Abrolhos April 2024. Pelsart Group.

Well after 22 years of wanting it, 12 months of being able to do it and two months of watching the weather, we ticked something off the bucket list and headed to the Abrolhos Islands for a couple of nights.

I asked the wife to book out every Friday to Monday in April and May and after going into standby a couple of times, we headed up to Geraldton on Thursday, leaving home just after 5. After silently paying our respects whilst we drove up Tonkin Highway and arrived in Geraldton around 1030 needing to top up the fuel tank, get some bait and ice. 
After arriving at the ramp, we had to transfer some stuff from the car to the boat (water, spare fuel, fridge etc) due to weight issues, we were in the water and putting out the marina at 11:30. 

The Easterly had been gusty so it was pretty choppy heading across but from the right direction and only at 10-15 knots now, all was good and after a couple of pauses along the way to swap people positioning and consile the goung bloke who had some gut distress (just needed to fart), we made it over in just over two hours. Instantly, I cannot understand how the early navigators made their way around considering how the bottom goes from 40 up to 20 then back down to 40 then up to 10, then 5 then 20. Then to think of the Batavia folks - What a spot to hit!

We made our way down to the Guano jetty on Pelsart Island and threw the pick in near 1400 for a late lunch. Fisheries were doing the rounds but being that I enjoy anchoring in 600mm of water, they got half way to us before turning around so we didnt get to chat. We had multiple licenses onboard and had informed them that we were going so all was above board.

After lunch, the young bloke wanted to cast a lure so i set him up with a little soft plastic and after a couple of casts, he caught the fattest herring I have ever seen. I genuinely didnt know they got so fat and thought it was a mullet to start with but he rapidly bagged three before we beached the boat and went for a stroll on the island which is spectacular due to its ruggness. Beautiful near tropical looking sandy beach on one side and jagged boat breaking rock and coral a mere 30m away on the other side of the island. 

Back to the boat for hamburgers for tea while the sun set before throwing the spot light over the side to see what was happening. Plenty of little fish about so i threw in a squid jig and quickly caught 5 small ones which would be used as bait. 

The breeze blew through the night though with no swell, it was far more comfortable than any night we have done at rotto and very comfortable onboard, though there are few better things than sunrise. WE were all up and on the roof to watch the run rise over the sea. 

After the morning aboloutions were done, we beached the boat at the Guano jetty and walked along the beach the other way and did an hour or so long loop just looking at stuff. Back to the boat for pancakes with the young bloke catching another two herring for bait. 

High tide was 10 and with the plan being to have a fish before going to Gun Island, we headed back north out of the anchorage and followed the countour lines with C-Map and Navionics on the phone arguing about the best way, but we managed to get into see some cool stuff without touching any hard stuff. 

The breeze was around 15 knots from the east so the good side of Gun Island wasnt really doable so decided to head up towards Sandy Island (should be called 'exposed lump of coral island') passing over some absoloutely spectacular coral and finding it amazing that we are in 10m of water only two boat lengths from the island. 

There were fish showing on the sounder, and even though i could clearly see none the bottom, I thought I would fish the drop off off the edge of the coral. After remarkably managing to not snag on the coral, and still seeing no fish, we continued to drift with a drogue in and a minute or so off the coral, the rod went bezerk. After a couple of minutes with some good fun runs, we landed a decent 65cm pinky!. Our first quality fish up there, quickly dispatched and into the ice box. 

We had another three drifts and got another two big hook up's but didnt manage to set the hooks.

With lunchtime approaching, we decided to pack up and head back towards the eastern tip of the islands and found another patch of fish, dropping baits with my daughter fairly quickly catching a decent Spango and my young bloke solo landing a 56cm Baldie...conveniently hooked while i was having a wee off the other side of the boat so high 5 to Claire and Blake for getting it up so i could net it after i had a a quick rapid shakes on the starboard side. 

With our bag limit done, it was time to head over find a spot for lunch so we went back to the Guano jetty and up along inside the reef where we processed the snapper for lunch. We were quickly greeted by a pair of sharks which slowed our plans for a swim. Half the snapper was cooked up and eaten. WE ended up getting in for a swim before heading west of the guano jetty for another swim but with a few sharks moving around, it was quick but refreshing. The coral was phenominal. 2m high lump of coral that would have had branches that were 30mm in diameter. 

After more of a chill out we again beached the boat and strolled along the inshore side of the island towards the light house. The beach towards wreck point turns into something similar to Shell beach in Shark Bay so not ideal for tender bare feet. 

