Saturday, August 13, 2011

Innisfail to Cooktown

Mourilyan Harbour (Innisfail) to Cooktown – Sunday 29/5/2011 – 1/5/2011
It is now Saturday 13/8/2011 ITruansea is anchored at Canarvon WA diametrically opposite her starting point  at Noosa and at last I have been able to fix the problem with the USB ports that have prevented me from using anything other than my chartplotter program which fortunately is one of my most helpful aids to navigation otherwise the laptop may have joined the collection in Davey Jones’ locker. More about that as we go along for now let’s return to the voyage.

After a restful night in Moresby Creek I raised all sail and made for Cape Grafton east of Cairns It was an overcast start to the day and shortly after leaving Truansea was overtaking a Canadian flagged sloop after exchanging waves I raised the spinnaker as the wind was light and variable. By midday the wind had settled into a proper 20 knot south easterly trade wind and the spinnaker was doused. I brought Truansea up close to Fitzroy Island for a look at the anchorage for future use. There already being several vessels at anchor there I opted to make for lee of Cape Grafton for the night. It is quite shallow about a mile offshore and reasonably well protected from south easterly winds and I had a comfortable night.

Cairns wharf precinct

Monday morning the skipper refreshed and fed saw Truansea motor sailing across to Cairns Cruising Yacht Squadron where I had made earlier arrangements to tie up alongside for a couple of hours.  CCYS is a few miles up Trinty Inlet which afforded me the opportunity to take in the multi-million dollar Quay frontage of Cairns with all it’s tourist orientated activities. It certainly is a world apart from the Cairns I visited in 1969! Between the commercial area and the CCYS the Royal Australian Navy has a substantial base. I counted 13 ships of the fleet in harbour and a further 6 large landing type craft were departing and passed close by to port. No one saluted Truansea however being a friendly navy several officers on the bridge of each ship and ratings about the decks waved so I returned a very energetic wave to each.
Tying up to the CCYS floating dock went very well despite the limited space. I had only to phone a cab and go to Whitworths chandlery for the electronic charts I’d ordered and top up my water tanks. This took all of about 90 minutes and I was on my way again down the inlet with the tide heading for the Low Islets. The skipper was somewhat relieved to be clear of the this very busy port and sailing in open water again. The Low Islets is a small cay 7.5 miles north east of Port Douglas and a popular day tourist destination for people emanating from there.I was fortunate enough to pick up a vacant mooring there in full view of the light house and the delightful surroundings.

Tuesday 31st May and Truansea had her spinnaker up before 0700 underway for Cooktown through the section of the Great Barrier Reef that trapped the Endeavour and her crew in 1770. Every modern mariner who sails the waters of the Great Barrier Reef owes a debt of great magnitude to the skill of Lieutenant Cook and his skilled and able crew for charting a safe passage through these treacherous parts of the Coral Sea. Sailing through the GBR with good weather, lighthouses, beacons, charts and modern electronic navigation aids requires constant attention to ensure the passage is safe. Solo sailing through there with the spinnaker up may seem a little arrogant to those earlier mariners like Cook, Flinders, King and lately Alan Lucas and his informative guide but it is due to their attention to detail and diligence that I was able to do this.

Non-compliant SL installation (for my old work colleagues) 
The Endeavour River was entered at 1600 and the anchor set 200m out from the boat ramp at Cooktown. Here I spent the first day of June playing Terry Tourist enjoying a morning coffee at Jacky Jacky’s walking around town , visiting the very interesting and informative museum and having lunch at the very cosy and friendly RSL club. Most importantly of all I was able to find a nice ruby anniversary card to send to the rear admiral in time for the 5th June. It would be in Darwin when I would see her again.

Good coffee here, the proprieter is Asian.

 We salute you.
It was at this anchorage that I had a very fortunate visit from Murray and Bev Bastion of Shirazz a lovely couple also sailing their catamaran to Darwin. It was to be in their company I would enjoy this section of my trip far more than I would have if they had not paid me that visit. I am indebted to their friendliness and advice for the experiences I had between Cooktown and Darwin.
The following update will cover the remainder of the passage through the GBR from Cooktown to Cape York (Seisia).

Fair winds


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