Magnetic Island to Cairns 23July2010

Well the boat is in Cairns tied up port side to in berth E14 of the Marlin Marina.  The trip up took three nights with the program being day sailing only and lots of rest (this made our Danish coxswain very happy).  It seems Leif actually likes night passages but wasn’t too keen on the suggestion that he could therefore stand a twelve hour watch, no stamina these Germans!!  The first stop was on Orpheus Island in the Palm group of Islands, 40 odd miles north, where with the exception of a pilot boat on a mooring we had ‘Little Pioneer Bay’ to ourselves.  This is the island where the skipper and some other clearly obnoxious sailors were asked to leave the very expensive resort years ago went they went ashore from their ship looking for a bar (Ralph would remember wouldn’t you??) and it is apparently just as exclusive now.  On the way up the crew were regaled with yet another spectacular whale display with much leaping out of the water, whale back flips and fin slapping on the water.  This of course had all the crew excited and the Danish/English one most excited. The skipper that night made the mistake of leaving the VHF radio on so that all could listen to an ongoing discussion between the pilot vessel and a seemingly incomprehensible ship driver concerning a pilotage at 2.30 in the morning.  Next morning it was off good and early for the 46 mile run to Dunk Island and the next apparently, ubiquitous resort; they really are just about everywhere!  At least this one would let smelly yachty types check out the bar and have a drink and they do provide showers at their day visitor centre.

The departure from Dunk was in the early afternoon and a terrific sail 20 miles up to ‘Mourilyan Harbour’ for an overnight stop.  This a very pretty harbour albeit with a rather large sugar handling terminal for biggish ships, where the forest/jungle runs down to shore or is a backdrop to fringing mangroves.  Also at anchor here were a number of boats that had been swinging at anchor at Dunk and these guys were also headed for Cairns.  On the Islands or rather the appearance of the islands as the latitude gets lower, one really does get the feeling of the tropics.  The islands are basically covered in jungle and look given the chance that all traces of people and buildings would be taken over very quickly.  Even at Mourilyan Harbour the jungle covers everything and the port facilities look under threat from the forest.  But it was once again overcast and drizzling; it also looks like that in the overall scheme of things, it rains a lot up here.  Departing again early (actually first away this time) our intrepid mariners headed out for the 55 mile run to Cairns with the promise of lots of wind and we got it; started off on the beam out of the SW and a reach, then shifting SE as promised and building.  So wing-a- wing under poled out headsail and main the boat scooted north at 7 to 8 knots all the way.  Passing around Cape Grafton and the turn west for Cairns the bullets off the cape had the boat skipping along and with wind gusting over 40 and right behind, three reefs in the main and half the genoa, the boat was doing consistent 9’s topping at 9.3; this was very exciting.  At 1530 the boat slipped into it’s current home and off the crew went to enjoy the highlights of sunny Cairns.  When the Gadfly arrived a catamaran that had left Mourilyan at the same time was already parked opposite the marina.  This boat ran out to sea and passed the Gadfly out of sight, must have wings! Oh yea it’s still raining; ah well!!!

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