Category Archives: Coral Coast 11

Our trip North in 2011.

Rosslyn Bay

Provisioning at Yeppoon was made a little easier, by the fact that we managed to loan the courtesy car at the marina for a two hour block. Craig was on Sophie duty and I took the beat up old Toyota Corolla Sedan into Yeppoon. Having not driven a car for 2 months and traveling at a maximum speed of 7 knots (land lubbers: 7 knots= 7 nauitcal miles per hour= a little less than 13km/hour) I gained a new appreciation of just how fast automobiles actually go. I was in awe of this new discovery only to look down at my speedo and realise that I was infact only going 40km/hr in a 60 zone… lucky drivers in Yeppoon are patient.

We left Rosslyn Bay a day later than planned as the wind prediction changed, the anchorage we were going to head out to on Great Keppel Island wasn’t suitable anymore and my wrist gave way when it was taking the weight of a full kettle of water. My wrist is now much better with some time strapped up and some rest.

The trip down to Pancake creek started off a little uncomfortable due to rolly seas, the perfect recipe for sea sickness after a few nights in a marina. We faired well, with only a little queasiness, the smell of rotting algae, from all the blooms that had appeared, that we sailed through didn’t help the cause, so we were glad to get into clearer water as we headed south.

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Life continues to be good! : Back in the Percys.

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It’s been a while since we have posted, the cruising life is good and we have been distracted 🙂

We left Mackay the day after the northerlies came through, and didn’t we know when they arrived, Mackay Marina became a very rolly uncomfortable “anchorage” for the night.

We first headed for Digby Island as it appeared to have the best protection from a northerly compared to Curlew Island. We caught a fish on the way, another spotted mackerel this one was much bigger than our previous efforts – easily 85cm. After having fish tacos for dinner, we made the best of a bit of a wild night at anchor, but managed to get a little sleep, but left early the next morning for the Percy Islands where it would hopefully be more comfortable.

We anchored for the night in White’s Bay on the southern side of Middle Percy Island with a little excitement as the anchor windlass gave up the ghost for no apparent reason, having worked solidly for the whole trip. We quickly let the anchor free fall and put out as much chain as we had. The winds were strong and we pulled back on the anchor chain all night, but we held securely.

Next morning we wanted to go around to West Bay as the winds during the day were turning southerly and for the evening there would be light north easterly winds. We attempted to up anchor, however the anchor windless was still not working, even after some tinkering in the battery bay the evening before after which we thought that we had fixed the problem. So we began the “fun” task of hauling in 55 metres of anchor chain by hand. We got around to West Bay and had the place to ourselves, we found a nice patch of water and anchored in as close to the beach as we could… maybe a little too close for comfort, as we discovered just before low tide when Craig went swimming about 3 or 4 metres off the back of the boat towards the beach and discovered that he could stand! However after a quick calculation we realised that we would have just enough water under the keel at the slightly lower low tide that was to happen early the next morning. We went ashore to hang the sign that we had made for the A-Frame hut and met up with the crew from another boat who had also been at Digby Island and White’s Bay in the last few days.

We spent the night in West Bay before setting off the next morning for Delcomyn Bay, well a bay near Delcomyn Island that hasn’t been surveyed fully yet, the anchor windlass behaving much better after we fixed it’s battery terminals.

It was a fairly uneventful trip where we experienced that strange VHF phenomenon of skipping where we could hear the charter boat radio scheds in the Whitsundays (150nm to the north) and boats contacting Bundaberg VMR (200nm to the south) when VHF radio is usually line of sight communication only. The charter yacht radio scheds kept us entertained for a while, with all the funny questions from the charterers to the charter bases. We arrived at Delcomyn bay (a lovely protected anchorage in a northerly wind) just in time for a storm to arrive, along with rain and squally winds, turning the breeze southerly for most of the evening, but with lots of anchor chain out we slept soundly.

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A Whirlwind Whitsunday weekend!

“Ummm Hi, excuse me I was just wondering if I could get some change for the laundry????”

“The blinds are down that means we are closed” snapped the Marina office lady barely looking over the the top of the desk as I entered the office.
“but umm I thought you guys are open to 5, and umm it’s four fourty…..”
“Well I’ve counted the money so I can’t help you, besides the laundry isn’t our problem” she barked back in front of the “Welcome to the Whitsundays” sign with the look of someone who was well tired of boats, boaties and their endless thirst for 1$ coins.
We had arrived in a tourist town. Gone was the small town Queensland friendliness that had shaped our last month and instead there were backpackers, charter boats, more backpackers and the long suffering locals of Airlie who after 2 cyclones, the GFC and now at the end of the current season had a right to perhaps feel a little miffed.

After a 30 hour delay due to the late arrival of our guests due to bad weather and airlines we took them off on our whirlwind Whitsunday’s tour.

