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The Adventure ....

 
  
 

 
 
ships log
Friday 2nd May 2008
Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island, Queensland

Hello everyone,

Since cruising through the southern Great Barrier Reef Islands, a week or so was spent exploring the Keppel Islands as our previous visit last year was way too short. Sadly the Great Keppel resort has closed (supposed to being refurbished, but the locals are skeptical) but the beach pizzeria is still open, where we satisfied our pizza hunger! One evening 7 boats got together at "Jim's Cave" for sundowners. This wonderful evening got even better when some trawler crew joined us complete with a huge container of fresh seafood - absolute heaven :-)

Svenssons beach, Great Keppel Island - click to enlarge

After leaving Great Keppel Island and Rosslyn Bay en-route to the Whitsundays, we decided to take our time and visit some islands that were generally off the beaten track. The isolation has been fantastic – no TV, internet, telephone; the footprints on the beach are ours alone; days would pass without seeing another boat and often we were the only yacht at anchor.

We started out at North Keppel Island, purely to do the walk around the island. At a leisurely pace it took us the whole day. The lookout views were magnificent and the whole experience was topped off with a very refreshing and invigorating outdoor cold camp shower afterwards. We had the whole National Park campsite to ourselves, despite being here in school holidays.

Great weather and a reprieve of Army “war games” in the Shoalwater Bay training area allowed us to overnight at the delightful Pearl Bay (between Port Clinton and Island Head Creek - both anchorages we’d previously visited). It’s very hard to see the anchorage from the ocean, as protective rocky outcrops hide it very well. Once inside, there’s good flat water and an unspoilt crescent beach.

Pearl Bay - click to enlarge

Hexham Island was our next stop, but 2 sleep deprived people hightailed it out of there at the next day’s first light after experiencing a big rolling swell all night. We were hoping that our next stop at Curlew Island would be a better anchorage, especially as “100 Magic Miles” guide book rate this island as the most beautiful in the region. Well, we weren’t disappointed - just a slight swell at change of tides, but otherwise a nice flat anchorage. The island wasn’t bad either :-)

Curlew Island - click to enlarge

After really enjoying a previous overnighter at Scawfell Island, the decision was made to spend a few days “time out” from sailing at this anchorage. And as luck would have it, strong winds forced us to spend almost a week here. Whales were all around last time we were here, but this time around being too early for the whale season, the multitude of turtles had to suffice and were just as entertaining.

Scawfell’s a beautiful spot, but after a few days continuously being blown around on our anchor, we made a break for Brampton Island - only 20 nautical miles further away but more protected from the strong winds, whilst also having the added bonus of well maintained walking trails. An unexpected delight was encountering clouds of butterflies while walking – flashes of vibrant neon blue’s, yellow’s, orange’s.

Brampton Island - click to enlarge

Would have loved to walked around Lindeman Island, but a “washing machine” anchorage made us push onto Cid Harbour, where we experienced the flattest anchorage that we’d in two weeks ! It was almost as if we were snug in a marina. Brian finally conquered Whitsunday Peak, which took all day and really tested him – needless to say no walking was attempted for the next few days.

Our trip to Airlie Beach and civilization was timed to coincide with the Saturday morning market, where we overloaded on the best fresh vegetables. Overindulging in our favourite seafood restaurant was also on the cards. Being back in civilization means catching up on odd jobs (there’s always something needs fixing on a yacht), water and fuel tanks need topping up, almost a month’s worth of laundry, food re-provisioning, equipment spares shopping, sail patching – wasn’t long before we were itching to be sailing again.

Whitsunday Peak - click to enlarge

So Langford Island became the next destination where we picked up a public mooring, which placed us almost on top of the coral with very good snorkeling. The next day we moved onto Blue Pearl Bay at Hayman Island – the best snorkeling we experienced so far.

And now we’re at Magnetic Island. Since leaving the Whitsundays and sailing past Bowen, we are feeling as if it’s the beginning of our adventure all over again, as we’ve not sailed in these water before, so it’s all new territory for us from here on.

We’re now working off a rough "weekly" itinerary of destinations/anchorages we need to arrive at, but leaving enough time to explore places such as Hinchinbrook, Daintree and Lizard Island; with the aim of arriving in Darwin for early to mid July, for the start of the Darwin-Kupang rally on 26th July 2008.

Next couple of stops will be along the islands en-route to Hinchinbrook, where we plan to spend a few days exploring, then onto the islands en-route to Cairns, where we're planning to do some inland exploring in the Daintree. In the meantime, here’s our latest photo’s and video’s – hope you enjoy them :-)

As always, please drop us an email if you like our diaries or have suggestions.

Cheers for now
B & G