The Queensland Coast: Bundaberg to Townsville
24 November 2007
Geoff and Alison
January to April 2007
Sailed back to Bundaberg and put the boat on a mooring in the Town Reach. We have a few misgivings about being so far up the river in summer when the river could flood, but people who live here assure us that the new Paradise dam which is near empty would have to overflow before any problem with the river. We sort out our Queensland teacher registration and work through to April. Geoff gets a ride up to Childers and Alison mostly working at a Bundaberg high school. We spend much of the spare time at the weekends exploring inland from Bundy - the South East of Queensland is in real drought and the landscape is a bit sad.
With the school term finished we had time to explore the interior further in our little Daihatsu. We revisited many places we had been to before including Carnarvon Gorge and Bunya Mountains and several places we hadn't been to. Everywhere, except the North, was really dry. Eungella, at the back of Mackay, was wet - very wet, but we did see our first platypuses in the Broken River. With travels over and the cyclone season also at an end it was time to set off North, aiming to get only as far as Townsville this year.
Sailed North via Pancake Creek, Gladstone, scraped through the Narrows with only a few centimeters under the keel, Yeppoon and the Keppels, Port Clinton, Port Townsend and then up towards the Cumberland Group. The weather alternated between a few light days and blustery, wet and windy trades. Stopped in at Mackay marina for a few days while we hired a car to go and see the head teacher at a Townsville school - we will be teaching there at the start of the third term, which means we also need to get a move on - another bolt up the Barrier Reef! Last time we sailed south through the reef we said that our next trip would be leisurely for a change - little hope of that this time.
The Whitsundays were very windy and wet and we escaped to the relative shelter of the mainland. The weather became very cold (for North Queensland) and south westerly and we sailed up towards Bowen and then Capes Upstart and Cleveland on the way to Magnetic Island.
Stopped at Magnetic Island for a few days - it's a lovely, relaxing island as long as the wind isn't out of the North. There is a resident koala population here in the hills which was quite active because of the cool weather, but there is always plenty of wildlife in the Australian bush and especially here on Magnetic island. Tried snorkeling, but it was still too cold and the water a bit silty. Then we had to tie up at Breakwater Marina in Townsville for a money making /teaching stint which would last us to November.
August to November 2007
Teaching in Townsville with plenty of weekend escapes out along the escarpment to lovely creeks and waterfalls. The inland freshwater is more inviting than the sea in tropical Australia. With our contracts finally over in mid November we made the decision to stay in the North for the cyclone season rather than sail all the way down South again. We have decided to join the Sail Indonesia rally from Darwin to Malaysia next year but won't be leaving Townsville until May.
In the meantime, we sail up to the Palm group in light and pleasant conditions and then into the safety of the Hinchinbrook channel. The summer storm season starts in earnest and we need a good anchorage every night.
The Hinchinbrook channel is full of biting insects - mosquitos and sandflies!! Have a great few weeks mucking around the huge island and the mangrove reaches and then plump for Hinchinbrook marina for Christmas - a lovely, quiet place with a swimming pool.