Getting to the Percy Isles from the Keppels is rarely totally pleasant. Once you leave the Keppels, the ocean state is affected by big tides: 7 to 9 meters. So you can expect that during part of your passages, the tide will be against the wind and if the wind is fresh it will get pretty uncomfortable! The sailing has been lovely and fast but lively.
The large estuaries – Port Clinton, Shoalwater Bay, Broad Sound, Thirsty Sound – produce the biggest tides and fastest tidal streams on the East Coast of Australia with sharp steep seas. There is a definitive tidal border around the Shoalwater/Broad Sound area where south of the area the rising tidal stream runs north and the ebb stream runs south. Whereas north of the area the tide floods south and ebbs north. And guess where the two directions collide? Between Cape Townshend and the Percy Group!
A couple of years ago we explored the many islands in this area at length. To read about it do a search on ‘Playing Explorers’ – there are four posts in the series. This year, we felt we did not need to repeat the experiment. Apart from the huge tides, the water is milky, making snorkeling or spearfishing a risky pursuit. Sharks, crocs might lurk down below – bad, bad plan to swim in these waters! So we went straight to the Percy Isles.
West Bay at Middle Percy is where we paused for a week. It is a popular anchorage. We counted 17 boats at one stage, but few stay. It is a constant stream of yachts coming and going, generally only staying for a night then moving on. Despite its popularity as a stopover the anchorage is not the most comfortable spot. You get tossed around in the tide and breeze – good to be on a cat! It is a pretty place though, so again: lovely but lively! Between the walks ashore, taking Bengie for her morning beach wanders, the chats with other yachties, fishing, playing with photos, reading, life has been quite laid back.
We even got the drone out for shots of the little lagoon where a few boats were sheltered among the mangrove, high and dry at low tide. Definitely not a spot for Anui. And a schooner belonging to the new lease owners is also tucked in there, precariously held in place with ropes to the shore including lines from the mast to stop the whole thing from leaning over!
It was good to fly the drone at last, but Chris was so rusty after nearly 10 months of not using it! It was like starting to learn all over again. Here are a few aerial shots, taken on a fairly windy day, so not too bad!
But what got us to stay longer than originally planned was meeting up with another couple on a 46ft cat, Wind Song, who were keen kite surfers. We really hit if off with Simon and Amanda and took this rare opportunity to go kite surfing for the first time in a couple of years while the wind was blowing hard. We had great fun at Rescue Bay, having taken the dinghies all the way there on a wet and wild ride in 20-25 knot winds! Here is a slide show. Amanda and Simon were taking turns on the blue kite on the first day and yellow one on the second day; Wade was on the red kite, while Chris was on the camera!
Finally, on Thursday, we left Middle Percy Island and sailed 65 nm north to Scawfell Island, in the Southern Whitsundays. This is where we will be for a few days as it is again blowing hard!