Should you serve bolognaise with rice? This question arose during our recent cruise with our son and his girlfriend. A second, related question, was should you serve beef curry with pasta? Perhaps you’re getting a feel for what might have happened!
While we’ve been busy in Townsville, we also wanted to explore further north. Initially, we thought we’d travel to Cairns with our son and his girlfriend – I mentioned this in my blog Pinch me – we’re in Townsville – however their work commitments and finding a suitable weather window saw us modify this plan. Instead, we had a five-day cruise that would take us north to Dunk Island and see us circumnavigate Hinchinbrook Island. The original plan was to stay overnight at Rattlesnake Island, but this is a military training zone and they were doing live firing on the day we expected to be there.
Read on for details of our cruise, photos, and the answer to the above question.
Day 1, Townsville to Orpheus Island
The first leg of our cruise was about 45NM and took about 6 hours. We left Townsville at 9:30am and the weather was OK, but we experienced a bit of ‘side-on’ swell after leaving the protection of Magnetic Island and until we reached Great Palm Island. This caused us to rock side-to-side and for those ‘landlubbers’ amongst us, caused some seasickness.
When we arrived at Orpheus Island, we were able to pick up a spare mooring in Hazard Bay, with glimpses of Orpheus Island Lodge in the distance. We also noted quite a few helicopters flying guests to/from the lodge. It was a very calm place to stay and we didn’t need the flopper stoppers. While fish were nibbling, we were unsuccessful in catching one big enough to keep!
Dinner was BBQ chicken, potatoes and salad.
Here are photos of our cruise from Townsville to Orpheus Island.
Day 2, Orpheus Island to Gayundah Creek, Hinchinbrook Island
Day 2 saw us heading about 26NM (approx 3.5 hours) up the Hinchinbrook Channel. Since we had to enter the channel near Lucinda on a flood tide (rising tide), we timed our departure from Orpheus Island to be around 10:15am, a leisurely start to the day.
World Heritage listed Hinchinbrook Island was a complete change of scenery to what we’d experienced previously. A wikipedia article describes it as “a ‘wilderness area’, wild and rugged with soaring mountainous peaks.” And the mountain peaks are frequently cloud-covered.
The port of Lucinda, 110km north of Townsville, is operated by the Lucinda Bulk Sugar Terminal. The jetty, at 5.76km long, is the longest in the southern hemisphere. There are some impressive stats that you can read about provided by Wanderers Holiday Village.
But what was also important was the crocodile danger and we kept the cats mostly inside the boat, rather than on the decks. We also experienced literally 100s of midges, and the inside lights were black with them. I had to vacuum up the dead ones the next day!
Dinner was lamb shoulder and vegetables.
Here are photos and a video of our cruise from Orpheus to Hinchinbrook Island.
Day 3, Gayundah Creek to Dunk Island
On day 3, we headed north to Dunk Island. We left early, as we wanted to arrive at Dunk Island with time to go to the beach. It was about 30NM, taking just under 4 hours. Along the way we stopped and had a chat about the midges with people off Ciao Bella. Later in the day, we caught up with Amandine and Wade from Moonlight Lady for sundowners.
Day 3 was ‘Italian-themed’ with pizza for lunch and bolognaise sauce and pasta for dinner. I’d prepared the bolognaise sauce before we left and froze it to make an easy meal. But I didn’t check the label properly and heated up beef curry that I’d also prepared ahead of time. Of course, beef curry is chunky with a completely different look, smell and taste to bolognaise sauce, and how I didn’t realise before it was too late I simply don’t know! But I heated the curry, cooked the pasta and then noticed it was the ‘wrong’ combination. Nevertheless, it tasted delicious.
Even though I usually have surplus pasta in my pantry, on this occasion I didn’t and this led to a lengthy discussion about serving bolognaise sauce with rice (intended for the curry). Perfectly fine in my opinion, but others on the cruise felt that you couldn’t possibly serve this combination.
Here are photos of our cruise from Gayundah Creek, Hinchinbrook Channel to Dunk Island.
Day 4, Dunk to Orpheus Island, via Zoe Bay
Ever vigilant about the weather, we modified our plans to cruise to Zoe Bay for a few hours (instead of overnight) and then go on to Orpheus Island. This was because anchoring overnight at Zoe Bay would have been too rocky (despite using our flopper stoppers) and wouldn’t have been pleasant. Also, the weather for the Monday & Tuesday was not looking so good, so our plan was to return to Townsville Monday instead of staying at Magnetic Island and returning Tuesday.
I was particularly keen to walk to Zoe Falls, about 20 minutes from the beach, so we left Dunk Island early for a long and fantastic, day. We travelled for about 6.5 hours and covered around 50NM.
As we cruised from Dunk Island to Zoe Bay, we passed by Bedarra, Wheeler, Coombe, Smith, Bowden and Hudson Islands, referred to as the Family Islands.
Here’s a slideshow and some photos of our cruise from Dunk Island to Zoe Bay. Then I’ve included photos of our walk to Zoe Falls, which was very popular and I was somewhat surprised that there were at least a dozen others at the falls.
The water temperature was cool, but when we felt the water that was falling off the rocks, it was really warm. I guess the warmth of the rocks naturally heats it.
After our visit to Zoe Falls, we headed back to Poseidon, upped the anchor and headed back to Orpheus Island. This was a very good decision as it was a much calmer anchorage. We didn’t get a mooring so we dropped the anchor a little south of where we stayed on day 1.
Regan even caught the biggest fish of the whole cruise, but decided to let it live to swim again rather than bleeding and filleting it.
Dinner Sunday night was lamb with spinach and feta wrapped in pastry and vegetables. This was because the others didn’t want my bolognaise with rice! And I should note, this was only an option because we’d decided to return to Townsville early (due to impending windy weather).
Day 5, Orpheus Island to Townsville
The trip back to Townsville – basically the reverse of the route from day 1 – was quite rough at least until we were inside Magnetic Island. When we were nearing Palm Island, we saw our friends Peter and Alex on Perseides II on AIS and then had a short chat with them on the VHF radio. As we approached Townsville, it was also raining and quite hard to see Castle Hill!
Where to next?
We’ve made the decision to stay in Townsville until the end of this year.
This is motivated in part because it’s a great location at the marina alongside The Strand and adjacent to the swimming pool. We’ve also got use of a car, and our son and his girlfriend live here. But also, with the lockdowns ongoing, various locations, such as the Whitsundays and further south, being very busy, and uncertainty about when borders will re-open, it feels like a good choice for us.