Monday, 19 September 2011

Whale watch

We had the best intentions to sail all the way to Cape Upstart from Bowen, but when the wind dropped below two knots it was back to motor-sailing with the Code Zero out whenever the breeze picked up in order to cover the 40 nautical miles.
Of course, as soon as we rounded the cape, the wind freshened and blew well into the night, rocking us around a bit at anchor.
Upstart was a lot busier (land-wise) than when we anchored here back in May. It's Queensland school holidays so the holiday shacks along the beachfront were alive with people and runabout boats.
We had planned to stay here for a couple of days but a look at the forward weather forecast showed us that, if we wanted to sail north, yesterday was the day. From today the wind is predicted to drop away before swinging to the north for the next few days.
We hoisted the main sail and hauled up the anchor at around 5.30am yesterday. As we passed the headland we had enough breeze to put out the Code Zero and we were away.
As the sun slowly emerged over the horizon, we spotted what was to be the first pod of whales going south. By the time we reached Cape Bowling Green (32 nautical miles) we'd passed by three pods (that we saw). The last one put on a great display, leaping right out of the water, sometimes two at a time. As the little Agfa el-cheapo camera isn't much on distance or zoom, we didn't try to capture the images, but just watched and enjoyed the experience.
Freighter-watch replaced whale watch
From Bowling Green to Magnetic Island it was `freighter-watch' rather than whale watch. These huge ships seem to zoom up from the horizon and Sea Piper is tiny by comparison.
The one that didn't get away
There were plenty of other distractions, including the huge mackerel that took all Royden's strength and energy to haul onto the boat. Around the same time, the wire trace on the other lure was completely bitten off.
The catch made up for the previous day when, on two occasions, we'd lost good size mackerel within a few metres of getting them into the boat.
Just in case you couldn't figure the size from the previous photo
We made great time, travelling at around 6 knots, and decided to press on from our planned overnight anchorage at Cape Cleveland (south of Townsville - which we'd reached by 3.30pm) to Magnetic Island's Horseshoe Bay where we dropped anchor - and I doubt we'll lift it up again for a few days.
We're due over at Breakwater marina next week where Sea Piper will have a rest while we fly down to Victoria.


  1. Wow that was great! All the way to Magnetic Island in such a short time. Wish I was there (again)! xxleigh

  2. Royden. Very impressed. Just like the TV fishing shows. Hope it tasted good. cheers the Roberts