Fresh fish, finally

North Queensland to Cape York

Kelvin Rabbits, the proprietor of Cammeray Marina, said to me he didn’t have much luck fishing until he was north of Cairns.  On cue, less than an hour north of Cairns on Wednesday afternoon, we hooked a nice sized tuna.  To land a fish while sailing along in a fresh breeze takes some teamwork; Ben kept the line tight to keep the fish on, I hove-to to stop the boat with the sails up and then used a gaff to get the fish on board.  Once in the cockpit, spraying a mist of Jim Beam into the gills, anesthetised the tuna in a few seconds, making it much easier to handle and clean.  I have since found out there is such a thing as too much sashimi.


Once past Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef is much closer to the coast and the shipping channels weave around the hundreds of reefs, islands and passes, all of which are named.  Whoever was responsible for names must have had good and bad days, with everything from Sir Charles Hardy Islands to The Gut.

Avoiding commercial shipping and navigating the obstacles requires focused attention and a constant watch between Ben & I.  Commercial shipping is subject to a Mandatory Ship Reporting System and are required to carry a pilot to navigate reef waters. It’s much more intense than the open ocean & managing fatigue is now also a challenge.  How ships managed to navigate these waters before GPS and electronic maps is beyond my comprehension and may explain, in part, why there are hundreds of shipwrecks along the QLD coast.

On Thursday morning, we anchored off Lizard Island to recharge for a few hours & more sashimi, before resuming our way north toward Torres Strait.

There’s more to making sourdough than we know and that project is currently on the back burner.  The fish at Lizard Island didn’t seem to mind it and haven’t eaten that much bread in ages.


  1. Paul Sinclair

    Great update. How was crossing the Gulf?

  2. Poodle

    wasabi and soy sauce?

    1. absolutely

  3. Mike McEvoy

    Hi Chris and Ben,
    On our delivery trip from Benoa Harbour, Bali to Sydney, only once did we catch a fish and that was as we approached Thursday Island from the North. So, you are doing better then some. Enjoy!

  4. Cathryn Thomas

    Keep the story coming Chris!!! Fantastic reporting. Keep safe!

  5. Murray Sebbes

    Hi Chris and Ben
    Great to see you off on a great adventure.
    Read with some interest your reef encounter and some of the advice you received.Trust me on this, when you have run aground you wont do it again.You will sail for miles to avoid a reef. I got off by extending a halyard and pulling the mast over to windward with the dinghy.The keel then acts like a ratchet cog…..think about it.Mind you it wouldn’t work if it was too rough for the dinghy.
    Anyway have a great time and good on you for having a go.Seeing Ben and his fish reminds me of the little boy struggling with the bucket and his Bream at Bremer
    Murray and Kerry

    1. Yes it is one of those defining moments that leaves a lasting impression. You must have a strong dinghy!

      1. Murray Sebbes

        It doesnt take as much as power as you might think,the mast is a big lever.
        Any way it is academic now.
        Where to after Indo?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.