We left Great Keppel island early in the morning as the wind had shifted East-South East and made for an uncomfortable and potentially unsafe anchorage.
We weren’t the first to go, by dawn four other boats had moved on. We made our passage down to Cape Capricorn, just about ON the tropic of Capricorn! Another yacht from GKI was already anchored there and we had heard great things about this lovely spot. We gazed up at the old railway which used to cart all the provisions to the lighthouse. A very steep incline to say the least!
Alan Lucas says this place is remarkably unaffected by swell, even in established SE winds. That’s great but by now our wind had shifted and was staying firmly in the East- North East. A very, very unpleasant night at anchor, rolling and lurching in the greasy swell. Not much sleep had by any of the three yachts sharing the bay.
Our neighbours from GKI (Ocean Addict:a Jeaneau 43 DS) left just after daylight. The other yacht headed north. We waited for the wind to abate and left around nine am. The first hour of rounding Cape Capricorn was long and slow. Riding up the swells and down. It seemed to take ages. Once clear we could set a better course south and were much more comfortable. A double reefed main and one reef in the headsail were all we needed for comfortable sailing. Comfortable but not a pretty day, grey clouds and a lumpy unhappy sea.
We revised our plans and headed through the East Channel for Gladstone Harbour. Last time we were here the harbour looked busy but now it looks about three times more hectic!
There’s heaps of industrial development going on further up the harbour and the place is jam packed with vehicle landing barges from all over Australia, all working around the clock to deliver machinery and people to service this incredible industrial growth. Sailing along the outside of Curtis Island we marvelled that no sign of the city or such development was visible at all during the day.
Port Gladstone Marina is set in a man-made basin and surrounded by a lovely parkland. To get into town you must cross the opening bridge and walk uphill. Best to taxi back if you have more than a few provisions. We enjoyed a few nights of good sleep, some provisioning and a lovely dinner on the balcony of the Yacht Club. At dusk we watched hundreds (if not thousands) of Flying Foxes make their passage north to roost for the night. You could barely hear a person speak for the sound of hundreds of Rainbow Lorrikeets which flocked to the pine trees next to the yacht club .
We set sail this morning for Pancake Creek, happy to revisit another favourite destination. As we passed the Rodd Peninsular National Park we could see a significant bushfire in progress. The Rodd peninsular makes up the northern boundary of the Pancake Creek area.
Picking our way in with the tide we settled in, put the outboard on the dinghy and set our new crab pot …. Ocean Addict’s crew came by the boat to tell us that three of their four pots had been attacked by sharks last night and were completley shredded!
As we digested this thought we looked around us at a true paradise…Miles of inlet,the Bustard Head lighthouse winking, amazing sandbanks, the full moon rising to Starboard, and a smokey sunset happening to Port…..