Gold Coast to Fraser Island


                                                             Pancake Creek on the Capricorn Coast


                                                                      Gladstone to Rosslyn Bay


                                                            Rosslyn Bay to Island Head


                                                          The Percy Islands to The Whitsundays


                                                            Bowen to Fitzroy Island


                                                            Cairns to Lizard Island


                                                                                Magnetic Island


                                                                                 Mackay to Yepoon


                                                                                 Bustard Head to Gold Coast and HOME




This is the Skippers Diary of the  Lizard Isl. Cruise in 2010 in our 35’ Integrity cruiser “Black Label”    

Well we finally threw the ropes at Hope island Marina on the 25th March and headed north on what is to be our second big adventure…Gold Coast to Lizard Island Nth Queensland..


MARCH 25th. Cruised up to Tangalooma via Horizon Shores where we topped off the tanks. We spent the night at Tangalooma leaving at 3.00am to catch the high tide at Wide Bay bar some 12 hours later. We were accompanied by the 42 ft passage maker “Coral Sea” skippered by Peter and crewed by his first mate Ruth.


MARCH 26th.The weather was predicted to be 15 knots and 2.5 meters of swell. It turned out about right except that some of the swells were well over 3 meters once we passed Noosa.

This was the first time we were able to gauge the Integrity’s sea keeping ability. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that she handled the mostly beam on sea with great comfort. I was told to expect a lot of roll from these “trawler” style boats in a beam sea but “Black Label” showed very little tendency to pitch from side to side, instead she tended to rise and fall fairly flat. I suspect the oversize beam width on these 35 Integritys changes the rules somewhat.The ride was so good that Annie went to sleep for 4 hours on the saloon lounge. We crossed the Wide Bay bar at 3.00pm on the dot in sloppy conditions but it presented no problems.


MARCH 27th We had dropped anchor at Inskip Point once we got over the bar and the next morning we were planning our day when I started to feel quite unwell. Within an hour I was vomiting and had a fever. My worst fears were realised, my cellulitus had returned. I had contracted cellulitus 6 weeks earlier as a result of the leg scar left when they harvested a vein for my Triple Heart Bypass operation last December. It had put me in hospital then for a week on anti biotic drips, now it seemed I was in for another spell. We made some enquiries and found the nearest hospital was at Gympie so off to Tin Can Bay Marina to get a mooring for a few days. By the time we had moored I was getting worse so Annie called an ambulance.


APRIL 5th. I am writing this from bed no. 1F on the 3rd floor of Gympie Hospital. I will have spent 10 days on a IV drip and finally, hopefully shook the bug. The plan now is to continue our journey north within a few days.


APRIL 6th. I’m out, they finally let me go. They thought I must have been getting better because I was starting to get cheeky with the nurses.


APRIL 7th. Big surprise for Annie, Susan and the two Grand children, Saleem and Jamila turned up from the Gold Coast last night totally unannounced. She spent the day with them while I got the boat ready to head off the next day.


APRIL 8th We slipped out of Tin Can Bay Marina early and after topping off with fuel we headed up the Sandy Straights to meet up with Kerry on “Olympus” He and his partner Eileen were going to join us on the trip with their 37 ft. Clipper but unfortunately Eileen had to have a hip replacement and will not be up to the sea passages. We spent the day with Kerry and had sundowners and bid him farewell.


APRIL 9th. Steaming North we anchored up at Moon Point (inside Fraser Isl. s25.13.000 – e152.59.000) for the night. The next day we had a visit from “Escape” with Alan and Doug and other crew including John from “Odessa”. They were heading home from Lady Musgrave Isl. John’s boat had broken down and they had to tow it into Bundaberg. We chatted over a quick beer about their trip and they showed us a few nice fish they had caught and then headed off. We steamed up to “Roonies”  (s24.49.000 – e153.07.20) for the night. The plan was to leave Roonies at 3.00am for the 10 hour trip to Lady Musgrave (s23.54.000 – e152.25.50).  I wanted to enter the lagoon around midday so as to be able to spot the coral heads ( bommies) easier.  We had a great passage to ‘Musgrave’. One of the highlites was a pod of dolphins decided to ‘play’ in our bow wake, they were fantactic turning over to swim upside down and diving out to catch a breath every few moments. PHOTOS-see “Cruising Log”


APRIL 11th.  Met up with Keith on “Eyvonne” in the lagoon. They had been fishing for a few days and were about to head home.


APRIL 12th. The morning weather report was for bad weather coming within 24 hours. A strong wind warning for the next few days was broadcast. Having been caught in the lagoon on previous occasions during a southerly blow and finding it nerve racking, especially at night on anchor watch we decided to head off. As we hadn’t caught any fish yet we decided to head out to a shoal a couple of miles off the island and fish for an hour or so befor high tailing it to shelter. Within an hour we had caught a few good ‘Red Throut Emperor’ and steamed off towards Pancake creek some 36 miles away.


APRIL 13th. We are safely in Pancake Creek (s24.02.000 – e151.44.20)  as the Southerly hits at 30 knots, we just made it in time. Pancake is a good bad weather anchorage, although established Northerlies can be quite uncomfortable. It has lots of mud crabs and a few good flathead can be caught at times. We will be trapped here for at least till Friday until the wind drops. “Coral Sea” will try and meet up with us on Friday weather permitting..


APRIL 15th. We will leave the creek tomorrow and head across to Gladstone and up the ‘Narrows’. We have had a ball in the creek catching mud crabs every day. We are starting to walk sideways we have had so much crab. (see cruising log)


APRIL 17th.  Arrived in Rosslyn Bay Marina (Yeppoon) just ahead of a strong wind warning. They say it is going to blow like buggery for the next week. We have met Gary and Cathy on Grand Seas who will be heading the same way when the wind drops. We also are being joined by Peter and Yvonne Cochrane on their new Clipper 40 for the trip north. I just spoke to Peter on “Coral Sea” and he will be through to Great Keppel by Sunday to join us also. We will have a ‘fleet’ by then to head north.


APRIL 24th. We fueled up this morning and headed out to Great Keppel Island (23.10.40s – 150.57.30e) for a couple of days. We will then head up the coast to Island Head, The Percys and then on to Airlie Beach via the Whitsundays. The next posting will probably be there.


APRIL 27th. Finally we get the other two boats to join the flottila, Blue Chip 2 with Peter and Yvonne Cocheran and the return of Coral Sea with Peter and Ruth Reeves. After a couple of nice days at Great Kepple Island (known locally as “GKI”)  23.10.30s – 150.57.30e we decided to move up to Port Clinton.

(22.31.50s – 150.45.10s) . We did however find time to hold a fun golf morning on the beach with “sand wedges” only. Annie mapped out a nine hole course with the ‘hole’ being a 1 meter circle in the sand. It was great fun and good exercise too.


APRIL 30th. After visiting Port Clinton for a night and bumping into an old boating friend ‘Vic’ we headed up to Pearl Bay. (22.26.24s – 150 43 44e) Pearl Bay is a great little bay that offers good protection from the bloody constant south east winds that persist at this time of the year. Peter on Blue Chip caught a beautiful big cod and we caught a feed of Stripies. (See “Cruising Log” for photos).


MAY 1st. We are in Island Head (22.21.50s – 150.38.45e) and will be here for a few days to wait out the bad weather. Dropped a crab pot and caught a nice muddy. No fish as the big tides had made the water filthy and there was too much current. We were sharing the creek with an old charter boat, the Bell Cay

which was skippered by an old character called Stumpy. You would have to meet him to believe this guy. He has one peg leg and actually has a parrot that he sits on his shoulder and it swears it’s head off. He invited us over for a BBQ that night and we had a ball.


MAY 5th. The wind dropped a little so we headed off to the Percy Group of islands (21.41.20s – 150.17.40e) We anchored off the south island and had a great beach party that night. The next day we did the obligatory visit to the beach hut on middle Percy leave a boat memento (as is tradition) and then steamed off to Scawfell island (20.51.50s – 149.35.50e) some 60 miles away to beat a strong wind warning. Scawfell has a spectacular landscape and a great harbour, very comfortable night was had by all.


MAY 6th. Steamed over to Goldsmith Island the next day and then headed for Airlie beach and the Abel Point marina to re stock our pantry and booze locker arriving there on the 8th. We will be here for a few days so my next update will be in about 7 days.


MAY 8th. – 11th. Three years ago when we cruised through to the Kimberley we stayed here at Abel Point and it cost $40 for a 35 ft boat per night. Now they want $75 for the same thing. I now believe that they have lost the plot. The people that run the marina offer nothing else and to earn the title of the dearest marina in Australia we had to almost mortgage our boats to buy diesel. We paid 1.64 a litre. We recommend you by pass Airlie and reprovision at Bowen some 30 miles further north. Anyways, we stayed there for 4 days to do some maintenance and reprovision. The amount of groceries and booze we purchased can be seen to be believed on our “Photo Log”. I believe that the liquor shops in Cannonvale have had to get emergency supplies sent up in trucks overnight to prevent a local drought.


MAY 12th. Moved over to Stonehaven bay on Hook Island (20.05.50s – 148.54.000) to do some fishing.

I am glad Annie took out some frozen meat for dinner.


