Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dunk Island to Cairns (30th August to 5th September)

The Rebuilding of Dunk Is.
Well we did try to do the walk around the other side of Dunk Island but didn't get very far due to the destruction of Yasi.  The nice thing is that Parks are doing a lot of work on the island and we have been told that the walking tracks will be completed in the next month or two and the camping area is also being fixed up so even if the resort doesn't get back to life there will still be lots of other reasons to go to the island.  Despite all the devastation of Yasi there are plenty of signs of the vegetation fighting back and in this climate it does grow back fast.  Apart from all the other re-vegetation that we saw there were also plenty of coconuts starting to sprout along the beach front.

We ended up spending another day at Dunk as it is a very nice anchorage.  On Thursday (1st September) we decided to up anchor and move on to Mourilyan Harbour.  The trip to Mourilyan was pretty quick as we had a stiff breeze behind us and were doing 6.5knts with only a heady flying.  Along the way we were lucky enough to see quite a few whales again including a juvenile whale that must have been suffering with ADHD as it was breaching all the way past us and only around 100mts from the boat.  There is not a lot at Mourilyan Harbour apart from the sugar wharf, some fore-aft piles and some fishing boats but it is a good spot to stop for a night. 

The original plan was to go to Fitzroy Island for a few nights.  Fitzroy is one of the few holiday island resorts that is still doing well so we were hoping to go and enjoy a few days hanging out drinking cocktails around the pool and stuff but Hughie decided not to co-operate and the forecast was to blow for about 5days.  Plan B which involved a night in at Cape Grafton was put into action but also proved not to be such a good idea as when we went and had a look we were not able to get in close enough to get out of the swell.  So after a few quick calls we managed to get a berth in at Marlin Marina a night early which was excellent news and made us both very happy.  The trip up the channel into Marlin Marina at 4.30pm on a Friday was exciting in itself.  During our travel up the channel we had to deal with 2 ships, 1 dredge, about 12 charter vessels as well as a 30knot cross wind trying to blow us out of the deep water.  We both needed a stiff drink once we had tied up and had a well deserved shower. 
The Marlin Marina has excellent facilities.  Think we have rated the shower roses as the best up he coast plus it is located bang in the middle of town which means everything (including the pool and plenty of bars) are very accessible.

Freshwater Station
As we are staying at Marlin Marina till Tuesday before we head up to Yorkeys Knob we decide it would be a good idea to book a tour up to Kuranda  on Sunday (this was highly recommended to us by Rick aka Jacques Cousteau).  We were picked up bright and early on Sunday morning and the first stop was at the Freshwater Station where we caught the train up to Kuranda.  I don't remember all the facts but it is an amazing bit of engineering as the tracks go through a huge number of tunnels and cuttings as well as passing over lots of bridges.  Kuranda is a bit more commercial than my last visit in the 80's but in essence it is still an old hippie town with lots of stalls in the markets etc.  Mark has even got a bit hippie and is now sporting a very nice leather bracelet!!
Kuranda Rail
Barron Falls

After a wander around the township we decided to go to the butterfly house which is just amazing and very much worth a visit if you are up this way.  We were lucky enough to join up the escorted tour which was very informative about the secret lives of butterflies.  After a great time in Kuranda it is over to the SkyRail Station for the trip back down through the rain forest canopy - what a neat way to travel through the rain forest.

Ulysses Butterfly

Bird Wing Butterfly
Today (Monday) and we have a few things to buy and a few jobs to do so it will be a day hanging around the marina (and maybe a trip to the pool if the sun comes out a for a bit) and all going well we will be out of here tomorrow and up to the Half Moon Marina at Yorkeys Knob for the final preparations before heading out to the Louisiades.  As we have been moving north we have been meeting up with more of the rally folk which has been lots of fun.  So far the group seem really friendly and also there is quite a diverse range of boats and personalities so it should make for an interesting 5 weeks out and around the Louisiades.

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