Saturday, 7 September 2013

Heading North

The crew are heading North - slowly, relaxed and looking forward to the next adventure.
The crew left Airlie Beach Marina and turned left - the plan is to day hop between anchorages starting with Woodwark Bay with the final destination for this leg Magnetic Island and then Townsville. 
A very short sail from Airlie Beach we arrived at Woodwark Bay.  This is nice anchorage, with a large beach at the end for walking the crew.  The crew arrived and realised that 'Gilly' who we hadn't seen since Digby island many weeks ago, was anchored down a little way, so we took the dinghy over to say hello.  Gilly is now heading South to Mooloolaba where they plan to put the boat on the market and head overland on their next adventure together.
The crew decided to stay only one night at Woodwark as we had a nice sailing breeze the next morning to get to Double Bay our next planned anchorage - again a nice anchorage but shore access is a little limited particularly on low tide.  The captain and I actually discovered this anchorage many years ago when we chartered a yacht and were advised that solitude could be found here - on that particular charter there was 2 boats, this time there was about 15 boats anchored up as the 'Shaggers club rendezvous' was due to take place over the next few days just around the corner!  They are expecting around 200 boats...

Jonah Bay - The captain, catching the aggressive Whiting to be found along the beach
The next day, the crew headed around Georges point into the anchorages known as Jonah and little Jonah bay - wow!  What a lovely place, with sandy white beaches, crystal clear water, a few mangrove areas to explore, a number of resident 'beach squatters' that have lived in very (very) basic camp sites for over 10 years, some good fishing and not a boat to be found (they were all around the corner at the Shaggers doo) so we enjoyed the area to ourselves!
We spent our time, walking, fishing and collecting shells.  We did see a snake on the beach but were advised that it is only a water snake and they often come over from the neighbouring Islands and then head back out to sea - I wasn't taking any chances so we stayed well clear.

Jonah Bay
The crew elected to stay 3 nights at this amazing place, before making the trip through the Gloucester passage to an anchorage behind Gloucester Island - again a nice anchorage but we only stayed one night before sailing further North up to Greys Bay located behind the headland of the town Bowen.  The sail was more than pleasant even though the breeze was a little light. 
The crew did have a very close encounter with a whale and her calf - the old girl guided her calf no more than 50 meters past the bow of the Pod with a little hurry up towards the end as the calf could not hold its breathe for as long, and decided to come up for a quick breath just in front of us.  It was awesome sight for the crew from the bow! 

Greys Bay Lookout
Greys Bay was actually a pleasant surprise as we weren't expecting much other than a place to drop the anchor for the night.  It turned out to be a nice spot to explore with an awesome lookout and a nice little beach to bring the dinghy ashore on.

Me at the Greys Bay Lookout

Greys Bay nearing Sunset
The next day, the crew sailed up to Cape Upstart for a few nights and again this proved to be very pleasant anchorage.  The wind had been very consistent for the sail up under a poled headsail, and a winged out tri sail and main - I am pleased to say the Pod more than held her own against all the other Mono's and most of the cats (for those not in the know - more than 2 boats on the water constitutes a race even with heavy, old cruising boats!)
We arrived quite late in the afternoon and the bullets really let fly over the land - most of the night we had 30 plus knots but the anchorage was still pleasant and the trusty anchor held without a problem.  The next day was spent exploring the beach and the lovely rock formations.  The crew just about always go for a trip in the dinghy after going ashore, so this time we explored the shoreline, with many houses dotting the shore for mostly weekend residents.  The funniest one was actually the shed converted into the 'Bedrock Hotel' with a mooring rope available for the visiting dinghy's - it was well set up and looked like a fun place to enjoy a cold drink or two!
After two nights at Upstart, the crew elected to head further North with either Cape Bowling Green or Cape Cleveland the destination.  The sailing was in very light winds so we motor sailed most of the way - it didn't stop the Captain making about 100 sail adjustments though! 
The crew decided (once the wind kicked in) to keep heading to Cape Cleveland which is literally a few miles South of Maggie Island rather than anchor behind Cape Bowling Green as it didn't look particularly interesting.  Mmmm - well I can't recommend this anchorage unless your desperate.  Due to the expanse, location and shallow waters the Pod was anchored in the middle of the Bay (seriously about a NM to 2 x NM from the shore) and the swell although not severe was still not a highlight of our trip.  None the less, the crew slept okay and the next morning we sailed over to Maggie Island.
Love it, Love it, Love it but I will leave out time at Maggie for another post .............

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