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.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Fitzroy Island - Thursday 13th Sept – Wednesday 19th 2012

Fitzroy Island
16’55.694S – 145’59.271S
Thursday 13th Sept – Wednesday 19th
Thursday: sail out of Mourilyan at 0530hr – arrive 1330h

leaving Mourilyan Harbour - goodbye big ship
the seas noth of Innisfail - Peggey Jane following
sunrise at sea
looking out the saloon hatch (window)
MrJ hauling in the big one that broke my reel

Fitzroy Island is a National Park, 25 km SE of Cairns, is rugged with diverse landscapes featuring granite outcrops, open woodlands, rainforest, mangroves and coral beaches. It is surrounded by fringing reef, which is the home to a variety of tropical fish and coral life. Fringing reef is a type of coral reef located only in the tropics, which is found directly off the shoreline growing in a thin strip. Fitzroy Island and its surrounding reef make up part of the
Great Barrier Reef, a protected World Heritage Site, and one of the seven natural wonders of the world. One of the unspoilt islands on the Great Barrier Reef, the majority of Fitzroy Island is a National Island Park. The continental island is 339 hectares in size, with 324 hectares of protected National Park. This includes mangroves, open woodland, tropical pristine rainforest and coral beaches best experienced by the walking trails around the island, birdlife, coral reef and tropical marine life including green sea turtles.
the first sunrise at Fitzroy Island

a very popular sport on the water

the jetty
looking out from Foxy's Bar
Fitzroy Island is a safe anchorage in calm weather, there are a couple of public moorings but we prefer to anchor. To protect the marine park, it is important to only anchor on sand and avoid shallow beach access to the island. This prevents coral damage caused by anchors and chains dragging across the reef. There are no facilities for disposal of garbage or taking on fresh water.
the arm comes to Fitzroy
the anchorage
Jenny & Irwin
Brian & Annette's boat
The island has a very colourful and interesting History, starting with its original separation from the mainland (about 8000 years ago), at the end of the last Ice Age, and from then on with its continuing Aboriginal cultural links, mainly for visiting hunting trips and recreation. There were also links with England’s Captain Cook and (much later) use of the island for a considerable time as a significant Chinese Quarantine Station (for the Queensland goldfields). Subsequently it was used as a Mission School and then, during World War II, as a Coast Watch Station. The island has also been important as a significant Lighthouse Base, with the last permanent lighthouse structures on the main island still being an important community attraction. Since its closure the marine community has been serviced with an automatic lighthouse based on the adjacent Little Fitzroy Island. There has been both a Giant Clam farm at Welcome Bay and now a Tourist Resort and Day Visitor Centre.
plankton drifts in with the northerly winds

Fitzroy Island National Park offers some amazing walking opportunities; walking is one of the best ways to explore and experience the different rainforest flora and fauna on the Island. There are five main walking trails on the island that range from 30 minutes to 3 hours, each at varying fitness levels.
The Secret Garden Track, which we did last year (short walk), takes you for a pleasant walk from the western edge of the jetty up through tropical rainforest around huge granite boulders.
rainforest track to Nudey Beach

This time MrJ and I did the Nudey Beach track (short walk) and my ankle held up, bonus!,  This is a relatively easy walk from the western edge of the jetty through tropical rainforest and coast woodlands leading to the beautiful white coral beach. Nudey Beach is the most popular place for swimming and snorkelling on the Island.
part of the walkway/lookout on the way to Nudeys
Nudeys Beach
southern end of Nudeys Beach
MrJ explore the large rock formations
huge sandstone rock on the beach
MrJ play hide and seek

Lighthouse Road (long walk about 3 ½ km 2 hours return – strenuous in places), is a very steep concrete road that leads from the north-eastern end of Welcome Bay climbing through rainforest towards the lighthouse. You will come across a lookout during your ascent with offers views of the Northern side of the island on a clear day. From the lighthouse you will discover spectacular 360 degree views of Fitzroy Island and the surrounding ocean, which make the difficult walk worth the effort. We also did this one last year.
Summit Track which I have never done, (long walk about 3 k 3 hours return), is recommended only for fit walkers as it is very steep. The Summit can be accessed via the Lighthouse Road Trail, but walkers will have to return the same way they came, once reaching the Summit (269m). Views of the Island, the Coral Sea and the mountain ranges are the perfect spot to relax and take in the scenery.

near the water sports shack
weekend water sports
Fitzroy Island National Park is home to a diversity of animal life on the island and in the surrounding waters. Colourful hard and soft corals and a variety of marine animals can be found amongst the fringing reef just metres from the beach.
On the Island, you could come across many of the unique species found in this tropical region. Bird life on the Island includes emerald doves, sulphur-crested cockatoos, orange-footed scrub fowls, ospreys, buff-breasted paradise kingfishers and pied imperial-pigeons.
The brightly coloured blue Ulysses butterfly only found in Far North Queensland and red flying foxes frequent the area. The largest predator on the island is the 1.2m long yellow-spotted monitor which is often seen around the jetty area.
Fitzroy offers, in separate locations, accommodation ranging from affordable four star Resort, to Divers, to Day Trippers, and Camping. The campgrounds include showers, toilets and BBQ facilities, as well as picnic tables. You will need to supply your own drinking water and food. The Dive & Activities Centre, the Pacific Islands Store (shop) and Foxy’s Bar & Café are open to all-comers. During our stay, MrJ and I had a couple of sundowner at Foxy’s.

sunset from Foxys
 Sunday I dropped the kayak and went for a paddle; the water was a bit choppy but it felt good to be out and about.
a shellfish mollusk ledge on a large rock out from the island
taken from above the water

Tuesday I was feeling a bit sick with a bad headache and not from over indulging in red wine, but this did not stop me from going ashore to meet friends and go exploring. MrJ is still rowing the dinghy.
WOW comes into the anchorage
Backchat sailed over to the coast on Monday; Cassini and Peggy Jane sail out on the Wednesday
a glassed out morning
Thursday we left for Cairns.

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