Tweet Manookatoo Adventures: Meandering to Mackay

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Meandering to Mackay

We were sorry to leave the beautiful Percy Islands, but with so much more to explore it was time to go. On Monday morning, just before 6am, the captain started the engine and raised the anchor, pointing Manookatoo due west. It was another beautiful day for cruising, with a bit of a swell across the back quarter reminding us to stow anything loose. We enjoyed raisin toast for breakfast just after 8am, rounded Bluff Island before 10am and entered the channel between Tinonee Bank and Curlew Island soon after. We dropped anchor in 17 feet of water and took the dinghy ashore for a walk along the sand. The tide was rising as we walked, so we enjoyed a swim as we waded out to the dinghy, then returned to Manookatoo for lunch. We had been alone in the channel when we arrived, but as the day wore on several others joined us in the calm waters, sailing south from Mackay or the Whitsundays, north from Thirsty Sound, or east, like us, from the Percy Islands. Later in the afternoon, the captain drilled our coconut for the water for our curry - also made with the Percy Island sweet potato - then he sawed it in half for the flesh, which he removed ready for the first mate to shred for future cooking projects. Dinner was delicious! With no TV reception - again - we watched one of the many recorded programs before retiring to bed.
Curlew Island was a "swelly" spot, and we were rocked all night, waking early on Tuesday morning and raising the anchor before 6am. Heading due north, the swell over the back quarter continued to make cruising "interesting", particularly as the Captain prepared bread for our lunch! We passed islands and waves, and counted 26 ships standing off Hay Point, before reaching the Egremont Channel just before 1:00. We dropped anchor just off Homestead Bay, at St Bees Island, and enjoyed hamburgers in fresh bread rolls for lunch before taking the dinghy on a cruise to the beach. We explored several of the shallow inlets along the channel, all with coarse, coral and shell covered beaches but all too shallow for Manookatoo to anchor in. There is a small resort development on Keswick Island, across the channel, but there didn't appear to be much happening there. Large turtles were frolicking in the water near us but apart from that it was all pretty quiet! With TV reception for the first time in a week we settled back to watch - but quickly decided we hadn't missed much!
After 12 days away from "civilization" it was time to restock the pantry and fill the water tanks. We could do longer without replenishing, but the first mate was also keen to see her daughter, so Mackay beckoned. We cruised out of the Egremont Channel just after 6am and headed west for the mainland. There was a slight swell as we cruised, reaching Mackay Harbour and tying up just before 9am. After breakfast, the first mate walked up to see Kirsty and borrow keys to her apartment and car - enabling us to do our washing and shopping at our own convenience, the marina being about 5km from town. We spent the rest of the day on our "chores", then Kirsty joined us on Manookatoo for an afternoon drink before we enjoyed dinner in the local Thai restaurant.

Our time in Mackay has been longer than expected, as the wind developed over the course of the week and weekend. This has given us ample opportunity to explore the local area, and to spend time with Kirsty! We have enjoyed meals and drinks in some of the local restaurants and pubs, including a lunch at the iconic Pacific Hotel in Eimeo, long walks along the foreshore and the breakwater, which protects the port and marina from cyclones to category 5, and the luxury of a car has enabled us to get not just groceries but other boat necessities as well as explore the local area. After a week in the marina, the Captain is ready to return to the sea tomorrow, but the First Mate will remain behind for a few days - Elton John arrives on Friday and she has a ticket to see him!

Captain's log Percy Island to Mackay
Distance 89.4 nautical miles
Fuel 109.1 litres
Cruising time 14 hours 25 minutes

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