Our next hop of about 12 miles among the Southern Whitsundays takes us to Brampton and Carlisle Islands. We had a gorgeous sail from St Bees in very light conditions, which we are finding Anui excels at. We had only 8 knots true wind and doing 5 or 6 knots speed under main and screecher. We would never have sailed this in Take It Easy, we would have motored.
We anchored on the northern side, next to Pelican Islet. It is a scenic bay with a few spots ashore to explore, although with the stormy weather forecast we had to wait a while. We arrived in sunny calm conditions, but that soon changed with strong SE winds returning. It made for striking views of the tormented sky over the teal water.
Brampton and Carlisle islands are separated by a shallow reef called Brampton Roads, which becomes too shallow to navigate at low tide, even by dinghy. Both islands are heavily treed. There used to be a resort on Brampton Island, but as is often the case, the cost of maintaining it, particularly when cyclones hit, and the difficulty in attracting tourists there meant it closed a few years ago. There are very overgrown walking tracks but well worth the effort for the views from the lookouts but also the staggering quantity and variety of butterflies. Thousands of them were flying around us. Poor Wadie had to put up with me taking lots of photos of them.
Here is a gallery of butterflies. The names are in caption. Click on the first image to scrawl through each one in full screen and see the beautiful details.
When we finished our walk we were covered with burrs, the tide was right out, but we managed to get the dinghy back in deep water without too much hassle.
Although there is fringing reef all around the islands, it is covered with algae and weed such as the funnel weed with its fan shaped fronds. Being very close to the mainland and exposed to runoff rich in nutrients, the algae has taken over and preventing coral growth. We did have a snorkel when the conditions were calm because as we have previously observed, there is always beauty to be found in the most unexpected spots. A bonus of being in very shallow water is that you can let yourself rest on the sandy bottom, and stay motionless, quietly waiting for fish to come to you. And a few did, to our delight. Beaked Coral Fish and Bengal Sergeants were the bravest, coming very close to investigate.
We stayed tucked in for a few days waiting for the strong southeasterly to pass but really enjoyed ourselves here. Our next post will take us to Goldsmith Island where we hope to have better internet coverage. It has been frustrating to be out of contact with friends and family. We respond to messages and comments whenever we can, but coverage is intermittent at best, so please bear with us.