Tropical Cyclone Yasi

Within days of T/C Anthony, Tropical Cyclone Yasi hit, devastating one of our favourite towns, Cardwell. Cardwell is our grocery stop whilst we are at Hinchinbrook Island.

We further prepared Opal Lady, adding our 20mm thick storm boards to the saloon windows, added more docklines (now 18!!!, can’t have too many, they are pretty useless in the locker!), and removed our ‘important stuff’ to suitcases and booked a room for a few days in the Clarion Hotel on the foreshore of the marina. Before leaving we disconnected from shore power to avoid suffering any power spikes. We requested a room on the southern facing side of the building, so we could see Opal Lady from our window. I don’t know whether this was good or bad as we were up all night with the binoculars watching the height of the water on the poles of the marina, we had about 1 1/2 m free. That’s what it looked like to us!!

The wind started with some intensity at midday Wednesday 2nd February, at this point we decided to check in early with several loads of gear. The wind continued to gust higher and higher until 9.10pm when an almighty shuddering bang hit (later we were told it was 80-90knts) and the palms outside our window were blown horizontal, rain was horizontal and we watched, noses close to the vibrating window we peered out into the semi darkness, we only had the lights from the courtyard of the hotel and those of the marina to watch by!! We eventually laid down to get a little sleep with the aircon on but it wasn’t long before all the power went out, no more watching, no more cool!! By 4am day dawned and Opal Lady had survived as did all the boats in the marina, not so the vessels at Port Hinchinbrook Marina. The storm surge had lifted the pontoons from their poles and allowed the yachts to crash to the shore most still secured to their pontoons. So sad!!

With the swell coming down the marina we opted to stay in the hotel another night so we could catch up on some sleep! It had been a hellish week!! Power was restored by lunchtime Thursday and life around the marina returned to normal.

For us we continue to plan our trip around Australia, we are preparing to slip Opal Lady here in Mackay as we don’t relish the thought of scrubbing the bottom in the northern waters.

Pic 1- Our view from our room at 12.25pm, you can just see ‘the knob’ our sat dish! In the first top third of the photo on the left hand side.

Pic 2 – At 5.27pm

Pic 3 – Taken at 5.35pm

Pic 4 – Taken at 9.10pm


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