Back to the boat for dinner hot dogs before laying on the roof for half an hour watching the stars and moon rise. That was one of those unforgettable moments with the subtle tones of John Butler revreberating through the top of the cabin, the kids wrapped in Oodies with us watching the world. 

After another decent sleep with a two hour interval around midnight to murder a mozzie that had discovered how delicious i was, we woke up to watch the sun rise again followed by another walk on the beach before another fish by the young bloke with snapper and corn flakes for brekkie. 

The last forecast I saw had a weather window from 1100 to 1400 so we had two hours to stuff around before heading over so back to the spot we fished the day before to try to bring a couple to home. 

We managed a small pinky, decent fight with a sambo for Blake, and a few Blacktip Rock Cod which were decent enough to throw in the esky. 

With the clock nearing 11, we thought we would nip in to see Rob but as we got closer, noticed the conditions were a bit charactor building and opted to have one last pee in the lee of Newman Island before making our way back. 

Conditions were sloppy with 15-20 knots from the SSE but we managed to bounce between 15-20 knots most of the way and only missing two waves that shortened my spine with the return trip taking 1 hour and 58 minutes from logging on at Newman Island to entering the marina at 1315hrs. After a quick takeaway HJ's for lunch, we were on the road at 14:02. There was a cray boat on the horizion as we left the islands and they didnt know it but we were racing. I finally got past them while we were half way up the channel, but more wanted to get behind them so they could knock off the waves. 

Used 61l of fuel on the way to the island and 60l on the way back. 171l all up out of 340 taken across and 117nm During the first two days, we didnt get over 22 knots and only hit 26 knots to blow the cobwebs out just before the marina. Average was just under .7l/mn for the trip which I am happy with. 

We consumed near on the exact same fuel in the ranger towing 3t over 860km. 

Considering what we did over three days, i was very pleased that the only thing to go wrong was discovered just out of Gingin on dusk where we realised that both headlights had blown at some point. Thanks to the servicing arrangement with Ford, a quick call to roadside assist and an hour and a half wait, we had new globes fitted in and were back on the road, arriving home at 20:50. A big day. Apologies to the RAC contractor whom was called away from fishing at Guilderton on his saturday night. Time to add globes to the spares kit. 

Overall, the best trip we have had on the boat, easiest anchorage, best fishing. Everything was just really easy. 

Thansk to Rob for the chit chat before we headed up and also whilst we were in transit! This site is better for people such as yourself. 

We will definitely do it again and what we did was very doable, though the sunday at home to wash and unpack was really good. 

Here are a couple of videos of the anchorage because when we were planning to go, I really struggled to find what the ground would be like down there for anchoring. 

youtube.com/shorts/mB0Z_TeB4s4

youtu.be/MInItjrjNi8

youtu.be/fiB3jJOhsEM

 

 

 


 

 

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Spicey's picture

Posts: 218

Date Joined: 17/01/11

God's country

Mon, 2024-04-29 13:25

So good mate, its God's country out there when you get the conditions right.

I bet the kids loved it. 

Alan James's picture

Posts: 2215

Date Joined: 30/06/09

Great write up

Mon, 2024-04-29 13:49

I've never been there. Looks like a special place.
Thanks for sharing.

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Brock O's picture

Posts: 3182

Date Joined: 11/01/08

Good stuff Swompa, thats

Mon, 2024-04-29 14:10

Good stuff Swompa, thats living.

Posts: 1328

Date Joined: 05/05/06

 Good to see the boat getting

Mon, 2024-04-29 14:23

 Good to see the boat getting out and about, nicely done.

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Bend over

uncle's picture

Posts: 9404

Date Joined: 10/02/07

Sounds like a great time

Mon, 2024-04-29 16:02

 was had by all, good right up to.

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all aggressive fish love bigjohnsjigs

carnarvonite's picture

Posts: 8638

Date Joined: 24/07/07

Awesome

Mon, 2024-04-29 16:38

 Awesome write up, magical place .

Sadly only have spent 2 nights over there when bringing a boat down from up north and sheltering for a break from the howling southerlies

uncle's picture

Posts: 9404

Date Joined: 10/02/07

How was your last

Tue, 2024-04-30 08:06

 weekend?

