We left the lagoon and headed south via the eastern passage, our route plan was to go north of VENARIWA ISLAND before heading for the anchorage. We planned to pass to the north of a shoal marked on chart AUS 510 in a position 11.04'80s - 11.05'50s; 152.29'.00e - 152.29'.35e. We actually found that the northern end of this shoal is approximately 11.04'836s 152.29'476e so a little caution is required. Venariwa Island lies much further to the north than marked on the charts , both paper and electronic, we kept about 0.5nm off it and our track took is via the following series of waypoints :-
A) 11.03'.717s 152.31'.162e
C) 11.03'.267s 152.31'821e
D) 11.03'.741s 152.32'.641e
Anchorage: 11.04'32s 152.33'50e
Tracks of SY Aequus
The following illustrations are screenshots taken from Software on Board using CMAP MAX NT charts (version 14) at maximum zoom. Aequus is a Jarkan 10.5 and draws 1.8m with full cruising stores. GPS Datum is WGS 84. We will publish the tracks in text format at a later date. Please remember that GPS is only accurate to about +/- 20m about 95% of the time. The other 5% of the time it may be better, or much much worse! These screenshots are provided to give an approximate indication of navigable routes, however you must take all due precautions (cross reference with depth sounder, RADAR, paper charts, handbearings, and good visual lookout) if you choose to follow them.
|Location||Click For Full Size|
|Cairns to Louisiades|
|Track - Arrival at Duchateau from Coral Sea|
|Track in/out of Kamatal|
|Track from Bagaman to Panaumala|
|Track from Gigila to Wanim|
|Track to Panapompom and Nivani|
|Track from Panaumalato Gigila|
|Track from Utian to Bagaman|
|Track from Wanim to Nimoa|
|Track into Panasia Lagoon|
Yacht Blogs Featuring Louisiades
- Yacht Maranatha - An Australian couple who sail to the Louisiades every year to carry out missionary work