How many people get to live their dreams? I am..........!

This is my story from the time when Capt'n John and I first decided to sail around the big block, to circumnavigate this great land of ours, AUSTRALIA.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Saturday 26th May 2012
Heading for Hunter, Made it to Marble Island
21’58.338 E – 150’10.433 S
Rain, rain and more rain, cooler temperatures, S/SW winds 10/20knts in the AM
Neriki Passing Cape Townsend
MrJ and I had a restless sleep last night; keeping an ear out for all the numerous noises – wind sounds, waves slapping and boat movements. No ugly crunch sounds though so we knew that AR’s hulls were not hitting the sand shoal.

And then there was the anchor alarm......!!!

It woke me and I give MrJ a shove; he has to get up to see what’s up – “nothing” he says – and then the alarm goes off again. This time for real – last time it was a no satellite reception alarm. Buggar!

MrJ resets the alarm that did sound because AR had shifted at anchor with the change of tide – we had swung around to another direction. Poor feller climbs back into the warm bed – he runs around half dressed and half asleep in the middle of the night while I lay still in the warmth of the doona. Neither of us really gets much sleep.

A cup of tea at 0530h while MrJ was checking the weather patterns for the day on the wi-fi; I took the SICYC radio sked at 0700h, we had a call from Neriki and then after a quick breakfast we were away.

Ric and Shelly on Neriki managed their anchor without our help this morning; had to pull the anchor up by hand and this will be the same at the next anchorage. It was still raining lightly as both boats headed out the creek and I did notice another catamaran following. I think it is Koolaroo (???).

MrJ and I and dressed in our foul weather gear because of the rain and the cold; much cooler this morning that any other morning and it stayed the same all day. Cold and wet! :o{}

We have a good sail in fairly calm sea; the wind picks up as the boat passes Strong Tide Passage and stays there for the rest of the trip. Sailing with a reefed main and four turns on the genoa reaching speed of up to 9/10knts at times.

Out into the rough stuff we go as AR leaves Cape Townsend behind. The seas are not so big just a little confused but between here and Mackay it can be like this due to some of the strong tidal current throughout the whole area. AR is riding well with the choppy sea conditions and the wind is staying from the SW so it was a quick change of plans and direction to head for the top of Marble Island instead of behind Hunter Island.

1320 found MrJ and I dropping anchor on the northern side of Marble Island; anchorage J marked in the Curtis Coast Guide Book in about six meters of sparkling clear water. Within half an hour we were followed in by the other three boats, Neriki, Kularoo and Emma Jane; Kularoo and Emma Jane having to anchor a little further around the western point of this small bay.

The landscape on this side of Marble is very beautiful with large undulating green hill, small white beaches, small rocky points a grand marble headland further westward in the longer bay marked as anchorage K.
Neriki arriving at Marble Island
Marble is a privately owned island, one of several in the Duke Group. The island was settled in the 1800s for agricultural purposes and has been passed down over the years through many owners. The present owner acquired it as a sheep station in the late 1960s and subsequently developed it as a cattle property. While Marble Island  no longer runs as many cattle, this development entailed a major investment to develop the island with basic infrastructure: an airstrip, many dams, cattle yards, refrigeration rooms, generator & working sheds, along with manager's residence, owner's holiday residence, and in a secluded area of the front beach is the 'farmstay' beach cottage. Marble has been used as a hunting resort, mostly by Americans pursuing the island's deer that had been introduced to the islands. I have been told that the deer now roam on most of the Duke Islands as they can swim from island to island. At the turn of the century, 1904, mining started on a part of the island which had a source of iron ore. Iron Island, a small outcrop from the main island, was developed and mined as a source of iron ore which was shipped to the mainland for processing.

Marble Island is named for the pink and white marble found on the island.

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