Wednesday, 29 August 2012


FRIDAY 24 AUGUST 2012 : 27 NM

 Day three at Mackay Harbour Marina and Rear admiral Julie is in charge of our departure, and we agree fuel first , as it is likely to be considerably  cheaper than Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island, and we will not use much fuel getting there as the steps to get there are small,  and we intend just enjoying the slower speed and passing islands. 

We were at the fuel wharf at  8.30am  for a quick refuel ,....or so we thought. 
There is no service and one selects a bowser/pump  from the 14   available , then ties up , disembarks and presses a green button, then at amplified volume over a speaker system,  has a conversation ( that everyone in the Mackay Marina can easily hear)  about refuelling.
We had selected a bowser/pump that had both a small and large diameter hose  ( as the larger diameter hose usually  indicates hi flow fuel). However the pump only had one speed and it was so slow that Capt Barry calculated we would be there another 90 mins refuelling, 
So we contacted the marina office via the green button , and had another world at large conversation ,and asked for a high speed pump,  restarted the engines and moved to  the high flow  pump on the second fuel  arm. 
They  have ONE pump that is high flow.... and considering we were expecting to take 2000 L  (which they were aware of),   you think they would have directed us to the hi flow pump in the first place. 

During the refuelling Capt Barry realised ( on a pump other than the one we were using )  that the fuel price had again been increased ( twice in two days ).
Whilst the rear admiral was going to pay the fuel bill , Capt Barry said , " leave it to me, I want to discuss the state of their pumps and the fuel price".

Capt Barry was told that there were no bulk discounts unless one took over 5000L, Capt Barry did not stop there, but requested to see the manager , and  pointed out that he was quoted  a price the afternoon before , and that the price per L ( and number of L taken  ) could not be read on most of the pumps , as the LCD numbers were not functioning properly.  so one could not see the fuel price, and  therefore the quoted price was fine. 
Capt Barry also suggested all large diameter hoses be labelled as slow flow. The general manager  quickly saw the logic of the discussion , awarded the discount , and directed the staff to clearly label the flow rate on the pumps and to have the pump readouts replaced . Apparently they have the new read outs and the replacement was  on the to fix list for some time.

After tidying up that small administrative matter, we departed the fuel wharf , and the harbour marina for Scawfell Island.

leaving Mackay marina behind

We were under way with Julie in charge, as usual, when The VERY COMPETENT Rear Admiral noticed that the seas in our path looked to be a different  surface texture....meaning something different was happening under the water. So being on the ball she abandoned the book she was reading and moved to the Captains chair in case a quick manoeuvre was required. 
After consulting the Nav charts, the Rear Admiral discovered we were about to pass  over a shoal. All was fine, and the Rear Admiral was pleased with herself for noticing this sea condition, where the depth of  water  was rising from 30m to 18m to a very shallow 6m and that is exactly what happened. So a big tick to the chart plotters...or whoever.
approaching Scawfell Island

Refuge Bay / Scawfell Island with low cloud

We arrived at Scawfell Island at 2.30 in the afternoon and put the anchor down in Refuge Bay,  
We were the sole visitors to the bay, until later that afternoon when two other craft arrived, but anchored a distance off.

Scawfell  is not considered  part of the Whitsundays, being too far south, but as SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED has stated,  it is the best spot we have anchored,  so far. 

We saw turtles (too many to count)  dolphins and whales. We believe we saw a whale calf being born (with mum just lying on the surface for some considerable time, and another baby  whale  having a high old time jumping continuously out of the water.

There was a small  wind, which we welcomed after sweltering at MacKay, which died completely at sunset giving us a great night sleep. No noise, no wind. ,..nothing that concerns you!!!!.
another great sunset

We awoke the next morning to a PICTURE PERFECT   still water and a sunny beach.

We decided to explore the beach, and  launched the smaller tender , intending to lift it high onto the beach , and thus we could ignore the tide and the need to anchor.

The bay has amazing coral reefs bordering left and right sides of the bay which we found as we motored in the small tender for a walk.

We could not get good pictures, but were amazed at some of the  huge coral bombies that just mushroomed from the sandy bay bottom 6 M below to just below the surface . Sorry folks pictures, maybe, next time. 

Yesterday evening , we observed local fishing boats bee lining for the shore,  and discovered why..... they visit the beach for a quick comfort stop ....yes, there is a LOO constructed just behind the first layer of vegetation.

The best way to the beach is to go to the middle of the bay, line up the shed on shore,  and follow the line of sand NOT THE CORAL REEFS. 

One can anchor larger boats quite close in , as there is a very wide track of sand almost all the way to the beach in front of the sign board.

We took a pleasant walk along the shore and saw stingrays and lats of butterflies. after a long walk we headed back to  LAST WORD   for the journey to Goldsmith  Island.

i am glad we have the 3 hp motor. That is LAST WORD  way out there;

We decided to put the 3 hp motor on its storage bracket in the laz. and to partially deflate the smaller tender and stow it in the laz. rather than completely stow it as usual. This would make it  more efficient to use next time we needed it. We stored it through the rear boarding platform door and it was easy to handle and stow, and still left room for Capt Barry  to get by to the engine room etc.

a view (threw the cockpit second access hatch )  of the small tender and 3 hp motor, stowed with the tender partially inflated 

Another day in paradise, another FAB island to visit.

TRIP; Mackay to Scawfell Island, 3.5 HRS at 9 kts , using 142 L

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