Trying to break from the Middle Percy mould we tried South Percy initially but at the tide change around 4pm the rolling became unbearable so we headed straight to the "comfort" of Middle Percy. A very social anchorage (as usual) - drinks in the A-frame with plenty of other yachties and some delicious nibbles - fresh coconut marinated in honey and lime juice was very memorable.
Crab pot was set in the boat harbour finally with success (after some tips from the locals) - a lovely large mud crab. Yum yum - Singapore Chilli Mud Crab for dinner! Hmmm slight problem - no crab cracking utensils..pliers will do!
After a brief overnight stop at Port Clinton we were heading for Island Head Creek but timing wasn't to be with our approach timed right on low tide. All the guides show a shallow entrance so we weren't taking any chances. We sailed onto a new destination for us - Hunter Island in the Duke Islands. They say things happen for a reason - we loved Hunter and may not have visited if we had made it to Island Head Creek.
The Duke Islands were a magical secluded group of islands with green rolling hills and no other boats (initially!).
Finally success on the fishing front - a spotted mackerel, an estuary cod and a rogue wobbygong in the crab pot who was happy to be released back into the wild!
Anchored between Seconde and Leekes Beach - truly BEAUTIFUL beaches. Our first friends - John and family - joined us for the day but with the strong wind warning looming we opted for the shelter of Keppel Bay Marina after a lovely swim and exploration of Butterfly Bay to the west. We found a new helmsmen for the trip to Keppel Bay - little Francesca!
Even though Pilgrim can't get through The Narrows (too shallow for us) we explored the "other side" and after departing Gladstone via the North Channel (also shallow but doable) we settled into Barker Creek for the night. Tried our hand at crabbing but not only didn't catch a crab we managed to loose the crab pot.. Bugger!
A late arrival into Gladstone was spectacular - Methane Heather Sally (270m long and 44m wide) welcomed us as we first entered the channel. AIS status - "DANGEROUS". First time we'd seen this and quite such a large ship heading for us!
The marina is a LONG LONG way in (2 hours motoring). Lucky there was so much to keep us entertained - ships going everywhere, sun setting and more lights than you can imagine.
There is something fascinating and intriguing about the port. Time to explore!
After thinking Pancake Creek was inaccessible to Pilgrim due to depth - Pilgrim draws 3m - we decided to check it out with an exit plan to head to Gladstone if things looked too tight.
We are delighted we made it in comfortably with 2-3 m below us at any one point and what an INCREDIBLE SPOT. If you're cruising the coast - don't miss this anchorage, just watch out for the tides if you draw a lot like us!
Hundreds of turtles greeted us on our morning paddle-board into the beach, making up for no sightings at Lady Musgrave.
We don't want to leave here but big winds forecast tonight it's time to head to Gladstone.
After a brief stop in Bundaberg, the weather appeared perfect to explore the local reef. After many trips up and down the coast when either time or weather were not in our favour. Finally this time it was.
Plenty of boats around us to give us comfort but not too many to disturb the rather incredible feeling of anchoring in the middle of the ocean!
There's always next time! If you want to join us for our next visit in September, please get in touch.
With Fraser inside passage successfully navigated and a couple of lovely nights on the northern side of the Great Sandy Strait. First night we stopped just north of South White Cliffs. Then at the Kingfisher Resort, which had a lovely beach and a bar on the jetty - perfect for sundowners!
It's time to leave our beautiful anchorage just off Fraser Island at the Kingfisher Resort with our sights set on the Great Barrier Reef.
Short stop in Bundaberg (tonight) before our first close up and personal experience of the reef of the trip..watch this space!!
Thousands of the little chaps running around on the beach at Tin Can Bay. Slightly overwhelming (for some of us) but quickly realised that they vanish at the sight of humans! Phew!
After hopping up the coast doing various overnighters it was time for a bit of down time and exploring. Tin Can Bay is a perfect place to do just that!