Dunk Island 17 55.980S 146 08.037E

Mike and Liz Downing
Sun 21 Jul 2013 11:48
Another 47 miles today, from Orpheus Island (in the Palm Isles) to Dunk Island (in the Family Isles). They were forecasting wind today - 10 to 15 kts increasing as the day went on. We started off with nothing and it got up to 10kts which allowed us to sail at 5kts for about 2 hours. Then it dropped away again to virtually nothing and it was another motor boat ride. After an overcast start, when Hinchinbrook Island, which we passed, was covered in cloud almost down to sea level, the sun came out and it was another beautiful afternoon motoring through the islands. While it was a lovely day for a motor boat ride, all this motoring hastens the day when the next service will be due and we try to put that off as long as possible. Had the Immigration appointments not been scheduled (we had to book well ahead to get an appointment), we would have stayed at Magnetic Island and waited for the trade winds to return. Trying to sail to a schedule never works! 
Just before Hinchinbrook we passed the Lucinda sugar terminal - no, not made of sugar, but made to bulk load sugar into ships. This is special because it has a long pier/conveyor belt reaching 3 miles out to sea to get into deep water for the ships to come alongside. Apparently this is so long that when built, allowances had to made to accommodate the curvature of the earth. There are huge areas of shallow water around this area of the coast. We motored for hours today across water no deeper than 35ft deep. 
Dunk Island is supposed to be one of the most typically tropical islands along the Great Barrier Reef, with rainforest and palm trees down to the waters edge and from what we can see, it does look very tropical, especially along the shoreline with lots of palm trees. It has, or had, one of the more up-market resorts. The island got a direct hit by cyclone Yasi in 2011 and the resort was wiped out. It has been closed ever since as the owner could not get insurance to rebuild it. From what we've read it appears there are now new owners and they are re-building. We can see new (or refurbished) buildings, but can also see some that are still derelict  According to the Internet, the resort is still closed. While we could see lush vegetation and palm trees along the shoreline as we arrived, we could also see that palm trees higher up were just tree trunks with all the leaves (fronds) blown away. The island is on its way to recovery, but it still shows the scars.  
It's finally getting warmer and for the first time since Fiji I'm writing this with a fan going! This is much more like it!