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First stop was Whitehaven Beach with it’s world famous white sand, which is on the eastern side of Whitsunday Island. The weather was lovely, very little wind and swell and a great afternoon was had by all swimming and lounging on the beach followed by an italian style lunch (ciabatta, pesto, bocconcini, prosciutto, and tomatoes) aboard Iolanthe.

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We then tucked ourselves into Tongue bay, a little to the north for the night, to what was turning out to be a lovely peaceful anchorage, until a large boat full of party goers turned up and “entertained” the anchorage until the wee hours.

Day Two, we sailed north around the top end of hook island to try some snorkeling in Butterfly Bay, however it wasn’t meant to be, as all the moorings were taken and a charter boat had anchored itself in fairly deep water in the middle of any potential anchoring area and after 3 anchoring attempts with no success, the anchoring committee was revolting and so we continued around Hook Island to Stonehaven where we snavelled the last mooring buoy there and Warwick, Alix and Craig did some snorkelling, which wasn’t too bad, although no brilliant coral or fish were seen.

Early the next morning we moved the boat across to Langford Island to the sand spit where there was another attempt at some snorkelling. We then sailed back across the Whitsunday Passage to Abel Point marina in time for airport transfers the next morning.

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With the guests safely on the bus to the airport we are starting to think it might be time to move on from The Whitsundays. There is a lot to love about the place, and we do, but having now discovered so many other beautiful places we are again yearning for a quiet anchorage.

Whitsundays

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We commenced our assault on the Whitsundays at a more sedate pace, a lovely sail for most of the way from Mackay to Shaw Island, where we met a friendly local, a solitary bat fish that is rather curious, obviously other boaties must feed him, but given we had none of his proper diet on board of crustaceans, we just admired him.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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We spent two nights at the anchorage at Shaw Island, we attempted to go ashore and have a swim, but with the tide out the ankle deep water went out quite a way.

The beach was uncomfortable as there was no breeze in there to cool the scorching sun, so we went back to the boat and read books, took a nap, and then moved onto the usual sun downers of cheese and biscuits or guacamole and corn chips.

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We then moved onto Cid Harbour, a familiar but favourite spot, it is a good all weather anchorage and because of that becomes more like a floating caravan park every evening, which ruins it a little, but none the less it has gorgeous aqua blue water and lovely sunsets across the Whitsunday passage.

 

Shopping



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Shopping used to be a 15 minute exercise on the way home from work, now it takes a full day, buses and the organisation of a small military operation!

Island Hopping

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While it was a little difficult to leave Middle Percy Island after such a lovely couple of days, life must go on and so we did, a short passage this time, only 25 nautical miles to Digby Island… how our perspective has changed! 6 months ago Pittwater to the Harbour (18 nautical miles) seemed a very long way!!

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Digby Island is a rather small island with a little fringing reef. We anchored quite well, I thought, however after Craig dived on the anchor we discovered the anchor chain across a couple of low profile rocks/ bombies, adding a little anchor anxiety, which then proceeded to scrape (the chain across the rocks) all night. However the noise was minimal from the aft cabin and the anchor came up well the next morning. Phew!

Digby is a pretty little island with a nice beach that is sand at one end and rocky at the other. We went ashore, played in the sand and attempted a walk up the hill to seek a couple of bars of phone reception to let family know that we were in fact alive and well, having been out of phone reception for most of the week.

We saw some curious turtles, who would often pop their heads up and check us out as they came up for breath, but getting a photo of them, near impossible!

The next morning we then headed for Mackay, the trip was fairly uneventful, dodging the ships past Hay Point as we came through the shipping channels. We have stayed at Mackay Marina for a few days to regroup, reprovision, repair the bilge pump with the new part that we had delivered to Mackay and refuel.

Percy Island: : Life is pretty good

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We are now anchored in West Bay, Middle Percy Island. This place fulfils most peoples picture of a deserted tropical island. Palm trees, a beautiful sandy beach, inviting blue water, coconuts.

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It is a famous Aussie ‘yachtie’ spot, maybe notorious because despite it’s immense beauty other than too yachtie’s it doesn’t exist. You won’t find it in any Tourism Queensland brochure, there is no day spa, and there are no tourist boats. There is however the ‘Percy Hilton’. An A frame hut with amenities like running water, shade and bits and pieces to help the visitior enjoy paradise, it is also where you can leave a memento or plaque with your boat’s name.

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After anchoring we wandered ashore and chatted with some of the other yachties before searching for friend’s plaques around the A frame(ours is not yet finished we will leave it here when we head south).

On the way to Middle Percy we caught a Spotted Mackerel, so dinner back aboard was a spicy Thai-inspired take on barbecued fish with coconut rice and salad.

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All the other boats in the bay had left by the time we finished breakfast the next day, and so we had the place to ourselves. We sat on the beach and read and swam, drunk fresh coconut juice and argued about what day of the week it actually was. Sophie built some sandcastles with me, played contently and slept.

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It is  at times like this that it is hard to actually remember our lives before we left, the pace of what we used to do and all the frustrations. Our daily priorities and routine at the moment are so different.

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