Friday, August 12, 2011

Bowen to Townsville (5th - 12th August)

Bowen Tugs
We know that we have arrived back in the real Queensland in Bowen as the locals all end their sentences with "AY" e.g. 'nice day ay'.   As planned we took the bus over to Horseshoe Bay on Friday which is the holiday end of town and is really lovely with some nice beaches and an excellent walk to the look-out.  We don't seem to be able to keep Rick out of the water as he was off for a bit of a splash in the waves before we stopped for a bit of lunch at the beach-side cafe which was rather nice.

Lookout at Horseshoe Bay (Bowen)
Saturday morning and we start the journey towards Townsville.  We have a few miles to cover so have around 40miles to travel each day but luckily we have some good winds for the first couple of days.  Saturday night we spent at Cape Upstart which is quite spectacular with rugged hills around.  Sunday night we are at Cape Bowling Green (or affectionately known as Rolling Green) and to be honest this is not one of my favorite anchorages.  It is quite bland, with flat sandy beaches, mangroves all round, muddy looking water and the slowly shoaling beach meant we had to anchor approx. 2miles off the shore. .  We did however have a comfortable nights sleep and luckily it did not live up to its rolling reputation. 

Drinks on the aft deck with
Grant & Leanne from Marsala

Monday, and as forecast, the wind has dropped off so it is a motor to Horseshoe Bay (the one on Magnetic Island). Horseshoe Bay seems to be a cruisers paradise as there are plenty of them at anchor in the little bay.  It is a lovely little spot and we can quickly see why it is a favourite with both cruisers and holiday makers.  After checking out the local scene we head back to the boat for a freshen up and ran across some fellow cruisers, Grant & Leanne from the yacht Marsala,who came aboard for a bit of a natter and a catch up since we last saw them at Brampton Island.  One of the hot topics was the impending Census which we didn't even know was happening and figured that we were going to avoid being counted this time around but low and behold the next thing we know a pretty rough tinny is pulling up alongside with a couple of pretty rough characters aboard handing out Census Papers - how far do you have to go!!   

Rick at Work!
Horseshoe Bay (Magnetic Island)

Dinghy Preparation
The Little Red Dolphin @ Horseshoe Bay

Balding Bay (aka Nudie Beach)
Tuesday and we are off on a walk to Balding Bay (now known as Nudie Beach - for obvious reasons) and Radical Bay.  The walk is pretty much all up or all down but through some really pretty scenery and the beaches are lovely.  Yes you guessed it - Rick is back in the water yet again.  Late in the day we wander off to the marina in Nelly Bay which reminded us all a bit of Martha Cove - great potential but not a lot going on YET.  

We took the bus down to Picnic Point on Wednesday for a bit of an outing and also discovered that the bus drivers at Magnetic only have 2 speeds - flat out or stopped.  Despite the rugged ride it was a good way to have a look at the island from a different prospective.  After our venture to Picnic Point we are off to the Breakwater Marina at Townsville however, as the entrance is quite shallow we have to wait for the tide so cannot get in until about 5pm.

Townsville is a great spot with the township quite close to the marina which means we can walk pretty much anywhere which is a big advantage.  They have down a really good job of  making the town a nice place to be and have done as excellent job on the foreshore area which is a real magnet for both the locals and tourists alike.  We hit the aquarium on Thursday which is really worth a visit and gives you a chance to view life on the reef without having to go under the water (not sure that Rick was too happy about this!).  We found plenty of Nemo's and Dory's as well many other reef fish.  They also have a tank for the predatory fish and were lucky enough to be there for feeding time.  Very pleased that they keep the predators in a separate tank as don't think it would bode to well for Nemo otherwise.

Friday morning and we have to say our farewells to Rick as he is flying back to Melbourne today.  We thought we would honour his departure but hitting the water ourselves and did a few laps at the local Tobruk Pool which was the training ground for many Olympic Champions including Dawn Fraser and Laurie Lawrence.

We have arranged to pick up a car on Sunday and will be taking a leave of absence from the boat for a few days as we do a bit of a tour of the area and are planning to venture out to Charters Towers then up to Mourilyan to catch up with some old friends before wandering back down the coast again to complete the loop before heading off northwards again to Cairns

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