Sunday, 4 November 2012

Back in bloggerspace

After our few weeks in Rochy we hit the ground running on our arrival back in Cairns.
There were some essential jobs to do on Sea Piper involving a rigger and a welder so we were very pleased when the welder offered to do his part on a Saturday so the rigger could re-rig two of the stays at his earliest opportunity - which was the Tuesday following.
With that out of the way we had two days to put the saloon back in order (that's where the stays were replaced) if we wanted to take advantage of two days of light northerly winds on the Friday and Saturday - plus there was the shopping and general departure preparations to be done.
By Thursday night we were both wrecked - but it's amazing what a shower and a drink with friends will do!
Some final frantic work took place on Friday morning and by 10am we had cast off the ropes and were away, stopping briefly at Yorkeys Knob to get some fuel.
The weather was idyllic. The sea was smooth as glass with just the faintest gust of northerly breeze now and again.
Mission Bay just off Cairns and heading to Cape Grafton.
We put the main sail and the Code Zero out around Cape Grafton and were able to maintain around six knots with one motor on low revs plus the sails.
It was a lovely time to reminisce about the places we had visited with the friends and family who had been with us at the time.
We passed Fitzroy Island and headed south towards the Frankland Islands where we planned to anchor overnight at Russell Island. We'd stopped there for a morning break on the way north earlier in the year and were keen to walk up the one hill to the lighthouse.
It was a really relaxing sail. We led a small flotilla - three yachts, all south bound for varying reasons. We soon lost the lead to a small single hull but took note of the lay of their sails and adjusted ours accordingly - and with success.
The flotilla and coral spawn
The coral spawning was at its peak for the past two days. Instead of the usual murky brown colour, it was tinged with yellows and greens. It was difficult to capture on camera however.
On arrival at Russell Island we were lucky to secure the one mooring available to boats over 10 metres. The moorings on the island are currently being serviced so ours sported a nice new mooring line instead of the thickly weeded, messy thing we picked up six months ago.
The beach and surrounding rocky tors were magnificent.
Sea Piper moored off Russell Island.
The other side of the sandspit in the previous photo.
Royden soon sussed out the overgrown track to the lighthouse and up we went through the rainforest. It wasn’t a very big climb but the lighthouse was a bit disappointing. It’s simply a steel trestle structure with the light on top – and a `no access’ board over the bottom of the ladder. From the bottom the view is of the thick rainforest around you. For those able to get to the top, the views are far more spectacular.
Looking north to Fitzroy Island (far right) from the top of the lighthouse structure on Russell Island.
Who? Me?
Beautiful patterns on the beached coral.
After a restful night, we opted for a 6am start to again make the most of the northerly conditions which were predicted to change to south-easterlies late Saturday.
Again we were able to make good knots with the main and Code Zero and one motor.
An added bonus was a double hit on the mackerel lines - and we managed to land (? land or deck?) both fish. After filleting and vaccuum sealing we've ended up with eight meal packs.  
All in a day's work.
We had anticipated anchoring for the night at Dunk Island but we arrived there at around 1.30pm and decided to push on to the Hinchinbrook Channel.
By then the wind was picking up so it was too good an opportunity to miss.  We whizzed across then made our way up to Gayundah Creek, about 10 nautical miles up the channel, dropping anchor in this beautiful spot around 6pm. A long day but by no means an exhausting one.
Besides, we had earmarked today as a definite `rest’ day and we’ve kept to the plan, having done nothing much more than eat, read and enjoy the view.
We plan to spend about a week around Hinchinbrook and will make the journey down to Magnetic Island off Townsville at the next weather break after that.
Looking from Gayundah Creek towards the Hinchinbrook Channel and the mainland.


  1. If I wasn't enjoying some magnificent weather and gluttonous feasts with some great friends in Dunkeld I would be well jealous!! Keep up the good work.

  2. Great sailing! Did you have a giggle when you reminisced about the snorkelling at Fitzroy with one lot of your guests?! Next time? Maybe? Well Yeah? Maybe? Have fun enjoy the catch.

  3. Glad to hear that signs that say "no entry" still mean nothing to the Webbs! The trip sounds idyllic (?). Relaxing and eating...hmmmm xxleigh