MAY 13th. The wind and roll was untenable at Stonehaven so we headed over to Woodwark Bay (20.11.44s – 148.39.20) A lovely little bay where we actually caught a heap of good fish, enough to give some to Coral Sea..


MAY 14th. Headed back to Airlie for the morning to pick up Mail and an outboard bracket that will enable me to leave the motor attached to the tender when storing it. My back has been starting to show signs of strain by lifting the motor on and off continuously so it will make a big difference.


MAY 16th.We head off to the Gloucester Straights. (20.03.20s – 148.27.50e)  and anchor up in Hydaway  Bay opposite the ‘Eco Resort’. We experimented with lunch at the resort and I was pleasantly surprised to find the food and prices not to bad. That night we fished the reef behind our boat and caught some good sweetlip and stripies. The girls raided the rocks on shore for the huge ‘black lip’oysters and that night we pigged out on fresh fish and chips and oysters in beer batter washed down with a W.A. Chablis.


May 18th. Time to move on so we headed off to Cape Upstart then onward to Cape Bowling green (19.18.22s – 147.24.000e). The weather caused us to skip Bowling Green and continue on to Magnetic Island which is just off Townsville. We will stay here for a day or two befor heading off to the Palm Island Group.


May 19th – 23nd.  Annie’s birthday today so we surprised her with a cake and a few champagnes on board Black label. Every one came over and celebrated. The next day we decided to tour the island so we hired a skooter. It was a lot of fun, although it really had trouble getting both of us up the steep hills on the island. I found out later that it only had a 50cc engine…no wonder. Magnetic is a great place to drive around and it has some great walks, especially the walk to the ‘Forts’. These are the remains of the gun emplacements that they built during the war to defend against the Japs. They are a fascinating array of old buildings and relics.


May 24rd. We cruised off to go to the Palm Island group for a day but decided after anchoring up at Orpheous Island for the afternoon (18.37.00s – 146.29.44e) to continue on to Hinchinbrook channel as the tides were suitable for a safe entry that afternoon. We caught a great feed of fish befor pulling the anchor.

After reaching  Haycock Island by sundown we anchored for the night in the channel.


May 25th I put out 4 crab pots today and by lunchtime we had 12 big muddies to cook. Peter from  Coral Sea had caught a few also so we decided to have a crab fest the next day on his boat and share them with every body. The photo log says it all.


May 26th – 28th. We moved into the Gayunda creek further down the channel and started to catch a few big Spotted Grunter. They are a good table fish and Annie did them justice with all the trimmings. see photo log for proof of capture (and bragging rights)


May 29th. Steamed up to Fitzroy Island (16.56.00s – 145.59.40e) via Mourilian Harbour were we stayed overnight. A very protected harbour in any weather. So far we have had a dream run with the weather with only a few days of 20knts plus to rock the boat. The next day we headed into Cairns to stay at the Marlin Marina for a week to re supply our larder and effect some repairs and service the engine.


June 8th. Left Cairns for Lizard Island (14.40.00s – 145.27.00e) stayed enroute at Low Isles overnight. The weather is good with wind around 15 –18 knts.


June 9th. Topped up our fuel at Cooktown and headed out to lizard Isl. 30 knts plus predicted this afternoon. We made lizard as the wind picked up.


June 10th. – June 25th. Marooned at Lizard because of constant S.E winds around 30 to 35 knots every day. I guess we could be stuck in a worse place, I consider Lizard a paradise, maybe the best kept secret in Queensland. Every night we put our underwater lights on and the back of the boat turns into an giant aquarium. We have hundreads of reef fish of all varieties and size swimming around trying to snavel the bait fish that are attracted to the lights. Then we have the giant sharks that meander in to eat the scraps and chase the reef fish. This goes on for hours every night. I said this before and I will say it again …anyone that cruises and fishes should get ‘Aqualuma” underwater lights fitted. They are worth every penny. Although we can’t catch fish here because it is a green zone, when we are not in restricted waters we use the lights to catch bait then catch the big ones.

I am hoping we can move on from Lizard by the weekend if the wind drops a little. If we do we may not be able to update for a few weeks as we will be out of internet range for a while.


June 28th. After almost three weeks trapped at Lizard because of bad weather we have decided to abort the rest of the plan to head up to the Top End. We made the decision yesterday based on the fact that  the trade winds are the strongest seen in these parts for years an most probably will continue for another 3 months like this. Also we are running low on some supplies due to the delays and the fact that Coral Sea had about half our supplies in their fridge and was supposed to sail with us but decided it was too rough for him. We couldn’t wait for them anymore so we reluctantly are heading south today towards Cairns. We sensed a small break in the wind today and hope to make it to the Low Isles about half way to Cairns, then finish off the run the following day.


June 29th. The further we went the more the wind blew so by mid afternoon we were running into 3 meters so we pulled into Cape Flattery for the evening. We phoned Coral Sea to tell them we were coming back to Cairns and bugger me if they were’nt on their way up and were only in the next bay ( Cape Bedford) about 18 mile further down. We decided to up anchor and steam around to the Cape and meet up with them. We had sundowners with them and then picked up our groceries and bid them farewell. They will continue north on their own.


June 30th .We continued on next morning on our way to Cairns but after 5 hours we were doing it very tough. We had 3 meters on the nose and the wind was picking up even more so I decided to turn and run back to Cooktown where we anchored in the river entrance. Cooktown for those that haven’t been here has no marina and very few places that one can anchor. It is shallow and is situated between two hills that channel the wind down to the harbour and accelerates it to almost double its normal speed. So we had 40 to 50 knots all night. Not very pleasant to say the least.


July 1st. I am convinced that Cooktown has not changed much since Capt. James Cook sailed into the creek to repair the barque “Endeavour” back in 1770. As I said earlier there is no marina as such, the few wharves that do exist have local trawlers and charter boats hogging them including the only public wharf. The river has silted up so badly that there are hardly any areas one can drop an anchor unless you do so in the middle of the main channel. The place needs about 3 million spent on it for dredging and a proper marina.


July 2nd. I awoke today with the dreadful feeling that my cellulitus in my leg had returned. By lunch time Annie had to call an ambulance as I was starting to get very sick. I was taken to Cooktown hospital where they put me on an antibiotic drip for the next 5 days. Luckily this time the infection was not as bad and I was allowed to leave by the weeks end.


July 3rd. The bigger drama that was playing out whilst I was in hospital was with Annie on the boat (on her own) and the relentless winds gusting to 50 knots every night. The boat was anchored in the main channel and exposed to the gale force winds all night. The boat lurched from side to side violently threatening to break the anchor chain and scuttling the boat with Annie onboard. The coastguard went on standby for the 5 days in case.


July 8th. Finally when I was allowed out of hospital I moved the boat over to the wharf and tied up to a trawler.


July 11th.It was with great relief that we got reasonable weather two days later and headed off towards Cairns via Port Douglas.


July 18th. After restocking (again) we left Cairns in 20 knots and headed south. The first night was spent at Fitzroy island, the next day the wind had dropped a little so we headed down to Mourilyan Harbour which is a sugar wharf hidden in between two mountains. It is the strangest harbour I have ever seen, but great refuge from a rough sea which we had by the time we reached the entrance.


July20th. Today we steamed the 50 miles to one of our favourite destinations…Hinchinbrook Channel. We will spend about 5 days here chasing some Barramundi in the creeks before heading across to the Palm Islands group and onward to Magnetic Island.


July 25th. No luck with the Barra, so we steamed down to Lucinda/Dungeness to anchor in the river for a few days. Strange name that…”Dungeness”, it sounds sort of medieval to me. It’s a bloody hole anyway with nothing going for it so when the wind dropped we headed out to the Palm Islands to Orpheous island.


August 1st. Anchored up in Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island and enjoying magnificent weather. We are expecting the grandkids and Annie’s daughter Susan up around the 11th for a week so meanwhile we are just vegging out and cruising around the various bays fishing and swimming.


August 18th. The kids had a ball on the island over the last week and I believe that they left no spot unvisited or explored. We bid them farewell and headed south once again to the Whitsundays via Cape Bowing Green, Cape Upstart and onward to Cape Gloucester. We encountered a heap of whales enroute with one family actually blocking our way for 5 minutes whilst they ‘played’ under the boat. Fab weather all the way.


August 22nd. Anchored at Woodwark Bay just 5 miles before Airlie Beach. We caught some good reef fish on our secret ‘Bommie’ and packed a few more fillets into the freezer. After two days here we headed down through the Whits to Goldsmith Isl. overnight and then onward to Mackay Marina to wait out a southerly blow for a few days. We should leave here on Saturday the 28th for the Percy group of Islands.

The boat is going well with absolutely no problems. We fuelled up again at Townsville and we are now averaging 12.6 litres per hour at an average of 7.4 knots.


September 1st. Spring is in the air, and finally we leave Mackay, the wind hung in there for a few extra days so we relaxed a little more, spent some fun time with Susie from “Bedar”. We met up with her on our Kimberley Trip.

We headed out to Curlew Island for the day then next day onward to South Percy Island. We anchored up in a beautiful little bay right next to a reef “bommie” and within half an hour we had caught a great feed of ‘blue bone’ parrot fish which we had that evening in beer batter washed down with a cold  bottle Sauvignon Blanc.


