2014 June – Townsville to Cairns

Posted by on July 3, 2014


Total Days Sailed : 11
Total Sailing time : 52h19m (3139 minutes)
Travelled distance : 439.735 km (237.438 nm)
Average Speed : 8.40 km/h (4.53 knots)
Peak Speed : 21.81 km/h (11.77 knots) on 2014/06/30

2014-06-01 - FROM Townsville TO Horseshoe Bay Magnetic Island

Trip start* : 2014/06/01 11:03:38 (*2014-06-01T01:03:38Z)
Trip end : 2014/06/01 14:13:29
Trip Duration : 3h09m (189 minutes)
Start Point : 146.825485,-19.246620
End Point : 146.862243,-19.112979
Straight-line Distance : 15.353 km (8.290 nm)
Travelled distance : 23.119 km (12.483 nm)
Average Speed : 7.33 km/h (3.96 knots)
Peak Speed : 11.23 km/h (6.06 knots)

After hearing good things about Magnetic Island, and Horseshoe Bay in particular, we had a nice sail across. Managed to catch a shark hook on the starboard prop on the way, necessitating a VERY quick dip into the ocean by David to unhook it.

Arriving in the bay, we went deep into the corner near Winterlong and found that there was very little swell in any condition. Great spot.

We took advantage of the great bus service on the island to explore it a bit, and also managed to walk all the way to the end of the Forts walk and back to the bay on foot. We also watched the Wednesday night Toad races at the Arcadia Hotel.. and have the T-shirts to prove it.

Caught up with Adrian and the rest of the Abell Point Yacht Club when they arrived in the bay at the end of their race/rally to the island. Colleen took a trip up the mast to check out the inlet for the screecher halyard (great view from up there). Had a nice night at the Arcadia Hotel where the booze was flowing and the meat was well cooked.

David did a little bit of work with Glenn on Winterlong sorting out some battery and wiring issues. Glenn was very appreciative and shouted us dinner at the pub!

2014-06-14 - FROM Magnetic Island TO Townsville

Trip start* : 2014/06/14 10:03:38 (*2014-06-14T00:03:38Z)
Trip end : 2014/06/14 14:10:00
Trip Duration : 4h06m (246 minutes)
Start Point : 146.862792,-19.112619
End Point : 146.824829,-19.247970
Straight-line Distance : 15.569 km (8.406 nm)
Travelled distance : 35.627 km (19.237 nm)
Average Speed : 8.68 km/h (4.69 knots)
Peak Speed : 14.13 km/h (7.63 knots)

Back to Townsville for a refuel, a reprovision, and a chance to catch up with my cousin Craig who was just back from holidays. Somehow we managed to snag the same damn shark hook that we caught on the trip out, although this time it caught up in our bowsprit stays! With a strong wind on the nose, we did some fancy tacking and gave the barberhaulers a good workout.

2014-06-16 - FROM Townsville TO Five Beach Bay, Magnetic Island

Trip start* : 2014/06/16 10:16:58 (*2014-06-16T00:16:58Z)
Trip end : 2014/06/16 13:55:38
Travelling Time : 2h56m (176 minutes)
Trip Duration : 3h38m (218 minutes)
Start Point : 146.821212,-19.246259
End Point : 146.805099,-19.117120
Straight-line Distance : 14.458 km (7.807 nm)
Travelled distance : 22.996 km (12.416 nm)
Average Speed : 7.83 km/h (4.23 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.61 km/h (6.80 knots)

Just a short run back to the west side of the island to prepare for an early departure across to Great Palm Island, we actually stayed an extra night because the weather looked a bit crappy.

2014-06-18 - FROM Magnetic Island TO North East Bay, Great Palm Island

Trip start* : 2014/06/18 07:40:00 (*2014-06-17T21:40:00Z)
Trip end : 2014/06/18 14:24:35
Trip Duration : 6h44m (404 minutes)
Start Point : 146.805175,-19.116939
End Point : 146.641815,-18.747270
Straight-line Distance : 44.551 km (24.056 nm)
Travelled distance : 61.168 km (33.028 nm)
Average Speed : 9.08 km/h (4.90 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.98 km/h (7.55 knots)

Although a bit swelly, this was a magnificent secluded beach and it seemed like we were the only people on the planet. We walked the beach to see what was around, with David finding a fuel tank from an outboard, and Colleen trying to find some oysters worth eating.

