Sailing from Townsville to Hinchinbrook Island with Sara
Military Bombing, Tuna, Sushi and Birthday Cake
Today our friends Sara and Brent are coming to join us for
a few days. We took a course NE to Rattlesnake Island. I’m not participating in
sailing and instead sitting inside the boat and studying something particularly
annoying about interest rate swaps. It is rough and this makes the whole
studying thing a lot worse – what I’m reading doesn’t want to settle into my
Getting close to Rattlesnake Island we heard a warning on
channel 16 that there are military firing planned for Rattlesnake this evening.
No wonder this island is so red and bald without many trees left :). We called back to
confirm and definitely it was no anchoring there. RAAF Base Townsville (No. 323
Combat Support Squadron RAAF) conducts live firing with military aircraft
on a regular basis.
So we had to go 7 miles further and anchor by Hawannah
Island. And of course, this worked out for the best. About 1.8 miles from the
island Gonzalo was about to bring the fishing lines in to pack away for the day
before we anchored, at which point Brent said: "Leave the line a little longer
since its almost sunset and we might catch something" Gonzalo eager to get ready
to anchor had no choice but to agree as Brent was indeed correct. No more than
10 minutes later the Tuna struck and 60 minutes of fighting with this monster,
Team Tuna Catchers (Brent, Sara, and Gonzalo) brought in a nice yellow fin Tuna.
And yet for the second time the first day we have the guests we catch a big
Sara asked us in her shopping list earlier to buy stuff for
making sushi, like she knew we would catch one. So we made sushi for dinner. The
sushi came out nicer than you would get in the average Japanese restaurants, and
we were surprised how little tuna it is actually required to make a roll.
We are also celebrating Gonzie’s birthday today. Sara baked
a cake (in Sydney) and brought decoration materials. She normally makes
wonderful painted cakes for friends’ birthdays, so she covered the cake with
aquamarine topping and painted our Empede on in with red colour and tuna fish in
The wind changed to SE and this gave us opportunity to move
under sails without the engine. After lunch we anchored near Orpheus Island. The
military boats are everywhere around the area, feels like we are in a war zone
We took a dinghy ride to the beach and climbed the hill in
the island from which opened a nice 360 degrees view.
Had tuna stakes for dinner with mango salsa sauce.
By midday we arrived to Hinchinbrook Island. The easterly
swell didn’t allow us to anchor in Zoe Bay (apparently there is a place there
where you can sit in salt water and have fresh water from waterfall running on
you). We anchored in Ramsay Bay near Agnes Island. We had tuna steaks for lunch
again and went for a snorkel, which wasn’t too great as the visibility was very
At sunset we went to the beach to deep-fry fish (coral
trout and sweetlip) caught earlier by Gonzie and Brent.
At night we took the computer out to the deck, connected it
to the speakers and watched a movie.
The night was beautiful with lots of stars in the sky.
However, we were not completely protected from the swell here and the night was
rolly, especially at high tide.
Today we anchored at Goold Island (north of Hinchinbrook)
and took a dinghy ride to the beach. The water is murky and there are croc
warning signs on the island.
This place is also known for dugongs (or also known as sea
cows as they feed on sea grass). Dugongs are vulnerable species and are very
rare, if you spot one you’re damn lucky.
There used to be plenty of dugongs only half a century ago,
but being very tasty and so easy to catch, they started to disappear very
quickly and only when almost none left, they became protected species.
At lunch time we arrived at Port Hinchinbrook (Cardwell
town), where Brent & Sara took a bus back to Townsville to catch a flight
home. They could only get 3 days off work (plus the week-end).