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?
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.
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.
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.