Thursday, 7 July 2011

Goodbye Australia!

We have been in Townsville these past few days stocking up big time , we anchored near the marina and had been rowing the km into shore each day but then one night we were rowing back with a boatload full of stuff, the oar just snapped clean off! It was rather scary coz it was getting darker and the oar was floating away...
Luckily people who had also anchored out here were coming back in their dinghy and could give us a tow! We would have been screwed otherwise. Needless to say we had to put the outboard on for the rest of the trips in and out, the outboard is just a bit big for the dinghy and makes it slightly unstable, when we aren't in it we have to put a bucket of water in the bow so it wont tip back too far! Next purchase will have to be a bigger dinghy!
We have lots of fishing gear, for some reason they wouldnt guarentee it would work ! So heres hoping we catch a big fish. I also got a awesome wee ukelele, I don't have a clue how to play it but have downloaded lots of stuff from the net to get me started.
Baikal getting ready to clear out of Australia
We clear out with customs today at 3.30pm after filling up with diesel, petrol and gas. From there we will be heading for Louisiades - Papua New Guinea maybe via a stop at holmes reef about 160miles offshore, its got good holding in a strong blow.
We have been pretty hectic getting everything organised, dudley finished the canvas covers, we have to make sure everything is locked up on the boat, so have been crimping some wire for the kayaks and gas bottles. Going to the supermarket to buy padlocks and coming out with MORE food and forgetting the padlocks! Heres hoping for fair winds, following calm seas and no big ships to crash into.
Our next post will probably be in a couple of months. So keep your eyes peeled.
Take care all and till next time byebye
xox Baikals
p.s Below are some pics of Magnetic Island,we have cleared customs and now we are anchored at Magnetic Island, early start tomorrow, will get past the reef by dark tomorrow night, may head to Holmes Reef, weather permitting!
track near Horseshoe Bay

Horseshoe Bay Magnetic Island

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Bowen to Magnetic Island

Well we are now at Magnetic Island Townsville. After we left the Whitsundays we sailed to a few spots on our way up the coast. Bowen was a nice spot, walking around the town you can see the remnants from Catalina Flying Boats,radar stations anti-aircraft battery during WW2. the movie Australia with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman was filmed here.

Anchorage at Bowen

After finding a lot of coconuts green and brown, we made our way to Cape Upstart, sailing past Abbot Point where the load coal. A cargo ship was making a beeline for us, on the vhf we heard  “Hows your heart rate now?” Dudley made a smart arse comment to say yeah thought we were going to pass infront of you, and to that end there was no reply.
Cargo Ship Passing Baikal's bow

Cape Upstart was a nice place too, there are approx 200 shacks/houses on this stretch of coastline which is only accessible by boat, we met some of the locals, quite a friendly bunch. They told us some stories of riding out cyclones, and when I asked about crocodiles here they replied ‘yeah there was one here just 3 months ago…he died of lead poisoning ..yeah the kids when they were fishing were getting stalked aye, the croc would be seen in the water not 20ft from the kids, so the guy in that house there shot him in the guts, that way they float and can be retrieved easier, they buried him somewhere over there. If they shoot a croc in the head it will sink, and I guess they want to make sure its dead, also to get it out of the water.
waterhole. Cape Upstart

Duds relaxing at swimming hole with some coconut
Theres supposed to be good fishing up here, but we’ve had no luck! A couple we met at Gloucester Island gave us a spoon lure to troll and then we got given some squid for bait from a kind old fella , we must give off the ‘Im  a useless fisherman vibe and need all the help we can get’.

Arriving at Magnetic Island this morning, we made sure the anchor had set, had a second breakfast of bacon and eggs, (museil and yoghurt earlier while sailing) and then headed to the beach to explore. Nice holiday spot with surprisingly a lot of tourists, probably easier to get to being 8km from Townsville and having a ferry service connecting them. The tourist brochures really built this place up, magnetic island is apparently the best place to see north Australia’s largest population of koalas in the wild, well we weren’t disappointed.We ended up doing a 14km return trip to Nelly Bay by foot, and detoured on the way to check out the koalas after asking the shop assistant in the Koala village where we can see koalas in the wild and taking a few complimentary brochures, I’m sure she loved us ..haha NOT.
Koala just chilling out dangling his leg

These eucalypt leaves sure dont give me much energy!
 We did a Forts walk seeing some old WW2 relics,  a number of gun emplacements, observation towers and command posts and big 12 inch thick concrete buildings where they stored the ammo and gun powder they spied on the Japanese war ships and planes from these places, interesting, they only fired it once when a US navy ship did a surprise arrival.

On arriving at Nelly Bay we gorged ourselves on a packet of timtams, juice and hot chips, if nothing else this junk food gave us enough energy to walk back. We hope to check out Townsville in the next couple of days when the wind settles down a bit, we have a quite a list of things we need before we leave the country. Well, now we are going to kick back, relax and enjoy a vodka while watching the TV in this slightly rolly anchorage of Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island.