Cruising Log - Whitsundays to Cairns (20th September to 16th October 2006)

Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd September 2006 (Whitsundays)

At mid-day we set sail in 15 knots SE in the company of our friends, Warren & Glenda on "Catamaran Imagine". Our destination was Double Bay (Eastern) where we spent 3 nights anchored. It is a well-protected bay from the prevailing SE breezes. There arenít really any beaches or walks on the mainland.

I repaired the torn netting in the crab pot before putting it down. We had been told to that a can of cat food with a couple of holes works well. I canít vouch for it because we didnít seem to get any takers for the cat food! I then tried some fish heads. Better luck this time. I caught an unusual animal Ė it looked like a plant with lots of long leaves like tentacles on an octopus, but underneath it had small grippers to hang on. The tentacles moved around under some type of muscle control. There were also a couple of tiny bright (yellow) colored crabs crawling around this thing. Next time I retrieved the pot I had another gaping hole in the other end. Another repair job to be done!

We also fished. Warren had better luck, catching some nice Trevally. I caught two Grey Nurse Sharks about 1 metre long. They are protected, so I released them after the obliging photo.

We spent the usual evenings on each otherís boat playing cards. We had a delightful ĎTrevallyí fish dinner onboard "Catamaran Imagine" on Friday evening.

Saturday 23rd September 2006 (Whitsundays to Gloucester)

A nice 15+ knot SE breeze was blowing when we set sail with "Catamaran Imagine" for Gloucester Eco Resort, which is just through the Gloucester Passage around from Monteís Resort. Bowen is about 10M west, across Edgecumbe Bay.

Saturday 23rd to Thursday 28th September 2006 (Gloucester Eco Resort)

Both boats picked up moorings and we dinghied in to pay - $20/night or $70/week. We opted for the week.

There is a pool, bar, restaurant, washing machine & clothesline, etc here. A nice sandy beach for the dinghy (beware of the bommie off the beach). A small shop is opening in a couple of weeks (still not open mid November). They also say water is available but we have plenty at this time.

We spent 5 enjoyable days/nights at Gloucester Eco Resort. Liz and I had the seafood platter one evening - it was delicious and more than you can eat. One evening Warren and I chased Garfish around the boats, netting them in a prawn net for bait. It's a wonder we didn't fall out of the dinghy. A couple of guys had caught a number of squid and were cleaning them near Monte's. While we were here the girls did the washing. There is only one washing machine and no dryer, but you can hang the clothes on the line - something they do not get much of while cruising. While here I changed the engine oil and impellors.

Thursday 28th September 2006 (Gloucester to Bowen)

A light breeze was blowing when we set sail (motor-sail) with "Catamaran Imagine" for Bowen which is about 10M west, across Edgecumbe Bay. Here we secured to pile berths which cost $9.25 per night, organised and paid for at Queensland Transport (at the marina).

While here we hired a car for 2 days, but we had done everything in 4 hours. We drove to Queens Beach. This is a long beach and adjoins a couple of other beaches such as Greys Bay and Rose Bay. There is exclusive development going on at the smaller beaches.

The town of Bowen has huge streets. There are about 22 muriels painted on various buildings around town, depicting the early days of settlement. There is a town tapestry on display in the library. The lagoon is also worth a look.

At the markets we met a nice couple who have a fishing boat and catch ocean prawns. We arranged to meet them at the jetty and bought a 5kg carton of medium frozen green prawns for $60. Contact Shane & Jackie on 0427 779 970. We thoroughly recommend them (we bought another 5kg in November).

While here we filled up with water, but were advised to filter it during refilling. I also beached the boat and changed the anodes on the props.

Friday 6th October 2006 (Bowen to Cape Upstart)

We had a nice sail with "Catamaran Imagine" to Cape Upstart where we anchored for 2 nights. Saturday we went ashore by dinghy with Warren and Glenda. There are a number of small houses near the tip of the cape. Most appear to have tractors and trailers to bring boats ashore. On the outside of the cape we found an abandoned old fort from the war days. We also found a natural rock pool.

Sunday 8th October 2006 (Cape Upstart to Cape Bowling Green)

We had a good sail in SE 10/15knot breeze in the morning but it faded in the afternoon to E 5/10 knots. We had an enjoyable night at anchor here, not at all like its reputation of Cape Rolling Green!

Monday 9th October 2006 (Cape Bowling Green to Horeshoe Bay, Magnetic Island)

It was a pleasant trip to Magnetic Island, arriving mid-afternoon. Magnetic Island is just off the mainland town of Townsville.

There were a number of catamarans and yachts anchored in the bay. We dinghied ashore with Warren and Glenda. It wasn't long before we met Val and Peter from "Duet", a 40ft Fontain Pajot Levezzi. We were having coffee and drinks at the tavern when we were joined by Graeme and Neryl from "Cool Water", a 43ft Perry. We ended up all having dinner at the tavern - a nice meal.

Most afternoons we would meet at the Tavern or Nudies (a coffee shop) for afternoon drinks and then sundowners on one of the cats. Needless to say, sundowners went well into the evening.

On Tuesday morning we dinghied over to "Duet" and had morning tea. Sundowners was on "Catamaran Imagine" where we also met Geoff and Cathy from a 40ft cat "Simply".
Wednesday sundowners was on "Deut" with Warren & Glenda and Geoff & Cathy.
Thursday sundowners was on "Simply" with Warren & Glenda.
Friday sundowners was on our cat with Val & Peter and Geoff & Cathy.
As you can see it was a busy week of sundowners!

Saturday 14th October 2006 (Horeshoe Bay, Magnetic Island to Angas Is on Hinchinbrook Is)

We said goodbye to all our friends and headed off for Cairns. A nice SE 12/15 knot breeze was blowing and 2m seas. We set sail for Hinchinbrook Island making nice speed in the prevailing winds. We stayed to the east of the Palm Islands. Just on disk we anchored in a bay on the western side of Hinchinbrook Island. This bay is formed by an island just off the shore called Angas Island. I am not sure that the island is separated any longer. The anchorage was a little rolly overnight.

Sunday 15th October 2006 (Angas Is on Hinchinbrook Is to Mourilyan Harbour)

This morning we set off in a lighter SE breeze which lightened further during the day. We arrived in Mourilyan Harbour late in the afternoon. Make sure you give Kent Island a wide berth as there are some rocks well off the island. The gap between the mountains to Mourilyan Harbour is fairly narrow and is easily missed. Once through the entrance the harbour opens up and pile berths can be seen along the river. The harbour is small, with depths for the tankers only large enough to turn. This area is marked by yellow buoys and you are not permitted to anchor in this area. Just back from the yellow markers the waters shallow but is deep enough for our cat to anchor in. Note the tidal flow here. The harbour is well protected from the winds outside.

Monday 16th October 2006 (Mourilyan Harbour to Yorkeys Knob, Cairns)

Today we set off early and motor-sailed for much of the day. It was a nice trip past many islands. It was such a pitty we were on a tight schedule as we would have loved to stop at some of these islands along the way. As we crossed the entrance to Cairs Harbour, we were on a collision course with a Cruise Ship "Reef Explorer". I called them up on the radio and she said she would alter course and go astern of us. This is the first time on our trip that we have needed to do this as no ships have been on a conflicting course, although a ship came close near Mackay. We arrived at Half Moon Bay Marina, Yorkeys Knob late afternoon.