Saturday, 8 August 2015

Return of the Manti

One of the rare occasions that we're both in a photo. Thanks Peter and Mina!
Oh poor neglected Blog – but at last I’m making amends with my first entry for 2015.

Our Sea Piper adventure continues, despite having sold her twice last year – neither experience having put money in our pocket. But I’m not going to dwell on those – one almost-transaction that was sad and the other bloody frustrating.

We have put Sea Piper back on the market but, rather than let her languish in the marina any longer, off we’ve headed for a bit of an adventure, catching up at Hinchinbrook Island with our lovely friends Andi and Gemma on Paws.
Easton Cats Sea Piper and Paws at anchor in Creek 7
Our first anchorage together – our Easton catamarans side by side resembling hovering preying mantis (or is that manti?) – was behind the sand spit at Garden Island off Cardwell. A couple of nice bream ended up in the pan for dinner but the tide wasn’t low enough to allow a decent prising-off of oysters.

Sea Piper’s trip to this meeting point was via Magnetic Island, the Palm Islands and round the outside (east) of Hinchinbrook Island, experiencing two mother and calf whale sightings on the last leg.

Even though we see whales in the ocean each year, each new sighting is just as awesome as the first.

Nearing the Brook Islands at the top of Hinchinbrook was a huge whale (I know, I know, they're all huge) sleeping (or suckling maybe?) with her small calf doing a little roll over every now and then, while mum would emit an occasional soft blow – like she was snoring.

We passed quietly by and she remained undisturbed.

From our meeting point with Paws both yachts headed to Macushla in Missionary Bay at the top of Hinchinbrook Island. Lots of lovely memories of family holidays and walks to Macushla from Cape Richards resort for us and a new place to explore for Andi and Gem. Unfortunately the track from Macushla beach across to Shepherd’s Bay is overgrown (the resort became defunct some years ago with Cyclone Yasi finishing the job) and with only thongs on our feet, it looked a bit rugged to tackle the invading rainforest. Maybe another day – with shoes on!

The eight creeks running into Missionary Bay are reportedly good fishing (and the best cyclone holes) so off we went on a high tide to explore Creek 7 accessed via Creek 6. We lost lots of bait and caught a few catfish and undersize stuff but nothing substantial – yet.

On our second day in the creek (and suitably kitted out to deny the thousands of midges access to our flesh) we dinghied along several kms to where a (Marine Parks) boardwalk provides access across the mangroves and over the dunes to Ramsay Bay.
Hinchinbrook's highest point Mt Bowen and The Thumb in the background while kilometres of white sandy beach stretch out in front of us.
What a delightful day - including a fire on the beach with potatoes and corn in foil cooked on the coals, fresh fruit and great company.
Andi in charge of lunch on the beach
The 15 knot wind off the sea put paid to any midges with Royden even stripping off (not totally) for a swim.
Royden braving the ocean while the wind threatens to blow his trousers away!
Our only disappointment was not finding the remnants of an 1800s wreck embedded in the sand. This was discovered by a couple of fishermen following Cyclone Yasi but as the beach is many kilometres long, and we didn’t know which end to head for, and the tide was rising, it will have to wait for another day and another walk to catch a glimpse of the wreck.

After a couple of nights in Creek 7 we decided to move to Creek 2 – Coral Creek – to see if the fishing was any better. Accessing any of these creeks is tricky as there are huge mud bars right across the entries with Coral Creek having, you guessed it, an added coral bar to one side. Inflowing tide – and a reasonable one at that – is a must. Thankfully the next couple of high tides are a bit bigger than the one we came in on which didn’t leave us much to spare. However the beauty of a catamaran – particularly Eastons – is the shallow draft which gets us tucked into places keelers can only dream about!
Sunsets are pretty good out here.
Right now the Eastons are anchored of Macushla beach once again with a trip to Dunk Island planned for tomorrow.



  1. Fantastic Blog. Well worth the wait!

  2. Amazing, before u know it you may take the cat. of the market?