Cape Gloucester to Cape Upstart

Tuesday (31 August) it was a wet and wild sort of afternoon so we just stayed on board. The wind generator made an impressive 170kWh over a 24 hour period, which was a record! We also collected 12.5 gallons of rainwater in buckets without trying too hard. So it was just another movie night tucked down safe and dry below.

Wednesday morning we used some of the rain water to do some hand washing; followed by flushing through the toilet hoses; and then topped up the fresh water tanks. We then went ashore for a late lunch and were joined by Yvonne and Eddie. We had a nice afternoon ashore together before we all returned to Morphie as they had not visited an Island Packet yacht before. Just before dark they returned to SV SteeLee behind us and we had another quiet night on board.

Thursday and it was our 25th Wedding Anniversary! We had a lazy morning and headed in dink to Monte’s resort around the corner from Cape Gloucester. We got a bit wet in the dinghy ride and the bar was open but the kitchen was shut….never mind….they were doing sharing platters so we had a prawn and a cheese platter with a bottle of wine and we just enjoyed looking out over the water. The prawns were huge and absolutely delicious. A really nice way to spend the afternoon.

Back on board we sat in the cockpit having some more wine listening to some tunes….hopefully we didn’t disturb anyone else in the anchorage as Richard sort of ramped it up after a while with some Larry Miller which, of course, has to be played pretty loud LOL.

Friday morning we got on with some boat jobs as we had decided to leave on Saturday. We said our farewells to the gang and, after the early rain had cleared, we headed ashore and used the resort washing machine to do our sheets and towels which I hung up on their lines to dry. Whilst this was going on, Richard was on the beach cleaning dink as he had got a bit grubby over the last few weeks.

Later on, jobs completed, we headed back to Morphie and Richard did final engine checks whilst I checked out the routing. We ran the weather models just to make sure, and yes was still looking good. So we had a relaxing evening followed by an early night.

Saturday morning we picked up anchor at 6.30 am and left Cape Gloucester as the sun came up.

Our destination was Cape Upstart. Initially the wind was much lighter than expected so we motor sailed and, as the engine was on, we used the opportunity to make some more water. After a few hours the wind filled in, we turned the engine off, and had a great sail – joined by a rainbow at one stage.

By 3.15 pm we had our anchor down having covered 49 miles. The anchorage at Cape Upstart is large with good holding and there were only a few other boats around so we were very happy and had a quiet night on board enjoying the new surroundings.

Sunday morning and the forecast had deteriorated even further with very strong winds expected over the forthcoming week. Damn! Our next destination had been Magnetic Island but, as it was race week, it was pretty crowded with someone posting on Facebook that there were almost 90 boats in the anchorage. Not wanting to sit out a serious blow in crowded conditions we decided we would sit it out here. So, decision made, we had a lazy day on board.

Monday and the forecast wasn’t looking any better, so this reinforced our decision to stay put. We are the white ‘spot’ on the chart below showing the winds expected for Thursday.

Sitting in the cockpit we realised that we had new neighbours. I said to Richard – that looks like SV Enavigo – so he got the binoculars out and to our surprise and delight it was!

We hadn’t seen them for almost 12 months! Totally unexpected – so we raised them on the radio – and arranged to meet them later for sundowners. Sundowners are not a good idea on the beach here, though, as this is croc country so we organised to go to them. Later in the day French Curve arrived into the anchorage too and, again, we hadn’t seen them since they left the Gold Coast last May.

During the day we made some more water and topped up our batteries before we sorted out our sundowner contributions and got dink down. Because saltwater crocs are notorious for being pretty clever (in terms of tracking movement) we did this at the last minute and then jumped in and headed over quickly to Enavigo. Was lovely to catch up with Steve, Jody, Mark and Cheryl and we had a really good time.

Tuesday morning we all decided to go ashore at 10 am. So we headed over to the beach near some houses (which are largely holiday homes we believe) and we started walking the beach. But pretty soon it became rocky and full of boulders which, of course, I can’t do. So we returned to dink and motored around the headland to the next beach and sat there waiting for the gang to make it round. The intrepid explorers were like mountain goats as they came around the headland LOL.

Anyway, they joined us for a little while, before they continued with their adventure although were pretty soon back with us as the next part along the coast required crossing a muddy murky creek which is definitely crocodile friendly – there was even a sign to warn them of the danger – so they returned. We left them to retrace their steps whilst we then returned in dink to Morphie. Spectacular scenery here in this remote national park which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Later on the gang came to Morphie for sundowners. Was another nice evening and we enjoyed a lovely sunset just before they left for the night.

Today, the gang are going trekking ashore again and we have decided not to join them as there isn’t much point really. We are going to French Curve for sundowners tonight.

Tomorrow (Thursday) will probably be spent on board. The forecast remains rough with 30+ knots of wind forecast but it starts to ease slightly on Friday so we hope to move on as it is a downwind sail. The next passage to Magnetic Island is about 70 miles so we plan to leave very early in the morning on Friday to ensure our arrival in daylight. Hopefully some boats will have left the anchorage so there will be room for us on arrival.

News from home continued to pull at our heart strings this week with more bad news. It feels so wrong that we are out here living virtually a normal life whilst our friends and their family are in such pain and we just want you all to know how much we care, love and miss you. Please stay safe. Our thoughts and prayers are constantly with you.

So thought it was about time for more koala hugs especially as we hope to see wild ones on Magnetic Island.

Bye for now