07-08-2007 Bundy–Townsville English

Dear friends,

 

Finally we are travelling again, now in the way we like it. At Saturday June 30, we top up the fuel – and water tanks and we are motoring alongside the buoys and nice green grassland.  It will take us 2 hours to do the Burnett River before we are at open sea. The weather is beautiful and that will stay so. Until we arrive at Townsville we didn’t see one cloud. The wind is changing constantly and after changing the sails all day long we end up with a tough sea breeze right on the nose.  We start the engine and we motor on during the night. The next day the wind is ok again and we can sail to Great Keppel Island. We are there, together with a few other boats, in front of a very large empty beach just for ourselves. We are fishing on the reef and we see large stingrays  swimming away in front of the dinghy. There are lots of them and in the shallow water you can see them very good if you approach them quietly. We hiked a lot and  when we arrived at the other side of the island we’re in the middle of a huge tourist resort. What an activities. We sit down for a while and make a study of what’s happening here. After that we walk on a nice track with wonderful outlooks back to our own paradise. After exploring the island for 4 days we pull up the anchor and we are heading for Scawfell Island, 160 nautical miles, so again with  a night sail. The wind changes again constantly but on the right moment it swifts and we just can sail up wind in the right direction. The next morning we arrive in an enormous field of large ships which are anchored.  We are nearby Mackay where transhipment is taking place of goods from the mines in the inland. There are some logistic problems and there are at least 30 empty giants waiting.  We sail with 4 knots quietly through the ships area and there is a lot to see. One hour before dark we are anchoring in a beautiful bay. The island is high and now and then we get some very strong gusts (over here they call it bullets). The holding is very good and we gave 50 meters of chain in a water depth of 8 meters. We have a wonderful week here. We didn’t go ashore but we went out for fishing every day and we enjoy the peacefulness. From Scawfell Island we go to Shaw Island in the Whitsundays. It is a beautiful trip but it is still a bit cold. Despite the sun and the blue skies it is the coldest winter of this century in Australia.

We wear our heavy sailing gear, 3 layers, when we are sailing. And in the evening we wear thick socks on the couch. However, in a quiet bay out of the wind during daytime it is nice. We are doing again our own things and after a few days we are moving  to Cid Harbour in the middle of the Whitsundays.  There is a lot of wind 25Kts (force 6) and we are very fast. We see more and more boats and suddenly we see airplanes and fast ferries moving around. Then we see Hamilton island what is very touristic and now we understand all the excitement.  We enjoy the wonderful position we’re in and that we are not like all the other people being stuffed in such a touristic environment and pay an arm and a leg to be there and to do what everybody is telling you to do or what you’re supposed to do. In Cid Harbour there are some other boats and we have some nice chats with other yachties. Again we are fishing a lot and we enjoy ourselves. After 4 days it is time to move on and this time we are heading for Magnetic Island 140 nautical miles ( 10 miles north of Townsville)and, yes, again with a night sail. Horseshoe Bay is well protected and ashore there is a tiny village with a high backpackers level. We can buy everything what we need for instance fresh bread and there is a very nice pub. After a few weeks of living on our boat or dinghy we like to walk again. And that’ s what we do. Steep rock tracks and beautiful beaches. We try to find the Koala’s which are supposed to live there. But at the end we are the only ones who couldn’t find them. But for sure we will come back again because it’s a lovely island. After walking all the tracks in just one day we arrive at the other end of the island at Nelly Bay. We are too tired to walk back and we take the bus back to Horseshoe Bay and in fact we are dropped just in front of the pub. After drinking a jar per person (i.e. 1125cc) we were glad to find back the boat and we slept for 10 hours. On Monday July 23rd we sail to Townsville where we’ve made reservations. But we have bad luck with the weather. As soon as we are outside the bay there is a wind of 30 knots and big walls of water are coming at us. Fortunately it is only 10 miles but the first two miles are straight into the wind. Sometimes we were flying and then we were under the water. Around the corner we can set up a little sail and everything is much better and we are very fast. The last 2 miles in front of the marina are very shallow so you can only enter with high tide, but everything went well. What a luxury to be in a marina and step right of the boat and you are ashore,  we’ve got power and hot water.

 

Townsville from Castle Hill with Breakwater marina on the left

We really enjoy Townsville. The Strand boulevard is very nice and there is always something going on. It is getting warmer and we have pleasant neighbours on the pontoon. Jacqueline can shop everyday and we stock up. We are listening to various bands, went a couple of Friday evenings to the pub, we rented a car, we walked up the Castle Rock and we did what a sailor ashore does. We prepare ourselves for a month or two of pure nature and zero civilization in the Louisiades (PNG). But more about this next time.

Greetings,  Jacqueline en Rob

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