Off most of the Queensland Coast there is an underwater plain, at a depth of 20-50mt, running out 30-50miles, then it gets to the continental shelf, where the depth suddenly falls to over 1,000mts. On this plain, coral formations built up over the millennium as the water depth went up and down with the ice ages. There are no mainland islands just coral reefs with the occasional small island of sand (cay). As a result anchorages are very exposed to any swell, so you can only take a boat there when the winds are light.

The weather gods were smiling on us when we left Cairns, to go down to Townsville, with the forecast of 10kts or less northerlies, for at least a week.

YEE-HAA       living the dream stuff.

Ira and Giuseppe were back on board for the trip, as we left Cairns

003-mediumFirst anchorage was the cay on Sudbury Reef0004

Where we met up with the crew from Alcandos for sundowner drinks0005-mediumThe next anchorage was Flora Reef which was typical of the anchorages for the next 5 days.

As we approached the anchorage we would be keeping a good watch for any coral heads close to the surface,

as we got closer it was time to identify a sandy patch inamongst the coral, with enough swing room to anchor in for the night10-mediumThen a route to the sandy patch, needed to be identified and then we weaved our way in amongst the coral formations12-medium13-mediumdropping the anchor in the sand14-mediumthen over the side for snorkel/spear fish16-small68-small69-small

After Flora Reef, we anchored at Peart, Ellison and Otter Reefs, all highlighted on the chart at the top.

The final coral anchorage was Walker Reef. I took a screenshot of the day’s sailing from Otter to Walker reef. 17

We would have 2 trolling lines out, whenever we were under way.

checking then occasionally to see if there was a fish on the line61if we pulled them in fast, the fish would plane, on the surface, all the way into the boat62-smallthen they needed to be filleted 65-smallMackerel went into the pan and Tuna was eaten sashimi66-smallwe did catch a Giant Trevally, unfortunately they are not good eating, so back it went67-smallIra caught a 2mt black tip shark 67a-medium

We were out there for the first Tuesday of November (Melbourne Cup). It would be very un-Australian to not have a Melbourne Cup sweep, so the crew from Alcandos can over to watch the race with us.51-mediumwinner are grinner

the crew from Logic drew First, Second and Third53-medium

Snorkelling the coral off Otter reef was the stuff of dreams91-small92-small93-small95-small96All good things come to an end, and it was time to head back to the mainland.

North East Bay on Palm Island had had some good reviews by other yachties.

101-smallIt was nice, but after the week we had just had it was ordinary, so we went round to Barber Island on the southern side of Palm Island

103-mediumfor the obligatory sundowners on the beach104-medium105-medium106-mediumnext morning at 4am, we were off to Townsville

going past Magnetic Island107-mediumLogic’s bottom was getting dirty, so she needed to go up on the hard, for me to re-antifoul

201-small202-mediumthe blog entry has to end with the obligatory sunrise/sunset203-medium