September 4th. We had spent 4 great days walking the beaches and oystering, fishing and just soaking up the scenery but when we awoke this morning we had 20 knots and wild seas. We had to move as we were being buffeted and rolled around in a 1.5 metre swell on the beam. The only problem was we had left two of our deck chairs on the beach which we sat in each day and relaxed. We had to launch the dinghy and somehow get into the beach which was dumping 1.5 meter swells at this time. I decided to take the dinghy around the first headland and sneak it into a small  rocky harbour which was not getting the breaking waves. We managed to retrieve the chairs and didn’t hit any reef and amidst the wild seas  got the dinghy back to the boat without getting swamped.


September 5th. Cruised away from the Percy Islands and headed for Pearl Bay. Pearl is a unique little bay that offers great protection from any south winds  and is situated on the mainland about 40 miles North of Yepoon.


September 6th. We steamed into Yepoon for two days to get a few groceries and to refuel. I was pleasantly surprised to find that we had averaged 12.2 litres per hour cruising at just under 8 knots since leaving Townsville. As I keep saying, these Integrity 35’s are just the shot for inexpensive comfortable coastal cruising and are a great boat in a rough sea. We never leave an anchorage to travel in bad weather but every now and again you get caught out when the wind changes or whatever, that’s when we know we are going to be safe and reasonably comfortable in our Integrity.


September 8th. Cruised out to our favourite island today…Great Kepple or ‘GKI’ to the locals. I like GKI because it has beautiful beaches, ( the sand is like talcum powder it is so fine)  crystal clear water (you can see the bottom 25 feet deep) and plenty of fish and oysters. The island allows a skipper to chose a side depending on which direction the wind is coming from. We decided to stay here for 3 days and just explore the scenery.


September 10th. We are enroute as I type to the ‘Narrows’. They are a stretch of water that runs between Curtis Isl. and the mainland and allows a vessel to proceed through to Gladstone without having to travel outside in the open sea. Great scenery and no swell to contend with. Tomorrow we will cruise outside and go across to Pancake creek where we will anchor for a few days and catch some mud crabs. On the trip up we caught around 10 big muddies in this creek.


September 12th. Pancake Creek. The crab pots are out and we are taking a walk up to the famous Bustard Head Light House. This light house was the last one on the east coast to go automatic. It was automated in 1985 and unmanned the following year. It is now fully renovated and is under care of the Bustard Head Lighthouse Assoc. They lease the area off the NPWL who recently rezoned the entire area as a National Park. It is a great walk up to the historic buildings and should be on the ‘to do’ for any visitors to the creek.


September 15th No crabs this time. The water was so crystal clear that I think they were spooked. We did catch a few good mackeral during the stay and a couple of nice Sweetlip. It was time to move on so we headed out to Lady Musgrave Island.


September 16th. The weather turned sour again at Musgrave and we had wind and rain for two days. It was so cold that we actually had to put on the reverse cycle air con. No fish and the water was very murkey so we decided to head down to Burnett Heads staying at the mouth overnight then onward to Urangan the next day to spend a few days in the Marina with Kerry and Eileen from “Olympus”.


September 23rd. We stayed a few days longer than planned as the weather was terrible but eventually we steamed off to the inside of Fraser Island just down from Kingfisher Bay resort where we fished for a couple of days befor heading down to Inskip point. Here we waited for the best time to go over the Wide Bay bar. This bar has a reputation of being one of the worst on the east coast and the previous 3 days had strong south winds that put 3 meters plus on the bar. This caused us to wait two days for the swell to drop then on the Sunday we headed across and did a massive 110 miles in one day (to avoid Mooloolaba) to arrive at Redcliffe’s Newport waterways. Here we met up with friends John and Julie Turner and stayed the night. The next two days we visited friends and then cleaned up the boat ready for our return.


September 29th.  The time had come after 6 months to bring the adventure to an end as we steamed off heading for Hope Island marina on the Gold Coast. We had an uneventful trip down and arrived at the marina at midday. It was an anti climax of sorts to tie up, step off the boat and declare that “We were home”


To sum up the trip I would say that the bulk of it was terrific, we both had a great time and brought back some fabulous memories. We met some lovely people along the way as you do on trips like this and made many new friends. The boat performed faultlessly and was just brilliant to drive in all conditions. We did approx. 2,500 miles and averaged 12.2 litres per hour at an average speed of 7.8 knots (9 mph).


We are so happy with the boat that we are thinking of buying another one the same brand but bigger so we can travel over seas next time. This one, “Black Label” is now (unfortunately) up for SALE and open for inspection immediately. If you are interested please phone me on 0408 729 832 and I can arrange an inspection.


To all those people who followed our adventure I hope you one day get to do the same and enjoy it as much as Annie and I have. Thankyou for all your emails.







 Annies’ Diary of the Lizard Isl.Adventure

              the cruise from a woman’s perpective


23rd March 2010 Departure:

I was awoken this morning by a beautiful sunrise streaming in through the back door, which could only mean that we are finally on our way after weeks of sitting at the Hope Island marina waiting for the weather to improve and then cyclone Ului to pass.   We cast of yesterday Tuesday 23rd March at approximately 12noon and made our way up to Horizon Shores to take on fuel.  By 4pm we were anchored up between Maclay and Russell Islands and by 4.30pm we were enjoying our first ‘sundowner’ on the aft deck Coral Sea (a 42’ Clinker Style Trawler) with friends Peter and Ruth who will be keeping us company on our journey North. 


On our first leg from Hope Island to Maclay a fish decided to take a nap in our cockpit.  Big mistake because he quickly became crab bait which netted us our first mud crab for the trip.  Crab sandwiches for lunch tomorrow, which I’d say, is a pretty good start to our trip.


After taking Ralf ashore for a wee walk we headed off to Tangalooma which was a very pleasant trip in spite of a couple of rain squalls that came through.  We’ve anchored up for the night and after discussions with Ruth and Peter have decided to sit and relax here for a couple of days and wait for the winds to settle before heading off to the Sandy Straits which from here will be a 12 hour run.  So 10-15 knots of wind would be nice by Friday … please.


24th March 2010:

It’s a lovely day here at Tangas with only have a dozen boats here behind the wrecks but quite a lot of activity on the beach.  John and Peter have gone ashore to hopefully pick up some baitfish in the cast net.  Maybe if we are lucky fish will be on the menu tonight…..anyone out there with any recipes for bait fish cos that’s all we’ve got!


25th March 2010:

A lazy day today, catching up on some reading.  We’ve all decided that we will head for Sandy Straits tomorrow and will depart here at 3am.  The trip will take us 12 hours so we are hoping for reasonable weather.


26th March 2010:

We crossed the bar at 3pm today after exactly 12 hours.  We had a tremendous trip up even though we had 21/2 to 3mt swells on our starboard side all the way.  The boat handled beautifully which we are very happy about.  I can guarantee that it will be an early night for us all.


27th March 2010:

Peter and Ruth invited us over for some very ‘special’ fruitcake and a cup of tea.  The cake was a going away gift from Ruth’s friend and was to be had when they were safe across the bar.  Well it was really delicious thank you.  As it turned out, the cake and tea were the highlight of the day.  Unfortunately John became very sick very quickly and we had to make our way into Tin Can Bay Marina and arrange for a ambulance to take him to hospital.  Yes, the infection in his leg and flared again and he is on a intravenous drip in the Gympie Hospital.  He may be there for a week, we just don’t know.  Meanwhile Ralf and I are keeping ourselves amused with long walks when it’s not raining.


29th March 2010:

With all of the information provided me by Janelle at the Tin Can Bay Marina I hoped on a bus to Gympie to visit John.  He was as surprised to see me, as I was glad to see him.  He is being well cared for but the infection is not improving yet.  Doctors say it takes a few days for the antibiotics to have an effect but John would like them to change his medication to that which he was receiving in Gold Coast Hospital.  He will eventually get his way because he is so in touch with his body and knows what works for him and what doesn’t.  He also leaves no stone unturned and questions everything being done to him. 



30th March 2010:

I had a lovely surprise this morning when I checked the crab pots.  Three nice size muddies.  I really only set the pot yesterday to give me something to do after coming back from the hospital.  I didn’t really expect anything like this.  Anyway, it’s crab sandwiches for lunch and dinner for the next couple of days.  Apart from that it’s been a quiet day.  Spoken to John several times.  He’s OK but still not happy with medication.  Ralf and I have been going for lots of long walks.  We even took a picnic lunch to the beach today.


31st March 2010:

John has gotten his way and his medication has now been changed.  Hopefully he will start to see an improvement within the next couple of days.  Today I met Alan and Kathy who own the boat that is moored next to us.  They live in Gympie but were down to check on everything.  To my absolute surprise they have offered me the keys to a spare car that they have so I can drive in to visit John.  How generous is that.  They don’t even know me yet they trust me with their car.  Life is full of little surprises.  Anyway they are going to drive in again on Saturday and bring the spare car with them. 


1st April 2010: 

I caught three more muddies this morning.  Because I’m still eating the first lot of crab I caught I made the decision to return these to the deep.  No point in keeping any more than I can eat fresh.  It’s going to be another quiet day for Ralf and me.  I’ve got some washing to do and will probably walk up to IGA to get a couple of things.  I’ve spoken to John and he is relieved that his leg is showing the slightest bit of improvement today.  That’s good news and also puts him in a better frame of mind.


