Sunday, 28 September 2014

Slaying a dragon

The ever-so-long sandspit at Cape Bowling Green.
At last we've put some demons to rest by anchoring overnight at Cape Bowling Green. It feels more like having slayed a dragon.
Cape Bowling Green lies between Bowen and Townsville. It's a long, long, long sand spit that takes forever to get around whether you are heading north or south. The shifting sand near the Cape results in random shallow spots where many a boat has run aground.
We have heard so many stories about Cape Bowling Green experiences, mostly bad - so it put us off ever anchoring there - until now.
Peaceful times at Cape Bowling Green
With dead calm conditions forecast, we decided to give it a go and were amazed when we rounded the spit on Thursday afternoon to find this beautiful lagoon with the sea shut off by that long high sand dune. A lone palm tree stands sentinel at the southern most point of the anchorage - the same palm tree taunts you as you spend hour after hour sailing around the Cape trying to leave it in the rear view mirror (if your boat has one).
Birds and fish abound in the `lagoon' and we spent a lovely evening taking it all in. Next morning, with conditions still glassy, we bid it farewell and set off north to Magnetic Island. Breaking the trip at Bowling Green meant an easy six hour trip to Magnetic instead of the usual gruelling 14 hours from Cape Upstart.
While we wouldn't like to be stuck out at Bowling Green in anything over 15 knots, we now have the confidence to stopover on any future journeys and spend three easier days travelling to the Whitsundays instead of two hard ones.
After a beaut sail from Double Bay the previous day, we left Gloucester Island early last Wednesday and were rewarded with a couple of pods of pilot whales frolicking near the boat for a while. Most of the bigger humpback whales are already well south so it was an unexpected treat to see these little gems. After an easy day's sail, we overnighted at the lower end of Cape Upstart where the dugongs and turtles play.
Out where the big ships anchor off Abbott Point, north of Bowen.
We're now at Magnetic Island enjoying music and a busy foreshore market, which includes a sand sculpture competition.
Interestingly, the sculpture happening near our dinghy is a flying dragon.
Very fitting I thought.
Calm seas and beautiful sunsets marked our journey north.

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