Thursday, 11 August 2011

Discovering a gem or two

Newry Island, Outer Newry, Acacia Island and Rabbit Island are clustered outside the small town of Seaforth, north of Mackay, and what little gems these islands are.
Perfect weather helped of course.
Tethering the dinghy for a walk on Newry Island
We set out early Tuesday and sailed along the coast in close to ideal conditions. Approaching the Newrys, the landscape gets more rocky with some fantastic formations lining the way or else erupting from the sea.
With so many rocky islands to dodge, including Wedding Cake Rock (looked more like a birthday cake with all those pine tree candles), Concertina Rock and Mausoleum Island, it's hard to see where the gap is to get into the bay to access the sheltered anchorages of the Newrys but what a treat it is when you sail through.
Crocodile rock (not its official moniker)
We dropped the pick in a quiet little bay to the west of Outer Newry. Craggy mountains and rocky peaks dotted the landscape. Some old fish traps were exposed in the low-tide mud in front of us along with an old wooden boat `Wayward Wind' which floated up every high tide then sat back down again as the tide ebbed away.
One of several former resort cabins on Newry Island
A quick trip in the dinghy took us to Newry Island, home to an abandoned resort built in the 1940s and added to by various owners over following decades before fading away again. It would have been gorgeous. There were (very small) individual cabins made of rocks from the bay and right on the beachfront was the former Beachcombers' Bar with its handpainted facade and tiled beer tables.
All the islands here are now National Parks and we were surprised at how well kept they are (ie no rubbish and slashed grass).
On Outer Newry, we followed a track to the east of the island and found a rocky bay with what looked like a swimming pool complete with bommies and coral. We doubt it was man-made but it was so squared off up one end you'd have to wonder. Maybe Newry Island resort owners got bored in the off-season?
Lagoon on Newry Island
Several circuits of the bay between Newry and Outer Newry at various times didn't yield us any fish. This was hardly surprising as, at one point, we counted 11 small boats doing the same thing so we gathered this area is a pretty popular one with the local fishos. Can't imagine how busy it must be on weekends.
After two blissfully peaceful nights we pulled anchor at dawn this morning to take advantage of the forecast northerly (a rarity) and flooding tide to sail us back to Mackay in good time for our early flight out on Saturday. It was a very peaceful and quick trip back with wind and waves and tide all going the same way we were.
Sunrise off Concertina Rock - beautifully calm and with a tail wind filling the Code Zero
While we would have loved to have stayed another day and night, the wind is set to swing around strongly to the south-east again tonight and remain that way all tomorrow so we figured we could live without another hard slog against the elements.
It's so much nicer when we go with them.

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