Provisioning and laundry done, we left Townsville and its shallow, noisy and busy Duck Pond, and headed for the western side of Magnetic Island, spending the night at Young Bay, then sailed under spinnaker to Rattlesnake Island the next day.
With a name like Rattlesnake and the fact that this island is used for target practice by the navy, you could be forgiven for wondering ‘why the hell are they going there’! Well the captain wanted to see it… Aye aye captain! We did spot a Manta Ray as we were getting ready to anchor which was the highlight at this barren island. We could not wonder ashore beyond the beach, for fear of getting blown up! So we had a brief snorkel at low tide which despite the algae had some interesting hard corals and we ended up spending a pleasant enough afternoon floating in the sunshine. But Rattlesnake Island won’t rate as one of our good finds!
Orpheus Island, on the other hand, was a real hit! We got there under spinnaker again – it is such a cruisy way to go and everyone is pretty relaxed, even the pussycat!
We first anchored in Hazard Bay in beautiful clear water, welcome by a manta ray then visited by a whale. Now we are talking! The island is fringed by coral reefs and despite being close to the mainland there is some attractive snorkeling to do here in reasonably clear water. Not many fish, but lots of interesting and brightly coloured corals as you can see from the slide show. Swipe left to move through the images.
We had a few great days at Orpheus and made friends with L’Océanne, a 41 Lagoon crewed by Jose and Corinne, a French couple originally from New Caledonia. It was great fun chatting in French, sharing a few meals and teaching each other some new tricks! We have recently bought a drone (a Mavic Air) but had not had the opportunity to learn how to use it. Jose taught Chris the basics on the beach at Pioneer Bay.
In exchange for this, we taught them how to use their spinnaker! We went out nearly all the way to Hinchinbrook, showing them how to rig up the beast, launch it, set and reset the sail at different angles and douse it. We went through this a few times, to be sure to be sure. And to our great delight, they left today and texted us “We’ve done it” with a photo of the spinnaker flying all the way to Dunk Island!
And as if it was not enough for a day, we also had fun snorkeling over the true Giant Clam garden to see the Tridacna giga, a threatened species of clams that were cultured in the 1980’s at Pioneer Bay, to combat their near extinction. But that’s another story… which will have to wait for the next post!