Saturday, October 25, 2014

our love/hate relationship with Cairns!

The forecast was for 10-15kts SE. We left Innisfail on the 20th September at 0700. Luckily we were catching the ebb tide north as the wind was actually 1-4kts! We managed to average 6kts in the smokey atmosphere. National Sparks and Wildfires at it again. Despite the smoke the coastline was glorious (again).

the fabulous coast north of Innisfail

We tried our luck trolling, we're still not proving to be great at fishing! We sailed past Fitzroy island at 1315 and counted 19 boats in Welcome Bay so decided to give visiting the island a miss.
Fitzroy Island
We entered Mission Bay (9nm from Cairns) around 1400 with the thought of anchoring to avoid the bustle of Cairns for as long as possible. The bay was very swelly and we had some trouble anchoring, but finally we held. We then realised that we hadn't pulled in our troll line- yep wound nicely around the prop. After a calming cup of tea we dealt with the line and then decided we could cope with Cairns.

Mission Bay
So up came the anchor at 1515- off to Cairns we go. The channel into Trinity Inlet was very busy and we slowed down for a ship, giving the monolith right of way which meant we didn't anchor until 1730.

channel into Cairns
The anchorage opposite Marlin Marina was very crowded and we noticed lots of crab floats which we thought was very strange. On advise from cruisers we met on our way (local boaties can give visitors grief...."you can't anchor there because...."), we anchored in a big vacant space.

Ruby checking out Cairns nightlife from the safety of Manatee

The next day we set off for the Cairns Cruising Yacht Club in Portsmith and managed to get questioned by Police, and were required to provide them with ID, after we walked through a "secure area" for the economic summit being held in Cairns. Ruby advised them that she would no longer consider a role as a Police dog after they kept us all standing in the sun for a considerable time- which meant we missed lunch at the yacht club!
The yacht club was fabulous and the staff were very friendly, welcoming us, giving Ruby lots of cuddles and making us toasted sandwiches. We are considering spending cyclone season further up Trinity Inlet and making the club our base.
the view from the verandah
The same evening we had to move Manatee as one of the nearby crab floats turned out to be a (self set) mooring and the catamaran that "owned" it demanded that we move. We moved. Ahh Cairns!
Trinity Inlet anchorage

We all walked around town the next day and had a pleasant time although we were disappointed to find "our" pho restaurant had changed hands and was found wanting. Instead of clear and crisp flavoured pho we were served murky soup-damn! We arrived back on Manatee to another catamaran telling us to move! This time we said no so woke up to a pre-dawn concert of country music. Noice!

We had made a fuel booking for 0830 so were pleased to get away from the charmers.
Cairns does not have a fuel wharf as such, booking are required and a tanker arrives to re-fuel. The fuel was cheap and the fuel fellas very friendly.
Manatee receiving tanker fuel

heading back to the anchorage
Tacy and Ted from Quantam Leap were at the marina (thanks for the photos) so we managed to catch up with them while we were in town. 

We found a new spot in the anchorage (it is very crowded) which was very peaceful until another crab float became a mooring- damn again! The skipper told us we would have to move as "the Port Authority will tow you because you hang in the channel". This comment was hilarious as officially moored boats hung in the channel. We thanked the skipper and said we would take our chances. Later, a neighbour told us they were told by the same skipper 1) they were anchored on a concrete block used by "a cruise ship";2) they hung too far in the channel and 3) they had swung and hit another boat because they had anchored too close to it. Goodness the lengths people go to! They also thanked the skipper with a smile and we had a laugh about it, as we compared notes most days!
The annual sculpture exhibition was on so we all had a great time checking out the art. Rusty's market allowed us to provision with amazing fruit and veg before we headed out.

art in the park
Marg and I remember the laid back Cairns of the 70's and 80's, you couldn't call it easy going these days but it has retained some of its beauty.

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