Australia Queensland TOWNSVILLE
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My Adventure Story
FRID 12/8/11 0815-Left Abel Point marina in a forcast SE 10-20 and sailed more or less NW under genoa only towards George's Point on the mainland. Had a larger yacht for company but he soon overhauled me. Did a left towards the Gloucester Passage and hoped I would get through before tide ran out. All seemed ok until I approached Passage Islet when I first touched the bottom at 1pm! Frantically tried to haul in the genoa and sail off but no go. I had hit a sand bank on a falling tide and low water was not till 3pm so I had at least 4 hours to wait out! Trouble was I had not fine tuned my chart plotter to the correct resolution so the markers did not show up to warn me. I had followed the same course before but it must have been a higher tide then. It was not a nice wait because I was broadside to the wind and waves and the pounding of the keel on the hard bottom was frightening. I even opened up the floorboards to check that the keel bolts were not moving. True to form, we floated off within minutes of my prediction and I made haste to move further towards the centre of the channel where lay the deeper water. Before too long we were round Passage Islet and heading for Monty's anchorage for the night.
SAT. 13TH 0900-Headed for Bowen in a SE forcast to be 10-15 knots that day. Edgecombe Bay is one of the most beautifull stretches of water anywhere sheltered as it is on three sides and the weather was also just about perfect. We covered the 13 odd miles in 3.5 hours and dropped anchor in Greys Bay at 1230pm just in time for lunch. After this, I launched the dinghy with the outboard I had just paid $90 to be serviced so it started 1st time and carried me to the boat ramp about a mile away. I had seen a walking track on my previous visit but did not have time to explore it fully so this time I did. It ran up the top of a small hill which overlooked Bowen from all directions and yielded some pretty spectacular photos of the rather rugged coastline on the weather side and the beautifull Greys Bay to leeward.
SUN 14TH 0645-Cape Upstart is 32 nms NW of Bowen so an early start was called for.We sailed wing and wing with the genoa poled out in 10-15 knots behind so a pretty uneventual sail all day until 2:30pm when I anchored beside a fishing vessel later to be joined by two catamarans. Tried out my movie feature on my Fuji camera. You can see the results above. MON 15TH 0745-30 miles is today's trip to Cape Bowling Green. Day started badly with next to no wind and the needle doing the full circle of the wind guage. Had to motor (much to Shadow's distaste) until about 11am when we were able to broad reach the rest of the way. Cape Bowling Green is nothing more than a large sand bank with a few scattered trees and takes forever to pass in order to tuck in behind it. Some fit young buck was sailing his hang glider surf thingy in 20 knots miles from anywhere! There is not much depth here and always the risk of a wind change putting a yacht on a lee shore overnight. However on this occasion-we were fine.
TUE 16TH 0745-Next port is Magnetic Island 28 nms away. Today we enjoyed a beaut beam reach (the fastest point of sailing for land lubbers) and caught a small spotted maceral for tea. Shadow just loves fresh fish! Horseshoe Bay is always a pleasure to enter and today was no exception. It is a large calm water bay with a minimum of 2 mtres and is visited by all manner of craft from small local boats to large millionaire's yachts (which have to stand off some distance unfortunately).
In the local village, there is a pub, cafes, restaurants, hire cars, boat hire, BBQ's. There used to be a backpackers where yachties could get a free shower and do their laundry, but as a sign of the times, it has been turned into up-market appartments which no one can afford so stands fairly empty! I took the opportunity of a bus ride to Nelly Bay and did some shopping at the local IGA before checking out the latest marina there as well.
FRID 19TH-1000-Thought it about time to rescue my car from Airlie Beach so headed back to Breakwater Marina in Townsville.This marina is under new management which normally insist on tying up twice! Once at the Fuel wharf so they can check you out, check your insurance papers and your credit card before granting a berth allocation. I had previously emailed my certificate of currency to them and used my mobile to get a berth allocation while heading towards them, so now went straight for C20 but not until rounding about 4 extended arms. The place is a mess. Building and demolition is taking place simoultaneously and parking is at a premium. Marina maintenance (like everywhere else) seems to be a thing of the past and some arms are tilted into the water while a number of piles are completely unsuported by rollers! Breakwater marina used to be a freindly place with a very picturesque hard stand and plenty of room to move about. Unfortunately the almighty dollar has raised it's ugly head and now the place is over run with high rise appartments -half of which appear to be empty- and not a car space to be found! Today took the Greyhound back to Airlie, rescued my trusty Honda and drove back here to home for a week.