3rd April 2020:

As promised Alan and Kathy arrived today with the keys to their car.  Because it’s Easter, there are no buses running in to Gympie and I because I haven’t told John about the car, ane he’s disappointed that he won’t be seeing me for another few days.  I’m going to surprise him tomorrow, take him some Easter eggs and of course the all-important Sunday Mail. 


4th April 2010:

Today was lovely.  I surprised John big time.  He commandeered a wheel chair and we went down to the courtyard and sat in the sun for a few hours. 



5th April 2010:

The weather has been pretty ordinary for Easter.  Any boats that departed here on Friday have either come back or I’d suspect are tucked away somewhere out of the wind.  It’s very quiet at the Marina.  We’ve just come back from a walk to the beach.  Luckily I walk Ralf on a lead otherwise he could have been blown away, literally.  I think we’ll bunker down for the rest of the day and just watch a movie or two (no TV reception to speak of).


6th April 2010:

Well, what a day it has turned out to be.  I left fairly early this morning to drive into Gympie thinking I’d get a couple of things before I went to visit John.  Arrived at the hospital at about 10am.  John much much better and hoping to be released by Thursday (today is Tuesday).  We went for another walk to the courtyard to enjoy the sun (me pushing).   I found my way to the Plaza and got a couple of things before I headed back to Tin Can Bay.  I’m about 5kms out of Tin Can and John rings me to say that the doctor has said he can leave the hospital but remain on oral antibiotics for some time.  Well of course this is good news, but I just got back!.  Anyway, drove back to the Marina, unloaded the groceries I’d bought, bundled Ralf up and headed back to the hospital to collect John who was waiting in the car park for me.  I got the idea that he was pleased to be coming back to the boat.


It’s a lovely drive from Gympie to Tin Can Bay and John sure appreciated the change of scenery.  The countryside is looking so lush and green after all of the recent rain.  Anyway, we arrived back at the Marina at approximately 6pm. 


I was fiddling about putting ‘stuff’ away when I heard these little voices at the back door say ‘we are lost, we are lost’!!  Well you can imagine my delight to see Jamila, Saleem and Susie standing on the boat.  They had drive up from the Gold Coast to visit for a couple of days thinking that John would still be in hospital and thinking I would enjoin the company.  They were all delighted though to see John back and looking so well.


8th April 2010:

Susie, the kids and I had a lovely day yesterday.  We went to the local park and beach and bought some nice seafood for lunch.  The kids played at the skate park and had a swim.  John just relaxed on the boat and caught up with some reading and trip planning.  Susie and the kids left early this morning to go down to the Jetty and feed the dolphins before they started on the long drive home.  I was just absolutely wonderful to enjoy their company for a couple of days.  I miss them so much.


We didn’t hang about after they left.  I went up and paid the account at the Marina, we fuelled up and headed back out into the Straits.  We met up with our friend Kerry (Olympus) and spent the night at Yanky Jacks.  


9th April 2010:

We had a nice night with Kerry and his friend Jim who comes from Hervey Bay.  This morning we left to travel up to Rooney’s where we will stay and wait for good weather to travel out to Lady Musgrave Island.



11th April 2010:

We spent a very pleasant night last night anchored up here at Roonies.  Just before lunch we had a nice visit from Al, Doug and Steve aboard Al’s Riviera “Escape”.  They are on their way home after spending a couple of days at Musgrave.  It was great to see them and the fact that they enjoyed some excellent fishing made the trip well worth their while. 


14th April 2010:

Well, here we at Pancake Creek.  We’ve been to Lady Musgrave, caught up with friend Keith (Blackwatch “Yvonne” from Hope Is Marina), done a little bit of fishing and high tailed it into Pancake yesterday ahead of a wind change.  The trip from Roonies to Musgrave was good but the trip from Musgrave to Pancake was just fantastic.  We were accompanied by a pod of Dolphins that stayed with us for about one mile.   John took some good pictures so you can check those out too.  We will probably stay here in Pancake and wait for our friends Ruth and Peter.  They have had to say in Bundaberg for a few extra days so Ruth could visit a dentist, which finally eventuated in having to have a tooth pulled.  Ouch!!!!


15th April 2010:

We been catching some nice mud crabs and have plenty to share with Ruth and Peter when they arrive, which hopefully will be tomorrow afternoon providing that the weather report tonight is a little more favourable to what it is at the moment. but haven’t done too much of anything else because of the wind.  Our anchorage is good, no rocking about but the wind is incessant.


We won’t be seeing Ruth and Peter for some time yet so we’ll have to eat all of the crab ourselves.  Bugger!!!!  They have missed a good weather opportunity and will be staying in Bundy for a few days.  We’ve decided to up anchor tomorrow and go up to Graham Creek and wait for a suitable tide to go thrown the narrows.


18th April 2010:

We had a good trip up the narrows and on to Rosslyn Bay Marina.  The weather has turned very very nasty so I think we will be bunkering down here for a few days until everything settles down.  We did the narrows with another boat Grand Seas (60’ Grand Banks).  Skipper Garry, first mate Katherine.  They were actually moored next to us in Pancake Creek but we didn’t meet then because the weather wasn’t good for visiting.  Anyway, we spoke on the radio in Graham Creek and did the trip together.  When we all tied up at the marina, we discovered that we were all from the Hope Island marina.   Small world! 


22nd April 2010:

The weather is awful.  It’s been blowing 30 knots since we arrived   and just doesn’t look like letting up.  Another boat (Riveria 42) came in yesterday.  They were also in Pancake Creek and moored near us and you guessed it …… they are from Hope Island marina which I’m guessing, is just about empty?!


I forgot to mention that our friends Peter and Yvonne (Blue Chip .. 42’ Clipper) have loaned us a car so we can get around while we are stuck here.  It’s been wonderful and today Garry, Katherine, John and I went into Rocky today to the movies.  We had a nice day, which included lunch at Sizzlers. 

25th April 2010:

We are anchored up at Great Keppel Island.  You guessed it, the weather has come good and there was a mass exodus from the Marina yesterday.  Boats have gone in all directions.  Peter and Ruth have decided to take advantage of the weather and are expected here today at about 1600 hours.  It will be lovely to see them again.


Peter and Yvonne are also due over this afternoon.  We’ll all get together, look at the weather maps and plan our trip from here.  We’ll probably head up to Island Creek about Tuesday but that’s not firm.  We still have to check whether there are any Army/Navy exercises in the area that will close the area to boating, but that’s the plan.


It’s just nice to get out of the Marina.  We did a little bit of fishing yesterday and caught a couple of nice fish for dinner.  We’ve been going to the beach for lots of walks and although there are lots and lots of rocks literally covered in oysters I’ve resisted the temptation to attack them.  I think I’ll wait until we get to the Whitsundays (or Windysundays for those of you who have read our previous travel logs).  The oysters are the best thing about the W’sundays, that is apart from our friends Susie and John who I can’t wait to see.  


Anyway, that all for now, you are up-to-date.  Peter (Coral Sea) has just called on the radio and announced that they are about 3 nm away so there arrival is imminent which means I’d better go and put some lippy on.


30th April 2010:

This is truly a beautiful country that we have the privilege to live in.  Over the past week we’ve been anchored up at Great Keppel Island and Pearl Bay.  We’ve enjoyed beautiful weather, played golf on the beach, picked oysters, fished (Peter Blue Chip caught an enormous Cod, but we won’t go on about that!) walked the beaches and watched the beautiful sunsets. Everyday is different and there is always something new and exciting to do.


Today we’ve travelled a short distance (approx 12 nm) from Pearl Bay to Island Head Creek.  We are all safely anchored up and just kicking back and looking at the new scenery.  John has already taken Ralf to the beach for a walk and then went over to talk to the crew of another boat anchored a short distance away.  It’s a charter boat out of Yeppoon. They are in here to shelter from the 30 knots of wind out a little further.  Stumpy the skipper has invited us all on board tonight for dinner, which I’m sure, will be very enjoyable.


Stumpy also reminded us that we are now officially in crocodile country and so we are on croc alert from now on.


The weather in Island Head has been a little unsettled but hasn’t stopped us from enjoying our time here.  John and I have fished a bit, taken Ralf for long walks on the beach and generally goofed off.  Thankfully we have a good selection of movies on board that we can watch if there is nothing else to do.  John and Peter put in a couple of crab pots which resulted in one big muddie in our pot that we gladly gave to Peter and Ruth.  The BBQ on board Bell Cay with skipper Stumpy and his crew was a lot of fun.  Unfortunately we didn’t take our camera so were unable to get photos of Stumpy doing his pirate impersonation which was really really funny.


Don’t forget that there are lots of lovely photos in “cruising log” to look  at some of which have been taken by us, and others taken by Ruth and Yvonne.  We all hope that you enjoy sharing our adventures.  If there is anything in particular that you’d like to know or perhaps you just want to leave a comment, please contact us by email through the web site.  We don’t always have internet coverage but will endeavour to upload and update the site and answer any emails as soon as we can.


