A Little Further North

The dock lines are free and we are back in the Wetsundays

again. After 3 1/2 months, 2 cyclones and 2 trips away from Opal Lady we left the marina last Thursday with friend, Graeme aboard. Very fitting that the man who wrote the song A Little Further North

, came with us as we started our next adventure north!!

www.greameconnors.com

It was a calm morning as we left Mackay Outer Harbour, weather forecasters had predicted 3 days of 10-15knt Norwesters!! In the Whitsunday region the tides flood south, and ebb north. The first part of the trip the waves although little, were choppy. But once the tide turned it was a very smooth ride. Clear of the harbour I set the next waypoint at The Anchor Islands consisting of Ladysmith Islet, Bellow Islet, Hammer Island, Blacksmith Island, Anvil Island and Anchorsmith Island. Ladysmith and Blacksmith all but join running NW/SE with Hammer Island running parallel on the western side approx. 700m apart. We cruised up through this passage as the scenery was magnificent, but they do not provide any suitable anchorages in any weather.

Continuing NNW to Shaw Island we passed Silversmith and Thomas Islands before anchoring opposite the northern beach of Shaw Island at the popular tourist spot of Lindeman Island. Plantation Bay is north east of the main resort and secluded. We very quickly found some refreshments and settled on the bow to enjoy Graeme playing his guitar and singing whilst watching the sunset and the storm clouds scoot down the coast on the mainland. Later we heard of the deluge that fell on Mackay that evening. It had been an early start for all of us and it wasn’t long before we had dinner and retired for the evening.

I think we jinxed ourselves as we had explained to Graeme the possibility of us moving through the night if the SE came in early and sure enough we were woken at 4.15am as it blew through.

Alan and I got up to check everything and decided to prepare to leave at dawn. We stowed the gear and had a cuppa before starting the engine and pulling the anchor to head 6nm to Hamilton Island where we picked up a Public Mooring ahead of Sea Voyager, a Nordhavn 57. Kim, the skipper was waiting to pick up owners Richard and Louise, due to arrive in a few hours from Melbourne. He enjoyed fresh Rock Cakes and a cuppa with us before he picked them up!

From here we followed the Hamilton Island shore past the spectacular structure of the new yacht club and around the point into Fitzalan Passage where we had a 4knt current take us into Catseye Bay. The VHF came to life with a call from the Lets Go crew who were up in their 17th floor room and saw us in the bay. Graeme broke into song with one of his recent songs – Somebody’s Watching

and they were! Danny, Al, Greg and Wal flew to Hamilton Island as volunteers for the 505 Dinghy Class World Regatta. Sorry to say they have experienced the worst weather.

From here we made our way ENE through Solway Passage to Whitehaven Beach to anchor for lunch and take the tinny from the boat deck. Halfway taking the tinny down we received another call from Lets Go crew to advise us of a boarding party coming our way. Within 5 minutes they were on board, beers and rum all round! After a late lunch we headed along Whitehaven Beach past Hill Inlet and around into Hook Passage heading for Cid Harbour but the weather was closing in and we detoured into Nara Inlet on the southern end of Hook Island. This inlet heads north approx 2.5nm and is quite narrow, in the head of the inlet there is a large waterfall that runs after rain. After breakfast the following morning we all hopped in the tinny for the ride up to the waterfall, because of the high rainfall overnight there were many more waterfalls cascading down the rocks for us to see. On the way back to Opal Lady we spotted a family of goats warming themselves on the rocks.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
From here we headed back to Abel Point Marina to shelter from impending stronger winds expected to blow through that evening. Graeme provided the entertainment on the bow again in the short time before the rain.

After farewell Graeme and Lyn we headed back out to Cid Harbour where we have stayed anchored all week, sheltering from the wind and the bucketing rain, thank heavens we are floating! We have had approx 200mm rain every day, visibility is only 500m most of the time. We have spent the time planning our trip across the Top End.

 
 
Above: Kim, Sea Voyager came to borrow some crab pots. Note the weather today!

Digressing a little, the week before we left Mackay we spent in Tweed Heads, at Tweed Waters Motel (excellent Motel) this is on the border between NSW and Qld and left us confused to say the least, as NSW has Daylight Savings and QLD doesn’t!! Don’t know how the locals do it!! We visited there for our friend, Royces’ birthday party. A pirate party! T’was a party week not day!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oh What a night!!!

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