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Friday, May 18, 2012

May 17 – 18, 2011 - Airlie Beach to Cape Gloucester – Monte’s Resort

Winds in the anchorage at Airlie beach gave us a clear indication that we would enjoy a good sail up to Cape Gloucester. Weighing anchor at around 9:00 AM, then bucking clear of the bay we drank the wind! Destiny cruised a nice 7 – 8.5 knots up to the Cape enjoying 25+ knot winds from the SE. The days are becoming more partly cloudy than sunny as we near the tropical area of North Queensland. Rains are coming in scattered patterns leaving us just enough blue sky to catch patches of the beauty of these waters. The hues run from turquoise green to aqua blue, interchangeably.

Approaching Cape Gloucester we hit a fairly strong headwind that was whipping around the island and through the channel. The chop made for a bumpy ride around the point and into the very shallow bay. We carefully picked our way around cardinal buoys marking the shallows. We could not get closer to shore than about 100 yards before registering 4 feet under the keel. It is mid-rising tide now, which clearly indicated we needed to back away. The deepest spot we found to drop the hook was in 8 feet (under the keel).  Although there was a fair bit of wind in this anchorage, the chop was erratic but slight given the shallow depths. We donned resort attire, put on our reef-walkers (carrying our dress flip-flops), and went to shore for lunch at Monte's Resort, which is a lovely bungalow-style getaway situated on a pretty sand beach. We spent the afternoon there. The food was outstanding. The resort personnel welcomed us as though we belonged. Later on, we walked the beach and then when it looked like we would soon lose our sun, and the incoming tide might float the dinghy we returned to Destiny for the night. We considered sticking around this little paradise for another day, but the urge to get a move on and catch up with Scallywag was more compelling. We would need another early start tomorrow to make the next stop before sundown. The days are getting shorter much faster as winter approaches, making dayhops strategic. Most anchorages in these parts are very swelly/rolly and exposed, so to find one that is bearable we have to often stretch ourselves, pushing the daylight hours, and testing these unpredictable winds.

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