Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Weather window and we're headed south

With new (pre-loved) dinghy hanging from the davits and a freshly cleaned hull, Sea Piper was all ready for the beaut weather window that opened this week.
Housework - marine style. This was the second scrape down in a month as the coral worms really got going in the last few weeks. It was worth the effort as the hulls came up a treat.
It was worth the wait for our trip to the Whitsundays to have light south-easterlies turning to afternoon north easterlies, especially for yesterday's long haul from Townsville to Cape Upstart, around 80 nautical miles.
We had fuelled up on Monday in preparation and planned to leave the marina around 4am Tuesday however the heavens opened at 3.30am (meaning a mad scurry to close hatches) so we went back to bed until it stopped raining and didn't leave until 5.30am.
There was still a bit of a swell across Cape Cleveland, the left overs of the last eight days of 25-30 knot winds and lustier gusts, but we crossed reasonably quickly and the seas calmed beautifully as we headed towards Cape Bowling Green.
We didn't know at the time that a fresh ship wreck lay just off Cape Cleveland. A wooden yacht that had left the marina the day before had a fire on board just off Cape Cleveland and burned to the waterline. We heard the debris warnings from the Coast Guard long after we'd rounded the cape. So sad for its owners who had worked for months to get her ready.

Early morning rounding of Cape Cleveland.
The waters around Bowling Green are usually productive for us so the lures went out and we landed two mackerel which will keep us in fish for the next few weeks.
The first of our catches awaits filleting.
The 35nm stretch from Bowling Green to Cape Upstart seems to take forever but we were making excellent time motor sailing and had the anchor down just before 5pm so we could sit on the back of the boat and enjoy the spectacular sunset. It was a beautiful calm night - and it stayed that way, unlike our first experience here two years ago. 
Early morning sea cloud and Holbourne Island is out there somewhere.
We set off around 7am this morning, deciding to bypass Bowen and head instead to a little known island about 30nm off the coast. I'd read or heard about Holbourne Island some time ago and could only remember thinking that if conditions were right, we should go there.
So here we are - and it is truly beautiful - and very little visited except by turtles and sea birds. White coral beaches, crystal clear water and great snorkelling. It doesn't get much better.
Holbourne Island
Turtles, birds and crayfish make this island their home
Little visited and pristine.
The weather's forecast to kick up a bit tomorrow afternoon so we'll be heading to one of the coastal bays north of Airlie Beach to shelter for a day or two before continuing out to the Whitsundays either on the weekend or early next week.


  1. What a great trip.And what a big fish.We are freezing here but have had a little rain.This months book is "Old Filth". !!?? Happy sailing. xx Rose and Steve

  2. What can I jealous!!! Wish we were there xxleigh