The Other Side of Life
19 August 2021 | Magnetic Island
Jenny Gaskell | 15-20knts with 35knt bullets
Magnetic Island, one of my favourite islands! (oops, did I also say that about Middle Percy).
However, Maggie is like a salute to some relatives who have passed on.
We docked in Nelly Bay (my paternal grandmother's name), we walked around to Geoffrey Bay (our Dar), saw Florence Bay (my maternal great grandmother's name) and Arthur Bay (an uncle) viewed from the cliffs of the WWII Forts. Many of these folk lived out that war and also shared their stories. I recall a handmade ring crafted from an aluminium nail when my Nan worked in the aeroplane hanger during the war.
Maggie is mostly national park, so the wildlife was plentiful, as were the walks, history, water sports and island activities. Oh and you can do a whole lot of nothing over coffee, lunch or dinner, beachside or poolside whichever you prefer.
Condesa was docked in prime position within Breakwater marina. By that I mean she was nose in to the deck of the restaurant, so we could relax onboard and still be entertained with live music. We even attended a wedding last Saturday, just being home. I walked up the bowsprit and was right next to their relatives in the back row. 😂🙌🏻
Oops I'm getting off track!
So we chose to do the Fort walk, viewing the gun emplacements, climbing up to the observation tower and we took in the uninterrupted views of the Palm Island Group and the vast coastline on a stunningly clear day. He Who Hums said it was the best walk he had EVER done!🤔. However, not to take anything away from the WWII history in the background, I was also watching the wind running across the water below knowing a bullet was going to hit that yacht soon enough.
It is only a matter of time when you sail in these northern areas. Not a "firearm bullet" a "wind bullet"! You see...the wind gathers pace running up one side of an island and shoots down the other and across the water hitting you side on at full pace, which can catch you unaware if you not careful. At night you can actually hear them coming and you subconsciously brace yourself. (Pretty much like they did in hearing planes overhead during the war I suspect, only they would have consciously braced and with very different emotions).
During our journey north, we had one vessel ahead of us, sailing in close to the rocky cliffs. I wondered if they were seeking protection from the wind and sea state. Their vessel was moving along really well despite the echo they would have had off the rocks, when suddenly she rounded-up! This instantly threw the vessel into the opposite direction and then we saw them dump their sail. We were further out and knew a bullet had hit, we could see it run across the top of the water and with that our wind indicator spiked to 35knts. Condesa too was overpowered, immediately we had to spill breeze from our main sail to ease the fierce tension.
You probably wonder how you get into these situations when you know about such bullets, but let me tell you. We set out with not enough wind to even fill the sails, so by the time they billowed and the wind lifted perfectly, the last thing you want to do is reef your mainsail as things are comfortable and we were sailing along nicely. (By reef, I mean tie down short) Luckily we could control Condesa. Hey, don't get me wrong, she reared up alright, thankfully she didn't round up. Either way it isn't ideal or comfortable to get caught like this.
The crew on the other vessel recovered but were shaken by the roundup and rightly so, being so close to rocks. They managed to get control back, reset their course and later dropped anchor in Cape Upstart nearby Condesa.
That night after our beach walk we putted past to check on them and to hear the other side of the story over a sundowner. Glasses were raised to water now under the bridge. I silently salutéd those who stood for hours at the bare concrete command post to protect the very waters we all enjoy today!