Our day of leaving Airlie Beach started with Jacki and I spending a couple of hours walking around the markets full of local produce, craft and some very interesting people. Watched a sand sculptor create an amazing dragon, hours and hours of work all to be washed away with a down pour of rain at lunchtime.
A good wind took us across towards Hayman Island, where we decided to take a mooring at nearby Langford Beach for the evening. Another rolly night, getting quite used to them by now.
Next morning we said goodbye to Tintin and we were heading west back towards the mainland to anchor at Bona Bay inside Gloucester Island. In through a fairly narrow passage to an idyllic spot. The mountains of the island were the backdrop to the little anchorage with a lovely stretch of beach - and it was so calm. We could sense a good nights sleep coming up.
Bona Bay on Gloucester Island
Next morning we felt great, sleeping soundly though the night. Decided to head off around lunchtime and do an overnight sail through to Townsville. Up past Cape Upstart, Abbott Point with the bulk carriers lying at anchor waiting for their turn to fill with coal,
past Cape Bowling Green, Cape Cleveland and arriving into Townsville just after sunrise. We had booked to take a berth at Breakwater Marina for a night, so into our spot then blissful sleep for a couple of hours.
Townsville waterfront is quite lovely with beautiful old colonial buildings overlooking the Gardens of Remembrance to those who served. The days are quite warm but the evenings are balmy. We will remember Townsville for very friendly people and wonderful gelati.
Off to Magnetic Island to meet up with Tintin again. This was my first visit to the island and I really enjoyed it. A shark netted pool on the beach for those who want to swim but that does not guarantee against stinger bite, so we didn't take the risk. A lovely long beach to walk along looking for shells, along with cafes, pub and small supermarket. Took a bus ride across the top to Nelly Beach on the other side, not much there but a lovely view from the top. Second night there we went ashore for an early bar-b-q on the foreshore and watched the sun go down. All in all a lovely few days there.
Next morning it was off again with Orpheus Island our destination for the day. The winds were benign so it was a motor/sail again. We had a line out trawling and had nothing biting all day, then just as we were about to bring it in and head in to anchor, it went off with a huge zzzzzzzz. Pete was put to the test, the old man and the sea. After about 30 mins of struggle, this one didn't get away and the proof is in the picture.
After filleting and washing down all the blood from the boat, we gave half a fillet to Tintin(about 2kgs) and joined them to supp on some very fresh sashimi, soy and wasabi. Our dinner that evening was tuna steaks done on the bar-b-q and they were delicious. The next evening was Thai Yellow Fish Curry, that was good also. Will look for a recipe for Thai Fish cakes next...seems when you catch a big one you will be eating it for days!
The anchorage at Orpheus Island was very pleasant, calm with no swell. Good coral could be seen at low tide off the beach and we went ashore fore a walk to the top of the mountain - what a view !
A short sail the following morning across to Lucinda and the entry to Hinchenbrook Channel. The island itself was shrouded in cloud as we approached, as it often is. It seemed as if we were entering Mordor from Lord of the Rings - ominous clouds and dark hills..
By the time we passed the length of the sugar loading terminal. 5.8 ks long which dips 2 metres to follow the earth's curvature, the sun was breaking through the cloud and we were able to appreciate the area in it's full spectacular beauty. We are now anchored about 1/3 the way up, there is no sound, it is so quiet - just the odd noise of a fish jumping.