Day 18, Year 3: Magnetic Island to Orpheus Island
Date: Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Weather: Overcast; SE Winds 10-15
Temperature: Air 75 degrees F; Water 73 degrees F
Latitude: 18 degrees 35.989 minutes S
Longitude: 146 degrees 29.326 minutes E
Location: Little Pioneer Bay, Orpheus Island, Queensland, Australia

It was yet another motor sailing day. We keep getting reports for 20 knot winds, but we seem to be getting only 10 to 15 from directly behind us and that is not enough to push Windbird forward without a little boost from the engine. We would move forward without the engine, but not fast enough to get us to our nighttime anchorage. So we motor on. I think Australia is definitely a country of extremes. We either have too much or too little wind. Or maybe that is the definition of sailing most
everywhere!

We moved north about forty miles today up through the Palm Islands to the little island of Orpheus. We picked up a public mooring in Little Pioneer Bay and then put our dinghy in the water to travel to larger Pioneer Bay and the James Cook University Research Station. Since we only had to travel forty miles today, we got in around 2:30, did some planning for tomorrow, and listened to the weather on the radio before heading to the research station. At low tide, there is an extensive drying fringe
reef that keeps you from going ashore, but we were lucky that high tide was at 3:30 this afternoon. When we neared the shore, a young woman and her eighteen month old daughter came to meet us. Louise is a research assistant at the station and lives there with her husband, Lachim, and her daughter Siara. It was a quiet afternoon so Louise had time to show us around. There was a big round coral reef tank with examples of various fish and reef life, the temperature controlled research labs, a classroom
that accommodates about fifty students, a dry lab with all the microscopes and camera equipment, and then the housing units for staff and for students and researchers. Louise didn’t say, but in terms of staff it seemed that there was just housing for the director and his family and Louise and her family. We thoroughly enjoyed the visit and especially enjoyed meeting little Siara. Louise and Lachim have just purchased a 40 foot sailboat which was sitting out in the harbor. In a couple of years
they plan on doing a circumnavigation, so we had lots to talk to about. Unfortunately, the tide goes out quickly here, so we had to get going. We had to paddle out for a little way as it was, but we were certainly glad that we made the visit.

Tomorrow it is on to Hinchinbrook Island. It is only about twenty-two miles and we can see it easily from here. In fact, tonight we can see the long jetty that protrudes out of the east side of the island. Louise told us it is the longest jetty in Australia and it is for loading sugar cane on ships. Tomorrow we should get a closer look as we sail up to Shepherd Bay at the top of Hinchinbrook. Orchard Beach in this bay was the location for the recent Jodi Foster film, “Nim’s Island.” We will
stay in Shepherd Bay, weather permitting, or if it gets a little too windy, we will move around Cape Richards into Missionary Bay and walk over to Orchard Beach from there. Either way, it should be an enjoyable visit to another beautiful island in Australia.

080527 Day 18 Magnetic Island to Orpheus Island
Day 19, Year 3: Orpheus Island to Hinchinbrook Island
Day 17, Year 3: Day Trip to Townsville