I’ve had a ‘bucket list’ of destinations for this year’s trip north. One was Yellow Patch and it did not disappoint.
Yellow Patch is an anchorage on Curtis Island and it is known for its huge dramatic patch of yellow sand. A stunning sand hill is the backdrop in this sandy estuary. It’s a possible stopover between Pancake Creek and Great Keppel Island but not frequented by many yachties, especially the ones with deep keels. Perfect for a cat!
However, a few ducks need to be in row. The channel in to the anchorage is not marked and always on the move due to the sand flats constantly moving. No markers to navigate by.
We met up with Chances and their friends on Pas de Chat at GKI. Pas de Chat had been to Yellow Patch earlier in August so with their waypoints for the deep water, we had the channel in. The next was timing the rising tide. Middle of the day, perfect and we had neap tides so even better. We also had a great weather window. A calm day to enter, followed by a couple of days of stronger south-easters needing shelter, perfect!
It was a 7 am start from Great Keppel Island and we even enjoyed a rare sail (all be it gentle). We sighted the yellow sand hill a long way out. As we approached our first waypoint, with myself and Annie on ‘lookout’, we could see the deep water. Gary entered first, we followed. No swell, calm waters and following our waypoints, we were in.
Once in we anchored where Jim had suggested but we had to move as there just wasn’t going to be enough water under us at low tide. While we felt anchoring just before the big sand hill was more sensible (we had been ‘warned’ about the sand blowing on and in to the boat), we both moved further down the estuary in to deeper water, right under the sand hill. An important photo opportunity too I felt!
The sand hill is amazing. The colour of the sand hill is a golden yellow, while the extensive sand flats below are white. There’s also a thin layer of black sand in parts and along the water’s edge below the sand is quite orange. (My kind of sand!) It is truly a spectacular backdrop.
Our first full day was unfortunately spent sheltering from rain (which hadn’t seen for ages) and in temperatures that required track pants (OMG) and … even a doona at night!! (We later heard it was the coldest October day since the world began … 16 degrees). We still managed to explore the estuary setting our crab pots and looking for ‘one-armed bandits’ for bait (their name does depend on which state you live in). Yellow Patch is also known for its fishing. And we had Gary with us! Our fishing guru.
So it was to be an early rise the next day, in brilliant sunshine, in anticipation to climb the sand hill. This proved to be quite easy really, even with my dodgy back. What a view!
It really was another world from up top. We timed our climb for low tide so we could see the white sand flats below out of the water. The deeper channel we came in was evident and looking at our boats from above was something we don’t often see. We could see right through to Hummocky Island with GKI just visible further out. Lots of photos. We did the same the next day but this time Annie took a few garbage bags?! Both Annie and Neville had a bit fun sliding down the hill on their bums.
Unfortunately we didn’t catch any crabs and no big fish, just some smaller whiting between us. We did enjoy exploring the white sand flats at low tide chasing the soldier crabs and fishing in the deeper gutters. The local fisherman here had warned us the crabs and fish weren’t biting. They also warned us about the recent croc sighting and we had already been told about the tiger sharks. Yellow Patch’s only down-side … no swimming.
So glad we got the opportunity to visit Yellow Patch.
Pancake Creek then hopefully a few nights at the outer reef at Lady Musgrave are next.