Ups and Downs

We made it back to the Keppels after three and a half days of spinnaker sailing and are now 220 nm south of the Whitsundays! 

Southwards --0304

Big O was on the job all the way!

As soon as we arrived at North Keppel, we went snorkeling at Sloping Island, a beautiful site for different coral species, varied anemones and their little residents… such a delight!


Varied corals




Black back anemonefish


Blackback anemonefish

Next stop was Humpy Island. We did the ridge walk for great views of the Keppel group and it was not too arduous… superb! Here are three panoramas We took from the top, each comprising about 7 or 8 shots stitched together.



We moved on to magic Monkey Beach on Great Keppel Island where Sue had “the best experience of her life” snorkeling through thousands of fish. It is such an amazing site! Turtles, rays, schools of different fish big and small… Awesome does not come close to describing the feeling of being surrounded by swarms of little fish!


Green Sea Turtle swimming by


Sue mesmerised by the schools of tiny little fish


Fish highway!


Hundreds of little pullers


It is good to stand out, be different and go your own way!


Whatever these are, there are thousands of them!

But then things turned sour just as we were plotting a trip to the reef.  Our 15 year old Maxwell anchor winch gave up the ghost… ghastly grinding sounds came from the totally corroded motor and then it just stopped. “Terminal said Wade!” So instead of heading to the reef, we are at Keppel Bay Marina! The new winch was ordered on Wednesday and will arrive today, a speedy but horribly expensive exercise. There was the small matter of getting the old seized one off and fitting the new model in the existing hole. A small degree of swearing happened, but it went surprisingly smoothly.

And it’s off!

The old winch in pieces!

The duality of boat ownership: we love them one day and hate them the next! But we have to be grateful for small mercies. This happened close to town, not 50 miles offshore at an isolated reef!

12 thoughts on “Ups and Downs

  1. Oh Chris, we feel for you! We know all about anchor winches suddenly not working…. Weather depending, at the rate you are travelling, you may just catch up to us….

    • Hi Trish – worse place to be than at Rosslyn Bay! We will hang around in the Keppels a little while longer with the hope to do a run to the reef, as once we go south from here there is nothing much of interest other than Yellow Patch. Sue will fly back to Sydney from Bundaberg when we get there! Where are you now?

      • Hi Chris, We have just anchored off kingfisher Resort, Fraser Island. We ended up spending three weeks in the Keppel Bay Marina – we would have preferred more time at the island. We came south via Mast Head (didn’t land), Lady Musgrave and Bundaberg. There was an amazing light show across the Great Sandy Straits last night….

      • Fortunately no. We were expecting interstate visitors, went in a few days early so we didn’t come in in rough weather and then after purposefully extending a day saw that the forecast was going to get a bit nasty and decided in bad weather we would rather be tied to a dock and be able to get off boat than sit in the swell and be stuck.

      • Fair enough! We might stay a couple more days longer for a similarly nasty weather forecast. Hoping to head off early next week.

  2. Wow, the winch was really gone! Glad it was swapped out quickly. Big O was looking beautiful and the fish down there are explosive with colours! ❤️

    • Hi John – yes the winch was well and truly defunct! Just as well it happened here and luckily we are in a marina while the wind is blowing too hard to be out on the reef anyway!
      Our snorkels in the Keppel Isles were stunning. Monkey Beach in particular was probably the best ever for the quantity of fish!

  3. Hey Wade, That anchor chain looks as fat as your arm! Trust its just the camera perspective.
    Great shot of Big O. Hard to better those downhill runs

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