Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Circumnavigation and lots of happy memories

This was the second set of whales we saw on Sunday. There are certainly plenty of them about.
We have finally completed our circumnavigation of Hinchinbrook Island.
Though our travels have taken us through the Hinchinbrook channel many times, the weather has never before been agreeable enough to go around the outside.
But I'll go backwards a bit to leaving the Townsville marina last Friday.
In all we spent two weeks in the marina with 25 to 30 knot winds constantly blowing for that whole time. The swell and waves looked awful so we were glad to be tucked up and even happier to catch up with lots of friends - some heading north, some south and others staying put.
We even managed to fit in a Celtic Fyre concert - rock and roll with bagpipes, mandolins, guitars, accordions, keyboards, and some of the most talented musicians around.
The wind finally subsided and we headed across to Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island as the first leg in our journey north. It was like the holding pool for those heading north and south. I think 33 anchored boats was the final total that night.

Rebuilding works at Yanks Jetty on Orpheus Island.
We set off early towards the Palm Islands on Saturday, with the lightest of breezes in the main and head sail, and a greatly reduced swell running in our favour. It was a very pleasant trip. We had anticipated anchoring at Yanks jetty on Orpheus Island but rebuilding works were being done, so we headed further along and picked up one of four moorings in Little Pioneer Bay.
Low tide at Little Pioneer Bay
Happily our timing coincided with the start of the rising tide after a 0.07m low so we had a beaut snorkel around the extensive reef which was teeming with fish.

Zoe Bay
    Brook Islands - not another soul in sight.

On Sunday we headed along the east coast of Hinchinbrook, evoking many happy memories of our Hinchinbrook holidays with the kids in the early 1990s. We passed Zoe Bay (the timing of the low tide and its `lowness' prevented a visit to the waterfall), Ramsay Bay, Shepherd Bay and Hinchinbrook resort, then out to the Brook Islands where, many years ago, we had snorkelled on some magnificent bommies which unfortunately we could not find on this trip. We anchored off the sandbar on the north west tip of the island intending to stay the night but the swell coming around the corner was pretty unpleasant even in mild conditions so we headed back across to Hinchinbrook, rounding Cape Richards and putting the pick down opposite Macushla Beach which is where I saw my first dugong back in the 90s.
It was a very pleasant anchorage.
The now-defunct Hinchinbrook resort is hidden in the trees at Cape Richards. We have happy memories of three wonderful holidays spent here with the kids in the early 1990s.

Sunset from Missionary Bay opposite Macushla Beach.
With a forecast of freshening south easterlies from today, we waited till late morning and headed towards the Cardwell entry to the Hinchinbrook Channel to catch the change of tide, managing three knots with just the head sail out. The swell and the tide carried us around the corner into the channel where all wind just ceased and the sail sagged to a halt.
Not being in a hurry we motored slowly down the channel with the increasing current until we reached Gayundah Creek, tucking Sea Piper into a valley between the craggy peaks of the island.


  1. So many happy memories indeed! I can't believe that resort is shut down, they were the best holidays. All those three-course meals going uneaten...

    1. Not to mention the smoothies and humungous morning tea cakes.

  2. I didn't realise the resort had closed down, when did this happen? Sounds like a very relaxing trip so far. xxleigh

    1. The resort closed years ago after Keith Williams (of Hamilton Island high rise and Cardwell marina short pylons fame) took it over. It had a resident caretaker up until Yasi but don't know what the go is now. We'll be around here for a couple of weeks so may discover the answer.

  3. Beautiful blog. Our hol is coming up fast. Hope we get to see some whales too! xx Rose

    1. Rosie, looks like we may not catch up in Cairns as we're going to stay around Hinchinbrook for Cristy and Johnno's visit in August. Will sail up to Cairns and Port Douglas later in August.

  4. Great blog. We have always love the Hinchinbrook area, it is so diverse. Ah yes the whales are on the move on the west coast too, hundreds of them. Cheers to great adventures and safe sailing. Nancy (ALANA ROSE)