Not all the adventures of our contributors are pond related, but this one is definitely aquatic!

Nan and Dave Bailey
Sail North Queensland's
Gorgeous Coast

by Nan Bailey
Kuranda, Queensland, Australia
Click images to enlarge

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Our yacht Iceni is a 9 meter Farrier trimaran, which has folding floats so it can go on a trailer. It took my husband David five years to build the yacht and the trailer to fit it. He launched her in late June of 2005. In between trips, she lives in the shed. In December 2005, we embarked on a several weeks sail up and down Queensland Australias east coast. Dave calls us "Grey Nomads of the Sea".

In the picture at the left, we were moored off the beach at Fitzroy Island, near Cairns, on Christmas day. It is a beautiful, mountainous island with coral sand beaches on the protected western side. There are some very nice fringing coral bommies where you can snorkel and look at the coral and reef fish, but they aren't as beautiful as the outer reefs. It was a lovely peaceful Christmas day. The mainland is in the background.

Fitzroy Island above and below




Coordinates for Fitzroy Island are 16° 56' 09.71" S, 145° 59' 00.05" E 

We headed north to Port Douglas and Low Isles, which are very pretty islands just east of Port Douglas. There are thousands of the white and black Torres Straight Pigeons living on the long low island. Each morning they fly off to the mainland to feed, and when they are nesting, they fly back and forth several times a day. I find it incredible the huge distances these pigeons fly.

The light house on the larger island is unmanned now, but when we sailed up here for the first time in 1979, it was a manned light and we were shown through by the keeper. Most of the Barrier Reef is now National Park, so you can't fish, but you can snorkel in most areas.

There is a four foot Turrum living there, the biggest I have ever seen. They are deep bodied fish that are not too wide, with high domed heads, fast and good sport to catch on a line. It came swimming around our boat after the tourist boats went back to Port Douglas.   

Low tide at Port Douglas. The Jabiru is Australias only stork. It has a black and white body, dark heavy beak and bright red legs. They are usually solitary and not seen frequently. He got upset when the kite tried fishing round his spot. The Brahminy Kite has large russet wings and body with a white head. They are common in this environment. This is looking north towards Cape Tribulation, with Port Douglas on the point behind us. There is a creek where they have now built a fancy marina. 
We spent New Year's Day in Port Douglas. This Chinese junk is now used for taking tourists out to Low Isles, but when we cruised in the Pacific in 1981, we met the couple who owned it in Honiara, Solomons. The lady used to run a ham radio base from it. She maintained a watch for traveling yachties, gave weather forecasts, and kept schedules for boats in passage.

< This is the Quicksilver fast cat, which travels from Cairns to Port Douglas and out to the outer barrier Reef. Port Douglas is in the background. Coordinates are 16° 29' 02.01" S, 145° 27' 33.92" E.
Then we headed back south, making a day trip to Upollo Cay. On the way, near Yorkeys Knob, we sailed right around a huge ocean liner from Hamilton called Diamond Princess. It looked very new and state of the art, and made our boat look like a gnat beside an elephant.

Anchored off Upollo Cay

We sailed past Green Island, a very popular tourist destination within easy reach of Cairns (below left).

Upollo Cay (below center) is northeast of Cairns and it really tickled my fancy seeing the umbrellas on such a tiny island. This is a very popular spot for snorkeling and diving. As you can imagine, there isn't anything left at high tide.


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