Cruising Log - Cairns to Townsville (2nd to 10th November 2006)

Thursday 2nd November 2006 Cairns to Fitzroy Island

We had a delightful sail from Yorkeys Knob to Fitzroy Island. We dinghied ashore and went for a walk along the beach. Liz & Elaine had a short swim at the beach before we returned to our cat for sundowners. There were a few yachts and a cat anchored here also.

Friday 3rd November 2006 Fitzroy Island to Mourilyan Harbour

Another delightful days sail. We avoided the green zones where fishing is restricted. We trolled a line and I caught a 1.3m Barracuda. The book said they are not good eating and often have ciguatera, (nasty if you get it) so after the obligatory photo it was released without a kiss Ė they have massive teeth!

At Mourilyan Harbour Elaine tried her luck fishing but not even a decent nibble.

Saturday 4th November 2006 Mourilyan Harbour to Dunk Island

Today we mainly motorsailed. No luck with the trolling, once again avoiding the green zones. At Dunk Island there were a number of other yachts anchored off the beach. We anchored also, and dinghied ashore. We stopped for a drink at the bar, then walked along the beach before returning to the boat for sundowners.

We had intended going to Cardwell and hiring a car to drive Elaine back to Cairns airport for her flight home. Warren and Glenda on "Catamaran Imagine" who were at Cardwell, told us there is only one hire car in Cardwell. When we rang it, it was booked on the day we needed it. After some inquiries via the internet we managed to hire a car from Mission Beach, just opposite Dunk Island. We then organised the water taxi to collect us from our boat at Dunk Island to take us over to Mission Beach so that we could take Elaine back to Cairns for her flight home.

Sunday 5th November 2006 Dunk Island to Brook Islands

Unfortunately the wind is on the nose so we are motoring to the Brook Islands. Our friends Glenda & Warren were here on Friday and said it was a delightful place and moored overnight off the North Island.

We arrived at the North Island just after mid-day and we were not disappointed. There are 2 courtesy moorings here and as soon as we picked up one 4 Batfish (Hump-headed batfish) appeared at the back of the boat wanting to be fed. We obligued with some bread. They were the size of huge dinner plates and as tame as can be. I ended up feeding them bread from my hand and even patted one. They are a lovely looking fish. They stayed around the boat until we left the next day.

We also saw a number of turtles and finally got our photo of one. They are very quick and trying to get a photo had eluded us till now.

This is a picture of the sunset from the Brook Islands.

Monday 6th November 2006 Brook Islands to Dunk Island

We motored around the Brook Islands before motoring back to Dunk Island, arriving just after lunch. We dinghied ashore and had drinks at the bar. This would be our last night with Elaine. I also saw a batfish near the boat.

Tuesday 7th November 2006 Drive to Cairns, then Dunk to Brook Islands

We were picked up on our cat by water taxi for a quick trip over to the mainland of Wongaling Beach which is a part of Mission Beach. Getting from our boat onto the water taxi was fun, especially as Elaine did not want to let go of our boat. But all is well that ends well, as they say and Elaine made her flight without any problems.

The drive took us past Innisfail where the cyclone hit earlier this year. You could see the destruction of the forest. It was a nice drive to Cairns airport and then return. Liz & I both enjoyed having Elaine on part of our trip and were sad to see her return home. We look forward to her next visit. We then drove back and once again the water taxi dropped us at our boat.

We then motor-sailed to Brook islands where we picked up the other mooring. It was just after dusk and we did not see the Batfish, but we did see thousands of unusual orange and black striped worm-like fish about 6-8 cm long. There were also lots of small fish something like baby trevally.

Wednesday 8th November 2006 Brook Islands to Horeshoe Bay, Magnetic Island

This was an early morning start and we were underway at 05:20am. Well at least I was as Liz was still asleep! We wanted to catch up to our friends, Warren & Glenda on "Catamaran Imagine". They were at Rattlesnake Island and were sailing to Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island. We motored throughout the morning and then motorsailed in the afternoon, arriving at 15:45.

Horeshoe Bay is a delightful Bay and always seems to have visiting yachts and cats anchored in the bay. On shore there is a small group of shops, a tavern and cafes. We joined Glenda & Warren ashore for dinner.

Thursday 9th November 2006 Townsville

Today we caught a bus to Nellie Bay and caught the ferry over to Townsville. Here we visited the Aquarium. This is well worth a visit and has lots of tropical fish, including our beloved batfish. From there we walked up the mall where we ate lunch. Next we caught a bus up the road to Bias Boating to buy a new shower sump pump and a couple of other bits. You can never visit a chandlery without buying something you hadnít planned on and this was no exception.

Liz bought some T-shirts and then back to the ferry and Nellie Bay. We then hired a car from Moke Magnetic. These are old Mini Mokes and are pretty basic but a great way to get around the island. Moke Magnetic (07) 4778 5377.

Friday 10th November 2006 Magnetic Island

Warren & Glenda joined us in the Moke for a drive around the island. Warren had hurt his finger earlier in the week and when we passed a medical clinic we couldnít resist the opportunity to send him in for a checkup. Itís definitely broken and off you go to Townsville hospital says the doctor, so we delivered Glenda & Warren to the ferry for the trip to Townsville hospital where the doctors couldnít believe the X-rays. Fortunately it wasnít broken but two doctors at the hospital both thought it was so they conferred over the X-rays before sending Warren on his way.

We visited Picnic Bay which is where the ferry used to land. But since its move to Nellie Bay the township of Picnic Bay has become deserted and there are vacant shops along the mall on the foreshore. The photo is of the mall lined with beautiful old Morton Bay Figs.

Later we dropped the hire car off and caught the bus back to Horseshoe Bay where Liz and I stopped in the Tavern for a drink. Here we met Jock, Linda and their daughter Shayla. They were on their yacht "Janbenelma??" or something like that. They also own a yacht "Therapy" which is a much more apt name. Later we were joined by Warren & Glenda.