After three weeks at the Southern Reef, we came back inshore to the Keppel Isles. We anchored at Great Keppel Island and stayed there only for a few days, just long enough to catch our breath.
There is always quite a bit to see at the Keppels – refer to our magazine article Keppel Magic published a few years back. But having been here with Greg and Ann before, we kept our stay short and sweet this time.
There were some fun moments though. We were anchored at Leekes Beach and sent Greg & Ann out on their first kayak expedition: up to Leekes Creek tidal lagoon.
This is always an interesting spot to explore at mid to high tide, as the salt water creek meanders through the mangroves. At low tide it dries out. Ann had never kayaked before and was looking like she was going out to sea when she first started paddling from Anui. Greg kept calling “follow me” while taking off in the opposite direction! We thought we might have to send the dinghy for a rescue, but they got the hang of it and disappeared up the creek with a paddle.
This is what Leekes Creek looks like from the air. This is at near low tide, so the water has receded.
We did the compulsory two hour bush walk from the anchorage: along the beach, following the dried up lagoon to the Homestead at the end of the mud flats, then up the hill to the lookout and back, just enough to stretch our legs and deserve an afternoon nap back on board afterwards! You can just about see our path on the panoramic aerial shot above.
Tidy Up & Restock
As usual there is always something to fix. Our anemometer, a device that measures wind speed and direction at the top of the mast, has been a little haphazard. The bearings may well have gone. Wade used a calm day to get winched to the top of the mast and investigate. A spray with silicone seems to have helped and he took the opportunity to also spray the mainsail track on the way down. We will order a set of bearings just in case!
Anui was a bit crusty from a lot of salt spray on the outside and from our salty bodies inside, so a big wipe down with fresh water was called for.
Of course the usual laundry and provisioning excursion to the mainland at Emu Park was also needed. We like going there and tend to get up at stupid o’clock to make the trip from Great Keppel. We anchor at Fisherman’s Beach, dinghy to shore and the chores all get done over a morning and a few back and forth trips: fuel, food, laundry at the caravan park, getting rid of rubbish… Then it’s lunch at the local cafe, and we are ready to move on!
North we go
On Tuesday, it was time to head north towards Pearl Bay and the Percy Islands, which we might use as a launching point for more outer reef adventures, or for the Southern Whitsunday Islands if the weather is not right for the Reef.
We had a fast screecher sail from Pearl Bay to the Percies. It is often a lively stretch of water with big 7-8 meter tides and lots of current. With 20 knots of breeze, some swell and a following sea with lots of white caps Greg and Ann got to experience a more rowdy sail. Top speed 16 knots… not quite our speed record but still fun!
We reached the Percies on Wednesday and anchored at West Bay, Middle Percy Island in rolly conditions as usual. So we won’t stay for long, just enough for a couple of walks ashore and restock of island honey. Our next move is weather dependent as always: either to the outer reef or to the Southern Whitsunday Islands. We’ll see what happens!