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.