Keppel Bay to Mackay – Part 1

After spending a most enjoyable 11 days exploring Keppel Bay and surrounds, it was time to continue north. 

The plan was to anchor at Port Clinton and then Island Head Creek. From there we would decide whether to anchor at either Hunter or Hexam Island, before heading to Middle Percy Island. From Middle Percy we’d anchor at Curlew Island before heading into Mackay Marina. 

As I started writing this blog, I realised I had too much content, so I decided to write it in two parts. Click to go straight to Part 2.

What was notable about the trip from Keppel Bay to Mackay was the entire journey involved us spending 9 days on anchor. This isn’t very long compared with what some cruisers do, but for us it was a record, since the most we’d ever spent on anchor before was 5 days! What it meant was we had to manage our water usage and have sufficient food provisions so we wouldn’t starve! 

Regarding water consumption, some of the practical things we did included:

  • Putting the initial cold water, when starting the shower, into a bucket to use when flushing the toilet
  • Having one, shorter shower per day
  • Generally washing dishes once a day, rather than every time we used them
  • Drinking more beer/wine than water!

I’ve added some key points about each anchorage we stayed at below and I’ll let the videos and photos tell the story!

Keppel Bay to Port Clinton - Wednesday 26 May

  • Approximately 45NM from Keppel Bay to Port Clinton and took us about 6 hours.
  • Scenery started to change, and continued to be spectacular
  • Very calm on anchor and no need for flopper stoppers. 
  • The night was spent here was the night of the lunar eclipse but no photo I took captured how it really looked – simply amazing. 
  • I needed to cover myself in Bushman’s spray to help ward off the sandflies, which seem to love me but leave Robert alone. 
  • Port Clinton and Island Head Creek are within the Shoalwater Bay Military Training area.  The area covers approximate 454,500 hectares and it’s important to check whether there are any military activities being conducted before you enter. 

Here’s a couple of short videos at Port Clinton.

These are some of my favourite photos from Keppel Bay to Port Clinton.

Port Clinton to Island Head Creek - Thursday 27 May

  • Approximately 23NM from Port Clinton to Island Head Creek and took us about 3 hours.
  • The weather turned, so we ended up staying for five nights, with winds reaching 25-30 knots in the creek. 

 I took an excessive number of photos (again), so here are some my favourites from Port Clinton to Island Head Creek. 

I’ve also made a slideshow of other photos because I couldn’t decide which ones to include!

Staying at Island Head Creek

We enjoyed wandering along the beautiful beach, watching the soldier crabs, the scenery and the serenity of Island Head Creek. Some people we’d met a few times before also told us about the “Internet Cafe”, an area around the rocks where you could stand and maybe get some signal. So off we went, hopeful, because we had experienced absolutely zero access. Robert climbed the rocks to see if he could get access. While I was taking photos, I got the familiar beeps associated with receiving emails and text messages. Voila…you don’t always have to go high for access. 

A boat neighbour gave us a couple of fish they’d caught, which were delicious lightly fried and couldn’t have been fresher, and we also enjoyed sundowners on the beach around a camp fire on Thursday and Friday night. But on the Friday night, Robert hurt his leg pushing the tender off the beach (likely torn calf muscle since I’ve had the same thing and knew the symptoms). But with the bad weather, staying at Island Head Creek gave him the opportunity to RICE his leg.

At the end of our stay, when we pulled in the bridle which attaches to the anchor, the shackle pin was bent, meaning it must have been under a great force with the water current. But simple fix, just use another shackle!

Where to next?

We complete our cruise to Mackay, via Hexam, Middle Percy and Curlew Islands.  Click to read Part 2.

3 Responses

  1. Great post. That reminds me, must add another shackle to the stairs kit for Sagitta. Thanks Pam.

  2. I am liking that song you put on. It has to be your theme song for this trip now! Nice to see and hear all about the areas. Thankyou

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *