Back in the land of the living at Latitude 21
Jul 14, 2016
|We entered the tropics just before Great Keppel Island and true to form we were graced with beautiful white sandy beaches for over a week. We are truly lucky in this country with the number and quality of our beaches.
Great Keppel Island has many fine beaches and the island has a number of walks which adds more interest. It is easy to spend several days here, which of course we did along with a number of other boats. It was a pleasant stay and we will visit on our way back.
Next stop was Pearl Bay, back on the mainland and part of a military training zone hence no phone or TV reception. Yes, no internet!!! This area around Broad Sound has the second largest tidal flow outside of Broome. Navigation in this area requires working with the current which in our case was 2 to 2.5 kt. In Strong Tide Passage it can be up to 5 kts.
Pearl Bay is stunningly beautiful. That is the only way to describe it. We had a peaceful 2 nights there marvelling the number of stars in the very black clear sky. It was even better when the other parked boats left in the morning and we had the long beach to ourselves. Jim tried his luck fishing and caught a rather nice Potatoe Cod, which sadly is protected so back it went. Apparently they are good eating. He also caught a rather ugly fish that we also threw back as we did not know whether it was edible - and it was very ugly.
Next stop was Marble Island, one we did not visit on our previous trip. The island itself is privately owned and is run as a cattle station and homestay. They do not like visitors venturing beyond the beach area. We were the only boat at this Anchorage and had another peaceful starry night.
Our last island stop was Curlew Island, again with sandy beaches. Jim had no luck with his fishing. It was at Curlew Island we started to get the weakest of Telstra signal by standing on top of the boat. Amazing what desperate people will do.
By now we were out of most of the big tidal flow areas and looking forward to tying up in the marina at Mackay enjoying their hot showers and laundry. But.... first we needed to navigate the 2 lines of coal tankers outside Hay Point harbour. It is an amazing sight to see coal tanker after coal tanker lined up at anchored like a huge parking lot, all of which needed to be manoeuvred. My estimate is about 40 or so anchored at sea waiting to go into port.
At first we thought we would spend 2 or maybe 3 nights in Mackay. The thought of luxury was too great and we signed up for a week. I am not so sure this proved to be a wise decision. Tuesday, on our way back from shopping on the local bus (with a seniors ticket of course!), the bus was involved in a head on collision. The other vehicle being a car driven by a 19 year old "P" plater who crossed onto the wrong side. The 3 passengers all end up on the floor as the bus did not have seat belts. I don't think any public bus has seat belts. Jim and I were treated to a ride in an ambulance without the sirens to Mackay hospital. My first ride in one, and hopefully my last. I was treated to a complimentary medical with ECG, Ultrasound and X-ray. No wonder Medicare is going broke. I now know that I am healthy although a bit sore and bruised though I am still able to enjoy a cappuccino and scone at this fantastic cafe we found. Our daily ritual along with exploring lunch venues, orchid houses, movies and the odd crab caught at the marina.
A few more days in Mackay, and then next week off to the Whitsundays.
Stops this week:
Svendsen's beach, Great Keppel
Fisherman's beach, Great Keppel
Long Beach, Great Keppel
Wreck bay, Great Keppel