The Elvin-Jensen's visit
Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Sat 11 Jul 2015 23:43
16:06.83s 145:49.63e The Elvin-Jensen’s visit
Tony, Kirsten and Carl flew into Cairns for a visit from Cape Town. Our plan was to spend as much time out on the Barrier Reef as possible, within weather constraints. We had been watching the weather nervously before they arrived, being mid-winter – the chances of perfect days without wind and/ or rain were slim. But Monday was looking fairly good, so after we settled them in on Sunday and grabbed a few extra provisions, we headed out. This map shows the approximate route we followed over the next 8 days.
Monday morning we set off from Marlin Marina, catching some mackerel before entering the no-catch zone around Michaelmas cay. This is the same tiny sand spit we visited last year with the giant and “tame” bat fish and GT’s, which did not disappoint. As soon as we got into the water they were swarming around us. We were thrilled to see how confident Carl was in the water – at 10, he is very comfortable in his snorkelling gear.
The next morning we wound our way through the reefs down to Arlington Reef – only 9nm away, but another fairly protected reef with decent snorkelling. Arlington is also a fishing zone, so Tony could haul out his spear-gun and try to find something for dinner. While he went hunting, Mike took Kirsten, Carl and I closer to the reef in the dinghy for more snorkelling. We saw lots of fish and coral, even though the visibility was not the best and the water was a little rough. While Tony had no success with his spear-gun, he certainly had a good work-out with close to 3 hours in the water!
Next morning we decided to head further out, and troll on the outside edge of the reef, heading north. However the wind and seas had picked up and were making the trip unpleasant. Mike decided to duck through between Bait and Tongue reef, looking for smoother water and then headed down to the protection of Low Isles. While we we looking for shelter, the massive tourist boats taking people from Port Douglas out to the reefs, continued their trade. Here is one of the biggest Quicksilver boats – a 45m wave-piercing catamaran that can reach speeds up to 35knots.
Low Isles is a delightful stop, with a few moorings between the two little islands. We spent two day here, waiting for the weather to settle. Tony did a bit of snorkelling, and we all did a lot of reading. Mike also took Carl to the edge of the mangroves in the dinghy, where they spotted many turtles, who enjoy the relative safety of the national park. This is a very popular destination for day visitors, but by 4pm they have all left and we headed to the island to stretch our legs for sun downers. The E-J’s had brought us fabulous gifts – TIME2 branded windbreakers – which were put to good use that evening.
Lovin’ those jackets! Carl getting into yet another book!
Low Isles - The wind died down and we had good weather again
On Friday we headed up to St Crispin’s Reef, looking forward to some good snorkelling and fishing. While Tony once again went out for hours with his speargun, but his only success was stolen by another fish. Kirsten, Carl and I enjoyed an excellent time on a large shallow bommie, with an abundance of fish and coral in great visibility.
Giant Clam Butterfly fish – always in pairs
That evening the boys fished off the back of the boat – and had a good time – all three catching something! While Carl caught an emperor, Tony got a mackerel and Mike a red bass. The latter was by far the most impressive, but had to be thrown back due to the risk of Ciguatera (a nasty reef fish disease)
The next morning, Mike boldly decide to take a short-cut through the reef. Tony and I were on look-out on the bow and up top, keeping watch for shallow water and bommies, while Mike slowly weaved his way out. Seems that I was the only one whose nerves were shot as we went through with “no dramas ...easy as!”
We now headed back to Low Isles, and had a very pleasant stop. The water was very calm and we all got into the water – spotting a good array of fish and some turtles. Carl and Tony providing some entertainment jumping off the side of the yacht!
The next morning we set off early for Port Douglas – we needed to get through the mouth of the river before 9am, due to our depth constraints and the tides.