Palm Islands, Magnetic Island and Townsville.
21 February 2012
Photo: Castle Hill, our daily walk
Christmas Day was spent at Gordon and Maree’s with their friends, plenty of food, drink and tall stories. The day was hot for us, warm for those who live in Townsville, but most people ended up in the cold plunge pool for part of the afternoon. It was a great day, very informal and the seafood lunch was superb. Wednesday 28th December we picked up the hire car and drove 1200kms to the Sunshine Coast, Noosa to spend New Years with our friends Cheryl, Duncan and the kids, Darcy and Seisia. We stopped overnight at Rockhampton and arrived mid afternoon, Darcy, Seisia and one of their friends were at the top of the drive to welcome us, and many more of Cheryl and Duncan’s friends arrived for an afternoon drink and food. We spent 4 great days with them, went for a long coastal walk over cliff tops and across bays, stopping for a swim at one where Brian was dumped by a breaking wave and managed to lose some skin of his back, no real damage done. We left and drove back to Townsville on 2nd January, stopping in Mackay for the night. Before we returned the hire car we restocked the boat in preparation for several planned weeks of local cruising.
Thursday 5th January we dropped the mooring lines and headed out to Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island for the night. The following morning with no breeze we motored 40nm to Little Pioneer Bay, Orpheus Island in the Palm Island group. The following morning we went ashore and walked to the top of the hill for a magnificent view over the Palm Island group. Back on the beach we watched stingrays, fish, turtles and what Brian thought may be sand sharks playing in the shallows. Next day we went around to Juno Bay and walked the long sandy beach, before heading back to Little Pioneer for the night. There were lots of fish, big and small jumping out of the water on our way around, unfortunately for us it is a national park so we were not allowed to drop a line over. Surprisingly we did not see any dolphins at the Palms, either on the way there, in the bays or on the way back to Magnetic Island.
We returned to Magnetic Island on Tuesday as the Palms do not have any good NW anchorages. We stopped at Picnic Bay for a couple of days, going into Nelly Bay for fresh fruit and veges and walking to the Lookout, before going around to Horseshoe Bay. We spent the following week moving between Horseshoe Bay and Picnic Bay depending on wind direction. With a week of rain predicted we decided to go back into the marina until the weather improved, however that was not as easy as it should have been. The marina had decided to replace some of the marina piles and an extremely large pile driver/crane was sitting in our marina berth, so after a few phone calls we berthed in a vacant berth only to discover it had no power, so moved to another vacant berth with power. The following day the project manager arrived to organise a mass shuffle of boats the following day so he could move his pile driver to another berth. One of the owners was going away for a week, so we swapped berths with him as the piles on their berth were to be replaced whilst they were away, and we could get back into our berth when the pile driver moved.!!!! It total we moved berths four times in two days. Our intention was to spend a few days in the marina and then go back out to Magnetic Island, unfortunately the weather had other plans and with tropical storms and lots of rain in the forecast we stayed in the marina for a couple of weeks, catching up with friends, walking up Castle Hill four or five times a week for exercise, doing odd jobs around the boat getting her ready for our trip north to Darwin, going for walks along the Strand and stopping on the way back to the boat for a refreshing cool off at the water park.
January 26th is Australia Day and a public holiday, we spent the day at a BBQ at Gordon and Maree’s, eating, telling tall stories and sitting in the pool, a great day. The following week, and until we fly back to NZ for our 2 month break, we again visited local shopping malls and the movies, great air conditioned locations to get away from the heat and more importantly humidity. I think we have both decided we could not live in the tropics especially during the summer or wet season, we can’t remember the last time we used hot or warm water in the shower, cold showers are definitely the order of the day. For 10 days before heading for home, we kept an eye on a friend’s place while they were away, the pool was wonderful.
Tomorrow we head home for a break from the heat and humidity. Looking forward to the cooler conditions and catching up with family and friends. We now plan to head north towards Darwin at the beginning of May before departing Australia in July for further adventures.