Monday, January 7, 2013

Magnetic Island Circumnavigation


  • Huntingfield Bay campsite;
  • Florence Bay camp,
  • From another trip, Parrots being fed at the YHA, Horseshoe bay.
  • Thuraya Sat phone coverage.  (No I am not sponsored By them...) 

A rather offbeat way of spending the New Year: I did a solo circumnavigation of Magnetic Island, Just off Townsville, QLD.
Left the afternoon of Dec 31, strong winds, stormy. Crossed in the rain, then HEAVY tropical rain - the island would dissapear from view for minutes and I had to use my compass to keep on a bearing. Battling the winds, I made it across to the Mangroves and the weather cleared.

I paddled North, with the island on my right and went around the point , coming into some strong winds and swell, especially before Huntingfield Bay, where the kayak was crashing over 4m swell... and I had to work hard to make any headway against the gale force winds.
I decided to make a landing on the bay, where I set up a tarp against the rocks and relaxed.

I explored the beach that I had entirely to myself (no road access or tracks). Found some nice rivers, including one that was flowing freely with small cascades due to the drizzle. And watched Sea Eagles. real Robinson Crusoe feel... should do this more often I thought...

In the evening I got out my Sat phone, pointed it roughly NW to get reception from the Thuraya geo-stationary satellite over Singapore, and called up family and a friend or 2.
That was my New year's eve.... and one of the best I've had.... a lot to be said for real wilderness, but you need rain protection , long trousers and some good mossie repellent for the sandflies.

Day2:  weather fine with winds . paddle to Horseshoebay, have a beer and some icecream. Then to Florence Bay in strong winds - arrive 1hour before dark and set up the tarp with half a dozen ropes to stop it from flapping... a pyramid tent would be better. Magnificent bay...

Day 3: paddle to Alma bay where there is quite a few people, get approached by a man interested in my trip, talk about the logistics etc. relax in shade out of sun... and then paddle back to Townsville.

The best things in life are definitely free... although a bit of time and sweat may be involved in enjoying them.
Free Time... being the asset which us moderns often do not know how to create or enjoy. The trick being to use our prosperity to have "slack time" or time where nothing specific is planned, and sunsets and the company of people can be enjoyed...
In my humble opinion, Better than paying working extra to pay off that wide screen TV (to watch documentaries of people Kayaking... )  or whatever.. piece of stuff we were encouraged to buy.

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