May 4th 2010:

With a couple of days of reasonable weather we had an opportunity to leave Island Head and head to the Percy Group of islands.  John and I hadn’t visited the south island so we decided to give this a go as it seemed to offer the best protection from the south east winds that continue to blow.  We all had a lovely time here and the weather was so good that we decided to have our sundowners on the beach (great suggestion by Ruth).  John and I went in ahead of the others and gathered some firewood so we could all sit around and watch the sun go down, tell jokes and reflect on past passages and discuss the adventures that lie ahead.


We’ve had a very memorable time here at the Percy’s and before we depart and head off to Scawfell Island (approx 60 nm) we visited the beach hut on Middle Percy where we left a memento from the Grey Navy and one for Ralf too .  It was fabulous and you can see the photos in the “cruising log”.


May 5th 2010:

Here we are anchored up in Refuge Bay at Scawfell Island after another quite enjoyable passage from the Percy’s.  This is absolutely spectacular and I know we will all enjoy spending a night here before we head off once more, this time to Goldsmith Island.


May 6th 2010:

The approach to Goldsmith Island is lovely but rounding the headland and coming into Refuge Bay was breathtaking.  It was picture postcard material.    We headed for the eastern most anchorages, which we thought would give us the most protection from the wind but the night was quite roley.  But not too worry; things can’t always be ‘perfect’.  Tomorrow we are heading for Airlie Beach and Abel Point marina to reprovision all boats.  If we all keep eating and drinking the way we have been, we’ll all look like blimps before we even reach Cairns.  (Jeff Jowett would not be pleased.)


May 7 – 11th 2010:

Last time we were here at Able Point Marina it was affordable.  This time the costs are just plain over the top.  Apart from me ‘miss placing’ my gate key and not being able to get a refund ($50) it has absolutely nothing going for it.  There are virtually no facilities and unless you hire a car there is no way of getting provisions.  Airlie Beach is too far to walk unless all you want is just one loaf of bread and maybe a bottle of milk.  Anyway, the point of coming in here was to do some maintenance, wash the boats inside and out and do the washing.  With all of that done and the reprovisioning complete we are heading out to explore the Whitsunday Islands.  Again, see some funny photos in the Cruising Log.  All these things help keep us amused.



May 12th 2010:

We left Abel Point yesterday and are now anchored up in Stonehaven Bay, Hook Island.  We had sundowners here on Black Label last night and will go over to Coral Sea for sundowners tonight.  Because it’s a bit overcast here today we won’t be doing any snorkelling, particularly after Garry on Grand Seas caught a 5’ Hammerhead Shark yesterday afternoon.  In lieu of the snorkelling we are going to have a fishing competition after lunch.  I probably should still take something out of the freezer for dinner … just in case!


May 13th 2010:

6.30am and we are just about to slip our mooring at Stonehaven to make our way to Woodwark Bay approximately 12nm.  We had another very pleasant night in what is a very picturesque bay.   We had our fishing comp which John and I clearly won (and it was not rigged as suggested).  All fish caught were released, as nothing was any bigger than 6” long.  We had casserole for dinner again.


By 9.30am we are anchored in Woodward.  John, Ralf and I have done a recon to the beach and spotted a possible spot for a beach sundowner.  After relaying this to the fleet, Peter (Coral) suggested a b.b.q on the beach – we all agreed.


Back on the boat and John caught a nice sweet lip.  I caught a reef!


May 14th 2010:

John and I have to go back into Airlie Beach today to pick up a parcel and some mail, which Susie (daughter) has sent up.  John is going to fit a gismo to the back of the dingy, which will allow us to leave the motor on the dinghy instead of lifting it off every time we need to travel.  With that out of the way, we are back in Woodwark by 2pm.


We had a lovely bbq last night.  Chef Peter (Coral) did a fabulous job.  We left our table and chairs on the beach so we can go back on to the beach tonight to enjoy the sundown.    This holiday is just so laid back and I think I can speak for all when I say that we are having an absolutely great time. 


With Peter’s help John has done the modifications on the dinghy and the motor now remains on the dinghy which we are travelling.  This is just so much easier for John and myself.  We can now launch and retrieve the dinghy in 3 minutes.


May 15th 2010:

We will be heading off to Glouster Passage and the Eco Resort today but first Peter and Ruth (Coral) have to go back in to Airlie to collect mail.  They will be back by 9am.  Unfortunately Peter (Blue Chip) is having trouble with his hip so he and Yvonne are going back into Airlie too today so he can have some Chiropractic treatment.  We won’t know until later today when (if) they will be returning.  Cross fingers for good news, as we will all miss their company very much. 


Coral Sea and ourselves travelled up to Glouster which is just a short jump up from Woodward.  We are anchored up outside the Eco Resort.  We’ve been in and had a lovely lunch and a couple of drinks.  There was a wedding at the resort so we hung around until about 4pm so Ruth and I could admire the bride.  And admire we did, she looked absolutely beautiful in the brightest of bright pink full skirted full length dress.   The colour theme was pink and orange.  The men work black suits and orange vests and black thongs and dark sunglasses.  It was a beach wedding! 


We have had good news too.  Peter and Yvonne (Blue Chip) will be returning tomorrow and will meet us here at the Eco Resort.  That’s the best news and we are all so happy that Peter is going to be OK. 


On the way back from the Resort yesterday, John and I had a little scout about on the Oyster rocks.  Guess what I’m doing tomorrow.  I’ll ask Ruth if she wants to join me.


May 16th 2010:


John and I did some fishing last night and we caught some lovely fish.  Mostly sweet lip but a couple of other reef fish too.  We have too many for us to Peter came across and collected about half a dozen.


Ruth and I have been oystering on the low tide today and yum yum yum, we have some big big oysters.  Check out the photos!  It was almost dark before we returned to the boats.  We joked that we should have worn little caps with lights attached so we could have stayed longer.  But all jokes aside, the oysters are magnificent and I think I might add them to the plate tonight with some fish that we are have leftover from our fish and chip lunch that I cooked earlier today. 


Peter and Yvonne arrived safely at about 12pm.  It’s too windy to get together tonight for sundowners so we’ll all stay about our own boats and catch up tomorrow.


May 17th 2010:

Last night John and I had beer battered fish and oysters done the same way.   How decedent was that.  I don’t think I have enjoyed anything so much for such a long time.  How great is it when you can get in your dinghy, go to the beach and collect your own oysters.  It is hard work but well worth it and I know Ruth will agree.  She actually has the potential to be more addicted to collecting oysters than I am.  Well done Ruth.  Now we have to work on Yvonne.


We left Glouster Passage early today and have made out way up to Bowen.  We are anchored up just opposite Queens Beach, which is rather lovely.  We’ve been ashore with Ralf a couple of times.  The weather isn’t great.  It’s been overcast for most of the day and we had a little bit of rain too.  We’ve just all had a really quiet day on our own boats.    We will polish off the remaining 2 dozen oysters (natural) tonight with a nice bottle of white wine but will have a quiet night as we are heading off tomorrow at 7am for another relatively short passage to Cape Upstart.


18th May 2010:

The Glouster to Upstart leg was relatively although a bit chilly and we also had some rain along the way, which is always welcome at it, washes the salt off the boat (for a short time anyway).  As soon as the anchor had settled I started the washing, John put the dinghy in and we were on the beach within 10 minutes of arriving.  The sun is beginning to shine and it’s warming up nicely.  I collected some nice really nice shells for Jamila and Saleem.  We are heading off tomorrow and going up to Cape Bowling Green aptly named, as it is a flat as.


19TH May 2010:

The plan was to travel from Upstart to Cape Bowling Green today but when John and I stuck our head around the Cape it was blowing about 20 knots and the bay was awash with dreadful chop.  So we put it to the rest of the fleet who were following a short distance behind that we should continue on to Magnetic Island, particularly as the outside sea conditions were absolutely glorious.  It was unanimous and so on we went.  With the tide and about 10 knots of wind from behind we made exceptionally good time running at a constant 8-9 knots and were anchored up in Horseshoe Bay by 3pm.


It’s my birthday today and I’ve had calls from Ben and Susie and lots of other friends.

It’s hard to believe that this time in 2007 we were just one days travel from Darwin.


20th May 2010:

It is a beautiful sunny day in Horseshoe Bay today.  Last night we had sundowners on the fly bridge of our boat.  We popped the cork on a few bottles of champagne and Ruth had bought a cake while we were in Airlie Beach just for the occasion.  We had the party lights on, some nice music and  had a really lovely time.  


Peter and Ruth are going to explore the island by bus today while Peter and Yvonne go into Townsville for a couple of days so Peter can have some follow up chiropractic treatments.  John and I are going to have a quiet day and save all our energy for tomorrow as we have hired a dual seated moped scooter to do some sightseeing.  I’ll let you know how we go!!!


21st May 2010:

John and I caught the 9am bus from Horseshoe Bay to Nelly Bay to the bike shop that we hired our 2-seater 50hp scooter from.  When we walked in I must confess  I was a little nervous but …………..what a BLAST!!!!!  Any fears that I had soon disappeared as we zipped here and there and everywhere.  We took our time and saw everything that we wanted to including the rock wallabies that come out at various times to be ‘fed’ by the tourists.  I totally disagree with this practice but at least someone who apparently knows what he is talking feeds them.  At least they are only fed approved pellets, that won’t upset them.  They are so cute and most of the females had little joeys in the pouches.  The adults are only quite small and the babies just the cutest little things only 6-12 inches long.


