|Great Keppel Island|
After leaving Kingfisher Bay in the Great Sandy Strait we spent three long days sailing to enable us to travel north quickly in near perfect sailing conditions. The first night we anchored in the entrance to the Burnette River so we could leave at the crack of dawn for Pancake Creek. Again we anchored in the entrance along with another four boats. Many more were anchored further in behind the sand bar. It looked like a large town down there after sunset when the anchor lights glittered in the darkness. This time we rolled out of bed at 4am for a quick coffee and then left the creek at 4.45am bound for Great Keppel Island. We had to motor for the first 2 hours and then we had a wonderful sail north through the anchored ships waiting for coal loading at Gladstone. There were 13 altogether. We arrived at Leekes Beach on the north side of Keppel Island at dusk and anchored there along with 40 other boats.
|Plenty of fellow travellers|
Amazing! As we were approaching from the south I could see 5 AIS triangles on our chart plotter so we knew there were at least 5 in there....but 40!! We anchored on the western side of the point and settled in for a secure night. 30kn winds had been predicted for a short spell during the night so we made sure that the anchor was well set and we were far enough away from other boats not to cause any hassles. Well after dark a big cat came in and hovered just behind us for a while. We were willing him to go away......but no!!! next minute he has passed us by some 15m or so and anchored directly in front of us leaving little room to spare. Now this may be OK in a crowded anchorage but here there was a whole bay to choose a spot in. He also left red lights shining all night from his stern. There is always some one who does not know the rules of the sea. We wondered if he knew much about anchoring and after the predicted blow hit we kept checking to make sure he did not drag down on us. What a Plonker!!
|Too close!! There's a whole bay out there!|
We walked along the beautiful beaches and ended up at the Hideaway Bar for lunch. I must say that this was by far the worst fish and chips I have ever had. No recommendation from us for them. I suggest anyone reading this who goes to Great Keppel Island that you try the café further along the beach as they look like they are sprucing the place up. Certainly they will make a killing if they serve decent food.
After two nights at Leekes Beach we decided to move to Fisherman's Bay to avoid the rolly swell that was entering the bay from the northerly breeze. It was much better there and many of the other boats ended up there too. On Saturday morning a thick fog descended on the bay and we could barely see the next boat. It lasted most of the morning, which was a bit unusual. After lunch we made our way to Keppel Bay to the marina where we planned to stock up, do the laundry, clean up etc before departing for the isolated stretch of coast between Yeppoon and Mackay.
|Walk to Long Bay|
A Few Days At Keppel Bay Marina
|Turtle lunch. The white bits are reflections. The water was clean.|
Apparently several turtles live in this marina. They are beautiful and carry on with their business, which is eating the weed off the marina pontoons, without taking any notice of the 'oohs' and 'ahhs' of the humans above. We have seen them on several occasions and locals tell us they have been there for ages. It amazes me how wildlife coexists closely with humans when given the chance and left alone.
The SACAS (Self Appointed Café Appreciation Society)
Peter and I are the founding members of the above society. We feel we are well qualified for this task as we have now sampled hundreds of different venues. All cafes begin with the full 10 points and as we partake of our morning tea we subtract points for unforgivable misdemeanours such as not wiping the table between customers, taste of the coffee and spilling the coffee, coffee too cool, dry cake and not providing REAL cream. An extra point is given for the venue ie, garden looked after, view etc. The Waterline Café at the Keppel Bay Marina is a beauty. On arrival we decided to try the Lamb Burger and the Barra Burger. They were amazing. Best we have had for ages. Since then we have had coffee and cake there each morning and have not been disappointed. This café has been awarded 9.8 and only missed out on the full marks because it provides that awful pretend cream from a pressure pack. If anyone is coming this way we recommend this place for a meal or coffee break.
On Monday morning we noticed that the 'Cheeky Monkey's' van was pulled up near the garden part of the grounds. They set up large foam blocks, slides, tunnels etc for kids to play with while the parents sat around the periphery enjoying coffee/breakfast/lunch with family and friends. What a great idea. The kids were having a ball playing with the others and the parents enjoyed their break relatively pain free. The rest of the customers could still enjoy their meals on the veranda without bored kids driving them mad. Hooray for whoever came up with that idea.
|ANZAC Memorial Emu Park|
Yesterday we took the bus south about 21kms to Emu Park, a small community on the coast. We spent a couple of hours there wandering around. It is an attractive coastal village. There are plenty of those, but this one has an exceptional ANZAC Memorial Walk along the coast. It is well worth a look.
|A work of art letterbox at the art gallery Emu Park|
We have spent 4 nights here and the weather forecast for the next few days at least, looks good for sailing further north. The next part of our trip is through the isolated Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area which includes the anchorages at Port Clinton (no port just bush forever) Pearl Bay and Island Head Creek. After rounding Cape Townsend there is the numerous islands off Mackay and the biggest tides on the east coast. We hope the weather holds and we are able to enjoy this part of the coast. It seems that there will be quite a few other boats to accompany us on our travels. We have stocked up the larder, fuelled and watered and are ready to depart tomorrow.
|A peaceful morning at the Keppel Bay Marina|