I cannot believe we’re in Townsville and sometimes I feel like it’s all a dream, so pinch me!
What’s also amazing is to realise was that we left America’s Bay on 28 June 2020 for the first leg of our journey to Townsville (covered in my blog Brooklyn to Lake Macquarie) and we arrived in Townsville on 28 June 2021. Perfect planning or just a big coinkydink? (Coinkydink is a humorous informal alternative for coincidence and I’d never heard the word before 28 June, when I heard it twice from two different groups of people!)
This blog is about our cruise from Airlie Beach, where we stayed for a week after leaving Mackay. You can read about that cruise in my blog, Too many islands, too little time!
Airlie Beach to Cape Gloucester (23 June)
We left Airlie Beach at about 8:30am to go to Cape Gloucester, approx. 23NM and taking about 3 hours. The first video below is just as we left the marina and the second one is a slideshow of photos taken enroute.
Along the way we saw our first, and so far only, sea snake, and I was pretty amazed at the speed it travelled. Too fast for me to get a photo! However, some friends of ours who have an Ocean Alexander, and were travelling around Cape Grenville, had an interesting run in with a banded sea snake. One that had climbed the anchor chain and another that managed to get into their BBQ. I’m so glad we don’t have a BBQ on board! Below are some photos for you to see specific locations.
Cape Gloucester (24 June)
We had a great anchorage at Cape Gloucester (see above), so we decided to stay an extra night. We went ashore to check out the two of the resorts. Montes was only open for accommodation. Cape Gloucester Resort had recently closed due to end of lease, but was scheduled to reopen on 1 July. I’ve since heard that it’s got a great vibe.
Below are some photos I took. It looks like a relaxing holiday destination and a place we’ll visit again on our way south.
Cape Gloucester to Queen's Bay (25 June)
At 13NM miles north, our next destination was Queen’s Bay, just near Bowen and according to signage, the top of the Whitsundays.
We set our anchor but within 15 minutes, a boat came over to ask us to move a little. Film crew were busy filming a sequel to the 2010 Australian horror movie ‘The Reef’, which is called ‘The Reef: Stalked’. We were happy to oblige and moved a couple of hundred metres to be clear of their shots across the horizon. Since we hadn’t seen the first movie, we decided to watch it, so now we’re ready for when the sequel’s released!
These photos were taken enroute from Cape Gloucester to Queen’s Bay.
We decided to explore the Queen’s Bay area and take the opportunity to do some of the walks we’d heard about. Views were amazing and I hope the photos do it justice. We also enjoyed tea and cake at the Horseshoe Bay Cafe.
Queen's Bay to Cape Upstart (26 June)
Today was a longer trip, approx. 35NM and taking us about 4.5 hours, so we lifted the anchor early(ish) and set off. Along the way, we passed Abbot Point, Australia’s most northern coal export port, and had to be careful of the ships coming and going. I also found the rock formations amazing and probably took a few too many photos of them!
Cape Upstart to Cape Bowling Green (27 June)
It’s approx. 36NM from Cape Upstart to Cape Bowling Green, and about 4.5 hours. The nickname for Cape Bowling Green is ‘Cape Rolling Green’ – get the picture? And since we’d never been there, I decided to formulate my own opinion. I also took a few videos to show the anchorage at different times. But I didn’t take many photos along the way, mainly because the scenery was quite similar.
During our time on anchor at Cape Bowling Green, it started to live up to its nickname! We weren’t so much rolling back and forth, but rather ‘hobby-horsing’. This is pitching up and down with an unpleasantly sharp and rapid motion and we were a bit worried that our anchor might pull. But thankfully it didn’t, although the slap of wave against the hull was very loud, the motion uncomfortable, and we didn’t get much sleep. Here are a couple of videos.
Cape Bowling Green to Townsville
Our original plan was to go from Cape Bowling Green to Magnetic Island for a few days. However, I hadn’t been feeling 100% so we made the decision to head into Townsville earlier than planned.
Going to Townsville earlier ended up being a good decision because a couple of days later we went into a snap, 3-day lockdown and Breakwater Marina closed so people couldn’t come in, despite having a berth booked.
Had we followed the original plan and gone to Magnetic Island for three nights, we wouldn’t have been able to go into Breakwater Marina and we would have run out of water!
All’s well that ends well.
What happens next?
This is a good question! Our goal has always been to cruise to Townsville and after 12 months, 1500NM and a few border closures, we finally made it!
We’ve booked into the marina for about three months. During this time, we’re planning to cruise to Cairns, hopefully with company. We’re also continuing our boat projects (for example, we just replaced a dozen batteries), sightseeing in Townsville and surrounds, and discussing where we’ll go later this year.
There’s certainly a lot more to see around Queensland, so maybe we’ll be here for longer! Time will tell.