Geraldton to Dampier 2017
Day 1: From Geraldton we go
Like the mythological sirens of Greek legends the Montebello Islands have beckoned the Blue Lightning team away from the magnificent waters surrounding the Abrolhos Islands, up the west coast to warmer waters. The day proved perfect for cruising, providing spectacular scenery of the mainland not to mention the odd whale and dolphin pod.
Blue Lightning took an early lead on the capture board pulling in a nice size JetSki complete with skipper. Nice flare spotting by Pete who was focused on matters close at hand & still detected the distress signal. With the safe ‘release’ of their capture, Blue Lightning motored on with Reely Black in hot pursuit.
Day 2: Rugged WA coastline
The day was spent conserving fuel and cruising at low knots on both vessels as the skippers enabled us to enjoy the rugged coastline and the odd whale frolicking near the cliff base toward Steep Point. The
Blue Lightning team had plenty of fun with some mackerel under perfect conditions.
WA sea life at its finest
As the sun was setting over the waters of Denham, the crews were provided with a vast display of sea life including turtles, dugongs, sea snakes, dolphins, not to mention the plentiful bait schools. Arriving at the jetty, the crew were greeted by a number of the locals spread along the jetty fishing. It didn’t take long for the crew to join in on the fun with Sam doing well with the squid.
Day 3- Denham WA
Rafted up to the Denham jetty for the day provided an opportunity to knock off some housework and carry out maintenance. It was also an opportunity to get some exercise taking in the sights of the town and of course a visit to the local tackle store, after all, you can never have too much fishing gear. Having secured the necessary shaving cream required by the boats’ resident model, the crew returned to the jetty keen for some fishing action. We weren’t disappointed with a nice selection of Mulloway, Bream, Squid & a nice Golden Trevally being reeled in. The shaving cream however somehow became involved in all out jetty warfare with several crew members looking like they’d been attacked.
Day 4 proved a fun day on the water with the crew onboard Reely Black hauling in Yellow Fin Tuna & Mahi Mahi. Meanwhile Blue Lightning released a selection of Mackerel, Chinaman and a Barracuda. After mooring just on sunset at Maud’s Landing, Skipper Chad showed his expertise yet again by placing the Reely Black crew on board Blue Lightning in time for dinner. Where we had an enjoyable night with Reely Black’s Mahi Mahi complimenting a meal of seafood chowder beautifully.
Day 5- Coral Bay WA
After a spot of ray watching in the magnificent waters of Coral Bay, Blue Lightning & Reely Black cruised on further up the West Australian coast. Sam picked himself up a nice size Mahi Mahi. The Jaks Chemo Ace skirt provided Reely Black’s crew with some fun reeling in Mahi Mahi & Yellow Fin Tuna. The day was topped with another perfect sunset and moonrise this time over Norwegian Bay. We had a spectacular dinner of Tuna Sashimi & a Mahi Mahi curry.
Day 6- Norwegian Bay WA
Norwegian Bay is a beautiful place. It was once the home of an old whaling station & today it is a marine sanctuary. The rusted remnants of the whaling station continue to tell their story from the boilers & water tanks, the still evident dams, the masses of discarded glass bottles (predominantly king browns, must have been thirsty work) all the way to the lone gravesite of 3 past inhabitants. We headed back down to the beach where we snorkelled the rusted structures on the ocean floor. The scene was amazing. The fish colonies were abundant from the attractively-challenged blowies to a wide range of reef fish.
Day 7- Further North we travel
Departing in the wee small hours of Day 7, we headed North to warmer waters. The Nor-Easter nearly blew the compass off the boat but that didn’t deter us. Keeping in sight of Blue Lightning other than when either she or us disappeared into the troughs of waves, we forged ahead. We sought moorings at Tantabiddi along with a number of other vessels. We thought we were a keen fishing crew ’til we passed a Dad & his family fishing in a trailer boat not too far within the entrance to the bay. It was hard to tell if the kids were grinning because they were enjoying being out fishing with their father or if they were gritting their teeth & simply trying to hold on to avoid being blown off the stern. Either way, Dad didn’t seem too concerned. We figured they were on holidays & Dad was going to fish no matter what.
