Passage to Cairns

As was said in our last post, we stopped at Magnetic Island first after leaving the Whitsundays. We went ashore and walked a trail to some WWII fort ruins on the high part of the southeast side of the island. We were told by other sailors to keep an eye out for Koalas on this walk. We did, in fact, see a Koala asleep in a tree about 30m from the trail. However, it was another group who spotted it before us. There were some stupendous views of the shoreline and sea from the gun emplacements, and from the signal station we climbed. It was a bit cloudy though, so the pictures weren’t as nice as I would like.

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After the hike, the skies cleared up and we left mid-afternoon to continue sailing north. We had planned to sail to Fitzroy Island where our friends on m/v Oso Blanco were supposed to be. But, on the way, we got an E-mail they had left and gone to Cairns. So, we decided to stop about 35 miles north at Orpheus Island near a Clam Research station on a bay called Little Pioneer Bay. It was very dark when we arrived at 9:30 with a new moon. But, we managed to anchor with the help of Google Earth and our charts.

The next morning we left and began motoring, and later sailing, the 125 miles to Cairns. We got to fly the spinnaker again for about 6 or 7 hours this time. But, the winds died during the middle of the night and we had to motor again until about 3 AM. We sailed the rest of the way with minimal sails to keep our speed slow enough to arrive after light in Cairns. We ended up arriving at the marina at about 7 AM.

We were greeted by Oso Blanco as we arrived, and got some tips on the marina office. We were invited for dinner with Oso Blanco and s/v Boree, and had a good time visiting with these now long-time friends in cruising terms. Eric on Oso Blanco also offered to fill our scuba tanks (since Australia won’t allow it without a pricey inspection process).

Today we spent a big part of the day going to a grocery store and getting provisions for the next month or so. We had two very full carts to bring back to the boat afterwards, and a much lighter wallet.

Tonight we’re going out again with Oso Blanco. Our friends on Boree left to continue north, but we hope to meet up with them at Lizard Island later.

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