Phone and internet at last!
We have been enjoying the sights of Hinchinbrook Island for over a week now, primarily due to weather constraints, but there has also been an eagerness to enjoy and explore the natural beauty of this island.
No Parrotfish or Nemos here, just crocs, mozzies, sandflies and bull sharks. A contrast to our recent interlude at the outer reef!
Hinchinbrook Island is north of Townsville with Dunk Island a short hop away and then Cairns further north. Oh, have we put this out there? We do plan on visiting Cairns this season, our first time by water.
Hinchinbrook Island is a national park, an untouched wilderness island of majestic mountain backdrops, beautiful bays, superb scenery, fresh water pools and deserted beaches. And there is the Hinchinbrook Channel with it’s calm protected mangrove waterway that separates the island from the mainland. Way back when we visited here in our trailer-sailer in 1987, there was an up-market eco-resort at Cape Richards on the island, but it has long gone due to cyclone damage. The island is uninhabited and is known for its walking trails, particularly the Thorsborne Trail which follows the exposed east coast from the north at Ramsay Bay to the southern tip at George Point opposite Lucinda. Access is by boat only. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to visit the infamous Zoe Bay on the eastern side this trip. Those strong SE trade winds again! Zoe Bay is definitely a calm weather visit.
After our reef visit and a few nights at Orpheus Island (where we picked up some fresh prawns from one of the many anchored fishing boats – even they were sheltering from the winds), we timed our Lucinda crossing in to the Hinchinbrook Channel with the tide. Adagio beat us to it as they left very early in the morning needing the highest tide as they draw 2.2 with their deep keel, while we cats draw around 1.4 give or take. It gets very shallow as you enter and pass the humongous Lucinda jetty. It’s 5.6km long and follows the curvature of the earth Neville tells me.
We enjoyed a lovely night anchored at Haycock Island with drinks aboard Adagio. The following day we meandered down the channel to one of my favourite mangrove creeks, Guyundah Creek, for the night and a roast aboard The Bossa. We’d had several drizzly days so we were ready for some sunshine. Not to be. We had just managed to get back to our boats the previous night with a big deluge about to dump on us when we left Adagio. But, the majestic beauty of the craggy Hinchinbrook mountains, in any weather, is mesmerizing. The Hinchinbrook Channel creeks are known breeding grounds for crocodiles so we are always alert and definitely boat-bound.
I’ll refer to Alan Lucas – Cruising The Coral Coast (one of our cruising ‘bibles’) with his description of the Hinchinbrook mountain range …
“The background scenery is spellbinding as the brooding mountains seem to change their mood with every cloud that brushes their peaks.” Spot on!
The many moods of Hinchinbrook – drizzle, rain, sunshine, sunrise and even a rainbow …
We had great fun with an adventurous dinghy run down one of the meandering creeks off Guyundah with Waterfront and Skedaddle. A different view of the mountains and up close and personal with the mangroves.
While the crocodiles are front and centre in this channel (and mozzies and sandflies) it’s fun to capture some other critters in the mangroves at low tide. BTW … we did not see any crocs!
With a 4-5 day ordinary weather stretch ahead (rain and strong SE winds, what else?!), we decided to explore the Missionary Bay area on the northern side of Hinchinbrook Island, specifically one of the eight meandering creeks at the base of the Hinchinbrook mountains. Deep in Seventh Creek (how convenient naming each of the eight creeks by their number) was a landing pontoon and a short boardwalk to Ramsay Bay and the Thorsborne Trail on the eastern side of the island. We hadn’t visited the creeks before, only read about the pontoon landing and after Whiskers gave it a go some days earlier, we decided it might be the place to hide. The creek would be very protected in the strong winds that were forecast and somewhere different. No phone, more mangroves, more sandflies and we would be boat bound (apart from the walking trail) but we figured it would be too windy for the sandflies, we could survive without internet for a few days (hmmm) and it would be fun, and we had each other’s company with Waterfront and Skedaddle joining us. Unfortunately, Adagio needed to ‘turn around’ so they left us at Guyundah Creek and returned to Magnetic Island on their journey south.
We visited Ramsay Bay twice via the pontoon in Seventh Creek. On the second visit we followed the Thorsborne Trail at the southern end of the Ramsay Bay beach, walking over the hill via the trail through lush rainforest to the next beach where we found a beautiful freshwater waterhole and plenty to explore. Both times we took a picnic lunch. Great idea Waterfront!
I’m writing this blog post still anchored in Seventh Creek, our fourth day. The wind peaked last night so we were all on alert as Skedaddle had dragged anchor the previous evening with the strong current sending them in to the mangroves. All this happened while we were all aboard Waterfront for dinner (curry and apple crumble – no surprise who did dessert!). It’s a sinking feeling returning to a ‘missing’ boat! No damage, but it was a very dark and windy night to be re-anchoring. The skies have been overcast at times, but only a few showers fortunately and lots of blue sky days, including a stunning sunset the night of our dinner. But the water is flat, no swell and while the winds have been gusty and strong at times and the current the same, we are far more comfortable that being ‘out there’! In fact, our flat water has been wonderful.
Over scones, jam and cream this morning, we planned our ‘escape’, hopefully for tomorrow (Friday). We have patchy phone if we’re lucky so no internet, but we do have TV, and with the Dees playing tomorrow night all fingers are crossed!
And it looks like we might have an outer reef window before we sail to Cairns! (Our weather updates have been courtesy of Waterfront with their mast aerial).
And, finally a stunning sunset and that crazy ‘drawing’? Its our Anchor Watch (a GPS app that plots the movement of our boat at anchor).