GLADSTONE – THE NARROWS – GREAT KEPPEL ISLAND – ROSSLYN BAY (YEPOON)
Apparently some people will do anything for attention. Let me set the scene: we are motoring into Rosslyn Bay Marina for the first time (and it’s always a bit nerve-wracking coming into an unfamiliar marina). Our allocated berth (red 81) requires a bit of manoeuvring, and it’s blowing 20 knots. An Army LCM8 is motoring past in one direction, and an island ferry of tourists is going past in the other. Andy’s doing great and he has Angel Wing lined up nicely. He’s throttled back, and just as I go to step off onto the dock to tie her off … I fall in! Straight into the drink, in between the (moving) boat and the dock, not far from a prop, and in front of two boatloads of onlookers. Some of which are taking photos! Andy killed the motor and our soon-to-be neighbour ran over to help, so I managed to get out unscathed, but it was a good example of how not to tie off a boat when docking!
In the past week, Queensland has continued to get smashed by the remnants of Cyclone Debbie. We sat out the worst of it in Gladstone, and the visiting crew (Juliene and Allan) took the opportunity to disembark (although the torrential rain almost stopped them from getting back to Hervey Bay).
From Gladstone, we headed up “the Narrows”, a thin stretch of water between the mainland and Curtis Island. Parts of it are extremely shallow and dry out at low tide, so it has to be navigated at high tide and with care. It’s a bit disturbing when your chart-plotter says you are on land!
It was a bright sunny day as we motored out of Gladstone past the big coal ships and LNG plants. We were excited to see the sun again, and it treated us to an amazing sunset in Black Swan Creek.
The next night we anchored in Pacific Creek at the top end of Curtis Island, right on the Tropic of Capricorn, which has heaps to explore ashore. The recent cyclone had littered the beach with all sorts of debris, which made for some interesting beachcombing. The best find was a bright green dragonfly. There were hundreds of them buzzing around like helicopters, but this little guy had karked it on the sand.
The other highlight of our trip through “the Narrows” was the corned beef hash that Andy whipped up for dinner! Who says tinned meat can’t be delicious??
From Curtis Island we sailed across to Great Keppel Island. The viz was zero, and the water an uninviting mud-brown so diving and snorkelling was shelved for the time being, and we spent a couple of days bushwalking around the island instead.
Then the bloody wind sprang up again so we sought shelter in the Rosslyn Bay Marina. (Since narrowly escaping disaster during docking…), we’ve had a good look around Rocky and Yeppoon and surrounds with the help of with my Aunt Trisha and Uncle Paul. The war memorial in Emu Park was particularly impressive, and they took us out to a little bush chapel built by American soldiers in WWII. We also bumped into some of the guys from 6 ESR that are in town as part of the disaster relief effort! There were predictions that it was going to be the Fitzroy River’s biggest flood in 100 years, but I’m not sure if that eventuated. In any case, there is ALOT of water around, and the Army guys will provide some great support where needed.
With wind gusts upwards of 30 knots and goodness-knows-what floating around in the water, we’ll probably be hanging around here for a few more days…then hopefully giving GKI another nudge.
**There are lots of shout outs this week:
Chris and Liz from Indigo II, the latest cruising boat we’ve met who are doing the same rally as us to Indonesia later in the year.
Trisha and Paul, for the delicious pizzas, the use of the washing machine, and the local tour.
The members of 17 Const Sqn, 6 ESR who are helping with cyclone and flood recovery! Go the Sappers!