Not to be outdone in the determination stakes, Pete B jumped on the kayak and headed into the boat ramp. He took his time (& the scenic route) to get in there but it didn’t take him long to realise that if he didn’t work hard & make a direct line to Reely Black on his way back we’d be leaving our mooring and chasing him and his kayak back to Norwegian Bay!
The Nor-Easter blew its butt off for most of the day. The guys aboard Blue Lightning held a fishing comp of their own with lunch being sourced & hungry bellies fed. Damo caught a Spango & Sam caught & released a 35kg Estuary Cod. Shortly after lunch it was time to burn off some energy. Launching the kayak off the stern, the girls managed a little light exercise in the gentle rain. When the wind picked up strong enough that the rain was stinging our eyes, it was clear it was time to paddle back & climb onboard the Black Watch. Luckily the kayak had been tethered to Reely Black the whole time otherwise, again, the Skipper would have been faced with the possibility of heading back to Norwegian Bay to collect crew!
Dreaming of Marlin
The crew climbed into their bunks keen for an early start the following morning. Their ratchet fingers were getting twitchy and they were tired of using their leadering gloves to do pull-ups off the rod holders, never mind the frustration of watching DVDs of others reeling in Blues, Blacks, Stripeys & Sails. Their mission was clear. Tomorrow they would go in search of Marlin.
Well the weather proved kinder and in waters not too far from Tantabiddi the Reely Black team landed a nice Black Marlin and I (Audi) was lucky to enough to have the rod. By days end the crew had reeled in Mahi Mahi & Wahoo.
Watching the spread
Shortly after lunch & an espresso martini the crew were feeling inclined towards an afternoon nap but monitoring the spread was the top priority until a rather large customs/coastal guard plane came towards them very low and on one engine. Having checked in with our skipper they did a wide ark & headed back from whence they came leaving the crew aghast at their close encounter…& wide awake!
Day 10 Long Island Serrurier
Having anchored at Long Island Serrurier for the night & having both boats washed by continual gentle rain through the night. The Blue Lightning team headed wide once again. Both boats enjoyed an array of captures. The skipper aboard Reely Black decided it was time to run a new addition to the surface teasers, hoping to excite some fish action and his first mate assisted as they secured one of the crew’s Nike running shoes to the tail of both teasers. What began as a laugh quickly resulted in Wahoo and Mahi Mahi action for all to enjoy. If you’re ever contemplating attaching Nike running shoes to your surface teasers….’Just do it’.
WA fishing species galore
During the course of the day, Reely Black reeled in Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Coral Trout & Golden Trevally. Blue Lightning scored some good catches too. The team and her vessels are finally home sweet home at the Montebello Islands.
Day 11- Our Montebello Islands arrival
On day 11 of our voyage from the Abrolhos Islands to the Montebello Islands we made our way to the Blue Lightning pontoon. We were all ecstatic to be welcome by resident “pets” Kodak and Fuji. Day 11 was our day to setup the pontoon for the Montebello Island season and complete the required maintenance. We couldn’t ask for a better location to complete the maintenance in, these islands are simply breathtaking.
After finishing the pontoon set up and enjoying a nice lunch to feed our bellies. Captain Chad treated us to an afternoon of fishing. The first session was spent with casting stick baits and poppers, which resulted in Trevally being caught. We finished off the afternoon with a jigging session. Wow the Rankin Cod were on fire! It was a great way to finish our last day off at the Montebello Islands. We were treated to an amazing glass out night with the dolphins chasing Gardies around the boats and pontoon, it simply does not get any better.
Day 13- Montebello Islands WA sunrise
In true Montebello Islands style, we departed the archipelago witnessing yet another spectacular sunrise. Blue Lightning took the direct route home whilst Reely Black took the scenic route via Billfish territory. 😉
Billfishing at the Montebello Islands
Water temps, water colour, bird action, bait balls, current lines. The conditions were right but the Billfish weren’t playing ball…today! Those who love billfishing know that such a day does nothing but wet the appetite and leave you counting down the days until you next return to be greeted by Chad & Leah and board Blue Lightning bound for the Montebello Islands. Thank you Leah & Chad, for yet another amazing trip. Your passion, expertise and professionalism make every trip a unique experience and for that, the Geraldton to Montebello Islands crew thank you. All the best for your 2017 Monties season!
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