We did the 4klm (return) walk up to the Forts which was amazing.  Apart from the Forts themselves the scenery throughout the walk was breathtaking.  We even saw a koala asleep in a tree that overhung the walk.  How cute was he?  We ran into Peter and Ruth who were doing the same walk.  They had caught the bus from Horseshoe and gotten out at the walk.  They too had taken a cut lunch, which they enjoyed ‘at the top’.


John was unusually complimentary today.  Several times he stopped and told me how fabulous I looked.  He said shorts, t/shirt, crocs with socks and motor bike helmet did something for me.   Wasn’t that thoughtful!!  Who cares, I had the best time and I know he did too.


22nd May 2010:

We departed Horseshoe Bay Magnetic Island today to make our way to the Palm Island group where we had intended to stay the night.  On   checking the tide charts for the Hinchenbrook Passage which was to be out next stop after the Palm group, John realised that we’d either have to leave very very early tomorrow morning or very late in the afternoon to arrive at half tide or better.  So it was decided by all that we have a lunch stop over in Juno Bay and continue onto to Hinchenbrook, where we were anchored up at 3pm.   It has been an absolute glorious day for cruising.  John and I caught a nice feed of fish in thirty minutes while we were having lunch.  That was an unexpected bonus.


23rd May 2010:

It’s John’s and my experience that Hinchenbrook creates it’s own weather and just as on our last visits we woke this morning to a very overcast day with lots of heavy dew on the boat.  I decided to give the boat a quick tub and clean the windows, which you couldn’t see through for the salt. It has cleared to a lovely sunny day.  We cooked a roast on the bbq for lunch and will have sundowners with the Peter and Ruth and Peter and Yvonne at 4pm here on Black Label.  We’ve also got our crab pots in so hopefully we’ll have a crab entrée tomorrow for dinner.


24th May 2010:

Today we have a very important decision to make.  You see, we have caught an abundance of mud crabs but the mosquitos and sand flies are something else.  Do we stay or do we go up to northern entrance of the creek.   Will discuss with the rest of the fleet and make a decision later.  We are moving up to the next creek anyway, so there may be fewer mosies up there.


25th May 2010:

We all made the decision to just cover up a little to Gayunday Creek and stay another day.  We cooked all the  mud crabs  and had  a feast of  crabs for  lunch on Coral Sea yesterday. Whilst on Coral Sea after lunch, I looked toward on of the mud banks and saw what I thought was a crocodile, so we all hopped aboard out dinghy’s and went to investigate, and just as I thought, the crocodile was sunning himself but slipped away back into the water as we approached.  Thankfully Ruth got some photos before he disappeared.


We’ve all done some fishing and have caught some beautiful spotted grunter fish, which has been fabulous. 


Sundowners were on Peter and Yvonne’s boat this afternoon.  The mossies are really getting to Yvonne so we sat inside with the air-con on which   was a lovely respite from the heat of the afternoon.   We are going to leave in the morning and move up further to Scraggy Point where we will go ashore and have a look at the very old Aboriginal fish traps which are made of rocks. 




26th May 2010:

Coral Sea and us are anchored here at Scraggy Point but Peter and Yvonne have gone into the Marina at Cardwell.


It was out intention to all get together tonight to watch the 1st of the Sate of Origin matches but with Peter and Yvonne at the marina we’ve decided to stay aboard our own boats and watch the match.  It’s windy and a little showry so it was an easy decision to make.


27th May 2010: 

Commiserations to all Blue supporters and Ruth.  What a match!  Lets hope that Queensland can play as well next match.  I think we will be on Lizard Island for that one so I hope the Marlin Bar will be open with the TV on.


29th May 2010:

From Hinchinbrook we travelled to Mourilyan Harbour and stayed a night.  The entrance to the harbour is a tricky one because it cannot be seen when approaching from the southeast.  It only becomes clear when you are face on to it.  When we arrived there was a very large ship being loaded with sugar.  It was still being loaded when we left the next morning.  I was wondering how many millions of cups it could carry.


Our next voyage was the most fabulous in the very best of weather up to Fitzroy Island which is just a hop skip and a jump south of Cairns.  The resort seemed to be closed but the day-trippers were still arriving in the big catamarans to snorkel and dive around the beautiful reefs.  Our sundowners were on the beach.  While we were sitting there we spotted a shark swimming very very close to the shore.  Ruth was up like a flash and photographed this thing within an inch of its life before she lost it at the jetty, which was about 700 metres from where we were sitting.  The shark was later identified as a harmless reef shark.  Nice photos Ruth.


John and I would like to spend a few days here and Turtle bay which is just across from Fitzroy on our return journey.


We arrived at the Marlin Marina in Cairns today and have booked for one week so we will do some reprovisioning and some maintenance before heading off again.


29th May 2010 – 8th June 2010:

We only just left the Cairns marina today.  We stayed a few more days than first intended because the wind came up and would have made any journey uncomfortable.  Not to worry though as we filled the days with shopping, shopping and more shopping.  We hired a car for three days and shared this with Peter and Ruth.  John and I had a lovely day out when we drove up to Port Douglas where we had a picnic in the Park.  Ralf really enjoyed his time off the boat and off the marina.  He did however get to do lots of walks through the gardens around the marina but nothing quite as nice as the open fresh air of Port. 


We had a phone call from friends Al and Julie who live at Hope Island to say there had just arrived in Cairns for a few days holiday and enquired where we were.  Not expecting us to say “just coming through the leads into Cairns Marina” they were very surprised that their timing couldn’t have been better.  Anyway a few minutes later I could see them waving from the observation walkway on the approach to the marina.  We meet them on the boat about 20 minutes later after we had tied up and had a nice catch up.  The following Monday night we went with Al and Julie to a lovely restaurant and then on the casino.  John is such a bad loser, but don’t tell him I told you that .. OK.  If you go to the casino, you don’t expect to come out a winner do you?  Just because Al did and Peter and Yvonne did the night before.


Anyway, on leaving the marina today, we   sadly said goodbye to Peter and Yvonne who are staying in Cairns for another two weeks to visit with their daughter   before returning to Yeppoon to make ready for their trip to Europe.  We will see them again on our return trip south.


We also left Peter and Ruth behind as they were waiting for a delivery of some drinks which they had ordered from Bi-Lo.  Apparently there was a mix up with the ordering and they could be waiting for another few days or so. 


John and I have decided to make the most of the weather which is only going to hold for a couple of days and have headed off  to the Hope Isles.  The weather is just fabulous and great for cruising.  Ralf is just curled up beside me asleep while I update this dairy.  


We should be anchoring up at about noon which will give us a nice opportunity to go ashore with out picnic lunch and also have a look around the island and the lighthouse.


9th June 2010:

We had a nice look around the Island yesterday although there isn’t really a lot to see.  The lighthouse is all automated now as all lighthouses are, and the accommodation is now used by research people.  There were a few tourist boats in with lots of tourists on board who come over to do some snorkelling on the reef. 


We left this morning at about 4am and are headed for Cooktown where we will top up the fuel, have a quick look around the town, take Ralf for a nice long walk, anchor up and head off again at about 4am and make our way to Lizard Island.  Hopefully we will get the majority of the voyage over and done with before the predicted wind (30 knots) arrives in the afternoon.


10th June 2010:

Here we are at Lizard Island.  The trip over from Cooktown was really quite good for most of the trip as the wind was only about 15 knots on our Starboard quarter.  The predicted 20-30knots arrived when we were still about 10 nm off so the last hour and a bit were quite uncomfortable.  Not to worry though, we are here and a mooring was available so we don’t have to put the anchor down.  It’s a little overcast with some showers predicted for later today.  Maybe we will get the boat washed.  


17th June 2010:

Gosh we meet some nice people in out travels.  We spent the past few days getting to know some yachities.    We especially enjoyed the company of Finn and Reidun (Hilde), Bertl and Britta (Blues) (the four of whom we had already met in Cairns marina) and Trevor and Yolanta (Matilda) who had met out friends Peter and Ruth in Bundaberg.


Unfortunately they have all departed now and will be well on their way, which will eventually see them all in Darwin, and then on to many exotic places before they reach their homes again.  We will miss their company very much but wish them all a safe passage.


We walked up the mountain yesterday about 300 mts to have a picnic lunch and enjoy the incredible view of Watson’s Bay.  We could see right back to the mainland and back to the Lagoon.  We also got a good signal on my mobile, which allowed us to catch up with family and friends until the signal dropped out again.


Last night we went over to the Marlin Bar to watch the footy.  Great match although very one sided I thought.  The staff bar has a large rear projection TV screen and there was about 50 staff there and the atmosphere was really great.  Drinks were very reasonable (I had the largest of Lemon, Lime and Bitters that I've ever had for just $1 .. I think I had 6 .. peed all night).  They put on a sausage sizzle.  I got talking to David, the fellow cooking the sausages.  He was the maintenance manager for the island.  Guess what, he lives in Babirra St, Hope Island about 200 mts from us.  Just knocked down his house and is building a new one.  He goes back about every 6 months for 1 month.  Small place! 


When we got up this morning there was only one sailing boat left in the bay and the 80' thing moored next to us looks like it may be preparing to leave as they have just put all the jet skees up.  So until Peter and Ruth arrive it’s going to be very quite here I think. 


