After our extended marina time in Keppel Bay we were ready to ‘escape’. The strong winds and big seas had eased and the Shoalwater Bay military training zone had reopened which was quite timely.
We had no wind! One extreme to the other.
After two days of motoring we revisited South Percy Island for a walk up the hill, followed by the obligatory stop at West Bay’s A-frame yachtie shelter on Middle Percy Island. West Bay is such a pretty bay in the right weather and we had the right weather. We counted sixteen boats. Calm, still, blue skies and amazing sunsets. We even timed it for the Thursday goat stew compliments of Shipwreck (yes, he introduced himself as such). Shipwreck and his partner were anchored in the West Bay lagoon enjoying the quiet life Middle Percy offers. One month in, these sea gypsies were living on goat and fish, along with the trading of vegies when needed. Middle Percy Island is approx’ 100nm from Yeppoon and 65 nm from Mackay, so self sufficiency is a must when you are this far offshore for so long. (Neville also noted their yacht was only 23 ft long and there was no motor!) I think Neville has read twenty books to my three, so the book shelter was a bonus too, along with purchasing some chutneys and jams made by Kate who lives on the island.
South Percy Island
A few pics from Middle Percy Island …
The lagoon at West Bay is accessible only at high tide. It has a narrow entrance but is wide enough and deep enough for cats like ours. The lagoon all but empties at low tide so you do have to be prepared to dry out and be sitting on sand. Mangroves usually harbour sandflies, so you have to be prepared for those too. It’s a very pretty lagoon and a safe option in strong winds.
Trying something a bit different, I jumped in for a snorkel in the lagoon. With a white sandy bottom and mangroves, I was hoping to practice my split shot underwater photography. I needed the high tide for the depth in the lagoon but unfortunately the sun was too low in the sky. So no real keepers!
l am including a few shots though as I’m hoping down the track I can look back and compare … and see some progress!
With some strong 30 knot winds coming, we had the option of motoring further north to the southern Whitsundays on calm seas to beat the wind, or sheltering at a neighbouring island to sit it out. We chose the latter and motored on to Digby Island with Chances and Vivacious. We spotted four whales on the way. We aren’t a big fan of Digby Island. As Alan Lucas (Cruising The Curtis Coast) says, “it looks much better than it is”. Both times we’ve visited it was rolly so we did know what to expect. Our expected two nights turned in to three nights and while it was quite safe and we had company and a beach to occupy the time … IT WAS ROLLY! It didn’t help when I somehow whacked and bent my poor little already bruised toe getting in to the dinghy. OUCH!! A lot of pain from a rather minor incident.
One memory of Digby Island will stay with me though. Digby Island has several small islands nearby forming an almost ‘lagoon-like’ anchorage. We arrived under motor with not a breath of wind. The evening was so tranquil. As the sun went down fish were feeding and jumping all around us. The surrounding islands were a bright orange and the skies a dusky pink. It was such a beautiful evening.
We have now arrived at the southern section of the Whitsunday islands. The less crowded ones. With stopovers at Scawfell, Brampton, Newry and Shaw Islands, our next stop will be Hamilton Island where we will re-provision, wash clothes and enjoy a meal or two out. No cooking!
Oh … the goat stew? Rather tasteless really, I think the veggies we all contributed were the highlight.