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all aggressive fish love bigjohnsjigs

Swompa's picture

Posts: 3826

Date Joined: 14/10/12

 me? Two snapper in two

Tue, 2024-04-30 13:30

 me? Two snapper in two weeks! I have never done that!

davewillo's picture

Posts: 2311

Date Joined: 08/09/16

 Great write-up Paul. Glad

Tue, 2024-04-30 16:03

 Great write-up Paul. Glad you're really getting some great use out of the boat. It's an amazing place and I have been lucky enough to spend 4 weeks there in total many years ago. Pelsart Island is quite amazing from one side to the other. 

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 PGFC member and lure tragic

Swompa's picture

Posts: 3826

Date Joined: 14/10/12

Dont regret this debt one

Wed, 2024-05-01 10:45

Dont regret this debt one bit!

Hopefully the kids underdstand how cool the stuff we do is one day :-)

 

 

davewillo's picture

Posts: 2311

Date Joined: 08/09/16

 If you do it for long enough

Wed, 2024-05-01 11:15

 If you do it for long enough it will become second nature to them. My kids forgot a lot of the stuff but remember a lot too. Not that many people can say they have spent time at the Abrolhos mate!

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 PGFC member and lure tragic

Posts: 5761

Date Joined: 18/01/12

I'm still over here, home

Tue, 2024-04-30 21:13

I'm still over here, home tomorrow. 
Camp work with mates and considerable drinking eating and fishing.

Home tomorrow but I have another mate that came down from Karratha for his first trip and trailer shit itself.

Need to get his boat out of water and on a truck back to Karratha 

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 Give a man a mask, and he'll show you his true face...

 

 

The older you get the more you realize that no one has a f++king clue what they're doing.

Everyone's just winging it.

 

Swompa's picture

Posts: 3826

Date Joined: 14/10/12

 Looks a bit breezy up there

Wed, 2024-05-01 10:39

 Looks a bit breezy up there now Rob.

We kept one of those little black tipped rock cod that seem to be in plague proportions up there. Jeez it was delicious!

 

Posts: 46

Date Joined: 04/04/18

 Where do park or store your

Wed, 2024-05-01 03:25

 Where do park or store your car and trailer while away at the Abrolhos?

Swompa's picture

Posts: 3826

Date Joined: 14/10/12

I padlocked the trailer to

Wed, 2024-05-01 10:01

I padlocked the trailer to the car and left it in the carpark at the ramp at the Batavia Coast Marina. I have a canvas Tonneau on the ute and even left a Dometic fridge in the back so it would have been easy pickings.

Didnt notice any glass in the carpark (unlike Woodmans Point) and everything was as I left it when I came back.

Its worth noting that a few of the cars that were there when I rocked up were still there when I got back. 

Posts: 46

Date Joined: 04/04/18

 Thanks Swampa.Trying to

Thu, 2024-05-02 02:48

 Thanks Swampa.

Trying to organise something but with my Mates its a bit like herding cats!

Posts: 46

Date Joined: 04/04/18

 Oops Swompa!!!

Thu, 2024-05-02 02:49

 Oops Swompa!!!

Posts: 5761

Date Joined: 18/01/12

 I havent heard of any

Thu, 2024-05-02 11:33

 I havent heard of any issues, and mine was there from last friday til last night when I got back from the islands

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 Give a man a mask, and he'll show you his true face...

 

 

The older you get the more you realize that no one has a f++king clue what they're doing.

Everyone's just winging it.

 

Posts: 747

Date Joined: 29/03/13

Thanks so Much Swompa

Wed, 2024-05-01 18:35

To take the time to do a write up! My favourite shot is of your family on the back of the boat eating the snapper I assume?

Was envious after first reading but now inspired! Great that you are doing the trips now instead of waiting! 
 

look forward to future reports!

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Down the Line

 

Catch the Experience 

Swompa's picture

Posts: 3826

Date Joined: 14/10/12

Yep, spot on! Snapper and

Thu, 2024-05-02 07:42

Yep, spot on! Snapper and nibbles for lunch just before the sharks came about. Magical spot!

sea-kem's picture

Posts: 14897

Date Joined: 30/11/09

 Nice write up Paul, so good

Wed, 2024-05-01 21:50

 Nice write up Paul, so good to see the family having quality time. 

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Love the West!

Rick's picture

Posts: 1109

Date Joined: 22/12/06

Great

Thu, 2024-05-02 00:22

Great trip and a great write up, certainly is a special place 

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Adam Gallash's picture

Posts: 15625

Date Joined: 29/11/05

Bucket list

Thu, 2024-05-02 20:08

 Still on my bucket list, I haven't explored the mid west yet. One day!

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