John is trying to teach me Eucha, and he is really very patient but I just can’t seem to get the hang of it.  But I’ve got plenty of time to learn so you just never know, it may just all slip into place one day.


Ralf has just had a lovely bath and he is lying here sunning himself dry.  He is just an absolute delight this little boy of ours.  He is never any trouble and just goes with the flow.  He’s going to have a very radical haircut this afternoon.  He has been getting so sandy from playing on the beach and it’s quite hot up here so I think I give him a No.2.


20th June 2010:

Sitting here at Lizard Island (still) looking at the weather on John’s computer and it looks like we could be here for at least another week, if not longer.  There was an opportunity for us to leave on Thursday and Friday, but we were expecting Peter and Ruth to leave Cairns then and make their  way  here  to meet us.  We didn’t know until Friday that they hadn’t left because Peter thought the weather still too bad to travel.  


Let’s look on the bright side.   The sun shines here every day and we go for long walks and if we didn’t have the company of a large shark that keeps circling the boat we’d probably go snorkelling every day.  Yesterday we went around the cliffs in the dinghy and went ashore on what was a beautiful deserted beach, which was only about 150 mts long.  It was really warm and the water looked so inviting. Looking at the reef was like looking through glass.   John suggested that we strip down to our undies and go for a swim.  We were only in the water 2 minutes when another dinghy rounded the corner and   made for the beach.    John and I retreated very quickly to put our shorts back on.  So what are to odds of that happening?


Yesterday afternoon the Navy decided to pull into the Bay.  While the officers went into the resort, the crew jumped into the rubber duckies and came into the beach for a swim and a snorkel.  When we looked out after dinner, the Navy had gone and was replaced by the Island Princess cruise boat.  They are still anchored out the front, as I would think it too rough outside (30 knots+) for the passengers. 


22nd June 2010:

An invitation came over the radio early yesterday morning from the Research Station inviting all interested parties to go over for a tour and information morning.  We set off at 9.30am for the 3km walk, which was very pleasant.  The talk was extremely interesting as were all of the tanks of fish and coral that we were able to look at, and touch.  We were shown an amazing little crab that is called a ‘decorator crab’.  This little crab undresses itself and dresses again in whatever it can find.  To demonstrate what this little creature is about, they tore up some blue chux wipes and a rubber band and sure enough, it soon became a whole new outfit for this very classy little fellow (or girl .. they are not sure).


John and I decided to walk back via the beach, which meant that we had to do a lot of climbing over rocks but it was nicer than walking back through the bush as we had done on the way over.  We reached the resort within no time at all and cut through there and back onto Chinaman’s Ridge, which leads back down to Watson’s Bay.


There has been a report of a small crocodile being seen near the beach.    There is a sign near the mangroves which warns of crocodiles but this is just a regular Parks and Wildlife sign and we hadn’t thought much about it but we are a little more cautious now when walking through the tracks that lead through the mangroves and camping area etc.

The wind has not dropped at all and is expected to blow like this at least until the weekend and maybe into next week.  The winds are gusting to 50 knots at times during the night.  As I’ve said before, at least we are very comfortable here and the island has so much to offer the visitor in terms of walks and beautiful beaches.  I couldn’t think of a nicer place to be ‘marooned’.


I didn’t really appreciate though how much of a difference a couple of slices of bread can make to our day until now as we don’t have any.  Last night I dreamt that lovely fresh long crusty baguettes were floating past the boat and I was trying to hook them we a boat hook.  I didn’t succeed of course, so John had eggs on a plate this morning instead of on toast and on a plate. 


The sun has come out from behind the clouds and hopefully will hang about for as long as it takes me to dry the washing, which I’m about to get out of the machine.



23rd June – 6th July 2010 

We departed Lizard Island on 28th June and made our way to Cape Flattery.  We’d been anchored up no more than 2 hours when we decided to give Peter and Ruth a call to see whether they had in fact left Cairns.  To our surprise they were making their way to Cape Bedford, which was 18 nm South of where we were, so we decided to up, anchor and meet up with them.


After a quick catch up, we took possession of our frozen food that Peter had been keeping for us and made our way back to our boat.  We wanted to get an early 6am start the next day so we could make the Low Isles by early afternoon.  We did get the early start but the weather just deteriorated so we back tracked 10 nm and came into Cooktown.


There is very limited space in the river here so we anchored where we had stayed when we were here on our way North.  We knew it was a good holding bottom and would give us enough water at low tide.  We had a reasonably comfortable night and a quick look around town the next day.


It was very late on Wednesday afternoon when John began to feel ill.  He had a terrible night and so I called 000 and arranged for an Ambulance to meet us at the boat ramp and take John to hospital.  The problem was his leg again which this time was caused by a scratch he got when boarding Peter and Ruth’s boat two nights previously.  He was able to tell the doctors exactly what he had been treated with before and they began the drips almost immediately.  Five days later he is back on the boat with me, which I’m extremely pleased about, as the weather has been the worst here that the locals can remember with gusts at night to 50-60 knots and a constant 30-40 knots during the days.  I had hardly any sleep in five days and it has taken me a couple of days to get over the worry of the snub breaking or the anchor dragging etc etc.


Anyway, all is well now.  The wind has subsided slightly and we have moved into the jetty and are moored up beside a charter boat.  The locals here are so friendly and very accommodating.  It’s been raining on and off for about 5 days and if we get a decent break today we are going to go for a long walk and look at all of the interesting and historic places around Cooktown.  At this moment we are looking at leaving here on Thursday and doing the 90nm run direct into Cairns if we can.    That of course depends on the wind dropping to 15-20 as predicted: and we all know how quickly that can change.


12th July 2010:

As it turned out, the weather improved overnight and we left Cooktown on Wednesday and arrived in Cairns at about 2pm.  The voyage down was lovely with the wind dropping off to 15 knots and only .5 mt of sea.  It’s been dull and overcast since we arrived but this hasn’t stopped us both from going for nice long walks.  John’s leg still looks a little troublesome and we are endeavouring to get him an appointment with the only vascular surgeon in Cairns but to no avail.  If we can’t get an appointment this week John may have to fly back to the Gold Coast to seek more medical attention.


We are going over to the Casino tonight to watch a ‘magical show’, which is getting rave reviews in the papers.  I’m really looking forward to this as the past couple of weeks have been fairly stressful.


26th July 2010:

Hmmm .. well the Magic show was very very ordinary which really disappointed us but the Chinese dinner was really good.  We left Cairns on Saturday 18th July and spent one night at Fitzroy Island before going down to Mourilyan Harbour for one night.  Fortunately we  got a couple of good days so we continued down to Scraggy Point and next day down to Gayundah Creek.  We caught some really nice fish in Gayundah on the way North, but not much about this time and didn’t even get a crab although I had a pot our every day.  Never mind.


We are currently sitting here at Dungeness and it’s been raining on and off since we arrived about three days ago.   At least we can get in the dinghy and go for a walk through the park.  We had planned on packing a picnic lunch and taking off up the creek somewhere in the dinghy and doing some fishing, but as it is still raining, I think it is going to be a movie day for us. 


It’s a pretty place and if the rain stops soon we’ll take a walk around to Lucinda.  John is predicting that Thursday is going to be a good day to go back to the Palm Group/Orpheus Island.  We’d like to spend a couple of days there fishing and walking around the island if possible.  After that it is into Magnetic Island for a couple of weeks.  We have daughter Susie and grandchildren Jamila and Saleem coming up for one week which is going to be fabulous.  There is so much for us to do at Magnetic so I’m sure the kids are going to have a fun time.



21st August 2010:

Where does the time go, I just can’t believe that it’s been almost one month since I’ve updated my diary. 


We did go back to Orpheus and walked up to the coral/shell hut and also visited the Research Station but unfortunately it was unattended so we did not get to see anything.   We decided to stay only one night and apart from a brief stopover at Rattle Snake Island we made directly for Magnetic Island.


We had a lovely relaxing time on the island before the children arrived on the 11th August.  We travelled over to Townsville to restock the larder and collect Susie, Jamila and Saleem.  It was so wonderful to see them again.  As soon as we had them safely on board we departed for Magnetic.  Once anchored in Horseshoe Bay we loaded everyone in the dinghy and went ashore where we oystered, played at the playground, kicked the soccer ball up and down the beach and generally just had a good time.  During their week with us, we walked over to Radical Bay and John came over in Black Label to collect us, we walked to the forts and saw three koalas, did a bus tour around the island, getting off at every other stop, hired a moke for a day which the kids thought was a blast and generally made the most of our time together.



Unfortunately while we were at Radical Bay one of the family sustained a terrible injury when tearing around the beach and acting like a two year old.  Ralf has torn a cruciat ligament in his right knee, which resulted in two vet visits.  The news is not good and the poor little bugger will probably have to have an operation as soon as we get back to the Gold Coast.  The only treatment in the meantime is to keep him very very quiet and off the leg as much as possible which is proving almost impossible.  He hops about on three legs not quite understanding why the other one doesn’t work.  He falls over when he tries to wee and has a lot of trouble doing poos.  Anyone who knows Ralf knows that he follows us about like a shadow so we have to nurse him most of the time.  He is sitting right beside me now looking up at me with his big browns as if to know that I’m writing about him. 


