Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mackay to Brampton Island (3rd to 8th July)

After a few good days in Mackay, while the wind continued to blow, we finally made our escape on Sunday (3rd July) and the forecast is looking good for the next week at least.

Scawfell Island Camping Area
Our first destination is Scawfell Island which is about 20nm North East of Mackay.  We had a great (and quick) sail with a lively 15-20knot beam reach!  We decided that a leisurely afternoon was in store so retired to the aft deck for some reading and as always the obligatory swim. 

Scawfell Island Beach
On Monday morning we were both keen to go and have an explore so the dinghy was quickly inflated and we were off to the beach.  Scawfell Island is pretty much untouched so it is virtually impossible to do too much walking apart from the beaches but they are pretty nice so we didn't mind.  It also gave our dinghy a nice chance to catch a few rays whilst waiting for us on the white sandy beach.  We have heard on the grapevine that there is some pretty good snorkelling at Scawfell so we make plans to check out a few of the bommies in the afternoon.  As with all these places tides seem to make a big difference to everything you do.  Unfortunately for us it just happened to be high tide on the afternoon of the 3rd so although the coral and the fishies looked great they were all about 12 feet below us.

Bearing this in mind we decided to change to order of proceedings for Tuesday and snorkeling was on the list for morning activities.  This time we decided to go a bit further afield so the dinghy came with us and after finding a suitable rock to tie it to we were both in the water having an excellent time exploring all things underwater.  The coral was amazing and in really good condition with little sign of damage from weather etc.  

Blue Tiger Butterfly
Brampton Island
Wednesday morning and we decided that it was time to move on again so we are off to Brampton Island which is around 20nm North West of Scawfell.  We arrive and there are plenty of other boats in the anchorage and it seems like this is a popular place for boats of all types to visit especially as it is renown for having some excellent walking tracks.  We have also been told that the resort has recently shut down which is again a bit sad but there are also rumours that it may be redeveloped - I guess time will tell. 

After our first shore party on Tuesday afternoon we have re-named Brampton Island as Butterfly Island as it is literally swarming in butterflies which is just beautiful.  Wednesday and we are off to do the Island Circuit Walk which takes you on an 8km jaunt around the island.  There are some amazing sights with one of the most special views being that of Oyster and Dinghy Bays.  We stopped for a bite of lunch at Turtle Beach (they do have excellent names for their beaches up here) before finishing off the walk followed by a refreshing dip off the back of the boat.

Oyster & Dinghy Bay's

Turtle Beach

Carlisle Island
The one walk everyone must do at Brampton is the Brampton Peak walk so we are up early to hopefully get the best of the wildlife on this walk.  It is not all that challenging but it is a couple of km's uphill so you certainly know you have been on a walk when you get to the top.  The have put up a couple of excellent lookouts so again you get some great views of Carlisle Island next door and islands further afield.

Tomorrow the plan will be to head up to Goldsmith Island and then keep moving north as we close in on the Whitsunday islands proper

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