Bowen to Cairns

After a string of connecting flights from Cambodia, via Singapore to Brisbane, we landed in Proserpine. It was good to see the crystal clear blue sea, flying in over Shute harbour and the lush cane fields surrounding Proserpine – it was good to be back home again!

Flying into Proserpine.

Flying into Proserpine.

Jim’s shuttle bus was waiting to run us back to Bowen and we checked into a cabin at the caravan park next to the marina. A shower and a cold beer never felt so good as after a day and a half enroute. Esprit was slipped the next morning at high tide for her first antifoul and engine service.

Esprit on the slipway.

Esprit on the slipway.

As good as new.

As good as new.

I had also ordered two additional 100W solar panels as the existing 120W solar panel barely coped with the current the fridge was drawing. This was installed and connected by an electrician. On testing, the increased current charging the house batteries, is adequate to run the fridge, auto pilot and instruments, and still keep the 5 batteries charged to 13V.

3 solar panels on the bimini.

3 solar panels on the bimini.

Goodbye to the Bowen Big mango.

Goodbye to the Bowen Big mango.

To acknowledge our 2 month stay in Bowen, they named a street after me! LOL.

To acknowledge our 2 month stay in Bowen, they named a street after me! LOL.

After two days, the boat was back in the water and we set off on the 5th November sailing North in a moderate Easterly to Cape Upstart. It is fantastic to be sailing in flat blue seas and blue skies with the water temperature at 28degC. The Easterlies kept on blowing taking us up the coast to Magnetic Island and beyond to Lucinda, at the south entry to the Hinchinbrook channel. Hinchinbrook island is a beautiful island with majestic mountains.

Hinchinbrook island.

Hinchinbrook island.

We were back in our cossies again working on our tans, which disappeared in Europe. After all the French croissants, cheeses and wines, my girth had increased. When I stepped out in my budgie smugglers, Annie had to comment on this, quoting my old Greek god joke, and saying “OMG, you look like a Greek”. The good thing about being on a boat is that there are no shops around the corner to tempt you with food, so whatever Annie has bought for Vittles’, has to be consumed. Therefore, salads and fruit tops the menu now.

Beating North from Cardwell - beautiful mountain ranges.

Beating North from Cardwell – beautiful mountain ranges.

On reaching Cardwell at the top of the 26nm long channel, the wind had changed to the North, so we anchored in the lee at the top of the island. “Predictwind” forecast that we had at least another 3 days of strong Northerlies ahead of us. We decided to push on to Cairns as we were running low on water, food and wine. A robust 50nm beat to Mourilyan harbour followed. Predictably, Annie hooked a 25kg barracuda with Esprit on her ear in a 20kn wind!

Gotcha!

Gotcha! The Qantas lure works.

The public jetty has water taps and we were able to fill the no. 1 tank with 300litres. Annie filleted the barracuda, which had no worms (often a problem with Barra’s), packed and freezed a sizable quantity, while we had successive nights of fresh Barra, BBQ’d, in Thai curry, fish pie and fish cakes. We’ll get back to the Barra in a couple of weeks.

Before filleting.

Before filleting.

Another 50nm beat into an 18 – 20 Northerly got us into the lee of High Island, about 25nm South of Cairns. We decided we had enough robust sailing and motored the last leg into Cairns the following day.

In the lee of High island.

In the lee of High island.

We are currently in the Cairns Marlin Marina and spent yesterday shopping at Woollies and the bottle shop. A word of advice for connoisseurs’ of box wine: Cairn’s police have a ban on bottle shops selling box wines before 4pm. Clearly, selling it at 9am results in the men in blue having to deal with inebriated locals by 10am. Clearly not good for tourism.

View of Cairns from the marina.

View of Cairns from the marina.

The swimming pool on the foreshore - geared for tourism.

The swimming pool on the foreshore – geared for tourism.

How to brighten up an electrical substation.

How to brighten up an electrical substation.

The Southerlies have returned and we should have good trade winds to take us up to Lizard island.