Pearl Bay to Curlew Island
26 April 2013 | 22 09'S:150 27'E, Queensland, Eastern Australia
We spent the night at a lovely anchorage called Pearl Bay, north of Port Clinton. This bay is surrounded by high hills, covered in trees, and a beautiful sand beach. The strong SE trades howled over the hills all night, and at dawn this morning, we pulled anchor to continue our journey north. The sailing has been consistent with winds SE 15-20, seas 2-3 meters, 8-10 knots boat speed with the main alone. The forecast calls for more of these steady SE trades, which is good for us as we make our way north to Hamilton Island. We have sailed 459 NM since our departure from Brisbane, 2 weeks ago, and have reunited with several friends at Mooloolaba and Great Keppel Island along the way. A highlight of this sail north was a visit to the Capricornia Islands, with stops at Lady Elliott, Lady Musgrave, and Fitzroy Reef. Lady Elliott is the southern most island of the Great Barrier Reef, and there we saw giant manta rays just below the surface, within giant schools of trevally and grouper. At Lady Musgrave, we took a dive at the outer reef, where colorful fan & hard corals cover every inch of rock, and again, giant schools of reef fish, damsels and parrot fish and turtles and sharks. We were thrilled at this first dive and hope to find more reefs like Lady Musgrave throughout this journey north. At Fitzroy Reef, the winds were calm and the waters a brilliant blue green. We took a SUP around the reef, and were amazed at the magnificent reef appearing under our feet. The sunset colors of orange, red and purple highlighted a brilliant surf session, and we were very thankful to visit this coral reef, not a speck of land in sight. The winds came up during the night, so we pulled anchor early and set sail for Great Keppel Island, 50 NM to our NW. Provisioning at Rosslyn Bay's Keppel Bay Marina was a treat, as the marina loaned us their courtesy car for 2 hours, just long enough to hit the markets in nearby Yeppoon. A quick 2-day visit to Keppel Bay Marina was just long enough to stretch our sea legs on land and visit some tourist sights such as the Capricorn Caves and the Heritage Village of Rockhampton. Central Queensland Coast has been interesting, and now as we sail north along military areas, our cell service long gone, we continue to enjoy the main-alone sail at 10 knots towards Curlew Island. At this rate we will make Hamilton Island by sunset tomorrow. Hello, tropics, nice to see you again!