Thursday, 13 August 2015

When to swim - and when not to ...

Sea Piper in the spotlight! Early morning sail.
Sometimes the weather gods smile kindly upon you - and that's certainly been the case for the past week or so cruising and hanging out with Paws.
Dunk Island was excellent - as it always is. The Sunday music sesh is still well-supported by mainlanders with the water taxi doing a booming business all day and the sand spit dotted with private boats from Mission Beach.
When Monday dawned, we had the place virtually to ourselves, save for the workers slowly but surely reclaiming the resort from its Cyclone Yasi devastation over four years ago.
Andi and Gem explore Dunk's clear waters.
Andi and Gem were up at dawn on their paddle boards exploring the reef, nearby Purdaboi Island and Dunk's lagoon.
We joined them ashore and the four of us set off on the walking track to the top of Mt Kootaloo then down again and around to Muggy Muggy Beach.
The view from the Kootaloo lookout is fabulous, taking in all the Family Group of islands with Hinchinbrook's Mt Bowen towering in the background.
The rest of the day was spent doing not much!
Dinghy time
With almost glass out conditions on Tuesday, the four of us took Sea Piper across to the mainland at Mission Beach to top up the grocery stores and check out the sweeping beach.
Wow! Crystal clear water and beautiful white sand. So many places along the tropical coastline have a narrow belt of sandy shoreline that becomes mud, making the water quite murky and uninviting. No wonder the islands are so popular. 
We were able to anchor in closely - a short dinghy trip (or swim) to shore. and, luckily for us, the well-stocked supermarket is just a couple of hundred metres back from the foreshore so the shopping trip was done and dusted quickly (along with a load of washing at the Laundromat which is a little bit further away) - and Mission Beach's economy boosted.
After lunch and a swim, Sea Piper headed back to Dunk for another night.
Yesterday we said our farewells to Paws as they are continuing to head north to who-knows-where with maybe a return to Townsville later in the year - or maybe not.
We headed south, calling in at Cardwell for some (dinghy) outboard motor spares. We anchored off-shore in the muddy waters at low tide and had turtles popping up all around. Lots of sea grass here which is a nice return from (again) Yasi's devastation.
Getting to shore proved pretty tricky with Royden eventually giving up on the muddy foreshore and tying up at the jetty.
With parts purchased and stowed, we headed to one of our favourite anchorages in the Hinchinbrook Channel and were rewarded with a nice bream, followed by a blue threadfin salmon. Yum!
The evening cloud settles like a shawl over Hinchinbrook's peaks.
Having read this blog until now, ours may seem an idyllic lifestyle. But there is a downside. This morning's jobs included unblocking the calcified build-up in the (salt water) plumbing in the bathroom. A most unenviable task. It is when this job and the regular bilge clean-out occur that I am thankful I have lost most of my sense of smell - and that I'm the assistant whose nose isn't closest to the work in progress!
There's always a list of jobs to do on a boat but at the moment, the fishing lines are back as we approach change of tide, and a three-metre croc is sunning itself on the mud bank across from us. No swimming here!
Sleeping now - disappearing into the murky depths later.

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