I could call this post ‘Dumped at Dunk’ I suppose, but no, I’ll stick with Beaver Reef for the moment. The ‘Dumped at Dunk’ story … you’ll just have to wait!
After the blow we sat out in the Hinchinbrook creek, a small reef weather window appeared. Unfortunately, it initially coincided with drizzly overcast weather so we sailed on to Dunk Island with Waterfront, hoping the sun would appear the following day so we could join Skedaddle who had already left for the reef.
Our initial plan was to hop up from Otter Reef to Beaver Reef but with reduced time, we spent our time just at Beaver Reef, before heading further north to Cairns.
What a treat it was! I love a sand cay and Beaver had one. We watched the sun set both nights from the cay with Waterfront. Sunset did unfortunately coincide with high tide and on the second night it was particularly tricky as the water was swallowing the cay from all directions with the sand disappearing fast. While there was little breeze, the lively rising tide made both disembarking from the tender and leaving the cay tricky. Suffice to say, we had some experience in this area!
We were lucky enough to enjoy two very calm days including one glass-out day at Beaver Reef. The snorkeling was great. We had visited Beaver Reef once before a few years back so it was pleasing to see the reef was still healthy and the fish life vibrant (being a Green Zone always helps). My apologies in advance for the quantity of photos … there are lots in the slideshows …
Neville even had a snorkel … pics of me!
The fish life was amazing. Big and small. There were many large fish you only see in a Green Zone where neither fishing nor spearing are allowed – Coral Trout, Groupers, Parrotfish, Sweetlip, Snapper, Rockcod and Emperors to name a few.
The second day was a glass-out.
The Feather Stars were a highlight … so many …
A friend sent me a text recently, envious of our escape before the latest Victorian lockdown … “Kiss a fish for me!” Well, here it is. An 83cm Pacific Bluefin Tuna. And did it fight! It took us over an hour to get this fish in to our boat, almost all our line had disappeared and our arms were aching, but our resolve got us there in the end. Tire the fish and hang on!
So … Dumped at Dunk??!! We woke early at Dunk Island with the plan to sail out to Beaver Reef with Waterfront, but the overcast drizzly weather triggered a change of plans. Negotiating reef is not easy without sunshine. So we left Waterfront at anchor and motored over to Mission Beach on The Bossa, with Marty and Brenda on board. A visit to the markets and a lunch out was the plan. We dropped anchor off Mission Beach and ‘dressed’ for our lunch, we jumped in to our tender. As we approached the very long lovely sandy Mission Beach we noted the small breaking waves inshore, so we quickly touched base on a plan on how all four of us would disembark from the tender and get ashore quickly, without getting wet. Marty suggested we should also watch the waves behind, so in unison we all turned … only to see a rather large wave approaching. It all happened in slow motion. The approaching rogue wave was rising and holy cow, it broke, on us! The tender was swamped from behind pushing us forward and then lurching us sideways, we were promptly ejected! All four of us. Yes, we were soaking wet, from head to toe. Bags, clothes and arghhh … phones. It’s a shallow beach so we were only knee deep, but more importantly we were all fine.
We dragged the tender up the sandy beach, checked the motor (we did need to get back to The Bossa), emptied the water from our bags, retrieved our floating shoes and pulled out our four soggy phones. Mission Beach is quite a tourist spot so several people were walking by on the beach (and must have seen what happened), but only one fellow approached us, only to ask questions about our tender’s bloody wheels??!! No offer of a towel or help or anything. As he wandered off I did hear a “shit happens”, but that’s it!
Lunch? Well, believe it or not, we wandered up to main drag, bought the cheapest towel I could find ($20 with graphics saying “welcome to the Gold Coast”, ughhh?) and some paper towel (to dry the phones). We were sopping wet, our cash the same and no one really cared. So we sat down, ordered a wine and had lunch. And the markets weren’t even on!
Our phones? We dried them with paper towel after a fresh water rinse and while having lunch and processing what really just happened, Marty suggested we put them in a warm place to dry … on top of the cappuccino machine at the café. A great idea Marty, but next time (there will not be one), we won’t leave them there for so long. Oh no, we’ve drowned them and now cooked them!! Amazingly they are all working fine (after the rice treatment) so all good there too.
What did we learn? Complacency on a boat is your worst enemy. We have waterproof bags and didn’t use them. Four people disembarking from a tender on a beach with breaking waves, even though small, is tricky (we did two return trips). Plan ahead. And, always follow your own ‘rules’ as they are there for a reason.
We did have a laugh though and we’ll remember Mission Beach for a long time! We walked past this white water rafting sign on the way to the markets (that weren’t there) and couldn’t resist a photo. Even the lady who took this photo didn’t get it!!
There are mega photos in this post as it’s always hard to select which ones to feature. I’m often asked what I do with my photos. Obviously I post them on my blog (not sure if these same people read it) but it’s the book I make at the end of each sailing season that excites me. So my blog is my diary. My photo book then includes my blog posts and as many photos as I can possibly fit.