Heading South

We finally threw the dock lines and crept out of the marina pen in the wee small hours of the morning, going through the tunnel of navigation lights that make up the Cairns Harbour channel. It was 2 weeks after arriving back from the Louisiades and with calm seas we went the 57nm south to Mourilyan Harbour arriving at 3pm with Lets Go

following a few hours behind us. We were in search of some R&R after our first overseas adventure on Opal Lady. Mourilyan Harbour although not huge is very protected and one of the few recognised cyclone anchorages in this region. We had a few drinks on the bow and retired early so we could leave next morning for Dunk Island. Not quite as early as the previous day, 5.30am we pulled the anchor and waved to the lone professional fisherman, moored at the pole berths, preparing his boat for the days work. As we approached Dunk Island(18nm) at 0900hrs, we had an Australian Warship 2nm off the port bow doing maneuvers, with calm seas we decided to carry on south for Hinchinbrook Island and the serenity of Gayundah Creek. Although picturesque Dunk can be very rolly once the sun sets. Lets Go stopped at Dunk Island as they wanted cocktails on the beach at sunset!

By 1350hrs we had entered the Hinchinbrook Channel and timed the rising tide perfect which increased our SOG(speed over ground) to 7.2knts.

For the next few days we fished and crabbed and tried to keep all the doors closed to stop the onslaught of midges(sandflies). The first haul of the pots netted us 7 crabs which we shared with Lets Go. We enjoyed ours cooked for dinner – Chilli Mud Crab that evening. For the next few days we baited, droppped, retrieved and moved the pots but all we cleared each day were ‘Jennys’ obviously all the male ones had gone elsewhere. In the end we gave up as the only bites we were getting were on us!!

Needing to head south to Port Stephens for the summer, Lets Go took off so they could get the outgoing tide at Lucinda the next morning. Whilst sitting on the bow at Happy Hour we watched a 3m Croc make its way down the creek past us. So sleek and quiet you weren’t even able to see the water move!! Frightening!

During this time of the year we are more vigilant watching the weather on the net, and whilst doing so the next morning I noticed the weather changing! So in a matter of minutes we decided to pack and move south. All was in our favour to catching the remainder of the incoming tide that would take us to island where the tide then changes for the outgoing tide to spit us out past the Lucinda Sugar loading wharf. We just made it to Orpheus Islands’ Little Pioneer Bay and picked up the last public mooring for the night. On the move again the following day we made the 40nm journey in 15-20knt SE winds with a 1m sea, to Magnetic Island and dropped anchor in Horseshoe Bay, close to the North Eastern side of the bay. Here we stayed for 2 nights, only going ashore to visit the small store and purchase potatoes(Alan can’t live without them!!) as well as dispose of the garbage.

5am – The flat seas and 6knt SE increased within the first hour to settle at 18-22knts for the remainder of the day as we made our way past Cape Bowling Green and onto Cape Upstart for the night. After 66nm we arrived just before sunset with the dolphins playing around us. The next day we called a day of rest and as Alan came upstairs that morning and caught sight of a small fishing boat a couple of hundred metres behind us that had just hooked a big fish. He then continued to give me a blow by blow description (he was using binoculars), this went on for the next 45minutes until we saw them tow the fish to shore as they were unable to get it on board. We grabbed our camera and went ashore for a closer look!! Kiwi (couldn’t half tell as we heard him do the Haka after he reeled him in!!) had battled, then past the rod to his mates and then it came back to him for the final fight! It was a 2.4m Lemon Shark!


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