Papatura Island

Lars Alfredson
Thu 30 Jul 2015 04:55

2015-07-26 It’s a still day with no wind as we ease ourselves out of wreck creek to re-join the passage between the main reef and island of Isabella and head southeast along its coastline.

Entering the channel we pick up a rolling ocean swell and bob our way along trying to spot uncharted reefs and dodge the many unnamed and unmarked islands that pop up on the way.

It’s an eventful trip, rain showers that would normally send us below have to be endured as there are too many reefs. With the poor light they are almost impossible to spot until you’re on them and you have to look for tell-tale signs such as a slight bump in the water or, if you’re lucky, a regular breaking wave.

As the island closes in on us, the channel narrows to 500 metres and the wind picks up as it funnels through the gap, making for short sharp seas reminiscent of sailing on the Scottish Lochs. On the one side is a logging camp with its huts, jetty and machinery, the other, more mangroves and reef project from both of them.

There is a strong headwind now as we leave the shelter of the channel and the bottom has risen to around 25metres. The shallower sea just increases the wave height to make a very choppy sea.

At last skirting a large reef we spot the boats of the Papatura Island Retreat then the retreat itself, so we turn into the lea of its islands and the calmer waters they provide. Anchoring just offshore in 20 metres we spot the Bar and after lunch make landfall.

As we approach two dogs howl us ashore but after a talking to and a sniff they’re quite friendly. “Mine Host”, Bobby, is very welcoming, serving beers like a man with four arms, while we lounge getting more comfortable with each beer in our director style chairs.  The bar consists of two levels with a TV and a well-stocked Library on the upper level.

Everything is built of native material and in that style, not a concrete block in sight. The guest huts which are located along the beach front, like the rest of the buildings are open sided with drop down screens for privacy and all are interconnected by a raised wooden walkway.

Having set up our “Tab” and booked in for dinner, we return to put on our evening dress (Team T-shirts and shorts) and relax with a G&T before returning for dinner at 7:30.

Complimentary raw fish with Sashimi style is served at the Bar as we partake of a few pre dinner drinks. A splendid evening follows, Bobby joins us for dinner and later two of the other guests. The red wine flows like water and no sooner has one hit the bottom a new one appears quicker than you can say “Headache”.

We depart with a promise to return to explore the island its shoreline tomorrow.

Bob the Blog