Playing Explorers – Offshore Islands

For the second post in our “playing explorers” series, we take you to some of the islands off the coast of the Shoalwater Bay area. Island hopping is a favourite pastime of ours and we have enjoyed meandering around with no set destination in mind, just a spirit of adventure.

As we mentioned in the last post, there is a multitude of islands in this region yet few yachties frequent them, preferring to go straight to the well-travelled Percy’s and Whitsundays. But when you have time, why not see what the region has to offer?

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We have circled on the chart the islands we have visited and referred to in this post. Having now seen a sample of these, in all honesty in future we would use some of them as stopovers, but are not enamored with the sea conditions, murky waters and shore options or lack of.

None of the anchorages are totally comfortable because strong currents are forever present. Sailing is lively and your boat moves around a fair bit even at anchor. Being on a catamaran has a significant advantage, giving greater stability. If you like fishing, then this region is heaven. We have caught big fish that have fed us and the pussycat for days! If you want to swim and snorkel comfortably with good visibility, then you will be disappointed. The sea is full of sediment. You won’t see anything in the water a meter away – which is a concern when the skipper is a wee bit obsessive about sharks and crocs. None spotted though! As for walking on the islands, this is limited to the beaches, either because the islands are covered in heavy scrub – potential for snakes I hear from you know who, or private pastoral leaseholders restrict access beyond the high water mark.

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Barren Marble Island, in the Dukes

Can we hear you say: “told you so”?  Okay, okay, but we like exploring and we told you we love island hopping! We had a lot of fun mapping out our courses, researching the islands and navigating these waters. We are glad to have seen these islets which are all different in vegetation, scenery and feel. We rate Hexham Island as the highlight, followed by Marble Island in the Duke Isles.

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Beautiful anchorage at Hexham

The larger Percy Islands where we spent nearly a week will be the subject of our next post in the Playing Explorers series. These have legendary status.

Here is a sample of our island hopping so far.

14 thoughts on “Playing Explorers – Offshore Islands

  1. The islands are beautiful however they are so deserted from people. Your photos are very good Chris. 🙂

  2. Wonderful photos, beautiful area. Lovely to see. You did have fun. My contact details do not come up now for some weird reason

  3. love the photo of Bengie. We can’t wait to follow in your footsteps, but for us may have to wait until next season. The only island in that group that we’ve been to was Marble Island, where we did bounce around at anchor (in a thunderstorm!!!). Oh, and then we managed to get our ‘lively’ sail back toward Pancake Creek by crossing (accidentally) into the Active Military Play Zone (missing a bomb target by a matter of feet – metal pole sticking out of water – I hate to think what was below the surface and how close we got to it). Be careful of big fish for pussy cat though – cats are particularly susceptible to ciguatera. xxx

    • Hi Trish – finally got your comment on top of Digby Island. Yes the Shoalwater area is military training… we kept away as they have notices to Mariners for live bombing on Triangular Is. thanks for the reminder about the fish…

  4. Great pics …. and that anchorage at Hexam looks idyllic! Nice to have it all to yourselves eh?

    • Hi Elgar – yes we liked zHexham and were able to go ashore and climb the hill for a good view! Always great when we find a spot to ourselves!

  5. Hope you are both as relaxed as the beastie. Warmth, blue skies and good eats -what more could you want?

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