We had plenty to do in five days, getting to know the boat for two of us, a bit more cleaning after the long lay-up, some repairing of minor niggles, storing ship. And we had to break a little ice as we joined twenty other rally boats, all of whom have been sailing together for as much as seven months.
Mackay is ok, a town busy with the coal, oil, and sugar terminals, and with a marina as a sideshow. Simon kept his hire-car, and drove us 80km up to Eungella National Park for a stupendous view of the Mackay valley, a glimpse of a platypus in the river, and a good walk up to a waterfall at Finch Hatton Gorge. The ARC organised a red-eye visit to the beach at Cape Hillsborough National Park to meet the wallabies and kangaroos who come to the shore at sunrise, apparently attracted by seaweed brought up on the tide. For us, we enjoyed a lovely sunrise and then took a chunk out of our life expectancy by consuming a substantial Australian breakfast.
Skippers’ briefing, and we’re ready for a slow procession up to Darwin, where the rally proper will restart.