Playing Explorers – The Percy Isles

For our third post in the Playing Explorers series, we take you to the mecca for all cruising vessels: The Percy Islands. The Percy’s combine attractive beaches, glorious anchorages and spectacular scenery. They are a favourite stopover point for many passing sailors and we certainly can see why. We spent nearly a week there and loved it!

Getting there from the Duke Islands can be a lively affair. With the strong tidal flows and SE trade winds, you can encounter some rather boisterous conditions: wind over tide always does it! Look at those conditions. No we did not get seasick, but Bengie hid in the linen cupboard.

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The main spots we anchored at were Rocky Shelf Bay on South Percy, a stunning spot we had to ourselves, Blunt Bay on North East Percy and West Bay on Middle Percy where we stayed several days, such was the appeal. Middle Percy is leased to a couple who live permanently on the island in a self-sufficient manner with two or three other men spending a few months of the year there. Their hospitality and willingness to share the history of the island were particularly enjoyable.

After being restricted with shore walks during the past couple of weeks, it was heaven to be able to go for bush walks each day on South and Middle Percy.

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South Percy red ochre cliffs

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Anchored at South Percy


Walking to Rescue Bay, Middle Percy

The wildlife was special too. Every morning we watched the local Brahminy Kite fish in the bay, a spectacular sight. And in the afternoon, whales frolicked and we were treated to whale songs for the first time! Their songs varied from high pitch sounds, to clicks and deep growls – a haunting experience.

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Brahminy Kite fishing for bait fish with a tuna!

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Bengie has been having fun too, going for early morning beach wanders daily, so much so that she frets if we don’t put her harness on quickly enough after we have fed her!


Only one thing missing in our daily routine: we are in a state of withdrawal when it comes to snorkeling!

Here are a few more seascapes we enjoyed.


West Bay, Middle Percy


Inside the lagoon at West Bay

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Passage between South and Middle Percy

We left the Percys on 18 August, headed for Curlew Island to shelter for a few days from a strong southwesterly change, then are sailing to Mackay back on the mainland to reprovision.

17 thoughts on “Playing Explorers – The Percy Isles

  1. Wow! Choppy waters!…then, serene waters! It’s so beautiful. Lovely photos Chris. Take care! 🙂

    • Hi Lisa – very little snorkeling to be had. The water is so murky there is no visibility and the only coral we have seen was at Hexham and a little bit at Rescue Bay on Middle Percy. But keeping well and having fun!

    • It would be hard… they struggle to be self-sufficient but make a trip to the mainland every couple of months. They have to generate their own power, collect rain water, run a big vegie garden and orchard… they kill the odd goat and kangaroo, fish and get a few dollars from visitors buying honey, chutney and goat pies like us! Tough we reckon but close to nature!

  2. And the marmalade – don’t forget the marmalade – lime – delicious! (and great as the filling for muffins). They are a great couple. Did you get to see all the butterflies on the track between the house and Whites Bay?

    • Hi Trish – Saw the butterflies on the way to Rescue Bay. They are everywhere on the islands we visit! Left the marmalade alone for this time, may be on the return trip!

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