Did you know … Magnetic Island was named by Captain Cook, whose compass played up when he sailed past in 1770?
Visiting Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island is a bit like visiting a friend. Familiar, easy, friendly, secure, pretty and calm (its protected from most wind directions) … a ‘yachties paradise’ Neville would say. It is a ‘must stop’ anchorage when we cruise north, and then again on our way south. A tavern, general store and a few cafes line the beachfront. There’s lots to do – walks, bus rides, beaches, restaurants, shops, butterflies, sunsets and historic WW11 forts. You will find the bay’s cruising yachties most days gathering at the Tavern for ’happy hour’ or under the park shelter on the waterfront. We counted 47 boats in Horseshoe Bay when we arrived and we remember counting over 70 a few years back. And, there’s always someone there you know. Cruising Kitty and The Albatross from our New Cal’ cruise last year were in the bay. We also caught up with China Grove, friends from home.
Just behind the waterfront shops is a Butterfly Forest. I visited three times. It was a chance to play around with the macro settings on my cameras. The butterflies, Blue Tigers and Common Crows, were generally sleeping so it was easy to get up close. Check out more of my photos in my next post.
We have spent the last few weeks cruising with friends Jim and Jan on Pas de Chat and by chance, we met up with Brenda and Marty on Waterfront, another Fusion 40. We met Waterfront two years ago very briefly so it was great to reconnect at Gloucester Island. As well as visiting the Gloucester Resort for a fantastic meal (new chef), the three of us spent a few nights at Bona Bay, just opposite the resort. Great spot, even though our cruising guide’s advice could quite easily dissuade a visit with mention of death adders ashore. If you throw death adders in the ring with sharks and crocodiles, maybe we should stay onboard! Lots of fishing, laughs, sundowners ashore and even some live music!
On our way north with Pas de Chat and Waterfront we stopped at Bowen. A sleepy town on shore, maybe because it was Sunday. Bowen was another casualty of Cyclone Debbie last year. After a long spinnaker sail to Cape Upstart with a prized Spanish Mackerel caught along the way (by me), we then departed at 5.30 am for an 11-hour passage to Horseshoe Bay. Unfortunately, there was little wind so it was a long day with the motor/s throbbing away. Whale watching and fishing kept us entertained (one Mack Tuna and one “big one that got away” … phew, without my lure!).
My catch … only to be guzumped by Marty … his four-of-a-kind beat my ace!!
After a wonderful week at Magnetic Island with Pas de Chat and Waterfront, we have all gone our separate ways, with The Bossa heading south for some time in the Whitsundays (when we will also collect Abbey for a 10-day stint onboard). We left Magnetic Island earlier than we had hoped to but with a “weather window” approaching and no more in sight, we felt we’d better take it. We need northerlies to sail south and there aren’t too many this time of year.
The first 11-hour passage to Cape Upstart seemed to pass quickly. We had a pod of four whales come quite close to the boat along side us. Not knowing which way they would go, we eased our speed and watched them move across our bow and back the way they had come. They were so close. We could hear the whales ‘talking” clearly and also see and hear the spurts of water as they exhaled. We’ve seen many whales this trip but not this close. From all accounts the numbers of whales are far more prolific this year than previous years.
My next post will feature more whale photos, but here’s a few …
Did I mention I caught another Spanish Mackerel? The freezer is full. Actually it was Neville who should take the credit this time. With no fish activity after several hours, I decided to release some extra line. Unfortunately, as I was doing this, the fish struck and my reel free-wheeled. I ended up with one great big tangle … with a big fish still hooked! Neville has mastered the art of landing fish on to The Bossa now, so he proceeded to pull the line in by hand and land the 90cm Spanish Mack. He even untangled my mess! What a man!!