Further along the beach we encountered some huge butterflies. The colours were amazingly brilliant and really had to be seen to be believed. A later google found the following image, but it really does not do the actual butterfly justice.


Jumping in for a quick swim, it was warmer in the water than out in the breeze, and we had a fantastic time. Molly was not keen on a swim and without her board she was hard to hold on to so she moped about on the sand.

2014-06-20 - FROM Great Palm Island TO Pioneer Bay, Orpheus Island

Trip start* : 2014/06/20 08:20:00 (*2014-06-19T22:20:00Z)
Trip end : 2014/06/20 14:10:49
Travelling Time : 4h21m (261 minutes)
Trip Duration : 5h50m (350 minutes)
Start Point : 146.641799,-18.746879
End Point : 146.486984,-18.595199
Straight-line Distance : 23.461 km (12.668 nm)
Travelled distance : 35.903 km (19.386 nm)
Average Speed : 8.25 km/h (4.45 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.29 km/h (7.17 knots)

Weaving our way around the top of Great Palm in brilliant sunshine, we rounded the cape and started seeing more signs of life. We could see the buildings of the Aboriginal community on Great Palm, and there was water and air traffic going to and fro.

Heading north along Orpheus, we stopped at Yanks Jetty for lunch where David pulled in and then tossed back a small cod. Small steps! Molly was excited.

Seeing a catamaran pass us, we quickly raised all sail and set off in pursuit. Not a lot of wind and our opponent dropped sail to motor into the anchorage, and we soon joined them. We were surprised to find our first public mooring since leaving the Whitsundays and grabbed it. Colleen then did a bit of housework.


We ran into Rad and Chris of Seawind 1000 Peer Pressure there. Peer Pressure was a vessel in the Seawind Whitsunday Rally of 2010 which we participated in, but had since changed owners. Rad and Chris were generous enough to give us one of the many fillets of mackerel they cut from the monster fish they had just caught!

2014-06-23 - FROM Orpheus Island TO Reis Point, Hinchinbrook Island

Trip start* : 2014/06/23 08:43:55 (*2014-06-22T22:43:55Z)
Trip end : 2014/06/23 13:40:00
Trip Duration : 4h56m (296 minutes)
Start Point : 146.486846,-18.595199
End Point : 146.220870,-18.472990
Straight-line Distance : 31.160 km (16.825 nm)
Travelled distance : 35.350 km (19.087 nm)
Average Speed : 7.16 km/h (3.86 knots)
Peak Speed : 14.13 km/h (7.63 knots)

Heading into Hinchinbrook Channel we had to watch our depth as we entered on a lowish tide but managed it without a drama. Motor-sailing up the channel David kept an eye out for crocs but saw no sign. From here north we will have to be aware of the danger they pose. After anchoring on an amazingly calm stretch of river we had our first encounter of the microscopic biting midges of the area. They are seriously tiny! You have to look really closely to see them, and they look no bigger than a speck of dirt. We closed up the cabin and fired up the mozzie smoke to deter them, but ended up shutting ourselves in the bedroom.

2014-06-24 - FROM Reis Point TO Hecate Point, Hinchinbrook Island

Trip start* : 2014/06/24 08:42:56 (*2014-06-23T22:42:56Z)
Trip end : 2014/06/24 18:30:00
Travelling Time : 5h15m (315 minutes)
Trip Duration : 9h47m (587 minutes)
Start Point : 146.220947,-18.473140
End Point : 146.070816,-18.252799
Straight-line Distance : 29.177 km (15.754 nm)
Travelled distance : 39.082 km (21.102 nm)
Average Speed : 7.44 km/h (4.01 knots)
Peak Speed : 10.27 km/h (5.54 knots)

Amazed at how calm the water was, we motored our way to Cardwell via a lunchtime stop at Scraggy Point. David took the opportunity to calibrate our instruments and autopilot on the way and then we stopped at Cardwell to grab a few items at the supermarket. With some advice from a local suggesting that there was a lot of logs in the water, we motored across to drop anchor on the island side of the channel where it was much less swelly anyway.

