yellow patch

By | November 3, 2019

In 2016 we visited Yellow Patch on Curtis Island. We have finally returned!

Yellow Patch is a treasure! A large orange (not yellow) coloured sandhill slopes down to a deep water beach, extensive white sand flats fill the inlet and endless mangrove creeks meander deep in to the inlet, further than the eye can see. It’s verypicturesque and it’s so different from any other Queensland anchorage we visit. It’s unusual, it’s tidal, it has orange sand and white sand, and each tide offers such a different panorama from the top of the sand hill.  Low tide in particular is stunning!  And, there’s so much to do in Yellow Patch.

The alarm was set for 3.45 am (yes “stupid o’clock”), with anchors away from Great Keppel Island at 4 am. We had a 4-hour passage against current to make an 8.45 am rising high tide, in order to navigate the shifting sands ‘entrance’ to Yellow Patch. Having visited Yellow Patch before, we got the unenviable job of being the leading boat, with Easy Tiger and Waterfront following (three Fusion 40’s!). Our new waypoints got us safely inside but the big tides did mean finding suitable anchorage depth a tad tricky.

There is so much to do at Yellow Patch.  Fishing, bait gathering, sand hill climbing, sand hill sliding, soldier crab chasing, sand flat walking, dinghy exploring, sunset gazing …. all meaning endless opportunities to take photos, photos and photos. We stayed five nights in Yellow Patch.  We were very protected from the strong easterlies and while the currents were strong when the incoming and outgoing tides were at their peak, we were very comfortable.  It was also lots of fun sharing this anchorage with our cruising friends.

I climbed the sandhill three times just to take photos!

The view from the sandhill looking north is magic, both at high tide and low tide.

Yellow Patch is a photographer’s dream, so here’s a few favourites…

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At low tide the soldier crabs emerge, always in big groups, marching across the sandy flats.  They are great to chase for a photo. This time they were on orange sand, even better. l found a few fun facts about soldier crabs … they have an internal clock that syncs them with the falling and rising tides, they walk straight forward instead of sideways, they are one of the only animals in the world to have purple knees, they breathe through their bum and they hang around in same sex groups. Ha! Fascinating stuff!

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The bait collecting was fun.  Last time we were here we pumped for yabbies (we call them one-armed bandits at home). While we on The Bossa don’t really do this kind of fishing, we do have a bait pump on board. It’s unexpected existence on The Bossa has often thrilled an angler or two. (It was very kindly gifted to us in our trailer-sailer days many years ago, by friends and it still works!) However, this time they were hard to find and when we did, they weren’t too healthy, a little on the skinny side and a bit limp.

While we all had a go at fishing, the true fisher-people were the only ones to catch the fish.  We did finally get to enjoy our version of Luke’s fish tacos on ET. We watched the sun set from the white sand banks (the Sand Bar) while fishing one evening and then again from the top of the orange sand hill.  The vista across the endless white sand flats, with The Bossa, Waterfront and Easy Tiger below, was magic.

Sunset from the sandhill, from the sand flats and from The Bossa

Next stop Pancake Creek, a departure point for the outer reef. We are planning on visiting Fitzroy Reef and Lady Musgrave Island for a few days.  This will be officially my last snorkel if it comes off.  Fingers crossed!