One of the bonuses of the cruising life is visiting places that are only accessible by water and are also not on the ‘tourist’ run. Yellow Patch on the northern side of Curtis Island not far from here comes to mind and also where we are now, Pancake Creek.
The anchorage ‘hops’ up the east coast can be long days. Our passage from the Burnett River near Bundaberg, to Pancake Creek was just over 60 nautical miles. We were up at 4.45 am, motoring out the river by 5 am, but not able to turn north until we were out of the river’s long channel, which was then 5.45 am.
So after these long days, it is so rewarding when we visit an anchorage where we not only can stay for a few days, but want to stay for a few days. Hey … flat water! And we counted 23 yachts! All doing what we’re doing.
Pancake Creek is not accessible by road. It’s a popular yachtie haven for the annual northbound fleet. It’s sheltered from all winds bar the northerlies. Low tide reveals extensive sand flats which make interesting wandering and the Bustard Head Lighthouse is a ‘must do’ walk up the hill … I even got Neville on this one. (Just not on a falling tide next time … the pictures tell the story.)
The Bustard Head Lighthouse was built in 1868 and it was Queensland’s first lighthouse. It was operated by a light keeper until 1986 when it was automated. It is incredibly well maintained and offers a tour for $10 pp. Volunteers live in one of the two houses that have been renovated on a 4 weekly cycle. The only access for the volunteers is by the ‘LARC’ – like an old army-duck. The ‘LARC’ visits the Lighthouse a few times a week, negotiating beach, water and bush, with tourists from the neighbouring town of 1770.
We leave in the morning after three nights here, for Gladstone which is a 4-5 hour sail. We then tackle The Narrows in a few days. The Narrows separate Curtis Island from the Gladstone mainland. Tide and current are very important in The Narrows as we cross a section that dries at low tide (where the cattle cross) and the current runs strong. A big bonus being on a cat and not a mono! It’s all about the timing. Neville loves it!
Then GKI … Great Keppel Island.