Monday, 5 September 2016

North to Mackay

We left Rosslyn Bay and headed further north aiming for Mackay.  As usual, we planned carefully to do the trip in small hops all during the day which meant some early morning departures but means we rarely (if ever) end up entering an anchorage in the dark.

We headed for Port Clinton first as we stopped just north of that anchorage in Pearl Bay last time we headed north.  It's a large, well protected area with a lot of small shallow creeks but anchorages for all weather.  We stopped on the western shore a couple of miles south of the entrance in 3 meters of water but expecting another 5 meters at high tide.  Tides are getting much bigger now as we head north.

We only stayed overnight and in the morning moved on to Island Head Creek just 20 miles north.  This is another large area with mangroves and creeks suitable for anchorage in all weathers.  We stopped this time in the second inlet about 2.5 miles from the entrance.  We put our nose into the first inlet but we were put off by very shallow water and with the big tides, we tried further down and found a nice spot just inside the inlet near the northern bank.  There were a couple of other boats in there but nobody we knew and we wanted a rest before the next leg.

We stayed there for a few nights enjoying the peace, did some exploring of the creek and had a quite unsuccessful fishing expedition. 

An unsuccessful fishing expedition.  But they say you have to actually put the hooks in the water if you want to catch a fish..  Go figure..

At anchor in Island Head Creek

We headed off early for the 40 mile leg up to the Duke Islands.  We decided to go the inside route this time as we visited the Percy's on the outside route last time.

Heading around Townshend Island, we hit 9.5 knots at one point in 15kts relative wind on the port quarter but that was in a 2 knot northbound current :-)

We anchored in a beautiful spot behind Hunter island which looks quite exposed but is well sheltered from the SE Trades.  We headed into the beach for sundowners and toasted an absolutely glorious sunset behind Venture at anchor.

A toast to the cruising life!

From the Duke islands, we headed up to a small island called Curlew 30 miles north west.  The anchorage off the northern beach was lovely but the trades were blowing hard and we spent an uncomfortable night with 25kt bullets (sudden wing gusts) coming over the hills and a fair swell coming around the southern point.  So we only spent one night there and headed off to Mackay the following morning.

The trip over was very rolly with the wind on the port quarter and not quite enough to stabilise the boat against the easterly swell.  But we did manage to sail most of the day with the engine off.

Location: Mackay QLD 4740, Australia
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