Well we took the kids back to Townsville on Tuesday 17th for their afternoon flight.  While I went to Woolies for a couple of things Susie took the children to the Museum and the Strand.  We said our final goodbyes and before I knew it, they were gone.  I miss them terribly already. 


The weather has been beautiful since we arrived at Magnetic Island and just continues to improve.  We came down yesterday from Cape Upstart in ‘glassed out’ conditions.  While I was making our morning cuppa yesterday I looked out the back and saw a whale about 100 mts away.  I called John who stumbled out of bed and grabbed the camera and managed to get a couple of shots.   Just after leaving and rounding the headland we saw more and more whales and even had to stop the boat because there was a mother and calf directly in our path.  We didn’t worry them and there was a third whale (maybe daddy?) that went right under the boat and surfaced the other side.  What fascinating creatures.  Everywhere we looked until we got down to Glouster there were whales.  Magic!  I guess you could say that yesterday we had a ‘whale of a time’.


We over-nighted last night at the Eco Resort and are making out way right now down to Woodwark Bay where we hope to spend a couple of nights.  We had a little bit of a light shower early this morning but not quite enough to wash the salt off the boat and it is still a little bit overcast but the conditions are still really nice.



26th August 2010:

Woodwark Bay was very quiet and really lovely.  We didn’t do much apart from walk to the ‘other’ side, which was all of about 100 metres.  It’s amazing what gets washed up on the beaches during the high tides and we had great fun rummaging through the flotsam and jetsam.  Thankfully we didn’t souvenir anything.  We had sundowners with a couple we met on the beach and departed again after just two nights.  We had to call into the Abel Point Marina to return a key and took the opportunity to fill up with water and then we were away again and after one night at Goldsmith Island made our way into Mackay Marina ahead of a strong southerly wind which was predicted.


It’s been really nice catching up with our friend Susie.   John has seen Susie occasionally on his many trips to the Whitsunday’s but I haven’t seen Susie since we departed Darwin almost three years ago.  She hasn’t changed and is as much fun     and as entertaining as ever. 


We did some grocery shopping yesterday but today will be a day on the boat as it is as cold as cold outside, it’s rainy and windy, yuk.  We are thinking of leaving here on Saturday, but that is weather dependent as usual.


1st September 2010:

It’s the 1st of Spring today and we are 30 minutes into our passage to Curlew Island.  Our on-board weather station says we have about 15 knots from the SE which is producing a 1.5mt swell with a little bit of chop and we have it right on the nose.  Still, these conditions for us are quite comfortable and shortly I’ll be making us a cup of tea.


John installed some new software for the autopilot a couple of days ago and today it giving some problems and I’ve just noticed we are doing lots of 360 degree turns while he re-calibrates and resets everything.  Hurry up please, I’m getting dizzy!


Our friend Suzie came down this morning and slipped our ropes for us and sadly we waved good-bye.  The past week has been lovely because we’ve spent some nice quality time with Suzie.  It’s Suzie’s birthday on the Monday, so we wish her a Happy Birthday and we’ll look forward to seeing her on the ‘Goldie’ in the new year ….. hopefully.


We also bid farewell to another friend John who hopes to be on the Gold Coast for New Year and has reserved our 2nd cabin so he can join us in our New Year celebrations and Capt. John’s birthday on New Years day. 


10th September 2010:

Curlew was a very nice anchorage and by evening we were 8 boats enjoying a lovely calm night.  From Curlew we made our way down to the Percy’s.  Sea conditions were very favourable and we enjoyed a good passage.  As we’ve said before, it’s only a side sea (beam on) of 2 mts plus that seems to bother our boat.  Anything else she just takes in her stride without any problems. 


The Percy’s are beautiful but not my favourite stopover.  Everyone we talk to concurs    that it’s almost impossible to escape the continual role which does make it untenable, you just want it to go away.  Once we had settled ourselves in, we put the dinghy down and decided to take our chairs in to the beach, choose a nice spot and leave them there for the duration of our stay so we could go ashore and enjoy our sundowners on the beach while giving Ralf some shore leave.  Well, that was really great until it came time for us to depart because the wind had come up overnight and we were being really badly tossed about; the old wind against tide story.  The surf was breaking on the beach, our boat was being tossed about and we needed to retrieve the chairs.  I would have gladly left them for the next boatie to enjoy but John seems to be emotionally attached to them, so off we set in the dinghy deciding to navigate the rocks and reef and go around to where the surf wasn’t breaking.


Ralf being the seasoned boatie that he is hung on with all fours, well the three good ones anyway, as we bashed and crashed our way to the beach.  Once there I put Ralf on the beach so he could do a wee while I ran up to get the chairs and John stayed with the dinghy.  With the chairs back on the boat, it was time to go.  Ralf sensing this, decided he wanted to play and did a runner up the beach for some 500 mts before finally pulling up lame.  Little bugger but so dammed cute!


With all back onboard safely we headed for Rosslyn Bay to refuel, grab a few groceries and   hopefully catch up with Peter and Yvonne before they leave for their overseas trip, but unfortunately they were just getting ready to leave for the airport when we phoned them.  We were really sorry that we missed them; it would have been lovely to catch up.  We wish them a safe and enjoyable trip. 


We are presently making our way down to the Narrows having spent three gorgeous days at the Keppels.  The weather has been gorgeous and as usual we’ve met some lovely people.  No fish though as it seems that someone else also knows John’s ‘secret’ fishing spot and has fished it out.


I’ve got my camera at the ready hoping to get a couple of whale shots.  It’s not a matter of if, but how many whales we will see today.


Our passage down to the Narrows today will take us about four hours and another hour to Graham Creek where we will stay the night.  Tomorrow we will make our way down to Pancake Creek where I have an appointment with some mud crabs .. watch this space!!!!


15th September 2010:

The muddies must have had a better offer because they didn’t show.  This may have been because the water was so clear.  We were anchored in 20ft and  could see to the bottom in fact, it was like looking through glass.  I’ve never seen it so clear in Pancake Creek, it was clearer than some of the Barrier Reef Islands we’ve visited this trip.  We did a lot of exploring this time and went for long dinghy rides up the creeks, once attempting to go right through to Jenny Lind Creek and then walking up to the Lighthouse from there, but we just didn’t have enough water even at high tide so we had to abort that idea.  We decided to go back around to the beach near where we were anchored and do the walk up from there.  The walk was lovely as was the view from the lighthouse.  We walked the extra 500 mts to a headland that overlooks Jenny Lind Creek, which was absolutely breathtaking.


Today we are leaving Pancake and heading out to Musgrave Island for a couple of days.  We’ve just 10 knots from the NW so our passage will be lovely.


17th September 2010:

Oh what a night!  The wind came up during the night and here we are at 10am it’s still blowing 25 knots+ it doesn’t look like abating so instead of leaving today we will probably stay until tomorrow, unless of course the wind drops to 15 knots in which case we’ll leave later today and do an overnighter down to Roonies.


We had some excitement earlier.  I was making  breakfast and looked out the window to see a mother whale with her calf right beside us.  WOW!  We were amazed.  We didn’t think they would come into the lagoon because we are surrounded by reef and it’s quite shallow in here and the entrance is very narrow, but we watched them for about 1 ½ hours but they seem to have now gone out through the entrance.  John will have put some photos in the log although the whales weren’t very active and the water was quite choppy.


24th September 2010:

When we left Musgrave, instead of going to Roonies we made for the Burnett River where we overnighted before heading down to Urangan.  The trip down was magnificient and at times we appeared to be gliding over glass.  Once again we had to actually stop the boat to wait for the Whales to pass.


Our friend Kerry (Olympus) was waiting at the Urangan Marina to greet us and direct us to the berth, which he had booked for us.  We had originally thought that we would spend about a week enjoying Kerry and Eileen’s company before heading off again but circumstances have taken them away for a few days.  We did manage however to squeeze in a meal at the boat club.  We decided to head off after a few of days and spent several days moored up near the Kingfisher Bay Resort before moving on down to Inskip Point where we waited for the weather to improve before jumping over the bar and making for Redcliffe.


27th September 2010:

Well here we are at Redcliffe once again.  I’m just sitting here reflecting on our trip and all of the wonderful times we’ve had and remembering all of the lovely people we’ve met along the way, many of whom will become good friends I’m sure.  It’s a little sad that this trip has just about come to an end but we are already talking about our next adventure with lots of excitement.


28th September 2010:

Last night we spent the evening with my son Ben, grandchildren Jamila and Saleem, and dear friends Dee and Lee and Paula and John at the Moreton Bay Boat Club.  We left early this morning and came down to Peel Island for the day and give the boat a good clean including the waterline and bottom of the boat.  As we could see a storm rolling in decided to move down to Maclay Is where we have anchored for the night.


Tomorrow will see us steaming for home and the Hope Island Marina.


29th September 2010:

“We are home” and it hasn’t stoped raining since we arrive at about midday today. 

I can say that this trip has been the most wonderful experience I’ve had to date cruising on a boat.  Our boat has performed magnificently and never let us down once.  She takes everything in her stride and seems to do so effortlessly. 


I’d also like to thank my “Skipper” for taking such good care of  Ralf and I.  


We’ve had an incredible time ….. thankyou.