Bundaberg to Mackay

Up inside the Great Barrier Reef, 300 miles to go, clear blue skies and a steady SE tradewind. I had 5 days in which to cover the distance and preferred to anchor overnight, so needed assistance from the engine in order to maintain speed and motor-sailed most of the way.

I sailed from Bundaberg on Saturday 21st July. 66 miles to Pancake Bay, a lovely sheltered anchorage, a group of youngsters having a party on the beach, far enough away to be entertaining rather disturbing; 70 miles to Great Keppel Island, passing Cape Capricorn at midday, so back in the tropics after almost 2 years, first flying fish since Tonga; 49 miles to Pearl Bay on the mainland, surrounded by hills and very peaceful, not a whisper of phone coverage; 57 miles to West Bay in the Percy Isles, a turtle the size of a coffee table watching me anchor; and the final 66 miles to Mackay, threading through a couple of dozen bulk carriers at anchor awaiting a load at the coal at Hay Point.

This is whale season and there were several to be seen. Suddenly dolphins are so everyday. I was minding my own business in the cockpit just short of the Percy Islands when there was a terrific crash from astern, and I was just quick enough to catch a humpback doing a belly flop 100 yards astern.

Simon Ashworth and Douglas Nethery joined the ship at Mackay.

Best wishes to all,

Donald.