Following us into Upstart on Wednesday were two monohulls and one catamaran, Biaha, that we were anchored with at Bowen, and a second Cat, Memphis, that had anchored off Gloucester Island.
Obviously we were all doing the same thing - making a run north with a gentle south-easterly before a forecast high (read: high winds and high seas) hits the coast on Sunday.
We pulled the anchor at 4.30am on Thursday and set off in the dark along the long sandy projection of Cape Bowling Green.
We're convinced that this stretch is a whale route as the pattern we experienced on previous trips re-occurred.
About two-thirds of the way along this stretch, and fortunately after the sun had risen, we saw our first whale - right in front of us.
Alter course to port!!
|We altered course to go around this whale|
A short time later, two whales emerged - again right in front of us. These were more playful and kept up their flipper slapping for some time after we'd passed.
Rounding Cape Bowling Green, after about six hours sailing, the wind and swell were at a much better angle and we scooted along under sail averaging six knots - sometimes seven!
Our intention was to drop anchor around the tip of Cape Cleveland, another four hours from Bowling Green but only a couple of hours sail out of Townsville.
However we hadn't factored in the bullet winds coming off the mountains at this headland. While trying to find an anchorage in the very shallow water, the bullets were hitting us at 20 knots and more.
As it was just a little after 3pm and Townsville was in sight, we unfurled the head sail again and scooted across Cleveland Bay to the Duck Pond, behind the rockwall of Townsville harbour, and spent a wonderfully peaceful night.
|The Red Baron seaplane takes off for a joyride from the Duck Pond outside Townsville.|
It was great to come back into the marina yesterday and be greeted by so many people we've become friends with over the past few years.
Needless to say, we didn't do much else than that for the whole day!