2014-06-25 - FROM Hinchinbrook Island TO Brammo Bay, Dunk Island

Trip start* : 2014/06/25 08:20:00 (*2014-06-24T22:20:00Z)
Trip end : 2014/06/25 13:52:53
Trip Duration : 5h32m (332 minutes)
Start Point : 146.070556,-18.252260
End Point : 146.138015,-17.932180
Straight-line Distance : 36.298 km (19.599 nm)
Travelled distance : 39.382 km (21.264 nm)
Average Speed : 7.11 km/h (3.84 knots)
Peak Speed : 12.40 km/h (6.69 knots)

The wind disappeared after lunch so we motor-sailed most of the way to Dunk. Arriving there, we took a stroll along the beach the next day but with a lot of damage from the cyclone the erosion was pretty bad.

2014-06-28 - FROM Dunk Island TO Mourilyan Harbour

Trip start* : 2014/06/28 06:52:57 (*2014-06-27T20:52:57Z)
Trip end : 2014/06/28 15:18:18
Travelling Time : 4h48m (288 minutes)
Trip Duration : 8h25m (505 minutes)
Start Point : 146.137954,-17.932420
End Point : 146.123382,-17.603599
Straight-line Distance : 36.595 km (19.760 nm)
Travelled distance : 41.070 km (22.176 nm)
Average Speed : 8.55 km/h (4.62 knots)
Peak Speed : 20.15 km/h (10.88 knots)

With a longish run to Mourilyan, we left before 7am and made good speed and would have made the harbour by 2pm, however on the approach we saw what looked to be a yacht in distress so altered course to see if we could assist.


It was definitely in distress, run aground onto rocks and flooded, however the actual event had taken place sometime earlier. The yacht was Apollo III and was a larger racing boat which had seen better days. It boasted huge hydraulic rams, winches, a massive rig, and twin grinders, but with presumably a long keel buried in the sand it was not going anywhere.


Flotsam was everywhere on the beach, with the remnants of sails and cushions partially buried in sand. Inside the hull, sand and water had filled the stern although the forward area was clear. We salvaged a full galvanised LPG tank, a length of nice rope, some oils and chemicals, and a few sundry items (including $11.00 in cold, hard CASH!).


David was told later that day that a mayday went out around 4am a week or so earlier and the sole occupant had been rescued safely. He was rumoured to have caught the next bus out of there without looking back.

2014-06-29 - FROM Mourilyan Harbour TO Innisfail

Trip start* : 2014/06/29 10:30:57 (*2014-06-29T00:30:57Z)
Trip end : 2014/06/29 13:30:00
Trip Duration : 2h59m (179 minutes)
Start Point : 146.123306,-17.603580
End Point : 146.033218,-17.522649
Straight-line Distance : 13.122 km (7.085 nm)
Travelled distance : 22.162 km (11.967 nm)
Average Speed : 7.42 km/h (4.01 knots)
Peak Speed : 13.30 km/h (7.18 knots)

Another short hop up the coast, we crossed the bar at Innisfail to make the 3 mile journey upriver into the town proper. We anchored in the river and went ashore for a few items, including a treat of icecream!

2014-06-30 - FROM Innisfail TO Welcome Bay, Fitzroy Island

Trip start* : 2014/06/30 08:12:57 (*2014-06-29T22:12:57Z)
Trip end : 2014/06/30 15:46:13
Trip Duration : 7h33m (453 minutes)
Start Point : 146.033386,-17.522539
End Point : 145.987976,-16.929130
Straight-line Distance : 66.160 km (35.723 nm)
Travelled distance : 83.872 km (45.287 nm)
Average Speed : 11.10 km/h (5.99 knots)
Peak Speed : 21.81 km/h (11.77 knots)

Colleen took the helm to get us out of Innisfail, and we headed north.


We had some good wind so we averaged 6 knots on the 84km trip. Rounded the cape and squeezed in as close as the other occupants allowed us, but still found the anchorage affected by swell. Next stop Cairns!

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