August 16, 2009

Cairns and Beyond

We've stayed in Cairns before and found it be simply a tourist conduit for the Great Barrier Reef, so we only popped in to run some errands and to buy some fuel.


We also needed to do quite a bit of printing for our schoolwork, so rather than anchor in the duck pond in the main river we booked a berth at the Marlin Marina where we could access shore power. The marina was OK, but not particularly friendly and surprisingly - and annoyingly - lacked any kind of chandlery.

What did amaze us was the shorefront development that has sprung up since our last visit. We had previously found Cairns' night life to be somewhat dull (always excepting the excellent Kanis seafood restaurant), but now the waterfront is ablaze with interesting pubs, restaurants and cafes and local people having a good time.


We had a great time at the bar there and met a lot of interesting people, but our chores were done and there was no reason to stay so we cast off and motored back out of the river. Unbeknownst to us, the Alana Rose, which has been a week or two ahead of us all the way up the coast, had returned to Cairns to repair some electronics, so we must have passed within a hundred metres of them on our way out without noticing. That was a shame, because we've only ever spoken to Nancy and John via email and it would have been great to meet them in the flesh.

Out in the channel, we discovered that yes, there was still no wind at all. We really wanted to make some northing, so we resigned ourselves to a day of motoring in the stifling heat.

As well as a few whales, which surfaced to breathe but which otherwise didn't show themselves, we came across another of those yellow swimming snakes, which decided after a while that it didn't like the look of us and dived vertically downwards.


As evening fell it was clear that the situation was not going to improve, an opinion which was backed by the GRIB data that I downloaded which did, however, intimate that things might improve on the morrow.

Rather than burn fuel all night, we checked the chart for likely anchorages and settled on the Low Islets, which are really just a mangrove swamp sticking out of the sea. Naturally we arrived in full dark, to find a good sprinkling of yachts already there - including a large number of unlit tourist punts, which our Lucas cruising guide had warned us about - and found some swinging room at the back in about 12 metres of water on a sand and coral bottom.

Bronwyn magically produced a full roast lamb dinner with all the trimmings. I don't know how she does that.

In the morning, there still wasn't any wind.



1 comment:

Skipper said...

bahahahahah. miiiint sauuuuce